Story 1: First Official Explosive Documentation From Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) — Profiles in Deceit — Obama And Clinton Lying To The Families That Died in Benghazi and The American People — Why? Coverup of CIA Covert Operation Including Supervision of Arms Shipments Through Third Party Cutout To Syrian Rebels Including Al Qaeda and Islamic Jihadist Terrorists (Now Islamic State) And Win Second Term For Obama and First Term For Hillary Clinton — Both Incompetent and Untrustworthy Leftist Liars — Impeach Obama Now! — Videos
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]
The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
US Intel knew about weapons going from Benghazi to Syria
Daily News Collective For May 19, 2015
Hillary Clinton Fires Back Over Benghazi Select Committee On The Record
Hillary’s Benghazi Lies Exposed!
Hillary Clinton feigned ignorance when she was questioned about the Benghazi gun-running program by Senator Rand Paul in January 2013.
However, explosive new documents obtained by Judicial Watch prove conclusively that US intelligence agencies were fully aware weapons were being transferred from Libya to Syria before the attack.
That’s not the only Benghazi fact given the spin by the Obama Administration.
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Administration knew of arms being shipped from Benghazi to Syria
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts. The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.
The documents were released in response to a court order in accordance with a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department seeking communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”
Spelling and punctuation is duplicated in this release without corrections.
A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).” The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.
“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.” The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons. Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”
The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”
(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)
The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
The DIA document further details:
The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]
The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.
Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:
The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”
From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created the morning after the Benghazi attack by Hillary Clinton’s offices, and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat that was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton’s executive assistant). At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a “spot report” on the “Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:
Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time….
The State Department has yet to turn over any documents from the secret email accounts of Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials.
“These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them. If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president. And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also point to connection between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war – and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists,” stated Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president. “These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”
In fact, she’s had a series of bad days since she announced her presidential bid April 12. But Monday was the worst of them.
In a bombshell report, the New York Times reported that Clinton, as secretary of state, used her private email to share private intelligence reports from noted conspiracy theorist and political hitman Sidney Blumenthal, at a time when Blumenthal was being paid by the Clinton Foundation and liberal political organizations that helped lay the groundwork for Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The emails included reports on Libya at a time when Blumenthal was seeking business in the country and included dubious information. The Times reported that Clinton nonetheless “took Mr. Blumenthal’s advice seriously” and “continued to pass around his emails even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.”
A second story about Clinton and Libya broke the same day, this one casting further doubt on the Obama administration’s narrative about the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and specifically on claims Clinton made about nature of those attacks and motivations of the attackers. An intelligence report prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency and sent to Clinton and other senior administration officials on September 12, 2012, just one day after the attacks, concluded that the attack “was planned ten or more days” in advance and was meant to “kill as many Americans as possible.” The report identifies al Qaeda-linked terrorists believed to have been involved in the assault.
Despite this, the Obama administration crafted a public narrative that the attack had evolved from a “spontaneous” protest over a YouTube video and included a wide range of individuals. Clinton cited the video in remarks at a memorial service on September 14, 2012, for those killed in the attacks. She told members of the victims’ families that the administration would bring to justice those responsible for the video. The DIA report and several other Benghazi-related documents were released to Judicial Watch pursuant to a court order in response to a FOIA request.
The DIA report further undermines the administration’s already-tattered claims that its public case was based on intelligence assessments. Emails released in response to a previous Judicial Watch requestshowed that the White House had drafted a set of political talking points that sought to blame the video and not administration policy.
That the DIA report was not released as a result of any previous Benghazi investigations raises additional questions about the administration’s unwillingness to turn over documents related to the attacks and how comprehensive those previous investigations have been. Many of the revelations that have undermined administration claims about Benghazi have come outside of the regular congressional oversight efforts, in part because of the administration’s disinclination to cooperate and in part because of the half-hearted inquiries led by the committees of jurisdiction.
Administration defenders and many in the media claimed that an additional investigation of Benghazi would be unnecessary because of these previous efforts. But these recent revelations validate the decision of House speaker John Boehner to create a select committee and make clear that there is still much more to learn. The State Department only recently turned over documents related to the State Department’s Administrative Review Board examination of Benghazi. The House Oversight Committee first requested those documents more than two years ago – on January 28, 2013. The Benghazi Select Committee is still waiting for reams of documents from the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department.
Beyond that, of course, are questions about emails and documents that the public may never see because Hillary Clinton used private emails to circumvent the record retention requirements of the U.S. government. The committee is examining all options in its attempt to find or recover those discarded emails.
It has been nearly a month since Hillary Clinton took questions from the media. And with the growing stench of scandal it’s likely that she’ll continue to seek to avoid circumstances that might require her to provide answers. That’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. And even a media that is ideologically sympathetic is showing signs of frustration with her games.
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. OMGs are highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking. There are more than 300 active OMGs within the United States, ranging in size from single chapters with five or six members to hundreds of chapters with thousands of members worldwide. The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence pose a serious national domestic threat and conduct the majority of criminal activity linked to OMGs, especially activity relating to drug-trafficking and, more specifically, to cross-border drug smuggling. Because of their transnational scope, these OMGs are able to coordinate drug smuggling operations in partnership with major international drug-trafficking
9 Dead in Waco Biker Gang Shooting 18 Injured 5-17-15
Biker brawl breaks out at Waco restaurant
Waco Biker Gang Shooting. 9 Dead At Waco Shooting Twin Peaks
Waco Shooting Updates — Ten people killed in Waco, Texas biker gang shooting
[AERIAL FOOTAGE] Biker Gang Shootout Waco, Texas – 17 May 2015
( ORIGINAL FOOTAGE ) Waco Texas Shooting 9 biker gangs Dead In Waco Texas
9 dead in Texas biker brawl
Gunfire erupted Sunday among rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, leaving at least nine people dead, according to police.
Authorities had anticipated trouble and pre-positioned officers.
“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman. He later said there were at least five gangs.
The fight broke out at Twin Peaks restaurant and spilled into the parking lot. It quickly escalated from hands and feet, as weapons, to gunfire, Swanton said.
“In my nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience,” he said, “this is the most violent and gruesome scene that I have dealt with.”
Bikers shot at each other and at officers, who returned fire.
Swanton expressed anger at Twin Peaks, which he claims had been less than helpful in dealing with gangs in the past. He declined to identify the specific groups involved in Sunday’s shooting.
“Are we frustrated? Sure. Because we feel like there may have been more that could have been done by a business to prevent this,” he said.
Corporate management at Twin Peaks released a statement saying it was reviewing the circumstances of the shooting. The Waco restaurant is franchised.
“We are thankful no employees, guests or police were injured in this senseless violence outside the restaurant, and our sympathies are with the families of those killed,” the statement said.
To escape the fight, some restaurant customers and employees took cover in the freezer, according to CNN affiliate KWTX. The station reported that more than 100 weapons were recovered, and Waco police said officers were continuing to arrest people arriving with weapons.
Swanton told reporters that eight people were dead on the scene and another was pronounced dead at an area hospital. A total of 18 people were taken to the hospital. It was not immediately clear whether that figure included the person who died. All those injured or dead are believed to be bikers.
No officers were hurt, Swanton said, praising their response.
“Their action has saved lives in keeping this from spilling into a very busy Sunday morning,” the spokesman said. “Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives.”
Police: Deadly Waco biker gang shooting is capital murder
By Patrick Tolbert and Jackie Vega
At last count, 170 people have been arrested and are in the process of being booked and charged with engaging in organized crime in connection to the deadly shooting that broke out between five biker gangs at a Twin Peaks in Waco. Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton says this shooting is now considered a capital murder case “because of the number of people killed in one episode.”
Swanton says the details of the charges are still being worked out, but everyone is in the process of being booked on charges of engaging in organized crime. That organized crime is capital murder, said Swanton.
“That’s a pretty severe charge — engaging in organized crime in reference to nine individuals killed. It doesn’t get much more significant than that,” said Swanton. “There may be warrants on individuals that may be attached to that as well, but that’s a pretty serious charge.”
Some 18 Waco police officers and four Texas Department of Public Safety officers were involved in the gunfight in a matter of seconds, according to Swanton. Off-duty officers even responded to the incident. He also added that they are in the process of going through “every blood spot” and “every body” involved in the shootout that spanned a large area.
Under a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission mandate, the restaurant shut down its alcohol sales for the next seven days as the investigation continues into the shooting that left nine people dead and at least 18 people injured — an investigation that has included biker gang death threats made against uniformed officers. The restaurant’s corporate officials later said they were immediately revoking its franchise agreement,and Waco police are urging the restaurant to remain closed entirely — at least for the next week — out of respect for the incident.
“They are threatening to kill uniformed officers, and we’re aware of that. We’re sharing the intelligence that we’re getting. We know that we had a heavy influx of biker members coming into our area yesterday. We believe that was in an attempt to come in,” said Swanton early Monday morning, who added that the people arrested could be looking at capital murder charges. “They saw the show of force that we had here; they saw the large number of officers that we had here — not only at this location but scattered throughout Waco. We were prepared for a worst-case scenario if they tried to bring a fight to us.”
Swanton said local, state and federal officers are prepared if the biker gangs decide to act on those threats. He also added that if you could name a local agency in the area, they were there helping them Sunday afternoon following the shootout.
“I can tell you that yesterday’s events started as bad guys on bad guys,” said Swanton. “When our officers got there and intervened in the active-shooter situation, those bad guys turned their hostility on our officers, which included Waco and DPS.”
Meanwhile, authorities continue to comb through evidence that spans a Central Texas shopping center, much of which is closed Monday morning due to the amount of evidence they have to go through. Some 50 weapons — including knives, brass knuckles, chains and clubs — have been recovered from the scene so far.
“These were bad-guy weapons. They ranged from brass knucks to knives to chains to clubs and to firearms,” said Swanton. “This was a true gang fight.”
It started with a fist fight in the bathroom of the restaurant near the intersection of Interstate 35 and State Highway 6 Sunday afternoon in Waco. It spilled into the bar, where it quickly escalated into knife fight — and then out into the parking lot where a gun battle raged between five different biker gangs and heavily armed police. Swanton says the shooting began inside the restaurant and spilled out into the parking lot and surrounding area.
Three bodies were found in the immediate Twin Peaks parking lot, and another four were found throughout the extended parking lot. Eight people died at the scene, and another person died at the hospital. Most of the injured either had stab wounds or gunshot wounds — or both. Two people had to be take out of the Waco area because of the severity of the injuries, and most of the others injured were taken to Scott & White Baylor Hillcrest.
