Wednesday, September 30, 2015

9/11, San Diego & the NSA Tricksters

Here are some extremely eye-opening excerpts from Bill Blunden's 7-30-15 Counterpunch article entitled "The NSA's 9/11 Cover-Up:  General Hayden Told a Lie, and It's a Whopper":

"Magicians wield secrecy on the theater stage in the service of illusions. Spies likewise wield illusion on the world stage in the service of secrecy. So it is with the events behind the attacks of 9/11 where those who question the official story are derided as conspiracy theorists. Thanks to the investigative digging of reporter James Bamford, with the assistance of NSA whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and Kirk Wiebe, the 9/11 crowd can now point to a conspiracy fact: an incredible cover-up that goes all the way to the top of the American intelligence community.
"In a recent piece published by Foreign Policy Bamford examines a phone call to a clandestine operations center run by Osama bin Laden in Yemen during March of 2000. The phone call was dialed by one of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar, from his apartment in San Diego. In fact, there were a number of such phone calls made by 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego. Why didn’t our security services immediately launch investigations?
"According to then Director of the NSA, Michael Hayden, the NSA was unable to determine the geographic origin of these calls despite the fact that the phone line in Yemen (967-1-200-578) was under intense scrutiny by NSA. The Yemen number was tracked using a form of surveillance known as 'cast-iron' coverage where dedicated resources were allocated to continuously monitor the line 24/7.
"Years later, in 2014, Hayden claimed that technical difficulties prevented exact geolocation. By the way, this is the same justification that he relied on post-9/11 to help institute the bulk collection program for phone metadata. Hayden told interviewers from Frontline:
'Two guys, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, living in San Diego… come to the United States, call home, call Yemen, call a safe house in Yemen seven times. We intercepted every one of the calls, right?
'Nothing in the physics of the intercept, nothing in the content of the call told us they were in San Diego. If we’d have had the metadata program, OK, if we’d have had that basket of stuff and that phone number of that safe house in Yemen, which we knew, and we would have walked up to that metadata and said, "Hey, any of you guys talked to this number in Yemen?," those numbers in San Diego would have popped up.'
"James Bamford, himself a former NSA whistleblower, digs into Hayden’s assertions. Leveraging the technical expertise of former NSA insiders he unearths an unsettling find. The narrative spun by Hayden is 'an absolute lie.' The NSA knew damn well that these calls were coming from San Diego [...].
"Precluding ineptitude leaves us with a more disturbing scenario. That the calls from San Diego were intentionally ignored. In other words, certain people didn’t want them investigated. Thus raising even more disturbing questions. And from this point we must reluctantly travel down the rabbit hole. An entrance to a wilderness of mirrors, a place defined by secrecy and illusion traveled heavily by the tricksters of the American Deep State."
To read Blunden's article in its entirety, click HERE.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Laser-Induced Plasma Effect

What follows is a brief excerpt from Patrick Tucker's 7-28-15 Defense One article entitled "The Military Will Test a New Terrifyingly Loud Noise Gun":

The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program is developing lasers that create a screaming ball of plasma on their target.
Imagine walking through a field on a cloudless day when you suddenly hear the 130-decibel roar of a fighter jet. But you can’t spot the jet, or even tell which direction the sound is coming from. Rather, it seems to originate from the thin air in front of your face, like a shout from an angry, Old-Testament God. No, you aren’t hallucinating. And you aren’t Moses. You’re experiencing a new type of military weapon intended not to kill but to startle an enemy into retreat. It’s called the Laser-Induced Plasma Effect, or LIPE, a weapon that the U.S. military hopes to begin testing in coming months.

LIPE is the brainchild of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program, a group tasked with inventing better options for crowd control and checkpoint security. The noise comes from a unique manipulation of matter and energy to produce loud sounds at specific target locations, sort of like an incredibly precise missile of noise. Here’s how it works [...].


To read the rest of Tucker's article, click HERE.

Monday, September 28, 2015

CHAMELEO ON YOUTUBE

In case you missed my interview on Coast to Coast AM with George Knapp this past Sunday night (9-20-15), you can hear the entire show on George Knapp’s YouTube Channel by clicking right HERE.

If that link doesn't work, you can also try listening to it HERE.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mass Panics

The esoteric meaning of certain news articles only become clear when juxtaposed with seemingly unrelated current events.  Perhaps that's the case here....

