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The FCC Must Update ISP Privacy Rules

eff.org - Thu, 16/06/2016 - 08:38
It is time for the agency to use its authority to protect consumer privacy.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is collecting comments from the public about how the laws that govern consumer privacy over broadband networks should be applied. In its response, EFF has called on the FCC to ensure that the legal obligations of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to their customers are clearly established and that the agency prohibits practices that exploit the powerful position ISPs hold as gatekeepers to the internet.

Background

When the FCC reclassified broadband internet service providers as "telecommunications" providers as part of its Open Internet Order, the agency left open the question of how the privacy obligations of telecommunications providers must fulfill apply to ISPs. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) sets out to answer those questions.

How Best to Protect Consumers

Congress has given several regulatory powers to the FCC for protecting consumer privacy, such as: establishing what type of information is sensitive enough for legal protection; setting restrictions on how private information can be disclosed by companies; determining what type of information cannot be used at all for purposes unrelated to provision of service to the customer; and establishing the steps ISPs must take in order to secure permission from the consumer. These protections are critical because consumers do not have a lot of options when choosing high-speed internet access. In fact, most Americans only have one choice for speeds above 25 mbps—so you can’t really shop for a more privacy-friendly ISP. Given that most consumers have no real choice among ISPs, establishing a strong legal duty is necessary to protect private consumer information.

One of the most pivotal privacy provisions within the Communications Act is Section 222(a), which establishes that "every telecommunications carrier has a duty to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information of, and relating to...customers." We argue that this legal duty to protect confidential information prohibits ISPs from  harvesting consumer data through deep packet inspection (DPI) for purposes that are unrelated to actually providing broadband communications.

We also argued that as part of their general duty to customers, ISPs should not retain personal information for an extended period of time beyond that which is necessary for legitimate business purposes. This, along with restraints on DPI use by ISPs, would ensure that consumers are given the highest level of protection for their confidential information and would avoid making ISP databases of customer information the targets of criminal or foreign governments seeking to exploit that data. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t even take an outside actor to violate consumer privacy: in California, the Public Utilities Commission had to investigate a breach by Comcast when the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of 75,000 Californians was accidentally published despite the fact that these Comcast customers paid extra money to keep their information private.

How to Keep The Rules Up to Date

The FCC is thinking about what types of information falls within protected categories, but trying to be too surgical could end up defeating the purpose of these privacy protections. We've proposed that the agency establish a broad rule covering all of the content of all communications so that an ISP complying with the rules does not need to inquire into the specific contents of a communication to determine if it’s protected. Companies have developed extraordinarily sophisticated methods to collect an array of seemingly unimportant data in order to learn a lot of personal information about an individual. The Commission could weaken the privacy rules it seeks to adopt if it allows certain content to be accessible to the ISP via these methods. Furthermore, given how technology continues to rapidly evolve in this space, the FCC should provide the industry with illustrative examples of what type of information practices comply with the new rules and update those examples frequently.

Transparency is essential for keeping the ISP industry accountable to its customers. The FCC has a few proposals in the right direction, but we think some improvements can be made. Specifically, the agency asks whether ISPs should publish the names of the specific entities they intend to share customer information with. We answer that question with an unequivocal "yes," as the cost of compliance would be negligible and the value to consumers who opt-in is tremendous. In fact, we think it would be a benefit to the industry: consumers would be more willing to opt in to sharing their information because they will be able to check into the third parties that partner with ISPs and decide if they want their information shared. Finally, much in the same vein as the Open Internet Order, the FCC must have the rules apply equally to wireless providers (if not more stringent rules, given that wireless carriers have highly sensitive location information).

Some Potentially Dangerous Loopholes

Two proposals that the NPRM requests comment on involve instances when an ISP can access private information without permission. The Commission’s overall permissions or consent framework sets out three categories: opt-in, opt-out, and no customer approval (or notice) needed. We disagree strongly with the Commission’s assessment that the privacy provisions in the Communications Act allow for a category of personal data where the ISP never needs to notify its customers of its use. Rather, the law envisions ISP use of consumer data to be tied to authorized use through some form of approval. The law does not allow for an ISP to consider "no approval" as "approval."

The NPRM also proposed that ISPs be allowed to invade your privacy under an exemption for investigating “unlawful uses,” particularly in the areas of copyright and trademark infringement. We are concerned that ISPs would simply use DPI technology for all content on the grounds that they are investigating unlawful uses, thus defeating the purpose of the privacy rules. EFF recommended that the agency avoid providing an exemption for copyright and trademark infringement given that Congress already protects ISPs from liability. It should not be the ISPs job to police content as opposed to passing data traffic in a non-discriminatory manner. However, if the agency decides to provide an exemption, it should adopt a narrow rule that requires an ISP to have concrete and specifically identified instances of infringement first, and that notice be provided to the customer.

Next Steps

The FCC is entering its final stage of listening to the public and will begin to make decisions in the coming months on how it should use its legal authority to establish the privacy obligations of ISPs. If you wish to read EFF's full submission you can find it here. EFF will continue to fight for consumers's privacy interests and against efforts to have the agency adopt rules that do little to protect the privacy rights of internet users. Congress passed these laws to curtail the ability of telecommunications carriers to harvest their customer's data and the agency must do its part to update and enforce the law.


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New Report: FBI Can Access Hundreds of Millions of Face Recognition Photos

eff.org - Thu, 16/06/2016 - 05:52

Today the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) finally published its exhaustive report on the FBI’s face recognition capabilities. The takeaway: FBI has access to hundreds of millions more photos than we ever thought. And the Bureau has been hiding this fact from the public—in flagrant violation of federal law and agency policy—for years.

According to the GAO Report, FBI’s Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation (FACE) Services unit not only has access to FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) face recognition database of nearly 30 million civil and criminal mug shot photos, it also has access to the State Department’s Visa and Passport databases, the Defense Department’s biometric database, and the drivers license databases of at least 16 states. Totaling 411.9 million images, this is an unprecedented number of photographs, most of which are of Americans and foreigners who have committed no crimes.