“They had a little bit of an issue there as well, with individuals showing up, being threatening to staff, demanding answers and had some problems there,” said Swanton of the hospital situation.
Waco police are questioning hundreds of people.
“In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in,” Swanton said. “There is blood everywhere.”
The altercation between biker gangs began just as churchgoers arrived at the Central Texas Marketplace for Sunday Lunch.
In anticipation of any problems, Waco police were already on scene when the violence broke out. Officers say bikers were attacking one another with chains, knives, bats, clubs and firearms.
“These are officers that ran into gunfire to protect our citizens, and they — without a doubt — did a hell of a job doing that yesterday, and we’re very proud of them. And again, we think that saved numerous lives,” said Swanton. “We were quickly able to gain control because of the number of officers we had here on scene. And we began calling for additional resources due to the large number of people that were there and the threat to not only our officers, but the citizens as well.”
It is still unclear if those killed and injured were hit by police gunfire or gunfire from the bikers involved.
“What I want you all to understand: This is not a bunch of doctors and dentists and lawyers riding Harleys,” said Swanton on Sunday afternoon. “These are criminals on Harley-Davidsons that are members of a criminal biker gang, and we know who they are. We know which clubs that they’re with.”
Meanwhile, the shopping center is shut down from Cabela’s to Best Buy. The shopping center is open for business starting from Kohl’s.
Could it have been prevented?
“What happened here today could have been avoided,” Swanton told the media during a news conference. He went on to say that police alerted the restaurant to the threat of violence and that the manager was asked to discontinue ‘bike night.’”
Swanton says police presence has been at that Twin Peaks for about two months now, adding that this incident wasn’t the first Sunday that they’d been out there.
“They were aware that there were issues here. We have been working with management here — to no avail. And I have to say: That was local management here,” said Swanton. “We told them of the issues. We tried to get assistance from them in dealing with this crowd, but they would not cooperate … There was a statement that local management put out last night that was absolute fabrication. It was a lie.”
Jay Patel, operating partner of the Twin Peaks Waco franchise, offered up a statement on Facebook.
“We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts that occurred outside of our Waco restaurant today. We share in the community’s trauma. Our priority is to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our customers and employees, and we consider the police our partners in doing so. Our management team has had ongoing and positive communications with the police, and we will continue to work with them as we all want to keep violent crime out of our businesses and community. We will continue to cooperate with the police as they investigate this terrible crime.”
Swanton doesn’t agree.
“We feel like they could’ve done more. We feel like that they did not take our advice and try to keep the bike groups from being here,” said Swanton on Sunday after the shooting. “They absolutely have a right to refuse service to people that may be a harm to their patrons and employees. They didn’t do that, and today is the ultimate aftermath of what their decision was.”
Swanton says that the police department has had officers in plain clothes — in large numbers — at the restaurant for the past two months. He also said there have been several arrests stemming from incidents at Twin Peaks, most of them minor skirmishes, warrant arrests and arrests of that nature.
“As of about a week ago, we were in contact with the national management of Twin Peaks because we were getting no cooperation locally, and we were going to them for assistance,” said Swanton. “People have civil rights. Until a law is broken, there’s nothing we can do if we don’t have management to support — to assist us — in keeping individuals out of a business. There’s nothing we can do until a law is broken.”
No bystanders were hurt, despite another packed restaurant just 25 feet from the gun battle.
As bikers from across the state began to pour into town Sunday afternoon, Waco police decided to close the mall where the restaurant is located.
While five different gangs are believed to be involved in the fight, officers on scene said it appeared some of the gangs appeared to be in alliance with one another.
Twin Peaks corporate statement
“We are in the people business, and the safety of the employees and guests in our restaurants is priority one. Unfortunately, the management team of the franchised restaurant in Waco chose to ignore the warnings and advice from both the police and our company, and did not uphold the high security standards we have in place to ensure everyone is safe at our restaurants. We will not tolerate the actions of this relatively new franchisee and are revoking their franchise agreement immediately. Our sympathies continue to be with the families of those who died and are very thankful on employees, guests, police officers of bystanders were hurt or injured.”
Waco’s proximity to Austin and Dallas, by way of Interstate 35 and less-traveled highways, has made it a popular destination for bikers since the 1970s. The city has several biker bars on the outskirts bearing signs barring gang members from wearing “colors” inside.
Investigators in Waco say the gangs involved in Sunday’s violence were apparently in town in effort to recruit new members.
The motorcycle gangs involved in Sunday’s shootout in a Waco, Texas, restaurant parking lot are a breed apart from weekend hobbyists on bikes, authorities say.
The groups are serious criminal organizations — including one that the FBI alleges is among the largest outlaw motorcycle gangs in the USA.
Police in Waco say the melee involved five gangs, including the Bandidos and the Cossacks, who clashed at a weekend recruiting event. The FBI says on its organized crime Web page that the Bandidos is one of the largest outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) in the USA, with about 900 members and 93 chapters. The group itself says it has over 200 chapters with more than 2,500 members in 16 countries.
The FBI says OMGs such as the Bandidos “pose a serious national domestic threat.” It defines them as “organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises” including drug trafficking, cross-border drug smuggling, prostitution and human trafficking. More than 300 OMGs are active in the USA, it says, coordinating smuggling operations with “major international drug-trafficking organizations.”
The FBI says the Bandidos “are involved in transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana and are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine.” The group is most active in the Pacific, Southeastern,Southwestern and the West Central regions of the USA.
The FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center in 2013 found that just 2.5% of U.S. gang members belonged to an OMG — by contrast, 88% were street gang members and 9.5% were prison gang members. OMGs were considered the greatest threat in only about 11% of jurisdictions.
But the center said the low percentage is misleading. OMGs, it said, “are more problematic than their modest numbers suggest. This is likely due to their solid organizational structure, criminal sophistication, and their tendency to employ violence to protect their interests.”
On one of its websites, the Bandidos says a U.S. Marine named Donald Eugene “Mother” Chambers formed the group in San Leon, Texas, in 1966, after he and other veterans returning home from Vietnam found themselves abandoned by the U.S. government, living in poverty “and without any respect for what they have done” during the Vietnam War.
“What they have learned in their unit of companionship and unconditional support … has no existence in the civilian life,” according to the site. The club chose the red and gold colors of the U.S. Marine Corps. The group’s motto: “We are the people our parents warned us about.”
The FBI in 2013 said the Bandidos and other groups use their ties to “military-affiliated gang members” to extend their operations, through transfers and deployment, “and thereby potentially undermine security at military installations.”
The FBI identified at least 60 gangs whose members or associates “have been either enlisted or have attempted to gain employment in the military or various government agencies.” Of the 60, 54 had members who served in the military or who were affiliated with the military. It also said the Bandidos and others were encouraging members without criminal records to enlist in the military “to obtain weapons expertise, combat training, or access to sensitive information.”
A McLennan County deputy stands guard near a group of bikers in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Waco Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton told KWTX-TV there were “multiple victims” after gunfire erupted between rival biker gangs at the restaurant. (Photo: Rod Aydelotte, Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)
The Cossacks, a smaller, local Texas gang, had been challenging the Bandidos’ dominance, including discussing a possible alliance with rival gang the Hell’s Angels, Steve Cook, executive director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association, told Vox.
The biggest provocation came, he said, when the Cossacks began wearing a Texas patch on their clothing, which was “basically a slap in the face” to the Bandidos.
“We knew the tensions with the Cossacks were as high as they’d ever been,” he said. “I don’t think anybody could have forecasted it to the degree that it happened.”
Cook said Sunday’s shootout parallels previous encounters between the Bandidos and Hells Angels. Cook told The Washington Post that the shootout started because the Cossacks, backed by the Angels, challenged the Bandidos for control of Texas. Several other bike gangs might have joined the battle, too, angry over recent killings by Bandidos members, he said.
“My perception is that the Cossacks have been flirting, if you will, with Hell’s Angles,” Cook said. “If I’m a Bandido, my immediate reaction is: ‘These guys are going to try to make a move and bring an international gang into our state, which is going to cause a war.'”
Cook said he hoped Sunday’s shooting will draw more attention to the gangs. “Maybe it’ll be time for law enforcement and the public to take the blinders off and recognize these groups for what they are: criminals.”
Talking to reporters on Sunday, Waco Police spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton cautioned that the groups involved in the shootout were not “a friendly group of motorcycle enthusiasts,” but criminal gangs.
Cook agreed. “They can pretend like they’re these fraternal organizations — I can’t tell you the last time the Kiwanis and the Shriners had a shootout at a public venue.”
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. OMGs are highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking. There are more than 300 active OMGs within the United States, ranging in size from single chapters with five or six members to hundreds of chapters with thousands of members worldwide. The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence pose a serious national domestic threat and conduct the majority of criminal activity linked to OMGs, especially activity relating to drug-trafficking and, more specifically, to cross-border drug smuggling. Because of their transnational scope, these OMGs are able to coordinate drug smuggling operations in partnership with major international drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs).
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club (Bandidos) is an OMG with a membership of 2,000 to 2,500 persons in the U.S. and in 13 other countries. The Bandidos constitute a growing criminal threat to the U.S. Law enforcement authorities estimate that the Bandidos are one of the two largest OMGs operating in the U.S., with approximately 900 members belonging to 93 chapters. The Bandidos are involved in transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana and are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine. The Bandidos are most active in the Pacific, Southeastern, Southwestern and the West Central regions of the U.S. The Bandidos are expanding in each of these regions by forming additional chapters and allowing members of supporting clubs, known as “puppet” or “duck” club members who have sworn allegiance to another club but who support and do the “dirty work” of a mother club – to form new or join existing Bandidos chapters.
Black Pistons Motorcycle Club
The Black Pistons Motorcycle Club (Black Pistons) is the official support club for the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (Outlaws). Established in 2002 with the backing of the Outlaws, the Black Pistons have expanded rapidly throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Black Pistons have an estimated 70 domestic chapters in 20 states and an unknown number of foreign chapters in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Poland. The exact number of Black Pistons members is unknown but the figure is estimated to be more than 200 in the U.S. The Outlaws use the Black Pistons chapters as a recruitment source for prospective Outlaws members. The Outlaws also use the Black Pistons chapters to conduct criminal activity, especially for the transportation and distribution of drugs. Members of the Black Pistons are also known to engage in assault, extortion, fraud, intimidation and theft.