What follows is an excerpt from Josie Le Blond's 9-10-15 Guardian article entitled "Mystery Surrounds Hallucinatory Chaos at German Homeopathy Conference":

"Police investigating a mass intoxication of a homeopathy conference in Germany with psychedelic drugs have said they still do not know nearly a week later whether it was an accident or an experiment gone wrong.
"Emergency services called to the meeting in Handeloh, south of Hamburg, last Friday afternoon found a group of 29 alternative healers hallucinating, staggering around, groaning and rolling on the grass.
"Police spokesman Lars Nicklesen said on Thursday that investigators believe a psychedelic drug was to blame but remain unsure of how or why it was taken. The delegates are now all out out of physical danger, he said, but there may yet be legal consequences for the healers in the course of the ongoing criminal investigation.
"'We’re now questioning the delegates and awaiting the results of blood and urine tests,' he said. 'We still don’t know if they took the drugs on purpose. The question is whether they want to talk about it; they have the right to remain silent.'
"Nicklesen added that police suspect the group took 2C-E, known in Germany as Aquarust, a drug which heightens perceptions of colours and sounds and in higher doses triggers hallucinations, psychosis and severe cramps.
"Germany’s health ministry banned the drug last year due to its highly addictive nature and unknown side effects.
"The homeopaths’ meeting - billed as a 'further education seminar' - was suspended shortly after it started when delegates began experiencing psychotic hallucinations, cramps, racing heartbeats and shortage of breath. One of them alerted the emergency services.
"Alarmed by the sight of so many grown men and women rolling around on the floor, the first fire crews on the scene called for backup, triggering a major incident response. A total of 160 police, fire crews, and ambulance staff and a helicopter were involved in the four hour operation to treat the group."
To read Le Blond's entire article, click HERE.

Now here's a brief except from Ben Hubbard's front page 9-25-15 New York Times article entitled "Unexplained Panic Leaves Hundreds Dead in Meca Pilgrimage" (please note that the version on the web, curiously, omits the word "Unexplained" from its title):

"BEIRUT, Lebanon — In streaming ribbons of white, great masses of Muslim pilgrims made their way between cities of air­ conditioned tents toward the next stop on their holy tour of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

"Then something went disastrously wrong, trapping the crowds in narrow streets and touching off a mass panic and crushing stampede that left the asphalt covered with lost sandals, crumpled wheelchairs and piles of white ­robed bodies.

"It was the deadliest accident during the hajj pilgrimage in a quarter ­century, with at least 717 pilgrims from around the world killed and more than 850 injured."

To read Hubbard's entire article, click HERE.


Predictive Policing

A brief excerpt from John Eligon and Timothy Williams' front page 9-25-15 New York Times article entitled "On Police Radar for Crimes They Might Commit" (the web version of which, significantly, bears a far more innocuous title:  "Police Program Aims to Pinpoint Those Most Likely to Commit Crimes"):

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At the request of his probation officer, Tyrone C. Brown came to a community auditorium here in June and sat alongside about 30 other mostly young black men with criminal records — men who were being watched closely by the police, just as he was.

"He expected to hear an admonition from law enforcement officials to help end violence in the community. But Mr. Brown, 29, got more than he had bargained for. A police captain presented a slide show featuring mug shots of people they were cracking down on. Up popped a picture of Mr. Brown linking him to a criminal group that had been implicated in a homicide.

"'I was disturbed,' said Mr. Brown, who acknowledges having been involved in crime but denied that he had ever been involved in a killing.

"That discomfort was just the reaction the authorities were after.

"Mr. Brown, whose criminal record includes drug and assault charges, is at the center of an experiment taking place in dozens of police departments across the country, one in which the authorities have turned to complex computer algorithms to try to pinpoint the people most likely to be involved in future violent crimes — as either predator or prey. The goal is to do all they can to prevent the crime from happening.

"The strategy, known as predictive policing, combines elements of traditional policing, like increased attention to crime 'hot spots' and close monitoring of recent parolees. But it often also uses other data, including information about friendships, social media activity and drug use, to identify 'hot people' and aid the authorities in forecasting crime.

"The program here has been named the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, or KC NoVA. And the message on that June night to Mr. Brown and the others was simple: The next time they, or anyone in their crews, commit a violent act, the police will come after everyone in the group for whatever offense they can make stick, no matter how petty."

To read the entirety of Eligon and Williams' article, click HERE.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jacques Vallee!

Today is the 76th birthday of astronomer and computer scientist Jacques Vallee, author of many seminal books about the labyrinthine topic of Unidentified Flying Objects.  In an often confusing field filled with misinformation, disinformation, bitter rumors and flat-out lies, Vallee's paradigm-bending books have always been a welcome breath of fresh air.  For the uninitiated, I highly recommend PASSPORT TO MAGONIA:  FROM FOLKLORE TO FLYING SAUCERS (1969), which overlaps intriguingly with several other UFOlogical masterpieces such as John A. Keel's OPERATION TROJAN HORSE (1970) and Ted Holiday's THE GOBLIN UNIVERSE (1986).  Even more significantly, Vallee's books intersect with works that fall well outside the often narrow confines of UFOlogy, such as Terence McKenna's THE ARCHAIC REVIVAL (1992), Philip K. Dick's VALIS (1981), and Carlos Castaneda's THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN (1968).