The FBI has done little to make sure that its search results (which the Bureau calls “investigative leads”) do not include photos of innocent people, according to the report. The FBI has conducted only very limited testing to ensure the accuracy of NGI's face recognition capabilities. And it has not taken any steps to determine whether the face recognition systems of its external partners—states and other federal agencies—are sufficiently accurate to prevent innocent people from being identified as criminal suspects. As we know from previous research, face recognition is notoriously inaccurate across the board and may also misidentify African Americans and ethnic minorities, young people, and women at higher rates than whites, older people, and men, respectively.

As the Report points out, many of the 411.9 million face images to which FBI has access—like driver’s license and passport and visa photos—were never collected for criminal or national security purposes. And yet, under agreements we’ve never seen between the FBI and its state and federal partners, the FBI may search these civil photos whenever it’s trying to find a suspect in a crime. As the map above shows, 18 more states are in negotiations with the FBI to provide similar access to their driver’s license databases.

The states have been very involved in the development of the FBI’s own NGI database, which includes nearly 30 million of the 411.9 million face images accessible to the Bureau (we’ve written extensively about NGI in the past). NGI includes more than 20 million civil and criminal images received directly from at least six states, including California, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Virginia. And it appears five additional states—Florida, Maryland, Maine, New Mexico, and Arkansas—can send search requests directly to the NGI database. As of December 2015, FBI is working with eight more states to grant them access to NGI, and an additional 24 states are also interested.

The GAO Report spends a significant number of pages criticizing FBI for rolling out these massive face recognition capabilities without ever explaining the privacy implications of its actions to the public. Federal law and Department of Justice policies require the FBI to complete a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) of all programs that collect data on Americans, both at the beginning of development and any time there’s significant change to the program. While the FBI produced a PIA in 2008, when it first started planning out the face recognition component of NGI, it didn’t update that PIA until late 2015—seven years later and well after it began making significant changes to the program.  It also failed to produce a PIA for the FACE Services unit until May 2015—three years after FACE began supporting FBI with face recognition searches. As GAO notes, the whole point of PIAs is to give the public notice of the privacy implications of data collection programs and to ensure that privacy protections are built into the system from the start. The FBI failed at this.

The single bright spot in the report reiterates that FBI decided not to allow searches of civil photos enrolled in NGI to “better protect individuals’ privacy.” This is a hollow victory, however, because if you’ve ever been arrested for any crime at all—including blocking a street as part of a public protest—your civil photos will be linked to your booking photo and subject to face recognition searches along with all the other 29.7 million images in NGI.

The GAO’s findings are especially shocking, given the timing. Just over a month ago the FBI demanded its face recognition capabilities be exempt from several key provisions of the federal Privacy Act—and provided the public with only 30 days to respond. Over and over, the FBI’s secret data collection practices confirm why we need more transparency, not less. In the coming weeks, we’ll be asking you to sign on to our comments to the FBI’s proposal. Help us send a message to the FBI that its practices are unacceptable and must change.

Related Cases: FBI's Next Generation Identification Biometrics DatabaseFBI Facial Recognition Documents
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Categories: Aggregated News

Israel Rejects Peace, Vows No Palestinian State

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 16/06/2016 - 02:46
Israel Rejects Peace, Vows No Palestinian State
by Stephen Lendman
Israel is ruled by Arab-hating fascists, religious extremists and Zionist zealots - a rogue state threatening regional peace and security, its current regime under Netanyahu exceeding Sharonian evil.
Decades of on-and-off Israeli/Palestinian peace talks proved fruitless, dead-on-arrival each time, the greatest hoax in modern memory.
Palestinians have no peace partner in Israel, an apartheid regime dedicated to their elimination, waging slow-motion genocide, wars at its discretion, committed to controlling all valued Judea and Samaria land, stealing its resources for profit.
On Monday, Netanyahu told Likud ministers he’ll only agree to future peace talks under his terms - including never disbanding settlements, forbidding a future Palestinian state within June 1967 borders, denying any portion of Jerusalem as its capital, refusing to return stolen Golan territory, or letting diaspora Palestinians return to their homeland.
While collectively punishing them throughout the territories, he lied saying “I am committed to achieving peace with our Palestinian neighbors” - code language for insisting only under unconditional surrender terms, Palestinians getting nothing in return for continued subjugation and persecution.
Hardline Jewish Home party education minister Naftali Bennett and justice minister Ayelet (“little snakes,” referring to Palestinian children) Shaked vowed no Palestinian state while they remain coalition members.
“I will say the obvious. As long as we are in the government, there will be no Palestinian state. There will be no settlement evacuations, and we will not give any land to our enemies,” Shaked ranted during a Tuesday West Bank Binyamin region tour.
Bennett added: “(E)veryone who is opposed to dividing Jerusalem and building a Palestinian state…don’t worry. We’re here.”
Netanyahu fundamentally agrees while pretending otherwise. He once called peace talks “a waste of time.” 
He’ll concede nothing to long-Palestinians, insisting they accept everything he demands - while pretending he seeks peace in our time, a notion he fundamentally abhors.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

A California County Breaks New Ground for Surveillance Transparency

eff.org - Thu, 16/06/2016 - 02:31

Last week, Santa Clara County—which encompasses much of Silicon Valley—set a new standard in local surveillance transparency after months of activism by residents and allies from across the Bay Area. Their efforts, and the policy it enabled, suggest an overlooked strategy in the national battle to curtail unaccountable secret mass surveillance.

While federal agencies play a controversial role in monitoring Americans, their local counterparts also conduct similar activities—not only in the context of counterterrorism, but also in the name of routine public safety. Concerns about the militarization of local police have long united Americans across the political spectrum, but the metastasis of surveillance platforms across local police departments, county sheriffs, and state highway patrols too often went largely unnoticed until recently.

Cell-site simulators (commonly referred to by the trade name of the early versions of the devices, Stingray) are an example of police surveillance equipment that have grown particularly controversial. They essentially mimic cell phone towers in order to monitor data and voice traffic, and were so secret that prosecutors around the country resigned cases based on evidence collected from cell-site simulators rather than disclose their existence to courts.

But while Stingrays have prompted increasingly widespread concerns in the last few years, they have been deployed in U.S. cities for a decade. In Baltimore alone, they were used thousands of times without judicial oversight or legislative awareness—let alone approval—since 2007.