Hells Angels Motorcycle Club
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (Hells Angels) is an OMG with between 2,000 and 2,500 members who belong to over 230 chapters in the U.S. and in 26 foreign countries. The Hells Angels pose a criminal threat on six continents. U.S. law enforcement authorities estimate that the Hells Angels have more than 92 chapters in 27 states with a membership in excess of 800 persons. The Hells Angels are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of marijuana and methamphetamine. Additionally, the Hells Angels are involved in the transportation and distribution of cocaine, hashish, heroin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), ecstasy, PCP (phencyclidine) and diverted pharmaceuticals. The Hells Angels are also involved in other criminal activity including assault, extortion, homicide, money laundering and motorcycle theft.
Mongols Motorcycle Club
The Mongols Motorcycle Club (Mongols) is an extremely violent OMG that poses a serious criminal threat to the Pacific and Southwestern regions of the U.S. The Mongols are engaged in the transportation and distribution of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. The Mongols are also known to frequently commit violent crime including assault, intimidation and murder in defense of their territory, and to uphold the reputation of the club. A majority of the Mongols membership consists of Hispanic males who live in the Los Angeles area, and many are former street gang members with a long history of using violence to settle grievances. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) have called the Mongols the most violent and dangerous OMG in the nation. In the 1980’s the Mongols seized control of Southern California from the Hells Angels, and today, the Mongols are allied with the Bandidos, the Outlaws, the Sons of Silence and the Pagans against the Hells Angels. The Mongols have also maintained their ties with Hispanic street gangs in Los Angeles.
Outlaws Motorcycle Club
The Outlaws Motorcycle Club (Outlaws) have more than 1,700 members who belong to 176 chapters in the U.S. and in 12 foreign countries. U.S. law enforcement authorities estimate that the Outlaws have more than 86 chapters in 20 states with over 700 members. The Outlaws also identify themselves as the A.O.A. (American Outlaws Association) and the Outlaws Nation. The Outlaws are the dominant OMG in the Great Lakes region. The Outlaws are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine, the transportation and distribution of cocaine, marijuana and, to a lesser extent, ecstasy. The Outlaws engage in various criminal activities including arson, assault, explosives, extortion, fraud, homicide, intimidation, kidnapping, money laundering, prostitution, robbery, theft and weapons violations. The Outlaws compete with the Hells Angels for both members and territory.
Pagans Motorcycle Club
The Pagans Motorcycle Club (Pagans) is a violent OMG whose membership distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and PCP (phencyclidine). The Pagans are one of the most prominent OMGs in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Pagans have an estimated 200 to 250 members among 41 chapters in 11 states. The Pagans have been tied to traditional organized crime groups in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York and have engaged in criminal activities such as arson, assault, bombing, extortion and murder.
Sons of Silence
Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club (SOSMC) is one of the largest OMGs in the United States, with 250 to 275 members among 30 chapters in 12 states. The club also has five chapters in Germany. SOSMC members have been implicated in numerous criminal activities, including murder, assault, drug trafficking, intimidation, extortion, prostitution operations, money laundering, weapons trafficking, and motorcycle and motorcycle parts theft.
May 17 2015 Breaking News IRAN led Shiite paramilitaries have been deployed to Ramadi Iraq
ISIL seizes Iraq’s Ramadi
Islamic State ‘seizes Iraqi city of Ramadi’ – BBC News
Watch: ‘Islamic State forces’ march into Ramadi after seizing the Iraqi city
ISIS Seizes Government Headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq
PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode May 17, 2015
US Special Forces Secret Night Mission kills senior ISIS Commander Abu Sayyaf in Syria
How will Abu Sayyaf’s death impact ISIS?
U.S. Army’s Delta force kills senior ISIS commander
U.S. troops kill ISIS leader
Syria: 1st SFOD-D Kill Abu Sayyaf, Capture His Wife, Free Yazidi Slave Girl, Secure Intelligence
ISIS Leader Killed USA (Boots On The Ground)
Iraqi city of Ramadi falls to Islamic State as police, military retreat
By Hugh Naylor and Mustafa Salim
BAGHDAD — The capital of Anbar province fell to Islamic State militants Sunday as hundreds of police personnel, soldiers and tribal fighters abandoned the city, prompting the Iraqi premier to order Iranian-aligned Shiite militias to join the fight to win back control.
The fall of Ramadi represented a huge victory for the Islamic State and dealt a profound blow to Iraq’s U.S.-backed government, led by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, and its military campaign to drive the extremist group out of the war-torn country. Just 24 hours before, officials in Baghdad announced that military reinforcements had been dispatched to defend the city, capital of Iraq’s largest province, against a brutal assault that began on Thursday.
But by Sunday, even the roads to Baghdad, 80 miles to the east, appeared vulnerable to the militant advance.
“Ramadi has fallen,” Muhannad Haimour, a spokesman for the Anbar governor told the Associated Press. “The city was completely taken…It was a gradual deterioration. The military is fleeing.”
Sunday’s developments, including Abadi’s decision to deploy Shiite militias to the country’s Sunni heartland, could complicate the U.S.-led campaign targeting the extremist group, which in recent days has included American airstrikes against militant positions in Ramadi in an effort to keep the city in government hands. U.S. officials have expressed concern over the divisive, sectarian-motivated — and increasingly powerful — Iranian-backed Shiite militias.
Carried by state television on Sunday evening, Abadi’s announcement, which contained few details, also included a plea for pro-government forces not to abandon their positions in Anbar.
The rapid disintegration of pro-government forces in Ramadi conjured memories of the Islamic State’s similar lighting defeat of Iraq’s weak military during sweeping advances throughout northern areas of the country last summer. Security forces retreated from the Malaab area of Ramadi at 1:30 p.m., abandoning about 60 military vehicles, including military-grade Humvees, to the militants, said Col. Nasser al-Alwani of the Ramadi police force. About half of the abandoned vehicles were sent by the U.S.-backed government on Saturday to reinforce the neighborhood, he added.
“Today, everybody retreated from the Malaab area, including counterterrorism units, army and police,” he said by telephone. Along with soldiers and counterterrorism units, the force of about 400 police officers who fall under Alwani’s command retreated in their vehicles to the east, he said. Islamic State fighters besieged them on all roads, forcing them to abandon the vehicles and escape on foot. A military convoy from the al-Habbaniyah air base later retrieved the fleeing Iraqi forces, he added.
“The retreat was complete chaos. There was no organization,” Alwani said, describing attacks by “hundreds” of Islamic State militants.
Earlier in the day, militants posted a statement on social media by the Islamic State that described Sunday’s events as a major military success, saying that the group “had imposed its control over all of Ramadi.”
In Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which the group captured in June, loud street celebrations were being held that involved fighters shooting automatic weapons into the air and passing out candy, according to a resident in the city. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing concern for his safety.
“The streets are full of cars honking horns and shouting Allahu Akbar because of Ramadi,” he said in a Facebook message.
In a sign of the seriousness over the situation in Anbar, the prime minister’s order to Shiite militias came just hours after Anbar’s provincial council voted in favor of allowing the irregular forces — known by the government as “popular mobilization units” — to participate in the battle to retake the city.
Iraqis, particularly in the Sunni-dominated province, are wary of the militias and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The Islamic State has capitalized on Sunni grievances to take control of most of most of Anbar.
“We voted yes to the measure,” said Kahtan Abed, officer manager for the provincial council’s head, Sabah Karhout. “We took this decision because we have nowhere else to turn. We’ve literally lost everything.”
Diplomats, analysts and Iraqis say that the powerful militias threaten to undermine Iraq’s government as well as delicate sectarian relations in the country. With aid from Shiite Iran, the militiamen carried out scores of attacks against American soldiers when U.S. forces were still fighting in Iraq. But more recently, the militias have proved to be a crucial force in retaking territory, including the city of Tikrit last month, from the Islamic State.
An official in one of the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, Kitaeb Hezbollah, confirmed by text message that the group’s militiamen have mobilized and been put on high alert. Jawad al-Talibawi, a spokesman for the armed wing of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, another Iran-aligned militia, said the group had mobilized 1,500 members of its special forces to enter Anbar. The fighters had spent months battling in Syria’s civil war against rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, also an ally of Iran.
“Those 1,500 fighters are now awaiting the order to go in,” Talibawi said by telephone.
Omar al-Alwani, a pro-government tribal fighter from Ramadi, said no soldiers are left to defend eastern roads to the capital, Baghdad. He said he was among those who fled Malaab with the group of pro-government forces, which he estimated at more than 500. They left behind weapons that included artillery, machine-gun trucks and machine guns, he said.
“Daesh seized the police station, the big mosque” in the area, he said, adding that Islamic State fighters surrounded the area police station and fatally shot the senior officer there, Col. Muthana al-Jabari. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
He and others expressed concern about several hundred pro-government forces who are still surrounded by militants in a military operations hub in the city. According to unconfirmed reports, as many as 40 people in that facility were killed Sunday in two suicide bombings.
“Only God can help those people now. There is no one left to protect them,” said Alwani the tribal fighter.
However, Majed Abdullah, a captain in the Iraqi army who was besieged in the compound, said that scores of pro-government forces managed to escape the facility. They drove away, heading west, he said, adding that they left behind dozens on wounded soldiers and police. It is unclear whether the Islamic State has entered the compound, although there is fear that those who have been left behind could be executed by the militants.
“We’re on the Iraq-Jordan highway now and we’re waiting for orders to either reconstitute our forces and attack or retreat entirely,” Abdullah said by telephone. Using car bombings and heavy shelling, Islamic State militants launched a surprise attack Thursday on Ramadi, capturing most of the city’s neighborhoods by the following day. Residents, pro-government forces and officials accuse the militants of carrying out dozens of executions and systematic destruction of homes belonging to members of the security services.
Before the assault on Thursday, the Islamic State had already taken control of most of Anbar during sweeping advances last summer throughout Iraq.
Just under a decade ago, U.S.-backed Sunni tribes in Anbar led a revolt against al-Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to the Islamic State. But frustration with Iraq’s Shiite-led government persuaded a number of tribesmen in the province to side with the Islamic State.
Rafia al-Fahdawi, an elder in the province’s Albu Fahed tribe, expressed doubt that a similar tribal uprising could be waged at the moment against the extremist group. On Saturday, he and dozens of fellow Sunni tribal leaders also issued a call for Shiite militias to intervene in Anbar.
“The army has let us down. The SWAT team has let us down. We can’t depend on these forces, and we need forces that are inspired to fight hard,” he said, referring to the militias.
Islamic State captures government compound in Ramadi
An Iraqi official says Islamic State militants have captured the main government compound inRamadi, the capital of the western Anbar province, after fierce clashes with security forces.
Ramadi’s Mayor Dalaf al-Kubaisi says the militants raised the black flag of the IS group over the area on Friday after troops were forced to withdraw from the compound, which houses most of the city’s government offices.
He says the IS militants are now attacking the Anbar Operation Command, the military headquarters for the province.