After you have completed reading PASSPORT TO MAGONIA, I recommend moving on to later--and even more controversial works--such as MESSENGERS OF DECEPTION (1979), DIMENSIONS (1988), CONFRONTATIONS (1990), and REVELATIONS (1991).

For further information about Vallee and his career, click HERE.

Passport to Magonia

Sunday, September 20, 2015

CHAMELEO ON COAST TO COAST!

NEWS FLASH!!!:  I’ll be discussing CHAMELEO with George Knapp on the COAST TO COAST AM radio show later tonight (Sep. 20th) from 11:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M.  Tune in, CHAMELEO mavens!  

For further info regarding the show, click HERE.  

This would probably be a propitious time to mention that all three of my books are in print and available from their respective publishers:

My latest book, CHAMELEO:  A STRANGE BUT TRUE STORY OF INVISIBLE SPIES, HEROIN ADDICTION, AND HOMELAND SECURITY, is available from OR Books right HERE.


My second book, SPIES & SAUCERS (published last fall), is available from PS Publishing HERE.

Spies and Saucers [Hardcover] Robert Guffey

And my debut book, CRYPTOSCATOLOGY:  CONSPIRACY THEORY AS ART FORM (released in 2012), is still available from TrineDay HERE.

Hunt for Kuhn Sa cover


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bela Lugosi In Person

Back in March of this year I reviewed TOD BROWNING'S DRACULA by Gary D. Rhodes, one of the best books about cinema I've ever read.  (You can read that review by clicking HERE.)  Only a few months later Rhodes released a follow-up volume that is, in many ways, even more compelling than his examination of "the curious undead life" of the 1931 Dracula.  BELA LUGOSI IN PERSON is truly unique, as I can't think of any other book that traces a single artist's career only through their live public performances--events considered incidental in most other biographies.  BELA LUGOSI IN PERSON by Rhodes and Bill Kaffenberger traces the actor's career from 1931 to 1945, as seen through a meandering series of personal appearances including interviews, variety shows, vaudeville sketches, and three-act plays.  Over the course of this strangely epic and quixotic journey, many myths about Lugosi's career are exploded, reexamined, and turned upside down.

Many artists' reputations are overshadowed posthumously by the legends they leave behind in their wake, but in Lugosi's case the dark rumors, weird folklore and apocryphal anecdotes have taken on an unprecedented (and unholy?) life of their own, threatening to distort the truth completely.  Rhodes and Kaffenberger correct numerous fallacies regarding Lugosi's dizzying ascent and precipitous decline in the Hollywood film community while also unveiling previously unknown facts about his personal life and political activism.  Some of these facts will be intriguing only to the hardcore horror maven while others are truly revelatory from a historical perspective.

In the former category, for example, we learn in Chapter 9 that in September of 1950 New York TV station WPIX aired what Rhodes and Kaffenberer call "one of the most fascinating and yet most unknown Lugosi projects ever made."  Entitled Murder and Bela Lugosi, the program was "'the first film show on TV to also have the star of the film version in person... Lugosi [offered] bits of narration to complement showings of many of his old movies...,'" which means that Lugosi was (surprisingly) the first horror film host on television, several years before this format became a perennial trend on American television beginning with the infamous Vampira in the mid-'50s, and continuing with such colorful TV personalities as Ghoulardi in the 1960s, Morgus in the 1970s, Elvira in the 1980s, and Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot of Mystery Science Theatre fame in the 1990s and beyond.

Infinitely more significant from a political and historical perspective, however, are the copious revelations offered up in Chapter 12 (appropriately entitled "Horror Noir"), in which we learn that the FBI's interest in Lugosi's Communist ties was far more intense than previously suspected.  Several years ago I filed a Freedom of Information Request regarding the FBI's surveillance of Lugosi and received a single document in response.  Due to the fact that I've experienced the FBI's less-than-faithful interpretations of the FOIA laws in the past (e.g., see Chapter 22 of my book, Cryptoscatology), I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this "oversight" on the part of the FBI.  The plethora of information regarding the Agency's surveillance of Lugosi on display in the pages of BELA LUGOSI IN PERSON merely underscores the labyrinthine paths a dedicated researcher must be willing to travel in order to circumvent the agency's unwillingness to comply with the most basic of FOIA requests regarding even "subversives" who have been dead for over five decades.  Though I succeeded in extracting only a single document from the FBI's tight grip, Rhodes and Kaffenberger went above and beyond the call of duty and managed to uproot one revelation after another.  (It's important to note that there are 188 end notes for this chapter alone.)  As Rhodes and Kaffenberger write near the beginning of Chapter 12:

"...there were others monitoring Lugosi as well, some without his knowledge, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  And then there were those in the U.S. government that he knew about, notably the Office of Strategic Services.  However, he was bereft of key information about their objectives, about their interviews with his detractors, and about the sheer amount of space given to him in their voluminous files.