The new measure will impose several requirements on all Santa Clara County agencies. First, it will require them to seek affirmative approval from the county Board of Supervisors before purchasing new surveillance equipment. It will also require agencies to develop usage policies providing protections for civil rights and civil liberties for the Board to review and approve. Finally, it will require annual reports to the Board enabling meaningful oversight of how agencies deploy surveillance equipment that the Board allows them to purchase. 

Supervisor Joe Simitian, who sponsored the new Santa Clara law, emphasized that it will subject not only existing surveillance technologies to legislative oversight, but also technologies that have yet to be developed. As explained by the ACLU of Northern California’s Nicole Ozer, "Silicon Valley's local lawmakers made sure the law passed today was future-proof by creating consistent rules for all the surveillance technology that currently exists and those we know will come."

My colleague Adam Schwartz, who lives in Santa Clara County, spoke in support of the ordinance before the county Board, noting that:

Each new government surveillance technology raises a thicket of difficult questions. Should it be adopted at all? What are the benefits and costs?  Will it actually make us safer? What are the privacy safeguards?

These questions should be answered by the Santa Clara County Board, before any county agency adopts a new surveillance technology. The general public should be heard, too. When all concerned stakeholders participate, we make better decisions.

Among the other voices promoting the bill were three local groups participating in the Electronic Frontier Alliance, including the Oakland Privacy Working Group, Restore the Fourth-Bay Area, and the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. Members of each of these groups spoke before the county Board of Supervisors, organized support for the proposal in live events and over social media, and reached out to other organizations and their communities to seek their support for greater transparency.

Other cities around the Bay Area have previously taken steps to curtail surveillance by local police. For example, San Francisco adopted a measure in 2008 reiterating local privacy standards to curtail federally coordinated surveillance using city resources. In particular, it required S.F. Police Department officers participating in FBI-coordinated Joint Terrorism Task Forces to comply with more protective state & local standards, rather than opportunistically choosing federal law where more permissive.

Securing even greater protection for civil liberties beyond transparency, the City of Berkeley adopted a policy in 2012 imposing substantive and procedural limits on intelligence collection. That policy included five discrete components approved by the City Council that require reasonable suspicion of criminal activity as a predicate to justify the collection of intelligence information, categorically prohibit Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) based on non-violent civil disobedience, allow city officials to review intelligence reports submitted to regional fusion centers, and require an annual audit of all SARs.

The measures adopted in Berkeley promote transparency while also aiming to prohibit the untethered, unfocused, and unconstitutional monitoring that has grown routine in many jurisdictions, where functional limits on collection, retention, or dissemination of intelligence information have remained elusive. Like Santa Clara County, the measure in Berkeley required sustained mobilization by a diverse local coalition that rendered opposition by local policymakers untenable.

In addition to challenging intelligence collection unhinged from suspicion of crime, the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley also mounted several other successful campaigns. One restrained police militarization by blocking the procurement of an armored vehicle, and another limited cooperation with federal officials using local public safety resources to facilitate immigration enforcement and build a vast biometric database including Americans.

As similar efforts proliferate across the country, we plan to invite local coalitions to collaborate on shared, decentralized campaigns to address continuing controversies at the federal level. For instance, grassroots efforts to seek greater transparency into police use of surveillance technology can build local networks poised to support the scheduled expiration next year of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

If you'd like to bring the battle to stop mass surveillance to your community, join the Electronic Frontier Alliance.


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Categories: Aggregated News

Clinton and Sanders Meet, Pledge Party Unity

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 23:10
Clinton and Sanders Meet, Pledge Party Unity
by Stephen Lendman
Following her District of Columbia win, concluding the long primary/caucus season, Clinton met privately with Sanders at a downtown Washington hotel - discussing rapprochement and party unity to defeat Trump in November.
Representatives of both camps called the meeting “positive.” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said talks focused on “how best to bring more people into the political process and about the dangerous threat that Donald Trump poses to our nation.”
The NYT highlighted the concluded Democrat party nomination contest, saying Clinton and Sanders met to “expor(e) what kind of alliance they might build for the general elections against” Trump.
Unity is certain, including Sanders endorsing Clinton, likely promised a high-level position in her administration if she’s elected in November, maybe offered the vice-presidency.
At the same time, his rhetoric rings hollow, saying “the time is long overdue for a fundamental transformation of the Democratic (sic) party” - while doing virtually nothing to achieve it throughout his 30-year political career, largely supporting business as usual. 
His voting record belies his rhetoric, consistently saying one thing and doing another - on the wrong side of too many major issues to ignore.
Most disturbing is his pro-war advocacy, despite claiming otherwise and opposing Bush’s 2003 Iraq war. He supported:
  • the 1991 military buildup prior to the Gulf War; a former staffer said he wasn’t “going to let some damn war cost him the election…So he dumped on the left anti-imperialist peace movement;”

  • illegal sanctions on Iraq, responsible for killing half a million children - 5,000 under aged five monthly;

  • NATO’s killing machine;

  • the rape of Yugoslavia;

  • the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against nonexistent US enemies;

  • the phony war on terror;

  • naked aggression on Afghanistan;

  • Obama’s wars on Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen;

  • “protect(ing) Eastern Europe against (nonexistent) Russian aggression,” adding “Vladimir Putin is not going to get away with aggressive action in Europe or elsewhere,” stressing “the United States should isolate (him) politically and economically” by maintaining sanctions; and

  • drone wars largely killing noncombatants, among other hawkish policies.