U.S. troops saw some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year Iraq intervention in Anbar, and Ramadi was a major insurgent stronghold.
The IS assault on the government compound began with three nearly simultaneous suicide car bombings that killed 10 police and wounded seven others.
Following heavy defeats at Tikrit in Iraq and the appalling costly siege of Kobane, Islamic State have launched their own social media rules to censor coverage on its recent defeats.
The image of the rules began to circulate on social media, two weeks after Islamic State was forced to abandon the Iraqi city of Tikrit.
With ISIS propaganda team releasing endless sets of dull publicity photos from life inside Iraq and Syria, the senior commanders appear keen to eradicate any hint of problems within the group’s territory.
The media crackdown appears to be an attempt by ISIS senior commanders to eradicate any knowledge of the extremist group’s defeats or internal problems.
Some ISIS supporters on social media appear to be exasperated by the apparent leaking of information and discussions of the defeat at Tikrit.
Specific details like the manufacturing of new weapons and any pictures of ISIS fighters, have been deemed by ISIS as a breach of online security.
Perhaps the strangest and most unclear rule reads: ‘The stupendous spread of Mujahideen along a specific locations’ It appears unknown what the extremist group meant by ‘the stupendous spread of mujahideen.’
Whilst it remains unknown how Islamic State will manage to enforce these rules, the jihadi group has previously struggled to keep any control of its fighters and supporters on social media.
One exasperated ISIS supporter wrote: ‘Brothers, please stop posting news about anything in Tirkit or Ramadi walla. You are doing more harm to the mujahideen than good. Fear Allah.’
Some of the rules, particularly regarding the publishing information on the location of fighters and the use of tactics, appears to come after a series of calamitous social media errors by some fighters.
Islamic State fighter Mark Taylor, originally from New Zealand, shot to fame after accidentally tweeting his location whilst fighting in Syria.
Taylor forgot to turn off the geo-locator setting on his account, allowing intelligence services to successfully track his every movement. He even managed to give away where he was living in al-Tabaqah, south west Raqqa.
Known as Ali Al-Farsi, 19-year-old Ali Kalantar’s death was first tweeted by Halane, under the nom de guerre, Umm Jafar al-Britaniyah.
British terror twin Zahra Halane (left) and Kiwi fighter Mark Taylor (right), have both been criticised by ISIS supporters for giving away information on fighters and locations.
Islamic State commander fear that with the deadly coalition air strikes decimating their ranks, such lapses in security is proving costly.
In particular female jihadis have been criticized by fellow ISIS supporters for their loose lipped attitude on social media. One of the British terror twins, Zahra Halane, has previously broken the rules by announcing the death of her husband on social media.
Known as Ali Al-Farsi, 19-year-old Ali Kalantar’s death was first tweeted by Halane, under the nom de guerre, Umm Jafar al-Britaniyah. Halane quickly deleted the tweets but not before a screenshot had sent them viral.
Islamic State propaganda remains highly important to their strategy for recruitment and legitimacy. ISIS media continue to churn out endless propaganda photos from inside ISIS territory.
Islamic State fighters have recently made worrying gains near the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Anbar province. Shiite paramilitary groups and other reinforcements are reportedly heading to Ramadi to provide support against the ISIS threat.
New propaganda photos from Anbar province claim that ISIS were warmly welcomed as they entered a nearby town near Ramadi.
Islamic State continue to launch new offensives, targeting the strategic Iraqi oil fields at Baiji and the city of Ramadi in Anbar province.
Using suicide bombers to destroy the surrounding fence, Islamic State fighters have been managed to fight their way inside the oil field compound in Salahuddin province.
Parts of the oil fields have frequently changed hands between the Iraqi army and militants from Islamic State. Due to its remote desert location, it has proved to be a difficult base to maintain.
Newly published photos and a brief video shows dozens of ISIS fighters celebrating inside the oil field’s facilities.
It remains unknown how long they will manage to hold out before the Baghdad forces re-take it.
Using suicide bombers to destroy the surrounding fence, Islamic State fighters have been managed to fight their way inside the oil field compound
Delta Force Commandos Kill Key ISIS Leader in Ground Raid in Syria
In a ground raid deep in Syrian territory, U.S. special operations forces killed a top ISIS leader who they were attempting to capture and interrogate about American hostages and how the terror group finances its war machine, the Obama…
U.S. conducts raid in Syria, says it kills senior Islamic State leader
WASHINGTON| BY WILL DUNHAM AND MATT SPETALNICK
American special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State leader in a raid in Syria, U.S. officials said on Saturday, an operation that marked a departure from Washington’s strategy of relying primarily on air strikes to target militants there.
Delta Force commandos used UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to punch deep into eastern Syria from Iraq. They engaged in a firefight and hand-to-hand combat with Islamic State fighters, killed a key figure in the group named as Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife, U.S. officials said.
The officials described Sayyaf, a Tunisian, as an Islamic State commander who helped manage the group’s black-market sales of oil and gas to raise funds. The officials said President Barack Obama ordered the overnight operation, which killed about a dozen Islamic State fighters and had been planned for several weeks.
It marked the first known U.S. special forces operation inside Syria apart from a failed mission last year to rescue U.S. and other foreign hostages held by Islamic State in northeastern Syria.
Wary of the United States getting pulled deeper into Middle East conflicts, Obama has promised not to commit major ground forces in the fight against Islamic State, which has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq. But he has left open the prospect of special forces raids.
It was not immediately clear if this one marked the start of a new chapter in Syria.
U.S. and Arab forces have carried out almost daily air raids against hardline Islamist militant groups in Syria including Islamic State since last September, and U.S.-led forces are also targeting the group in Iraq.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the operation was intended to capture Abu Sayyaf but he was killed “when he engaged U.S. forces.” His wife, Umm Sayyaf, was captured, then placed in U.S. military detention in Iraq and was being questioned about Islamic State operations and hostages held by the group.
No U.S. forces were killed or wounded during the operation, Carter said.
“The operation represents another significant blow to ISIL, and it is a reminder that the United States will never waver in denying safe haven to terrorists who threaten our citizens, and those of our friends and allies,” Carter said, using an acronym for the Islamic State organization.
Local Syrian sources contacted by Reuters said two other senior Islamic State operatives, a Syrian and a Saudi, were also killed alongside Abu Sayyaf. The raid lasted no more than half an hour, according to the sources.
The accounts could not be independently verified. U.S. officials had no immediate comment on whether other senior Islamic State militants were killed in the raid.
The raid in Syria came at a time when Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in areas it controls and has carried out beheadings and massacres, has scored high-profile gains in Iraq and made advances in Syria.
Islamic State militants raised their black flag over the local government headquarters in the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Friday and claimed victory after overrunning most of the provincial capital.
If Ramadi were to fall it would be the first major city seized by the Sunni insurgents in Iraq since security forces and paramilitary groups began pushing them back last year.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said he extended his “gratitude and continued support” for the U.S. troops involved in the Syria raid. But Boehner, a Republican, said he was “gravely concerned” by Islamic State’s advances in Ramadi, which he said “threatens the stability and sovereignty of Iraq, which is vital to America’s interests.”
Hawkish Republican critics of Obama, a Democrat, say he has not acted forcefully enough to rein in the rise of Islamic State.
GREEN LIGHT FROM OBAMA
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the Syria raid was conducted “with the full consent of Iraqi authorities.” She said the United States did not give any advance warning or coordinate with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who Washington opposes.
“The president authorized this operation upon the unanimous recommendation of his national security team and as soon as we had developed sufficient intelligence and were confident the mission could be carried out successfully,” Meehan said.
Meehan said U.S. forces freed a young Yezidi woman “who appears to have been held as a slave” by Abu Sayyaf and his wife. His wife was suspected of playing “an important role in ISIL’s terrorist activities,” Meehan said.
The U.S. military last summer carried out a failed mission in Syria to rescue journalist James Foley, held hostage by Islamic State. Foley was later beheaded by the group in August 2014.
In December, al Qaeda militants shot and fatally wounded American photo journalist Luke Somers and South African teacher Pierre Korkie during a failed rescue attempt led by U.S. commandos in Yemen.
Saturday’s raid followed a summit Obama held at Camp David earlier this week with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab allies who have pressed the United States to be more militarily assertive in Syria, especially in support of moderate rebels seeking to oust Assad.
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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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)
The Bloody History of Communism Full
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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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Three Reasons: The War Room
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THE WAR ROOM with D.A. Pennebaker
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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: 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.
Appellate Court Rules NSA’s Phone Data Collection Is Illegal
McConnell to Push for Pure PATRIOT Act Extension
INTERVIEW with NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: Confirm EVERYONE in US is under VIRTUAL SURVEILLANCE since 9/11
What You Didn’t Know About The NSA Bluffdale Spy Center – From Former NSA Director Bill Binney
Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]
30c3 keynote with Glenn Greenwald [30c3]
FISA Court: Telecoms okay with NSA data collection
US Supreme Court refuses to let Americans challenge FISA eavesdropping law
FISA Section 215: A Debate about Its Legality, Usefulness and Civil Liberties
The creepy spying power buried in the Patriot Act
Real Talk: The Patriot Act
Patriot Act Powers – GOP Fights To Renew NSA Surveillance Law – Fox & Friends
Marco Rubio blasts colleagues over renewing NSA spying powers
Rand Paul Stalling Patriot Act Extension!
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: Two Terrorist Islamic Jihadists Attack Garland Texas Curtis Culwell Center Where Mohammed Cartoon Contest Free Speech Event Was Ending — Suspect Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi Shot Dead — Don’t Mess With Texas — Videos
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
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FBI had known about suspected Texas shooter for years
By Adam Goldman and Mark Berman
One of the gunmen authorities say opened fire Sunday outside an exhibition of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad had previously been suspected of trying to fly overseas and wage violent jihad, according to court records.
He was identified as Elton Simpson, 30, of Phoenix, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. Law enforcement officials said Monday afternoon that the second shooter in the Texas attack was Nadir Soofi, 34, Simpson’s roommate.
FBI agents searched a Phoenix apartment Monday as part of the investigation into the shooting, which occurred Sunday evening in Garland, a city near Dallas.
The FBI had begun monitoring Simpson again recently. Authorities said Monday that they were still working to determine details about the two men and who may have instigated the plan. The FBI does not believe the shooting was directed by an international terrorist group, but is still investigating.
Police say the two gunmen drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center during a controversial art exhibition and, at around 6:50 p.m., opened fire with assault rifles, striking a security guard in the leg.
An officer who normally works on traffic was there as part of a heavy security detail for the event, and this officer shot and killed both gunmen using his duty pistol, said Joe Harn, a spokesman for the Garland police.