"Amid dark shadows, unfavorable rumors about Lugosi and his political life festered during 1944 due to a bizarre cast of real-life characters who did not always have Lugosi's welfare in mind.  Here was a story of wartime suspicions and intrigue.  Here was a story about who was standing in the shadow of whom.  Here was a story exhibiting--to rewrite the closing line in John Huston's noir classic The Maltese Falcon (1941)--the stuff that nightmares are made of ."

Near the end of this chapter, Rhodes and Kaffenberger sum up the U.S. government's acute interest in Lugosi in this way:  "Was Lugosi a Communist?  There is certainly no evidence that he was during his life in America.  By contrast, it seems as if he was exactly what he claimed to be:  an extremely liberal Democrat.  Though it is impossible to say with certainty, rumors about Lugosi the Communist would seem to be nothing more than that:  rumors spread by those who disliked him."

Why did these FBI informants dislike Lugosi so much?   One must read Rhodes and Kaffenberger's entire book for possible answers to that question, but suffice it to say that Lugosi's very vocal left-wing political activism no doubt played a significant role in launching the various surveillance programs mounted against him.  For those of you whose image of Lugosi's personality and career has been formed entirely by Tim Burton's 1994 Ed Wood biopic, I recommend purchasing a copy of BELA LUGOSI IN PERSON to uncover the complex truths that have been tucked away for far too many decades in the shadows of neglected newspaper archives and in the near impregnable files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thanks to Skylight Books & Friends!

I'd like to thank everyone who showed up at Skylight Books last night for my signing--and Gerry Fialka deserves an extra-special thanks for conducting the interview.  The event went swimmingly.  Despite the fact that we had about 100 degree weather here in Los Angeles yesterday, we had a good crowd.  The reaction was enthusiastic.  In fact, I even made one woman storm out of the bookstore in complete disgust, which is (of course) always a positive sign.  I've been told that Skylight will be airing the event on their podcast within a few days.  I'll post a link when it's available.  

I'm now scheduled to do another reading in Seal Beach in October.  I'll post further details about this event as they develop....




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Dance through the American Zeitgeist (In 11 Acts)

"If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that ‘We won the war on terror and everything’s great,’ cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive."

--Former FBI Assistant Director Thomas Fuentes



Act 1:

From Matthew Harwood's 2-5-15 article entitled "The Lone-Wolf Terror Trap:  Why the Curse Will Be Worse Than the Disease":

"The shadow of a new threat seems to be darkening the national security landscape: the lone-wolf terrorist.
"'The lone wolf is the new nightmare,' wrote Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer recently, and the conservative pundit wasn’t alone in thinking so. 'I really see [lone wolves] as being a bigger threat than al-Qaeda, or the Islamic State, or the al-Qaeda franchises,' Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis at the global intelligence and advisory firm Stratfor, told VICE News. Similarly, in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, appearing on 'Meet the Press,' Attorney General Eric Holder said, 'The thing that I think keeps me up most at night [is] this concern about the lone wolf who goes undetected.'
"You could multiply such statements many times over.  There’s only one problem with the rising crescendo of alarm about lone wolves: most of it simply isn’t true. There’s nothing new about the 'threat' and the concept is notoriously unreliable, as well as selectively used.  (These days, 'lone wolf' has largely become a stand-in for 'Islamic terrorist,' though the category itself is not bound to any specific ideological type.)  Worst of all, its recent highlighting paves the way for the heightening of abusive and counterproductive police and national security practices, including the infiltration of minority and activist communities and elaborate sting operations that ensnare the vulnerable. In addition, the categorization of such solitary individuals as terrorists supposedly driven by ideology — left or right, secular or religious — often obscures multiple other factors that may actually cause them to engage in violence.
"Like all violent crime, individual terrorism represents a genuine risk, just an exceedingly rare and minimal one.  It’s not the sort of thing that the government should be able to build whole new, intrusive surveillance programs on or use as an excuse for sending in agents to infiltrate communities. National programs now being set up to combat lone-wolf terrorism have a way of wildly exaggerating its prevalence and dangers — and in the end are only likely to exacerbate the problem. For Americans to concede more of their civil liberties in return for 'security' against lone wolves wouldn’t be a trade; it would be fraud."
To read the entirety of Harwood's article, click HERE.