Earlier he disgracefully called model democrat Hugo Chavez “a dead communist dictator,” turned truth on its head, saying Assad is a “brutal dictator who has slaughtered many of his own people.”
It’s clear where Sanders stands - an opportunist willing to go along to get along, largely supporting business as usual while claiming otherwise.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Reported Multiple Orlando Gunmen

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 22:58
Reported Multiple Orlando Gunmen
by Stephen Lendman
Whether true or not awaits credible evidence proving it. A previous article called it highly unlikely for one gunman to kill or injure over 100 victims singlehandedly before SWAT police stopped him.
Orlando shootings bore distinct earmarks of state-sponsored false flag deception, not terrorism as widely reported. 
A Sunday Facebook posting, now deleted, by a man named Cody Agnew, claimed “bits of information that the media are not telling us. There were two others that were in the club slaughtering people last night that were not caught.”
He said his “employee’s sister…was at the club when the whole situation went down…She took 12 bullets…She is coherent, fairly stable, and VERY lucky to still be alive.”
“(T)wo others (involved) are still out there and they are armed and dangerous. The media (are) not reporting this because they don’t want to scare people…”
The post went viral on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and Instagram before being deleted. No evidence of bodies exists, no video footage inside the Pulse nightclub - nothing verifying what did or didn’t happen.
Connecting Orlando to ISIS is spurious, created and supported by Washington. Why would its members or supporters want the hand feeding it bitten?
Orlando is being used to stoke fear, Clinton and Trump using the incident to show who’s toughest. Chances of being struck by lightning are greater than becoming a terrorist attack victim - death or injury by auto accident or disease infinitely higher.
Separately, Belgian and French authorities claim ISIS fighters returning to Europe plan attacks on their countries. Why would they when NATO supports them?
A video circulating online before being deleted, attributed to someone called Abballa, pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
It showed the attacker killing a police commander and his partner on Monday. After police raided his house and killed him, they allegedly found a list of other potential targets, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.
These type incidents are used to stoke fear, manipulating public opinion to go along with what otherwise would be opposed - facilitating endless wars and police state crackdowns on vital freedoms fast disappearing.
The only major threat Americans and Europeans face are extremist elements infesting their governments - deploring peace, waging endless wars, force-feeding austerity, legislating tyranny, intending it to be full-blown.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

NYT Praises Obama's Phony War on Terror, Lauds Clinton, Blasts Trump

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 22:23
NYT Praises Obama’s Phony War on Terror, Lauds Clinton, Blasts Trump
by Stephen Lendman
NYT editors never let facts interfere with their worldview, consistently misinforming readers, willfully lying.
On Tuesday, they ignored Obama’s imperial madness, his high crimes against peace, his rage for wars, waging them in multiple theaters, using ISIS and other terrorist groups as US foot soldiers.
Instead they praised what demands universal condemnation and accountability, saying in a Tuesday speech, Obama “listed the ways in which his administration has worked to subdue the threat of terrorism abroad and home” - at the same time denouncing what he called Trump’s “dangerous” mindset.
Fact: America created ISIS and likeminded terrorist groups.
Fact: It uses them in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere, providing their fighters with arms and other material support, waging wars on sovereign independent states, wanting US-controlled puppet regimes replacing them.
What’s ongoing is longstanding imperial policy, wanting all nations transformed into US vassal states. Instead of denouncing America’s war on humanity, The Times supports it.
As part of its pro-Clinton, anti-Trump campaign, it quoted Obama’s Big Lie about nonexistent US “pluralism and…openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties, the very things that make this country great.”
“The very things that make us exceptional.” The very things neocon infested Washington rejects.
On Thursday, Obama heads for Orlando - not “to bring solace to grieving families and a stricken city” as The Times suggests - solely to exploit last Sunday’s shootings for political advantage, ignoring a likely state-sponsored false flag, his administration responsible for what happened.
He’s been at war with Islam throughout his tenure, Hillary Clinton its lead orchestrator as secretary of state, an unindicted war criminal/racketeer The Times endorses.
Ignoring her rage for escalated war on humanity and increased crackdowns on fundamental homeland freedoms in the wake of Orlando, it praised her for “echo(ing) many of (Obama’s) points and even some of his language” - quoting her saying “(h)istory will remember what we do in this moment.”
“History” documents millions of US imperial victims at home and abroad, its contempt for rule of law principles, its rage for unchallenged dominance, its threat to world peace.
Neocon infested Democrat and Republican parties represent pure evil. World peace hangs in the balance.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

7 Questions With EFF’s New Criminal Defense Staff Attorney Stephanie Lacambra

eff.org - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 07:08

EFF’s team of fearless lawyers defends your rights on the frontlines of technology and the law, from police stops on the street to arguments in the courtroom to the halls of government where policies are ground out. EFF’s latest hire, Criminal Defense Staff Attorney Stephanie Lacambra, is a fierce and accomplished public defender who will lend her unique expertise to our ongoing and emerging battles against law enforcement and prosecutorial overreach.

I sat down with Stephanie to learn more about her story up until now and where she hopes this new endeavor will take her.

What kind of cases did you work on before joining EFF?

I was a public defender trial attorney for 12 years. I served first as a federal defender in San Diego fighting federal felony illegal entry and drug and alien smuggling cases for two years, then spent the next decade at the San Francisco Public Defender's office fighting everything from DUIs to robbery and attempted murder cases. My clients were all indigent, in that they could not afford their own attorney, and most came from some of the most disenfranchised and marginalized groups in our community.

What drew you to EFF?

I was drawn to work for EFF because of the phenomenal reputation it has for identifying issues of government overreach and shaping our fundamental rights to free speech and privacy in the digital age. The Internet has globalized our communities in an unprecedented way, but if we don't safeguard the individual liberties of users, we risk sacrificing our freedom of thought and expression. The purpose of EFF is to safeguard our right to have a voice unfettered by the prejudices and interests of those in power and to protect our basic right to self determination.

What issues are you looking forward on working on in the next few months?

I hope to organize and mobilize a network of criminal defense attorneys to identify and engage in tackling the worst cases of government overreach, whether it be via dragnet “network investigative techniques” or cell-site simulator searches or unwarranted electronic surveillance. We need to build a coalition of defense experts capable of shining a light on the government's unconstitutional practices of invading personal privacy and chilling free speech and thought.

What advice do you have for individuals who are stopped by police? What if the police want to search their phones?

The first words out of your mouth should always be: “I want my lawyer and I do not consent to any search." Then be quiet! Do not answer any questions and wait to speak to your attorney. The cops are allowed to lie to you and try to unduly influence you to talk. Do not listen to them. Once you have asked for a lawyer, they are supposed to stop talking to you.

How much should we be worried about how police are using new technologies?