“Both those men died there on the street next to their car,” Harn said during a news conference Monday morning.
The gunmen had additional ammunition as well as suitcases in their vehicle, but no bombs or explosives were found, Harn said. They were also wearing some form of protective gear, he said.
While Harn would not say if police believed the shooting was directly connected with the event, he said the two gunmen intended to get inside the center and shoot people.
“We were able to stop those men before they were able to penetrate the area and attempt to shoot anyone else,” Harn said.
The guns recovered by authorities in Garland were being traced Monday by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Officer ‘probably saved lives’ in Tex. shootings(1:57)
Police planned security for months before a Texas event showing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, a police spokesperson said. (Reuters)
City officials said that Bruce Joiner was the Garland Independent School District security officer who was shot at by the two gunmen. Joiner was treated for an ankle wound and released, the city said in a statement.
The inflammatory event was hosted by a New York group that had promised $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad. Drawing or otherwise depicting Muhammad is largely forbidden under Islam.
Authorities said there was considerable discussion on social media in the days leading up to the cartoon event, which prompted authorities to deploy heavy security. One tweet sent out on Sunday referred to taking a pledge of allegiance and referred to a #texasattack, but it was unclear whether the account belonged to either of the men involved.
Simpson was born in Illinois and converted to Islam at a young age, court documents show. The government began investigating him in 2006, recording conversations between him and a paid informant.
In May 2009, according a federal court document, Simpson told an FBI informant: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother.” He added: “It’s time. I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.”
Simpson was arrested by the FBI in January 2010 after a lengthy investigation. He was charged with lying to agents in connection with terrorism. Authorities suspected he was trying to fly to Somalia, but Simpson claimed at the time he had intended to travel to South Africa to go to school and study Islam there.
Following a bench trial, a judge dropped the terrorism enhancement, citing insufficient evidence. The judge, Mary H. Murguia, said in March 2011 that the government had failed to prove that Simpson intended to wage violent jihad in Somalia. Murguia reduced the charge to making a false statement to federal officials and sentenced Simpson to three years of probation. Authorities also returned his passport, which they had confiscated after his arrest.
Simpson’s lawyer described him as a very religious man who had converted to Islam.
“He didn’t seem to me to be any threat to anybody,” Kristina Sitton, Simpson’s lawyer, said in a telephone interview Monday. “He seemed to be very kind but entrenched in Islam. He wouldn’t shake my hand.”
She said that after he was sentenced to probation, Simpson called her saying that he had tried to board a domestic flight and was told he could not fly. Sitton said she believed he was on the no-fly list.
Soofi was a pre-med student at the University of Utah from 1998 to 2003, according to a spokeswoman for the school. He left the school in the summer of 2003 without having earned a degree, she said.
Former terror suspect well known to the FBI is named as one of two gunmen shot dead by cops after attack on anti-Islam ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest near Dallas
Elton Simpson, 30, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were gunned down after shooting a guard in the leg outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas on Sunday evening
Simpson was convicted of lying to federal agents about traveling to Africa five years ago – but a judge ruled it could not be proved that he was going to join a terror group
Their Phoenix, Arizona home has been surrounded and a bomb squad is carrying out a search
The American Freedom Defense Initiative event had offered a $10,000 prize for the best caricature of the prophet; local residents had expressed their concerns about the event but organizers said they were exercising free speech
The security guard who was shot, Bruce Joiner, was taken to hospital in stable condition and has been released
One traffic officer shot both men dead and has been praised by cops for potentially saving many lives
ISIS fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-ISIS individuals
A former terror suspect has been named as one of the gunmen shot dead by police after the two attackers blasted an unarmed security guard in the ankle during an anti-Islam art contest in Texas on Sunday night.
Elton Simpson, 30, who was previously the subject of a terror investigation, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were armed with assault rifles when they were killed by a quick-thinking traffic officer after opening fire outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Dallas, at around 7pm.
The shooting unfolded as the American Freedom Defense Initiative held an event inside the building where caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were being displayed. Followers of Islam deem that any physical depiction of the prophet – even a positive one – is blasphemous.
Simpson, identified in court papers as an American Muslim, had been convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia five years ago, but a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group. He was placed on probation.
Soofi, named as the second gunman by the Washington Post, shared an apartment with Simpson at the Autumn Ridge complex in Phoenix.
On Monday morning, FBI agents and investigators could be seen cordoning off and searching the apartment, as well as a white van believed to belong to Simpson. Investigators are also reviewing computer records from materials found at the home.
Destroyed: Investigators destroyed some of the belongings found inside the back of the suspects’ car, pictured, as a precaution
Investigation: Agents work on the scene near to where the men opened fire before they were shot dead by a traffic officer
Search: Reporters gather near the home of Elton Simpson, one of the suspected attackers, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday morning
Raid: Police tape surrounds a vehicle, believed to belong to one of the two gunmen, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday
Probe: Investigators pull belongings from the back of the truck and carry items inside the complex on Monday morning
ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site
Investigators also searched the car that the two gunmen drove to the scene and found luggage and further ammunition inside. Some of the belongings were destroyed as a precaution but no explosives were found inside the vehicle, Garland Police Officer Joe Harn said on Monday.
On Monday, Simpson’s father said that he believes his son, who had worked in a dentist’s office, ‘made a bad choice’.
‘We are Americans and we believe in America,’ Dunston Simpson told ABC News. ‘What my son did reflects very badly on my family.’
Ahead of the attack on Sunday evening, several Twitter messages were sent out, and authorities believe Simpson was behind them. The last one was shared just half an hour before the shooting.
Followers of ISIS had been calling for an attack online for more than a week after learning that the competition in Garland would feature a ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest, with a prize of $10,000 for the best caricatur
After the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group reported that an Islamic State fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-Isis individuals.
In a series of tweets and links, a jihadist named as Abu Hussain AlBritani, which SITE said was British IS fighter Junaid Hussain, claimed that ‘2 of our brothers just opened fire’ at the Prophet Muhammad exhibition in Texas.
‘They Thought They Was Safe In Texas From The Soldiers of The Islamic State,’ added the tweet.
Other ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site, using the now-suspended account name @atawaakul, according to New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi.
He had posted a message earlier that said ‘the bro with me and myself have given bay’ah [oath] to Amirul Mu’mineen [ISIS leader Al Baghdadi]. May Allah accept us as mujahideen #texasattack’.
The contest was just minutes from finishing when multiple gunshots were heard.
The two suspects had pulled up in a vehicle before getting out and firing at a security officer, 57-year-old Bruce Joiner, who was employed by the independent school district. He was later taken to hospital in a stable condition and was released on Sunday evening.
FBI search home of gunman killed at Muhammad exhibit
Attack: The bodies of shooting suspects are seen next to their vehicle as it is searched for explosives at an anti-Muslim event in Texas on Sunday. The two men had got out the vehicle and opened fire, wounding a security guard in the leg, before they were shot by police
Controversial: On Sunday, two heavily armed police officers can be seen securing art work following the shooting. The art competition, which was awarding $10,000 to the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, had been condemned by critics
An officer prevents two people from leaving the building as the area was placed on lockdown after multiple gunshots were heard
TAPES OF A TERROR SUSPECT: RECORDINGS SHOW SIMPSON’S INTENTIONS TO WAGE A WAR
Elton Simpson was well known to the FBI. In 2010, he was convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia – although a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group.
During the investigation, an FBI informant recorded their conversations, which showed Simpson talking about his intentions to fight for the Muslim way of life.
Court documents state: ‘Mr. Simpson said that the reward is high because “If you get shot, or you get killed, it’s [heaven] straight away”…. “[Heaven] that’s what we here for…so why not take that route?”‘
He added that in countries, such as Palestine, Iraq and Somalia, ‘they trying to bring democracy over there man, they’re trying to make them live by man-made laws, not by Allah’s laws’.
He went on: ‘That’s why they get fought. You try to make us become slaves to man? No we slave to Allah, we going to fight you to the death.’
In a recording from 2009, he told the informant that it was time they went to Somalia.
‘It’s time,’ he said. ‘I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield… It’s time to roll…
‘People fighting and killing your kids, and dropping bombs on people that have nothing to do with nothing. You got to fight back you can’t be just sitting down… smiling at each other…’
As the gunmen got out of their car with their weapons, one police officer – a tenured traffic cop – shot both men dead, Garland Police officer Joe Harn said at a press conference on Monday. The officer used his service pistol to shoot the men, who were carrying assault weapons.
‘With what he was faced with and his reaction and his shooting with a pistol, he did a good job,’ Harn said of the officer.
‘He did what he was trained to do, and under the fire that he was put under, he did a very good job and probably saved lives. We think their strategy was to get into the events center and they were not able to get past that outer perimeter.’
Randy Potts, a contributor for The Daily Beast, recalled how he was watching the speeches wrap up when a man wearing camouflage shouted: ‘Get inside the conference room now!’
‘The room was oddly quiet,’ he said. ‘A hush fell over the crowd of about 150, as if we were listening for something outside. Then a camo-clad security guard with a rifle got up on stage and announced that a cop and two suspects had been shot.’
He described how security surrounding the event was evident even as he drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center. The parking lot was surrounded by yellow tape and his ID was checked twice before he was allowed to enter.
Johnny Roby of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, had also been attending the conference. He said he was outside the building when he heard around 20 shots that appeared to be coming from the direction of a passing car.
Roby said he then heard two single shots before officers yelled that they had the car before he was sent inside the building.
The building, which had about 100 people inside, and surrounding areas were placed on lockdown by SWAT teams.
FBI bomb squad robots were then sent in to check the suspects’ vehicle, as the two bodies of the gunmen lay on the road beside it. The bodies were not immediately taken from the scene because they were too close to the car, which police feared had incendiary devices inside.
Shortly before midnight, police alerted media that a strong electronic pulse would be activated near the scene, presumably as part of the bomb squad’s work, and a loud boom was heard moments later, though police did not comment further on what was carried out.
The art event had been condemned by critics as an attack on Islam, but the organizers insisted they were exercising free speech.
Some Twitter users began posting about the shooting using a #JeSuisGarland hashtag, mirroring the #JesuisCharlie hashtag that became popular after January’s jihadist attacks in France. In that incident, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons of the prophet.
After the gunfire in Garland, those inside the building started to sing patriotic songs, including the national anthem and God Bless America, and said a prayer for the injured security guard after one woman pulled out an American flag from her bag.
Garland Police officer Joe Harn said on Sunday evening they had been monitoring the build-up to the event and had not received any credible threats.