Act 2:

From a 2-21-15 Washington's Blog article entitled "Worst Spying in World History--Worse Than Any Dystopian Novel--Is Occurring RIGHT NOW":

"Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a 'legend' within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees.
"Binney tells Washington’s Blog:
'While the spying programs that we have heard about so far deal with the “who and what” and on occasion the “why” of what people on the planet are doing, Treasuremap is the NSA/GCHQ/etc. program to acquire and follow the movements of people (objective is to follow 4 billion folks) simultaneously in near real time. So, Treasuremap gives them the “when and where” aspects of individual lives.
'All in all, this gives the participating governments (primarily the Five Eyes countries) unrestricted knowledge of individual lives.
'Current surveillance is far beyond an Orwellian state.
'Although on a much smaller scale, we need to remember that these type of activities were some of the primary “articles of impeachment” of president Nixon.'"
To read the entirety of this article, click HERE.

Act 3:

From Andrew Curry's 1-14-15 Wired article entitled "No, the NSA Isn't Like the Stasi--And Comparing Them Is Treacherous":

"EVER SINCE EDWARD Snowden handed thousands of National Security Agency documents over to filmmaker Laura Poitras and writer Glenn Greenwald in a Hong Kong hotel room, the NSA’s mass surveillance of domestic phone calls and Internet traffic has been widely compared to the abuses of East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi.
"The communist republic may have imploded in 1989, but it has nonetheless become synonymous with a smothering, all-knowing spy apparatus.
"A year ago, President Obama himself cited East Germany as a 'cautionary tale of what could happen when vast, unchecked surveillance turned citizens into informers and persecuted people for what they said in the privacy of their own homes.' He was responding to accusations that just such a vast, unchecked effort to collect data has metastasized on his watch.
"It was no coincidence that Poitras chose Leipzig, a city in the heart of the former East Germany, for the recent German debut of her documentary Citizenfour, about Snowden and the NSA. 'If the government is doing that kind of surveillance, it has a corrosive effect on democracy and society,' Poitras said after the premiere. 'People who lived through it can tell you what it was like.'

"Indeed. When it was revealed that the NSA had been listening to her cell phone calls, German chancellor Angela Merkel—who came of age in communist East Germany, under the Stasi’s watchful eye—told President Obama, 'This is just like the Stasi.' In an interview last year, NSA whistle-blower and Poitras source William Binney likened the agency to 'the Stasi on supersteroids.'
"They’re wrong. In crucial ways, the two agencies are very different. In its effort to control East Germany, the Stasi made its presence felt in every sphere of life. Its power rested not only in the information its surveillance yielded but in the fear and distrust that collection instilled. The NSA, on the other hand, operates best in the dark, its targets unaware of its existence, let alone its dragnet data-gathering. Even Poitras, when asked, acknowledged a line between the two. 'The NSA’s broad, mass collection is fundamentally different than what the Stasi did,' she said in Leipzig.
"Calling the Stasi 'secret police' is misleading. The name is an abbreviation of STAatsSIcherheit, or State Security. Founded in 1950 as the East German Communist Party’s 'sword and shield,' it never hid the fact that it was spying. By the late 1980s, more than 260,000 East Germans—1.6 percent of all adults in the country—worked for the organization, either as agents or as informants. (If the NSA employed as many analysts to spy on 320 million Americans, it would have 5 million people on the payroll.) It wanted you to constantly wonder which of your friends was an informant and, ideally, tempt or pressure you into the role of snitch too.
"At times, the scrutiny reached absurd proportions. Every apartment building and workplace had a designated informer. Spies used specially built equipment to steam open mail; a Division of Garbage Analysis was on the lookout for suspect trash. Stasi agents let the air out of targets’ bicycle tires and rearranged the pictures in their apartments in an effort to drive 'class enemies' crazy.
"Cooperation was often a prerequisite for career advancement, academic success, even a new apartment. The Stasi had the power to take your children away or keep you from getting into a university. Its visibility and ubiquity forced East Germans to make moral choices every day: Collaborate with an unjust, undemocratic system or suffer the consequences.
"The NSA is a different beast. Until Snowden’s revelations, it was one of the best-funded, most powerful agencies that most Americans had never heard of. In contrast to the sexier CIA, the NSA—founded in 1952 in part to break foreign codes—preferred invisibility."
To read the entirety of Rietman's article, click HERE.

Act 4:

From Julie Steinberg's 2-3-15 MarketWatch article "This Banker Was a Spy":

"Edwin 'Ed”'Hale Sr., a retired bank executive known locally for his sharp-elbowed approach to business, installed video surveillance on his 186-acre farm and still sleeps with a sawed-off shotgun by his bed.
"His friends, former employees and even his own daughters were shocked to learn in his recently published biography that he had ample reason to do so: The former chief executive and chairman of Bank of Baltimore says he worked covertly for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost a decade in the 1990s and early 2000s.
"During that time, he said, he spoke regularly with a CIA handler and allowed the agency to create a fake company under his corporate umbrella, which included shipping and trucking companies he ran at the same time he led the bank. Operatives in the field used the fictitious firm as cover when traveling the world, complete with business cards and hats. Hale said he worked under 'nonofficial cover,' in which his identity was unassociated with the U.S. government."
To read the entirety of Steinberg's article, click HERE.