We should be very worried about how police are using new technologies. Right now at the state level, police are routinely asking detainees and arrestees to unlock their phones and computers or to provide passwords for access. Do not provide such information. It will not help you to cooperate with law enforcement. Police are also using peer-to-peer sharing sites as well as other undercover web identities to induce people into agreeing to commit crimes like prostitution and possession of child pornography. Additionally, the FBI and some police departments are attempting to use cell-site simulator devices that trick your cell phone into transmitting specific location information directly to law enforcement.

Why should EFF—or lawyers in general—defend people even if they're not very sympathetic characters?

We have an obligation to provide rigorous defense for all those accused of crimes—sympathetic or not—because to do otherwise would render our criminal justice system completely meaningless.  If I only represented people who I believed were innocent of all wrongdoing, I would not be serving as defense counsel but as judge, jury, and executioner. Often, the most marginalized and disenfranchised in our communities are themselves the most victimized by the system and in need of our help.

We hear you're a Star Trek fan—who is your captain and why?

I am a Star Trek TNG fan. I would pick Capt. Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) over the cocky and impulsive Capt. Kirk any day of the week; even if Picard would likely die in battle with Kirk, who would shoot first and ask questions later.


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Net Neutrality Rules Upheld: Go Team Internet!

eff.org - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 06:57

In a crucial win for Internet users, today a federal appeals court upheld [PDF] clear net neutrality rules that will let us all use and enjoy the Internet without unfair interference from Internet service providers. The rules will keep providers from blocking or slowing traffic, or speeding up traffic for those who pay.

Last year, EFF and other advocacy groups, along with millions of Americans, called on the FCC to do its part to defend Internet expression and innovation. We urged them to adopt focused rules based on a legal framework that would finally stand up to the inevitable legal challenge, but also limit their own authority in order to help prevent a future FCC from abusing its regulatory power. The FCC responded with an Open Internet Order that largely did just that.

The court today affirmed that Order.

In the process, the court firmly rejected a host of legal and policy arguments from major service providers.  In fact, it was a blowout. Did the FCC have the authority to issue such rules? Yes. Did it follow proper procedures? Yes. Are the rules constitutional? Yes.

This is good news for the Internet. The net neutrality rules were a clear victory for the people of the Internet over special interests, and today the Court solidified that victory.

At the same time, we note a few elements of the decision that don’t quite match with the way we would have analyzed the matter. For instance, we are not fans of the “general conduct rule,” a catch-all provision that allows the FCC to police telecom practices on an ad hoc basis. The FCC says that decisions will follow a “seven-factor analysis,” but we do not know how the factors will be weighed. We urged the court to interpret the rule in a way that would create more certainty and prevent possible abuse by a future FCC, but the court did not believe this was necessary.

We are also concerned about the possible expansion of one of the FCC’s authorities. While the rules were, for the most part, clearly grounded in specific powers granted to the FCC, the Court also justified some on the basis of a less-clear provision: Section 706. Section 706 tasks the FCC with promoting the deployment of broadband Internet service. The FCC believes that this grants it broad authority to impose whatever regulations it believes will increase broadband deployment. We would prefer to see a limited, concrete authority used as the basis for regulation, and we are concerned about what restrictions a future FCC, less sympathetic to the open Internet, might impose with such broad-seeming authority.

We will be watching the FCC’s actions, and will challenge any overreach if necessary.  And we will doubtless need to defend the gains we have made – the telecoms will doubtless seek to challenge the ruling in Congress and the Supreme Court.

But for now, the Internet should celebrate — our hard work has paid off once again.

Related Cases: U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC
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Tyrannical Bahraini Rule

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 02:19
Tyrannical Bahraini Rule
by Stephen Lendman
Bahrain is one of six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, despotic monarchies allied with US regional imperial interests, mainly its endless wars of aggression.
On Monday, prominent human rights defender/former political prisoner Nabeel Rajab was again arrested. At 5:00AM, police surrounded his home. His son Adam tweeted they “entered the house and arrested my father…”
The incident occurred on first day of the UN Human Rights Council’s 32nd session, its high commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, warning “(r)epression will not eliminate people’s grievances. It will increase them.”
Prominent human rights defender/political prisoner Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja’s daughter Zainab was forced to leave for exile in Denmark after learning she’d be arrested and imprisoned if she stayed.
In late May, she was released from prison for humanitarian reasons after being sentenced to serve 37 months solely for political reasons.
Bahrain is a ruthless police state, human rights and democracy supporters murdered or imprisoned.
On Tuesday, AP News reported its authorities “suspend(ing) (the) largest Shiite political group and fr(eezing) its assets…as part of a widening crackdown on activists and dissent…”
The Al-Wefaq opposition was targeted, suspended before for supporting protests for justice, the regime-controlled Bahrain News Agency saying action against it was taken to “safeguard the security of the kingdom” - code language for opposing democratic freedoms.
An October 6 rubber-stamp court hearing was set to decide whether to “liquidate” the party altogether. Last month, regime authorities more than doubled Al-Wefaq secretary-general Sheikh Ali Salman’s political imprisonment to nine years.
In response, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy director Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei said the ruling shows the regime “is bulldozing its civil society…(transforming) itself into a state of silence and terror” - with full US support and encouragement.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

WikiLeaks to Publish Indictable Evidence Against Hillary Clinton

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 02:01
WikiLeaks to Publish Indictable Evidence Against Hillary Clinton
by Stephen Lendman
Clinton is America’s first ever US presidential aspirant under FBI investigation for criminality - warranting indictment, prosecution and imprisonment if convicted, though chances of it happening are virtually zero.
Julian Assange was interviewed by ITV’s Peston on Sunday via video link from London’s Ecuadorian embassy, where he’s forced to remain to avoid wrongful arrest and extradition to America, followed by torture, abuse and lawless imprisonment the way Chelsea Manning was mistreated.
Without indicating when, he said WikiLeaks will publish leaked Clinton emails with enough evidence to indict her.
He predicted “a very big year” for WikiLeaks revelations, doubts Attorney General Loretta Lynch with longstanding close ties to the Clintons will move against Hillary, and called Trump an “unpredictable phenomenon.”
Clinton’s email scandal is enough to disqualify her as a presidential aspirant and prosecute her for criminal wrongdoing.
Far more important is her involvement in and culpability for war crimes as first lady, US senator and secretary of state. The FBI has enough evidence to indict her on federal racketeering charges under the 1970 Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
The Clinton Foundation is a criminal enterprise masquerading as a charitable NGO, selling influence in return for millions of dollars from foreign governments, groups and individuals.
Most funds received are for self-enrichment, less than 10% for charitable purposes. WikiLeaks obtained emails showing she pushed for war on Libya despite Pentagon opposition and expected post-war chaos.
She sent official communications via her Blackberry instead of a secured server. Sensitive information on US security was sent to her private server.
She’s unlikely to be charged with any offense - despite clear evidence showing her involvement in major high crimes.
Rogue state US governance works this way - vilifying and persecuting its best, honoring its worst, maybe rigging November’s election to make Hillary president.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