During a press conference, he described how the shootout lasted only seconds. A large area around the Center remained blocked off late into the night.
Update: On Monday, Garland Police spokesperson Joe Harn praised the traffic officer who took down both of the attackers
Keeping calm: A policeman keeps members of the audience inside the auditorium after the shots were fired at the controversial event
At the ready: Members of the Garland Police Department stand guard inside the Curtis Culwell Center in the aftermath of the shooting
Safe: Attendees of the event were led off of a school bus into another building where they were questioned by law enforcemen
Two heavily-armed officers stand guard as police blocked off the street surrounding the scene in Garland, Texas
Two gunmen shot dead outside anti-Islam cartoon contest
He said: ‘Because of the situation of what was going on today and the history of what we’ve been told has happened at other events like this, we are considering their car (is) possibly containing a bomb.’
Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the incident as a ‘senseless attack’ and praised the ‘swift action’ of Garland law enforcement.
Security guard Bruce Joiner was shot in the leg while standing outside the building. His injuries were not life-threatening
The attack unfolded shortly after Dutch member of parliament and leader of the far-right Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, had delivered his keynote speech. There had been calls by members of Congress for him to be stopped at the border so he would not be able to speak.
‘We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,’ he said during his speech shortly before the building was shut down. ‘That is our duty… Our message today is very simple: we will never allow barbarism, never allow Islam, to rob us of our freedom of speech.’
His remarks were met with a standing ovation. He then told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims, and ‘the less Islam the better’.
In 2009, he sparked controversy for showing a controversial film which linked the Koran to terrorism and has previously said the Netherlands is being taken over by a ‘tsunami of Islamisation’.
Pamela Geller, the organizer of the event and the leader of Stop Islamisation of America, wrote on her personal website after the attack: ‘This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?’
In a post in late March, she insisted that the event was necessary to fight back against what she described as ‘the jihad against freedom’.
It was set up by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and had been described by opponents as an attack on Islam. They booked the center a little more than a week after Islamic militants in France killed 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The Garland Independent School district, who own the cultural center, allowed the event to go ahead despite criticism from residents and local Muslims that it was a risk to public safety.
The group spent $10,000 on 40 additional security officers, aware of potential threats they may attract, while Garland Police officers were fully prepared to deal with any issues that arose.
Before the event, the New York-based organisation made the headlines for its sponsorship of anti-Islamic adverts which it paid to run on transit systems in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and San Francisco.
A picture taken from inside the event just before the attack showed Geller giving a check for $12,500 to Bosch Fawtin who won the event.
He told the Dallas Morning News he believed there would be no danger because of the high levels of security surrounding the event.
‘I had known it would be secure, but seeing it is a whole new thing,’ he said before the shootings.
Locals in Garland said they were upset with the exhibit being held in their town, and tried to convince the city council to intervene.
One resident, Dorothy Brooks, said that the event was like shouting ‘fire!’ in a theater – an oft-cited example of freedom of speech taken too far.
She continued: ‘I understand that participants have a right to express themselves with cartoons, but I regret that this will be happening in our city.’
Another, Lena Griffin, asked at a city council meeting: ‘Do we want to be involved with this type of rhetoric?’ It is not an issue of free speech but clearly one of public safety.’
Aerial footage of robot checking for explosives at shooting scene
Winner: Artist Bosh Fawstin (left) is presented with a check for $12,500 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders (center) and Pamela Geller (right) during a ceremony at the Curtis Culwell Center just before the shootings occurred
Proud: Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, center, poses for a photograph with officers who responded to the shooting
Pamela Geller, co-founder and President of Stop Islamization of America, also spoke just before the two gunmen opened fire
Wilders, who has sparked controversy for linking the Koran with terrorism, speaks at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest
Scene: An aerial view shows the Curtis Culwell Center and the black car (seen center bottom) that was used by the two gunmen
The event had already been the subject of disapproval from further afield, according to ForeignPolicy.com.
The site obtained a letter from congressmen Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and André Carson (D-Indiana) sent to John Kerry and Homeland Security asking them to bar a speaker for the event from entering the United States.
Caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have triggered violent protests in the past, including when the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 satirical cartoons in 2005, triggering deadly protests in some Muslim countries.
In January, just weeks after the Paris attacks, an event called Stand with the Prophet was held in the same center. Muslim leaders from across the world gathered to try and combat ‘Islamophobes in America’ who had turned Muhammad into an ‘object of hate’.
Geller spearheaded about 1,000 picketers at the event. One chanted: ‘Go back to your own countries! We don’t want you here!’ Others held signs with messages such as, ‘Insult those who behead others,’ an apparent reference to recent beheadings by the militant group Islamic State.
Mr Abbott said state officials are investigating, and Dallas FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said that the agency is providing investigative and bomb technician assistance.
The Charlie Hebdo attack was followed by another a month later in Europe. A masked gunman sprayed bullets into a Copenhagen meeting in February attended by a Swedish artist who had been threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
A civilian was killed and three police officers were injured in the attack, aimed at artist Lars Vilks, who stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a dog.
Denmark itself became a target 10 years ago after the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad. The images led to sometimes fatal protests in the Muslim world.
CONTROVERSIAL CARICATURES: WHY DEPICTING THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD IS BANNED BY MUSLIMS
It’s not mentioned in Islam’s holy book, the Quran, but the religion’s ban on depicting the Prophet Muhammad — even favorably — has run firm through the centuries.
Religious traditions built over the years have prohibited such depictions out of respect for Muhammad and to discourage idolatry, according to Muslim scholars and clerics. The ban is further rooted in a wider prohibition against images or statues of human beings.
There have been exceptions. A rich tradition of depicting Muhammad emerged in miniatures and illustrations for manuscripts from around 1200 to 1700. The art is mainly from Turkey and Iran, where pictorial traditions were stronger than in the Arab world. The paintings often show traditional stories from Muhammad’s life, such as his journey to heaven, though in some the prophet’s face is obscured by a veil or a plume of flame.
Shiites also differ from Sunnis by depicting Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, revered by Shiites who see him as the prophet’s rightful successor. His image — and those of his sons Hassan and Hussein — are plentiful among Shiites, adorning posters, banners, jewelry and even keychains. For Sunnis, the ban on depictions extends beyond the prophet to his close companions and wives.
‘The Prophet Muhammad enjoys sublime and supreme status among Muslims and it is impossible to let a normal person depict or act the role of the prophet,’ said Iraqi Shiite cleric Fadhil al-Saadi. ‘There is no confirmed information about the shape or the features of the Prophet … So nobody should come up with a painting or an image of him. That would represent an insult to the status of the prophet.’
With no explicit text against depictions — or against images of humans in general — the prohibition comes from deduction by Muslim scholars and interpreters over the centuries from the collections of Hadeeth, or sayings and actions of Muhammad.
The prohibition against depicting humans and other living beings, which emerged from scholars as early as the 9th century, came from reported sayings of Muhammad, in some of which he refused to enter a room with such depictions or challenged their creators to breathe life into them. The presumption was that such art would suggest man can emulate God’s powers of creation — and there were worries that statues in particular could encourage idolatry.
Islamic tradition is full of written descriptions of Muhammad and his qualities — describing him as the ideal human being. But clerics have generally agreed that trying to depict that ideal is forbidden. That puts satirical — and obscene — depictions like those in the French magazing Charlie Hebdo far beyond the pale.
While no one knows Muhammad’s true appearance, followers of the relatively modern, ultraconservative Salafi movement in Islam seek to emulate him as closely as possible — including in what they believe to be his physical features and dress. Hardcore Salafis wear a beard without a moustache, let their hair grow long, line their eyes with kohl or wear robes stopping around mid-shin, contending that was the prophet’s manner.
The ban also extends to his wives, daughters, sons-in-law, the first caliphs who succeeded him and his closest companions. In fact, Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning, has complained when ‘Mohammed, Messenger of God,’ an epic 1970s Hollywood production, depicted the prophet’s camel.
There is a thriving production of religious TV series in the Arab world depicting the times of the prophet. But Muhammad and his companions are never themselves shown. At times, a white light stands in for Muhammad in the films or in movie posters — and when they are meant to be addressing Muhammad, the actors usually speak into the camera.
How Texas “Terror” Shooter Elton Simpson Avoided Prison In 2011
Wiretaps of Texas shooter Elton Simpson talking about jihad didn’t convince a federal judge that he was a potential terrorist
The attorney who once defended one of two men who opened fire at a “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas on Sunday says she was “shocked” to learn that he was involved in the attack. She says she has represented a number of people charged with terrorism-related crimes. Some of them are the “worst of the worst,” but Elton Simpson was “one of the good ones,” she said.
“He was always respectful to me and my staff—did everything he was supposed to do,” attorney Kristina Sitton told Vocativ.
According to Sitton, Simpson didn’t come from a Muslim family and didn’t convert to Islam until he was in high school. “He said he was running with a bad crowd in high school—smoking, drinking and stuff,” she said. “He said Islam got him away from that stuff.”
Sitton defended Simpson against charges that he made false statements to an FBI agent in 2010 about a trip he was planning to take to Somalia to study Islam. He was facing up to eight years in prison if federal prosecutors had been able to convince Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Mary Murguia that the trip was related to international or domestic terrorism. Ultimately, Murguia in 2011 sentenced him to three years probation for the false statement. According to federal court records obtained by Vocativ, the judge determined that the feds didn’t make their case—despite audio recordings of Simpson talking about “jihad” with an FBI informant.
The FBI began investigating Simpson in 2006 after he was found to be in contact with a man who authorities believe was attempting to set up a terror cell in Phoenix, Arizona. Investigators began recording conversations between Simpson and the informant, Dabla Deng. The federal government paid Deng $132,000 to befriend Simpson under the guise of being new to Islam and needing guidance.
Between March 2007 and November 2009, Deng recorded more than 1,500 hours of conversations he had with Simpson, during which the two discussed fighting non-Muslims and how getting killed while waging jihad made it possible to get to heaven “straight away.”
“[Heaven] that’s what we (sic) here for, so why not take [the jihad] route,” Simpson said during a conversation with Deng on July 31, 2007.
In another recording, from May 29, 2009, Simpson tells Deng: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother,” before explaining, “we gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.” On January 7, 2010, FBI agents contacted Simpson and specifically asked whether he “discussed traveling to, or are you planning to, travel to Somalia?”
Simpson said “no.”
“I thought [the case] was completely ridiculous, to tell you the truth,” said Sitton, who told Vocativ that she’s “not a bleeding heart — I’m a Republican.”
“They show up at his house and ask him about something that happened two years ago, and he says ‘no’ and then faces federal charges?” Sitton said that in the 1,500 hours of recordings with Deng, Simpson only mentioned Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization, twice.