Act 5:

From Jay Stanley and Bennett Stein's 1-16-15 ACLU.org article entitled "FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American's Whereabouts with License Plate Readers":

"The Drug Enforcement Administration has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act.
"The DEA is currently operating a National License Plate Recognition initiative that connects DEA license plate readers with those of other law enforcement agencies around the country. A Washington Post headline proclaimed in February 2014 that the Department of Homeland Security had cancelled its 'national license-plate tracking plan,' but all that was ended was one Immigrations and Customs Enforcement solicitation for proposals. In fact, a government-run national license plate tracking program already exists, housed within the DEA. (That’s in addition to the corporate license plate tracking database run by Vigilant Solutions, holding billions of records about our movements.) Since its inception in 2008, the DEA has provided limited information to the public on the program’s goals, capabilities and policies. Information has trickled out over the years, in testimony here or there. But far too little is still known about this program."
To read the entirety of Stanley and Stein's article, click HERE.
Act 6:
From Nathaniel Mott's 1-27-15 article entitled "The DEA Is Collecting Information About 'Millions' of Americans Without Public Oversight":
"A semi-secret surveillance program developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration is collecting location information about 'millions' of Americans through the use of a license plate-reading system to which state police departments also contribute data [...].
"The result is a national surveillance program with an unknown number of contributors offering up location data about millions of Americans; all to a database used by an untold number of police departments without any public oversight regarding their searches.
"That's a problem. Backchannel reported in December that police have used their access to license plate readers to stalk former colleagues, and IB Times revealed earlier this month that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) used location data to smear a political rival."
To read the entirety of Mott's article, click HERE.
Act 7:
From Lenore Skenazy's 1-14-15 Reason article entitled "Child Services Still Hounding Couple Who Let Their Kids Play Outside":

"You may recall the story last month of a family threatened by the authorities for letting their kids walk outside. Here's the latest from the mom, Danielle Meitiv, who is hoping the rest of the media takes note. I hope so, too.
"Meitiv explains via email:
"Dear Reason: On Monday, a Montgomery County child protective services worker went to my children's school and interviewed them without my knowledge or consent. Why?
"Because last month we'd let them walk home from the park by themselves. It's a mile away. They are 6 and 10. We live in suburban Maryland. Let me recap the story and then tell you where we're at.
"On a Saturday afternoon in December, my husband, Alexander, gave our kids permission to walk home from the local playground. I was out of town at the time. When they'd walked about halfway, a Montgomery County Police patrol car pulled up. A 'helpful' neighbor had called 911 to report unaccompanied children walking outside. Our kids were brought home in a police cruiser.
"At the door the police officer asked to see my husband's ID, but did not explain why. When he refused, she called for backup.  
"A total of six patrol cars showed up.
"Alexander then agreed to get his ID and went to go upstairs. The officer said—in front of the kids—that if he came down with anything else, 'shots would be fired.' She proceeded to follow him upstairs, and when he said she had no right to do so without a warrant, she insisted that she did.
"Our 10 yr. old called me crying and saying that the police were there and that Daddy was going to be arrested. Alexander stepped outside to continue the conversation away from the kids. When he disagreed with one of the officers about the dangers that walking alone posed to children, she asked him: 'Don't you realize how dangerous the world is? Don't you watch TV?'  They took notes and left."
To read the entirety of Skenazy's article, click HERE.

Act 8:

From Pater Tenebrarum's 1-19-15 article entitled "It's Official:  If You Question Authority, You Are Mentally Ill":

"This post is about an issue that is by now a bit dated (though the topic as such certainly isn’t), but we have only just become aware of it and it seemed to us worth rescuing it from the memory hole. In late 2013, the then newest issue of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM for short) defined a new mental illness, the so-called 'oppositional defiant disorder' or ODD.
"As TheMindUnleashed.org informs us, the definition of this new mental illness essentially amounts to declaring any non-conformity and questioning of authority as a form of insanity. According to the manual, ODD is defined as:

[…] an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.

"In short, as Natural News put it: According to US psychiatrists, only the sheeple are sane.
"Every time a new issue of the DSM appears, the number of mental disorders grows – and this growth is exponential. A century ago there were essentially 7 disorders, 80 years ago there were 59, 50 years ago there were 130, and by 2010 there were 374 (77 of which were 'found' in just seven years)."

To read the entirety's of Tenebrarum's article, click HERE.