The Net Neutrality Verdict Is In: We Won!

freepress.net - Wed, 15/06/2016 - 00:48
The Net Neutrality Verdict Is In: We Won!Craig AaronJune 14, 2016Today a panel of judges ruled in favor of the FCC's Net Neutrality rules — agreeing with the overwhelming majority of internet users that this agency can and must protect everyone's rights to connect and communicate.
Categories: Aggregated News

Mourning for Orlando: What About for Millions of Imperial Victims

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/06/2016 - 21:02

Mourning for Orlando: What About for Millions of Imperial Victims
by Stephen Lendman
First some important points. Paul Craig Roberts and several of my readers pointed out the absence of video and other credible evidence, no proof showing dead bodies from Sunday’s Orlando incident. Was it staged, not real?
With 49 reported dead (plus the alleged shooter) and over 50 wounded, where’s the casualty count proof? Why hasn’t there been widespread coverage of the implausibility of a lone gunman attack?
Orlando resembles Sandy Hook (December 14, 2012). Professor James Tracy conducted exhaustive, independent research into what happened.
He questioned the official narrative, presented credible evidence, indicating the incident was staged, not real. Key reasons he presented included explaining:
1. “Proof of death (was) suppressed.”
2. “Emergency protocols were not followed.”
3. “Drill protocols were” used instead.
4. “(F)oreknowledge of the event” existed.
5. Reports about weapons used were “contradictory.”
6. No verifiable evidence indicated Adam Lanza’s responsibility for the shootings - after supposedly killing his mother, then taking his own life after the incident.
7. Authorities and media sources “displayed inappropriate behavior.”
8. Photos of the crime scene and victims “look(ed) staged or fake.”
9. The crime scene was deliberately contaminated and destroyed, making it unusable for investigation.
10. Alleged “(d)eceased children sang at the 2013 Super Bowl.”
Sandy Hook was US state-sponsored false flag deception. Orlando appears more of the same, another incident to be exploited for imperial advantage.
Global media-led worldwide mourning for and solidarity with alleged victims diverts attention from accurately assessing what happened, challenging the official narrative, and assigning blame where it belongs. 
The staged global spectacle stands in stark contrast to near-silence, along with public ignorance about and indifference for millions of imperial victims, numbers increasing daily. 
They’re slaughtered with impunity by America, NATO, Israel, their rogue allies and proxy terrorist foot soldiers - mass murder called humanitarian intervention.
The UN Charter’s Preamble vow “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” was hollow. Endless wars rage, America the world’s leading belligerent - world conquest and dominance its objective.
False flags like 9/11, Sandy Hook, very likely Orlando and more to come create fear to enlist public support for what demands committed opposition.
The lesson of Sunday’s incident is things aren’t often as they seem. Accept nothing at face value. Challenge official and scoundrel media accounts.
They’re consistently proved false, willful deception. What’ll it take to get Americans to act against what most threatens their lives, welfare and futures - their own government!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Presidential Politics Exploits Orlando

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/06/2016 - 20:59
Presidential Politics Exploits Orlando
by Stephen Lendman
US presidential aspirants, their supporters and media scoundrels are taking full advantage of Sunday’s incident - likely US-sponsored false flag deception, not radical Islamic terrorism as widely reported.
What’s happening in plain sight should appall everyone, a disgusting display of willful misinformation, intolerable Islamophobia and chauvinism, along with calls for escalated militarism and homeland crackdowns on what remains of constitutional protections.
Hillary Clinton called Orlando’s incident “an act of terror” despite no evidence proving it or showing the incident took place as widely reported. A same day article discussed this. 

Clinton saying we “need to redouble our efforts (to defeat) international terrorist groups” ignores their US creation and support.
Claiming America’s homeland defenses need “hardening” is code language for urging greater war on remaining fundamental freedoms than already.
Trump used Orlando to bash Muslims for their faith and ethnicity, outrageously saying “(w)hen I’m elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there’s a proven history of terrorism against the United States.”
“We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer” - meaning Omar Mateen, the alleged Orlando shooter, killed by police, unable to speak on his own behalf.
Sanders blustered about “do(ing) everything that we can…to prevent guns from falling into the hands of people who should not have them.”
He ignored their misuse in the hands of America’s military, waging war on humanity, responsible for millions of deaths, raping and destroying one country after another.
On Sunday, Obama ranted about “elect(ing) politicians…prepared to take on America’s gun epidemic” - mindless of US imperial madness along with militarized police turning the nation’s streets into battlegrounds.
In November, voters are assured of the worst possible outcome - Trump and Clinton hugely dangerous, unfit to serve, assuring endless wars and domestic repression at a time America’s only enemies are ones it invents.
Humanity may not survive the onslaught!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

FOIA Reform Passes Congress In Time for 50th Anniversary

eff.org - Tue, 14/06/2016 - 08:35

Congress has passed reforms to the Freedom of Information Act, which EFF hopes signals the beginning of a larger overhaul of the transparency law that will mark its 50th birthday in July.

Earlier this year both chambers passed dueling FOIA reform bills. The House passed the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act (H.R. 653) in January, while the Senate approved it's own version – the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (S. 337) – in March. On Monday, the House approved the Senate bill, which will head to President Obama. He has previously indicated that he would sign it.

EFF supported the Senate bill over the House version because it did not contain harmful carve-outs for national security and intelligence agencies (for EFF’s breakdown of both bills, click here and here). We are therefore pleased to see the Senate version pass.