Federal prosecutors wanted Simpson to receive the beefed-up sentence of eight years because, they argued, his crime of lying to federal authorities involved terrorism. But Judge Murguia—an Obama appointee on what is often considered to be the most left-leaning appeals court in the country—found that there was insufficient evidence that Simpson’s false statement to authorities involved international terrorism.
On Sunday, Simpson posted on Twitter: “May Allah accept us as mujahideen,” with the hashtag “#texasattack,” before he and another man drove to the “Draw Muhammad” event at a conference center in a Dallas suburb and opened fire. Both men were fatally shot by security.
Sitton says the narrative of the shooting is not representative of the client she describes as a kind, respectful young man who frequently tried to convert her and others to Islam. “He was always kind about it,” she said. “He would say, ‘the Koran says this and the Koran says that,’ but it was always respectful.”
She questioned the motivation of the organizers of the “Draw Muhammad” event, as images of the prophet are highly offensive to many Muslims. “I kind of wonder what this event was about,” she says. “It just seems like they want to provoke people.”
Story 1: Divide and Conquer Obama Blames Baltimore Police and Black Thugs For Rioting, Looting and Burning — Jobs For Millions of Illegal Aliens — Black Thugs and Criminals Need Not Apply — The Big Fail Of The Welfare State — What’s Going On – What’s Happening Brother — More Black Gang Thugs Coming To Baltimore! — The Fire Next Time –Videos
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
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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: Remembering The Armenian Genocide — Genocides and Democides Past and Present — Government Kills People — Videos
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Among all the democide estimates appearing on this website, and in the table on the lower right, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao’s famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000. Details here.
I have changed my estimate for colonial democide from 870,000 to an additional 50,000,000. Details here.
Thus, the new world total: old total 1900-1999 = 174,000,000. New World total = 174,000,000 + 38,000,000 (new for China) + 50,000,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.
Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.
Books on Democide
Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocides and Mass Murders 1917-1987, Rutgers, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1990: Preface, References, and all tables of estimates, calculations and sources for each historical period.
China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900. Rutgers, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1991: Preface, Chapter 1, Methods Appendix, References, and all tables of estimates, calculations and sources for each historical period.
Democide: Nazi Genocide and Mass Murder. Rutgers, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1992: Preface, Chapter 1, References, and the summary overall table of estimates, calculations and sources.
Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder in the Twentieth Century, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1994: Preface; Chapters 1, 2, and 3; References; and the summary table for each megamurderer.
Statistics of Democide. Center on National Security and Law, University of Virginia, 1997: entire. Republished by Lit Verlag, MŸster, Germany in 1998 and distributed in North America by Transaction Publishers.
Armenian President: “The 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide is “a new starting point”
Armenia: ‘Genocide’ as a word ‘exactly sho…
25 Leaders Responsible For The Worst Genocides Ever Committed
Genocide: Worse Than War | Full-length documentary | PBS
Pope Francis calls Armenian massacre ‘first genocide of 20th century’
White House avoids calling Armenian deaths ‘genocide’
[FLASHBACK] Obama: Preventing genocide is a core moral responsibility of the US”
CNN Slams Obama for Breaking Armenian Genocide Pledge
Glenn Beck Salutes Armenian Genocide Upstander – Mehmet Celal Bey
Armenian Genocide 100 Year Commemoration Short Video Documentary
CBS 60 Minutes Past Report on the Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Journey – A Story Of An Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide [ The Hidden Holocaust ] 1992 Documentary
BBC Documentary: Armenian Genocide – ‘The Betrayed’ – part 1/5
BBC Documentary: Armenian Genocide – ‘The Betrayed’ – part 2/5
BBC Documentary: Armenian Genocide – ‘The Betrayed’ – part 3/5
BBC Documentary: Armenian Genocide – ‘The Betrayed’ – part 4/5
BBC Documentary: Armenian Genocide – ‘The Betrayed’ – part 5/5
Geoffrey Robertson QC Discusses the Armenian Genocide on the Charlie Rose Show
Geoffrey Robertson: Armenia and the G-Word
The Untold Genocide: The Greek Genocide
Karl Marx: Father of Modern Genocide – Genocide Mac Daddy (NWO)
A little known historical fact is that Karl Marx, Founder of Communism, was also the father of modern genocide.
Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, were all guided by the writings of Marx, the first politician to publicly declare a need for political genocide, so Marx is the Mac Daddy of modern genocide.
This is to inform people who do not know that Communism does include genocide mass murder, genocides plots are not limited to the Illuminati.
The truth about Lenin and the Bolsheviks
Lenin regarded Europeans as animals
Stalin Mass Murder Documentary Ukraine 1933 Exterminations
Communist Genocide of 150 million 1917-1985
The Path to Nazi Genocide
Genocide: Worse Than War | Full-length documentary | PBS
Mao’s Great Famine HDTV great leap foward, history of china
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group. The term was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin. It is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) of 1948 as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the groups conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
The preamble to the CPPCG states that “genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of theUnited Nations and condemned by the civilized world” and that “at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity”.
Determining what historical events constitute a genocide and which are merely criminal or inhuman behavior is not a clear-cut matter. In nearly every case where accusations of genocide have circulated, partisans of various sides have fiercely disputed the details and interpretation of the event, often to the point of depicting wildly different versions of the facts. Alleged genocides should be understood in this context and such allegations cannot be regarded as the final word.
Legally, genocide is defined as any conflict that the International Criminal Court has so designated. Many conflicts that have been labeled genocide in the popular press have not been so designated.
M. Hassan Kakar argued that the definition should include political groups or any group so defined by the perpetrator. He prefers the definition Chalk and Jonassohn: “Genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group so defined by the perpetrator.”
Some critics of the international definition argued that the definition was influenced by Joseph Stalin to exclude political groups.
According to R. J. Rummel, genocide has multiple meanings. The ordinary meaning is murder by a government of people due to their national, ethnic, racial, or religious group membership. The legal meaning is defined by CCPG. This includes actions such as preventing births or forcibly transferring children to another group. Rummel created the term democide to include assaults on political groups.
In this article, atrocities that have been called genocide by some reliable source are included, whether or not they match one of these definitions. The acts may involve mass killings, mass deportations, withholding of food and/or other necessities of life, death by invasive infectious disease agents or combinations of these, whether or not specific evidence documents an intent by the perpetrators to destroy a people.
According to Adam Jones, if a dominant group of people has little in common with a marginalized group of people, it is easy for the dominant group to define the other as subhuman. As a result, the marginalized group might be labeled as a threat that must be eliminated. Jones continues: “The difficulty, as Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn pointed out in their early study, is that such historical records as exist are ambiguous and undependable. While history today is generally written with some fealty to ‘objective’ facts, most previous accounts aimed rather to praise the writer’s patron (normally the leader) and to emphasize the superiority of one’s own gods and religious beliefs.”
Chalk and Jonassohn: “Historically and anthropologically peoples have always had a name for themselves. In a great many cases, that name meant ‘the people’ to set the owners of that name off against all other people who were considered of lesser quality in some way. If the differences between the people and some other society were particularly large in terms of religion, language, manners, customs, and so on, then such others were seen as less than fully human: pagans, savages, or even animals.”
Scholars of antiquity differentiate between genocide and gendercide, in which males were killed but the children (particularly the girls) and women were incorporated into the conquering group. Jones notes, “Chalk and Jonassohn provide a wide-ranging selection of historical events such as the Assyrian Empire‘s root-and branch depredations in the first half of the first millennium BCE, and the destruction of Melos by Athens during the Peloponnesian War (fifth century BCE), a gendercidal rampage described by Thucydides in his ‘Melian Dialogue‘”. The Old Testament documents the destruction of the Midianites, taking place during the life ofMoses in the 2nd millenium BC. The Book of Numbers chapter 31 recounts that an army of Isrealites kill every Midianite man but capture the women and children as plunder. These are later killed at the command of Moses, with the exception of girls who have not slept with a man. The total number killed is not recorded but the number of surviving girls is recorded as thirty two thousand.
Jared Diamond suggested that genocidal violence may have caused the Neanderthals to go extinct. Ronald Wright also suggested such a genocide. However, several scholars have formed alternative ideas as to why the Neanderthals died off, with there being no clear consensus viewpoint in the scientific community. Some academics have theorized that the beings were overly sensitive to the massive climate changes taking place, lacking advantages against cold that humans had.
Quoting Eric Margolis, Jones observes that in the 13th century the Mongol horsemen of TemüjinGenghis Khan were genocidal killers (génocidaires) who were known to kill whole nations, leaving nothing but empty ruins and bones. He ordered the extermination of the Tata Mongols, and all Kankalis males in Bukhara “taller than a wheel” using a technique called measuring against the linchpin. Rosanne Klass referred to the Mongols’ rule of Afghanistan as “genocide”.
Similarly, the Turko-Mongol conqueror Tamerlane was known for his extreme brutality and his conquests were accompanied by genocidal massacres. William Rubinstein wrote: “In Assyria (1393–4) – Tamerlane got around – he killed all the Christians he could find, including everyone in the, then, Christian city of Tikrit, thus virtually destroying Christianity in Mesopotamia. Impartially, however, Tamerlane also slaughtered Shi’ite Muslims, Jews and heathens.”
Between 1810 and 1828, the Zulu kingdom under Shaka Zulu laid waste to large parts of present-day South Africa and Zimbabwe. Zulu armies often aimed not only at defeating enemies but at their total destruction. Those exterminated included prisoners of war, women, children and even dogs. (Controversial) estimates for the death toll range from 1 million to 2 million.
A copy of Trotha’s Extermination Order survives in the Botswana National Archives. The order states “every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I will no longer accept women or children, I will drive them back to their people [to die in the desert] or let them be shot at.” Olusoga and Erichsen write: “It is an almost unique document: an explicit, written declaration of intent to commit genocide”. These mass killings were named as the first example of a 20th-century genocide in the 1985 Whitaker Report, commissioned but never adopted by the now defunct United Nations subcommittee ECOSOC.
From the 1490s when Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas to the end of the 19th century, the indigenous population of the Western Hemisphere declined, mostly from disease, to 1.8 million from around 50 million, a decline of 96%. In Brazil alone, the indigenous population declined from a pre-Columbian high of an estimated 3 million to some 300,000 (1997). Estimates of how many people were living in the Americas when Columbus arrived have varied tremendously; 20th century scholarly estimates ranged from 8.4 million to 112.5 million. However, Robert Royal stated, “estimates of pre-Columbian population figures have become heavily politicized with scholars who are particularly critical of Europe and/or Western civilization often favoring wildly higher figures.”