Act 9:
From Carole Cadwalladr's 11-9-15 Guardian article entitled "Berlin's Digital Exiles:  Where Tech Activists Go to Escape the NSA":

"Germany has some of the strongest laws in the world when it comes to surveillance and privacy. It is illegal for the foreign security service, the BND, to spy on its own citizens. But, the NSA has had bases in Germany since 1945 and there are no laws that govern its behaviour. A parliamentary inquiry is now under way, to try and establish what the BND knew – the only one of its kind in the world, post-Snowden – but when I visit Hans-Christian Ströbele, the veteran Green MP who is leading the inquiry, in his office in the Bundestag he tells me: 'We think we will find good information about what the BND has been doing.' And the NSA? GCHQ? He shakes his head. 'Isn’t that a bit depressing?' I say. 'That we’re sitting here in the parliament of one of the greatest democracies on earth, with a constitution that had to be rebuilt from the ground up, and there is nothing, legislatively that you can do?'
"'It is,' he says.
"But then Hubertus Knabe tells me: 'The minister of the Stasi always said, "We have to answer the question, who is who?" Those were his words. That means, who thinks what? It used to be an obvious fundamental difference between a democratic state and a dictatorial one that you don’t investigate someone until they did a criminal act. Innocent people are not surveiled. And in this, the difference between how a democratic state acts and how a totalitarian one acts has diminished. And this is very, I don’t know the English word. Besorgniserregend? Hold on, I will look it up,' and he taps into his phone. 'Alarming! This is very alarming to me.'
"I’m about to leave when he tells me about a conference he held recently at the museum. 'And this man, a former prisoner, kept saying this very strange thing. It was very annoying at first. He kept saying, "I am your future". "I already experienced what will be your future." But he was very serious. He had emigrated to Paris. He really meant it.'"
To read the entirety of Cadwalladr's article, click HERE.

Act 10:

From a 9-23-13 Washington's Blog article entitled "The Government Is Spying on Us through Our Computers, Phones, Cars, Buses, Streetlights, at Airports And on The Street, Via Mobile Scanners And Drones, through Our Smart Meters, And in Many Other Ways":

"Even now – after all of the revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers – spying apologists say that the reports are 'exaggerated' or 'overblown', and that the government only spies on potential bad guys.
"In reality, the government is spying on everyone’s digital and old-fashioned communications.
"The government is spying on you through your phone … and may even remotely turn on your camera and microphone when your phone is off.
"Moreover, Google knows just about every WiFi password in the world … and so the NSA does as well, since it spies so widely on Google.
"But it’s not just the Android.  In reality, the NSA can spy on just about everyone’s smart phone.
"Cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. (And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.) Your iPhone, orother brand of smartphone is spying on virtually everything you do (ProPublica notes: 'That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker'). Remember, that might be happening even when your phone is turned off.
"The government might be spying on you through your computer’s webcam or microphone. The government might also be spying on you through the 'smart meter' on your own home.
"NSA also sometimes uses 'man-in-the-middle' tactics, to pretend that it is Google or other popular websites to grab your information.
"The FBI wants a backdoor to all software. But leading European computer publication Heise said in 1999 that the NSA had already built a backdoor into all Windows software.
"Microsoft has long worked hand-in-hand with the NSA and FBI so that encryption doesn’t block the government’s ability to spy on users of Skype, Outlook, Hotmail and other Microsoft services.
"And Microsoft informs intelligence agencies of with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix, so that information can be used by the government to access computers. (Software vulnerabilities are also sold to the highest bidder.)"
To read the entirety of this article, click HERE.
Act 11:
From Gregory Ferenstein's 8-26-15 Forbes article entitled "Weaponized Drones for Law Enforcement Now Legal in North Dakota":
"Drones can now legally fight criminals in the United States with non-lethal weapons thanks to a recently amended bill in North Dakota. The law’s author, Representative Rick Becker, originally wanted to require police to secure a warrant for drone surveillance.

"But, then local law enforcement managed to sneak in the right to equip drones with tasers or rubber bullets by amending the original prohibition against lethal and non-lethal force to just limiting lethal weapons. Becker worries that this new franken-bill will have dramatic unintended consequences.

"'I think it’s important to maintain the humanity in making decisions to deploy weapons against another individual,' he tells the Ferenstein Wire. 'We can’t depersonalize it and make it like a video game.'

"'As for now, Becker says he 'has no knowledge' that police are equipping drones with tasers to hunt down criminals. But, he was certain that local law enforcement did know what they were doing when they amended the law, so he suspects it could be an issue in the near future. 'Clearly it was important to them to add that provision,' he says."

To read the entirety of Ferenstein's article, click HERE.







Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The FBI Spied on Gabriel Garcia Marquez

From Joe Stephens' 9-4-15 Washington Post article entitled "Love in the Time of Surveillance":

"Newly arrived in Manhattan with his wife and infant son, 33-year-old Gabriel García Márquez plunked down $200 for a month’s stay at the Hotel Webster and set about establishing himself as a professional writer.
"He had no idea the FBI was watching.
"The year was 1961, and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI quietly opened a confidential dossier on the skinny, mustachioed Colombian. The file accumulated intelligence for the next 24 years, even as García Márquez became an intimate of world leaders and was awarded the Nobel Prize for his gritty and magical novels about Latin America.
"The file’s existence has remained secret until now.
"The FBI’s motivation in monitoring him is unclear, but García Márquez had just traveled to the United States to help establish a Cuban government news service; in later years, he became a high-profile leftist and friend of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The FBI at times stumbled in its foray into the literary world, originally thinking the writer’s first name was José and misfiling its classified intelligence under the name José García Márquez.
"Later, when an FBI official sought to update photos in the covert dossier, agents simply copied the dust jacket of one of García Márquez’s best-selling novels and slapped the portrait into a file stamped 'SECRET.'
"Agents mocked García Márquez’s limited English, and the dossier is flush with profiles of the writer published in Time magazine, the New York Times and Spanish-language publications. In one 1982 Newsday article, about García Márquez’s receipt of the Nobel Prize in literature, an agent underlined a passage describing him as 'a close friend of Fidel Castro.'
"The bureau declassified and released 137 pages of the file at the request of The Washington Post. It withheld an additional 133 pages, making it unclear precisely what sparked the agency’s interest in the writer. But news of the dossier’s existence places García Márquez in the rarefied company of Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and other acclaimed writers whom Hoover’s FBI closely tracked for its own purposes, part of a vast domestic monitoring operation often far removed from evidence of any wrongdoing."
The latter paragraphs of the article also touch on the FBI's surveillance of Norman Mailer:  
"Records previously released to The Post show Hoover’s agency surveilled and kept meticulous files on the mundane aspects of the life of novelist Norman Mailer. Agents questioned his friends, scoured his passport file, thumbed through his best-selling books and circulated his photo among informants. They kept records on his appearances at conferences and talk shows, tracked who received his Christmas cards and more than once knocked on his door disguised as deliverymen.
"Agents even generated their own internal reviews of his books. One 1969 critique of Mailer’s book 'Miami and the Siege of Chicago,' sniffed that the well-regarded book was 'written in his usual obscene and bitter style.'"
To read the entirety of Stephens' article, click HERE.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Socialist Literary Journals and the CIA

While the FBI spent untold amounts of money spying on Ray Bradbury because they thought he might be a Communist (see previous post), the CIA kept itself busy spending untold amounts of money funding influential socialist literary journals.  Ah, yes, the strategy of tension, indeed....

According to Patrick Iber's 8-24-15 article entitled "Literary Magazines for Socialists Funded by the CIA, Ranked," throughout the 1950s the CIA was responsible for "secretly financing" the work of "a large number" of socialist organizations, particularly the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

Here are some choice excerpts from Iber's essay:

"Established in 1950 and headquartered in Paris, the CCF brought together prominent thinkers under the rubric of anti-totalitarianism. For the CIA, it was an opportunity to guarantee that anti-Communist ideas were not voiced only by reactionary speakers; most of the CCF’s members were liberals or socialists of the anti-Communist variety. With CIA personnel scattered throughout the leadership, including at the very top, the CCF ran lectures, conferences, concerts, and art galleries. It helped bring the Boston Symphony Orchestra to Europe in 1952, for example, as part of an effort to convince skeptical Europeans of American cultural sophistication and thus capacity for leadership in the bipolar world of the Cold War [...].

"Through the CCF, as well as by more direct means, the CIA became a major player in intellectual life during the Cold War—the closest thing that the U.S. government had to a Ministry of Culture. This left a complex legacy. During the Cold War, it was commonplace to draw the distinction between 'totalitarian' and 'free' societies by noting that only in the free ones could groups self-organize independently of the state. But many of the groups that made that argument—including the magazines on this left—were often covertly-sponsored instruments of state power, at least in part. Whether or not art and artists would have been more 'revolutionary' in the absence of the CIA’s cultural work is a vexed question; what is clear is that that possibility was not a risk they were willing to run. And the magazines remain, giving off an occasional glitter amid the murk left behind by the intersection of power and self-interest."

You can read the entirety of Iber's article by clicking HERE.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The FBI Spied on Ray Bradbury

According to recently released Freedom of Information Act documents, for years the FBI wasted countless amounts of money and manpower time spying on Ray Bradbury's activities due to the baseless warnings of an informant named Martin Berkeleya "friendly witness" to the House Un-American Activities Committeewho insisted that Bradbury's science fiction stories were specifically designed to be covert weapons of pro-Communist, anti-American psychological warfare.  

A representative quote taken directly from the FBI files:  "The general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria."


Thanks to Muckrock.com, you can read choice excerpts from Bradbury's FBI files by clicking HERE.