The Senate bill’s biggest change to FOIA codifies a restriction on agencies’ ability to arbitrarily withhold records. Under the bill, agencies cannot withhold records unless another law prohibits their disclosure or the agencies articulate how disclosure will harm an interest protected by FOIA’s exemptions.

EFF remains cautiously optimistic that this new language will lead to greater government openness.

The Senate bill also contains other changes to FOIA, including a provision that should help requesters seeking historic records. The bill puts a 25-year limit on agencies’ claims that records would disclose internal decision-making, in what is known as the deliberative process privilege. It also mandates that the government create a central online portal for anyone to file a request with any federal agency.

Although the bill is a positive step forward, it falls short of fixing some of FOIA’s biggest problems, including agency delay and stonewalling. EFF has previously called on Congress to provide more resources – both technical and financial – to speed up agency processing of FOIA requests. We think those incentives should be combined with penalties for agencies that do not meet deadlines or for personnel who actively thwart disclosure.

We’ve argued for big changes to the law that would mandate disclosure of records in close cases – the public interest in disclosure should outweigh secrecy. We’ve also argued for small changes, including adding a comma to make controversial law enforcement techniques more public and a requirement that all agencies accept FOIA requests via email.

EFF would like to thank Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX.) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT.) for sponsoring the Senate bill, along with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT.) for getting the bill through the House. We look forward to working with them on future improvements to FOIA.


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Categories: Aggregated News

DOJ Warns Calexico Police: Fix Institutional Problems Before Adopting Surveillance Tech

eff.org - Tue, 14/06/2016 - 04:40

Law enforcement agencies should not expand their electronic surveillance capabilities until they have addressed core problems of corruption, incompetence, poor oversight, and inadequate training.

Echoing concerns long raised by EFF, that’s the message the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent the Calexico Police Department (CPD) following a years-long investigation into alleged corruption by officers.

The shocking state of affairs in the California town of Calexico, which sits on the Mexican border, was laid bare in a scathing report released by the DOJ last month. Prompted by a 2014 incident in which a Calexico resident was allegedly kidnapped and beaten by police officers, the DOJ's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) found department-wide corruption and incompetence. One of the most notable examples of the unethical department culture includes spending roughly $100,000 in seized assets on surveillance equipment (such as James Bond-style spy glasses) to dig up evidence of dirty deeds by city council members and complaint-filing citizens with the aim of blackmail and extortion. The DOJ also listed numerous operational oversights, including broken police radios in approximately half of the patrol cars, confusion regarding policies on use of force, and a total lack of record-keeping for equipment issued to employees.

Despite the well-known allegations, the Calexico city council approved the purchase of city-wide street cameras and automatic license plate reader technology in June 2015. The city council did not make the implementation of these surveillance programs contingent upon the CPD adopting 169 recommendations to remedy department failures made in the DOJ report.

Mass surveillance devices, such as license-plate recognition systems that record the movement of vehicles and city-wide street cameras that record the activity of everyone and everything, have been approved for use in Calexico despite a pervasive lack of basic law enforcement training, supervision, oversight, and competence. The CPD will get to snoop on the city's inhabitants after decades of violating the public's trust.

This is a department that needs to be reined in. We should all be wondering (loudly) why city leaders are instead entrusting this entity with high-tech spying gear for mass data gathering.

During a community listening session initiated by the DOJ last July, Calexico residents expressed their lack of trust in both the CPD and the city council, stating that corruption and political games have compromised actual policing and investigative work. Taking that into account in their report, the DOJ team recommended that the CPD make major institutional overhauls before focusing on new surveillance techniques:

...[G]iven the personnel shortages, funding gaps, and significant organizational and technical deficiencies the organization is currently facing, the CPD needs to prioritize addressing these fundamental deficiencies while balancing the initial implementation of these [cameras].

Calexico is a microcosm of an epidemic we are seeing throughout American communities—the belief that mass surveillance and data gathering are panaceas that can take the place of honest police work. The DOJ report is a message to police departments everywhere that having more cameras pointed at citizens does not mitigate the need for proper training, competent leadership, and community engagement.

The residents of Calexico should not be spied on by the same police department that routinely fails to abide by federal policing standards at every level.


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Categories: Aggregated News

Clinton at War with Islam She Claims She Won't Demonize

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/06/2016 - 02:29
Clinton at War with Islam She Claims She Won’t Demonize
by Stephen Lendman
As first lady, US senator and secretary of state, Clinton waged unrestrained war on Islam, a ruthless agenda she’ll likely escalate if elected to succeed Obama.
In the 1990s, she supported husband Bill’s intermittent war and genocidal sanctions on Iraq, killing around 500,000 children, about 5,000 under aged five monthly;
As US senator, she backed George W. Bush’s naked aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq, causing millions of deaths.
As secretary of state, she bore full responsibility for war on Libya, responsible for ravaging and destroying Africa’s most developed country, turning it into an endless cauldron of violence, chaos and human misery.
In the same capacity, she orchestrated war on Syria, killing half a million, internally or externally displacing half the population, wanting US-controlled tyranny replacing its sovereign independence.
Yet Monday on NBC’s Today show, she claimed she won’t “demonize” Islam, calling it “plain dangerous…play(ing) into ISIS’ hands” - the monster America created and supports she failed to explain.
Terrorists use the name of Islam “to justify slaughtering innocent people,” she blustered. “We have to stop them and we will.” 
“We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism and we will” - not as long as Washington supports it, using its fighters as imperial foot soldiers for endless wars on humanity.
Clinton’s imperial agenda is like Obama’s, only worse.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Saudis Reportedly Funding 20% of Clinton's Presidential Campaign