British commander Jeffery Amherst may have authorized the intentional use of disease as a biological weapon against indigenous populations during the Siege of Fort Pitt. It was the only documented case of germ warfare and it is uncertain whether it successfully infected the target population.
Some historians argue that genocide, as a crime of intent, does not describe the colonization experience. Stafford Poole, a research historian, wrote: “There are other terms to describe what happened in the Western Hemisphere, but genocide is not one of them. It is a good propaganda term in an age where slogans and shouting have replaced reflection and learning, but to use it in this context is to cheapen both the word itself and the appalling experiences of the Jews andArmenians, to mention but two of the major victims of this century.”Holocaust scholar and political scientist Guenter Lewy rejects the label of genocide and views the depopulation of the Americas as “not a crime but a tragedy”. Likewise, Noble David Cook writing about the Black Legend wrote “There were too few Spaniards to have killed the millions who were reported to have died in the first century after Old and New World contact.”
By contrast, David Stannard argued that the destruction of the American aboriginals from 76 million down to a quarter-million over 4 centuries, in a “string of genocide campaigns”, killing “countless tens of millions”, was the most massive genocide in world history. Several works on the subject were released around the year 1992 to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage.
Contemporary sources indicate that it was a deliberate genocide by the Argentine government. Others perceived the campaign as intending to suppress only groups of aboriginals that refused to submit to the government and carried out attacks on European settlements.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first ruler of an independent Haiti, ordered the killing of the white population of French creoles on Haiti which culminated in the 1804 Haiti Massacre. According to Philippe Girard, “when the genocide was over, Haiti’s white population was virtually non-existent.”
The Caste War of Yucatán (approx. 1847–1901) against the population of European descent, called Yucatecos, who held political and economic control of the region. Adam Jones wrote: Genocidal atrocities on both sides cost up to 200,000 killed.”
In 1835, Don Ignacio Zuniga, commander of the presidios of northern Sonora, asserted that since 1820 the Apaches had killed at least five thousand settlers. The state of Sonora then offered a bounty on Apache scalps in 1835. Beginning in 1837 Chihuahua state also offered a bounty of 100 pesos per warrior, 50 pesos per woman and 25 pesos per child.
Statistics regarding deaths due to armed conflict between Native Americans and Europeans are sparse, as in many cases there were no records kept. A study by Gregory Michno concluded that of 21,586 tabulated casualties in a selected 672 battles and skirmishes, military personnel and settlers accounted for 6,596 (31%), while indigenous casualties totaled about 14,990 (69%) for the period 1850–90. Michno’s study almost exclusively uses Army estimates. His follow-up book “Forgotten Battles and Skirmishes” covers over 300 additional fights not included in these statistics. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census (1894), “The Indian wars under the government of the United States have been more than 40 in number. They have cost the lives of about 19,000 white men, women and children, including those killed in individual combats, and the lives of about 30,000 Indians. The actual number of killed and wounded Indians must be very much higher than the given… Fifty percent additional would be a safe estimate…”
Chalk and Jonassohn claimed that the deportation of the Cherokee tribe along the Trail of Tears would almost certainly be considered an act of genocide today.The Indian Removal Act of 1830 led to the exodus. About 17,000 Cherokees—along with approximately 2,000 Cherokee-owned black slaves—were removed from their homes. The number of people who died as a result of the Trail of Tears has been variously estimated. American doctor and missionary Elizur Butler, who made the journey with one party, estimated 4,000 deaths.
The native population of the United States has been difficult to pin down due to the lack of reliable source materials. Historian and Information Scientist Dr. David Henige asserts that the modern trend of high population estimates is “pseudo-scientific number-crunching.” While he does not advocate a low population estimates, he argues that the scarce and uncomprehensive nature of the evidence renders broad estimates(eg.as high as the entire population of the US at the onset of World War I) to be somewhat suspect, saying “Examining the methodologies used by “high counters” have been particularly flagrant in their misuse of sources.”
Credible evidence exists that epidemic disease was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American natives because of their lack of immunity to new diseases brought from Europe. Contemporaneous accounts of the effects of smallpox, among the native population suggest an 80% to 95% mortality rate of the entire population effected. Governor William Bradford wrote, in 1633, about the second reported outbreak (e.g. 1617, 1633) in New England: “… for it pleased God to visit these Indians with a great sickness, and such a mortality that of a 1000. above 900.and a half of them died, and many of them did rot above ground for want of burial, …”
The Beothuks attempted to avoid contact with Europeans in Newfoundland by moving from their traditional settlements. The Beothuks were put into a position where they were forced from their traditional land and lifestyle into ecosystems that could not support them and that led to undernourishment and eventually starvation. While some scholars believe that the Beothuk primarily died out due to the elements noted above, another theory is that Europeans conducted a sustained campaign of genocide against them. They were officially declared “extinct” after the death of Shanawdithit in 1829 in the capital, St. John’s, where she had been taken.
The Ainu are an indigenous people in Japan (Hokkaidō). In a 2009 news story, Japan Today reported, “Many Ainu were forced to work, essentially as slaves, forWajin (ethnic Japanese), resulting in the breakup of families and the introduction of smallpox, measles, cholera and tuberculosis into their community. In 1869, the new Meiji government renamed Ezo Hokkaido and unilaterally incorporated it into Japan. It banned the Ainu language, took Ainu land away, and prohibited salmon fishing and deer hunting.” Roy Thomas wrote: “Ill treatment of native peoples is common to all colonial powers, and, at its worst, leads to genocide. Japan’s native people, the Ainu, have, however, been the object of a particularly cruel hoax, because the Japanese have refused to accept them officially as a separate minority people.” In 2004 the small Ainu community living in Russia wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin, urging him to recognize Japanese behaviour against the Ainu people as genocide, which Putin declined to do.
The Dzungar (or Zunghar), Oirat Mongols who lived in an area that stretched from the west end of the Great Wall of China to present-day eastern Kazakhstan and from present-day northern Kyrgyzstan to southern Siberia (most of which is located in present-day Xinjiang), were the last nomadic empire to threaten China, which they did from the early 17th century through the middle of the 18th century. After a series of inconclusive military conflicts that started in the 1680s, the Dzungars were subjugated by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1644–1911) in the late 1750s. According to Qing scholar Wei Yuan, 40 percent of the 600,000 Zunghar people were killed by smallpox, 20 percent fled to Russia or sought refuge among the Kazakh tribes and 30 percent were killed by the Qing army of Manchu Bannermenand Khalkha Mongols. Historian Michael Edmund Clarke has argued that the Qing campaign in 1757–58 “amounted to the complete destruction of not only the Zunghar state but of the Zunghars as a people.” Historian Peter Perdue has attributed the decimation of the Dzungars to a “deliberate use of massacre” and has described it as an “ethnic genocide”. Mark Levene, a historian of genocide, has stated that the extermination of the Dzungars was “arguably the eighteenth century genocide par excellence.”
According to research published from 2009, in 1789 the British deliberately spread smallpox from the First Fleet to counter overwhelming native tribes near Sydney in New South Wales. In his book “An Indelible Stain”, Henry Reynolds described this act as genocide. Many scholars disagree that the initial smallpox was the result of deliberate biological warfare and have suggested other causes.
The Black War was a period of conflict between British colonists and Tasmanian Aborigines in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in the early 19th century. The conflict, in combination with introduced diseases and other factors, had such devastating impacts on the Tasmanian Aboriginal population that it was reported the Tasmanian Aborigines had been exterminated. Historian Geoffrey Blainey wrote that by 1830, “Disease had killed most of them but warfare and private violence had also been devastating.” In the 19th century, smallpox was the principal cause of Aboriginal deaths.
Lemkin and most other comparative genocide scholars present the extinction of the Tasmanian Aborigines as a textbook example of a genocide, while the majority of Australian experts are more circumspect. Detailed studies of the events surrounding the extinction have raised questions about some of the details and interpretations in earlier histories. Curthoys concluded, “It is time for a more robust exchange between genocide and Tasmanian historical scholarship if we are to understand better what did happen in Tasmania.”
On the Australian continent during the colonial period (1788–1901), the population of 500,000–750,000 Australian Aborigines was reduced to fewer than 50,000. Most were devastated by the introduction of alien diseases after contact with Europeans, while perhaps 20,000 were killed by massacres and fighting with colonists.
In 1835, some Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama from the Taranaki region of North Island invaded the Chathams. On 19 November 1835, the Rodney, a European ship hired by the Māori, arrived carrying 500 Māori armed with guns, clubs, and axes, followed by another ship with 400 more warriors on 5 December 1835. They proceeded to enslave some Moriori and kill and cannibalise others. “Parties of warriors armed with muskets, clubs and tomahawks, led by their chiefs, walked through Moriori tribal territories and settlements without warning, permission or greeting. If the districts were wanted by the invaders, they curtly informed the inhabitants that their land had been taken and the Moriori living there were now vassals.”
A council of Moriori elders was convened at the settlement called Te Awapatiki. Despite knowing of the Māori predilection for killing and eating the conquered, and despite the admonition by some of the elder chiefs that the principle of Nunuku was not appropriate now, two chiefs—Tapata and Torea—declared that “the law of Nunuku was not a strategy for survival, to be varied as conditions changed; it was a moral imperative.” A Moriori survivor recalled: “[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep…. [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed – men, women and children indiscriminately.” A Māori conqueror explained, “We took possession… in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped…”
After the invasion, Moriori were forbidden to marry Moriori, or to have children with each other. All became slaves of the invaders. Many Moriori women had children by their Maori masters. A small number of Moriori women eventually married either Maori or European men. Some were taken from the Chathams and never returned. Only 101 Moriori out of a population of about 2,000 were left alive by 1862. Although the last Moriori of unmixed ancestry, Tommy Solomon, died in 1933 several thousand mixed ancestry Moriori are alive today.
In 1986, Reynald Secher argued that the actions of the French republican government during the revolt in the Vendée (1793–1796), a popular mostly Catholic uprising against the anti-clerical Republican government during the French Revolution was the first modern genocide. Secher’s claims caused a minor uproar in France and mainstream authorities rejected Secher’s claims. Timothy Tackett countered that “the Vendée was a tragic civil war with endless horrors committed by both sides—initiated, in fact, by the rebels themselves. The Vendeans were no more blameless than were the republicans. The use of the word genocide is wholly inaccurate and inappropriate.” However, historians Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn consider the Vendée a case of genocide. Historian Pierre Chaunu called the Vendée the first ideological genocide. Adam Jones estimates 150,000 Vendeans died in what he also considers to be genocide.