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 14/06/2016 - 01:53
Saudis Reportedly Funding 20% of Clinton’s Presidential Campaign
by Stephen Lendman
Deep pockets buy enormous influence, Saudi ones among the deepest - used for fostering and proliferating state terrorism along with committing other high crimes.
According to a Middle East Eye (MEE) report, citing Jordan’s official Petra News Agency (PNA), based on comments attributable to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, Riyadh is providing “20 percent of the total funding to the prospective Democratic (sic) candidate’s campaign.”
Saudis also donate generously to the Clinton Foundation, a racketeering operation masquerading as a charitable NGO, accepting tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments, organizations and individuals, benefitting greatly by selling influence.
US law prohibits foreign interests from funding US elections at the federal, state and local levels. Yet it’s done anyway covertly through shell companies and other devious means.
Jordan’s PNA report quoted prince Mohammed saying Riyadh provided an undisclosed amount of funding to the Clinton campaign.
“Saudi Arabia always has sponsored both the Republican and Democratic Party of America and in (the) current (US electoral campaign) provide(s) with full enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of Hillary Clinton’s election even though some events in the country don’t have a positive look to support…a woman for presiden(t),” he reportedly said.
The PNA report was published on the eve of his official visit to Washington, the Saudi Press Agency saying he’s staying until June 16.
According to the Saudi Gazette, his schedule includes meetings in New York with Wall Street firms. Saudi ties to the Clinton are longstanding.
Former Saudi intelligence chief, US ambassador prince Turki bin Feisal was a Bill Clinton classmate at Georgetown University.
As Arkansas governor, he secured a multi-million dollar Saudi donation to the University of Arkansas’ Middle East studies program. Millions more were donated after his 1992 election. 
The Clintons are one of America’s notorious crime families. The prospect of Hillary succeeding Obama means likely elevating presidential wrongdoing to an unprecedented level.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Orlando Shootings: Terrorism or False Flag?

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 13/06/2016 - 22:23
Orlando Shootings: Terrorism or False Flag?
by Stephen Lendman
It’s too soon to know whether Sunday’s Orlando incident was terrorism or false flag deception. 
Yet it has distinct earmarks of the latter, likely the latest example of domestic state terror, another fear-mongering pretext for out-of-control militarism, endless wars of choice, and domestic repression, America more a police state than free society on a slippery slope toward full-blown tyranny.
Muslims are Washington’s target of choice, falsely blamed for numerous state-sponsored domestic crimes - 9/11 the mother of all false flags.
Convincing evidence indicates the alleged Boston bombers, San Bernardino bombers, Sandy Hook shooter, a shoe bomber, an underwear bomber, Times Square bomber, shampoo bombers, synagogue bombers, and numerous other convenient patsies blamed for similar incidents were victims of elaborate hoaxes, state-sponsored false flag deception.
Pre-dawn Sunday, alleged heavily armed gunman Omar Mateen managed to kill or wound over 100 individuals at Orlando’s Pulse LGBT nightclub before city SWAT police killed him.
Dead men tell no tales. All we know is what authorities say and media scoundrels repeat without due diligence checking.
According to official reports, Mateen called 911, declaring his allegiance to ISIS. Following the shootings, the group allegedly claimed responsibility, saying they were “carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”
America created and supports the group. Why would any of its members or supporters want its benefactor harmed?
Sunday’s incident represents the largest domestic mass-casualty event since 9/11. An obvious unanswered question is how could an alleged lone gunman manage to kill or injure so many before SWAT police stopped him?
Were multiple gunmen involved? Mass shootings on this scale seem unlikely for anyone to be able to pull off single-handedly. Was state-sponsored terrorism responsible?
As expected, Obama politicized the incident, calling it “an act of terror and an act of hate” - vowing “to protect our people and defend our nation, (acting) against those who threaten us.”
Hillary Clinton revealed her rage for endless wars, abhorrence of rule of law principles, and antipathy to fundamental freedoms - urging “redouble(d) efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad.”  
She failed to explain America faces invented ones only, pretexts for waging war on humanity.
The groundwork is being laid for continuing wars of aggression, launching new ones, and eliminating what remains of constitutional rights.
People are being manipulated to believe the price of security requires sacrificing fundamental freedoms - failing to realize they’re losing both.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Media Scoundrels React As Expected to Orlando Shootings

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 13/06/2016 - 22:15
Media Scoundrels React As Expected to Orlando Shootings
by Stephen Lendman
Extensive media coverage of June 12 Orlando shootings hyped Islamic terrorism, suppressing what most needs explaining.
One-sided reporting regurgitated official accounts without due diligence checking, the public left in the dark, uninformed.
The New York Times said (alleged) gunman Omar Mateen “proclaim(ed) allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group…”
Shootings began around 2:00AM. The Times hyped fear, reporting “a panicked scene of unimaginable slaughter, the floors slicked with blood, the dead and injured piled atop one another - (t)errified people pour(ing) onto the darkened streets of the surrounding neighborhood…”
It featured Obama’s politicized comments instead of demanding he be held responsible for state-sponsored terrorism throughout his tenure, harming millions at home and abroad.
It quoted Trump urging “toughness & vigilance…on radical Islamic terrorism.”
It highlighted Clinton’s rage for war and defiance of rule of law principles, advocating “redouble(d)” efforts against “international terror groups,” and “hardened” domestic action.
Neocon Washington Post editors called Orlando shootings “Islamist-fueled terrorism,” suggesting no one is safe anywhere in America from the threat, urging it “be fought and contained wherever it appears.”
WaPo and other major media reports failed to explain consistent US state-sponsorship for these type incidents, convenient patsies blamed for false flag crimes.
Wall Street Journal editors headlined “Jihad in Orlando,” saying ISIS struck America, a domestic Muslim adherent “responsible for the largest mass shooting in US history.”
“(J)ihadist(s) pose an urgent and deadly threat…” Alleged homeland ones are hyped to stoke fear, manipulating public opinion to accept a permanent state of war and loss of fundamental freedoms.
Journal editors urged the FBI to use “sting” operations against Americans allegedly “show(ing) jihadist leanings on social media or with friends” - often resulting in entrapment, a flagrant breach of constitutional rights.
These operations involve government officials or agents initiating a scheme, persuading targeted patsies to consider going along - even though they showed no previous intent or willingness to do so.
Brennan Center for Justice fellow Michael German calls these type activities “manufactured terrorism,” US prisons filled with their victims.
Journal editors urged escalated war on terror - instead of denouncing the ongoing one as a colossal hoax.
We’re doomed if ordinary Americans don’t awaken to the unprecedented threat they face - from neocons waging war on humanity, not jihadists they created and support.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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