Obvious Observation #1: Officials of the USA military-industrial complex, particularly those with security clearances, like making deniable threats that have a chilling effect on speech, but which conform to a ritualized outline that is not considered a “threat” by USA law. Thus the official can always laugh off his threats as jokes that were misinterpreted. Officials of the USA consider this to be “plausible deniability,” but rational people recognize it as “implausible deniability.”
Obvious Observation #2: Officials of the USA can torture their prisoners, e.g. by denying them sleep, and then punish the prisoners for failing to satisfy official expectations of polite behavior.
Puzzle Piece # 1:
According to NSA officials, the agency is a passive, customer-driven organization, catering to the needs of the foreign policy agencies needing intelligence, such as the departments of State and Defense. The thing is, the current head of the NSA is “dual-hatted” — Alexander is director of both the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, a military command that happens to be the biggest customer of the NSA’s services. Employees at Fort Meade work for both agencies. Furthermore, NSA officials have lobbied the White House strongly to preserve this dual-hatted relationship. These lobbying efforts bore fruit last week, thereby scuppering some of the reform proposals made by President Barack Obama’s task force on NSA reform.
The NSA’s biggest strategic communications problem, however, is that they’ve been so walled off from the American body politic that they have no idea when they’re saying things that sound tone-deaf. Like expats returning from a long overseas tour, NSA staffers don’t quite comprehend how much perceptions of the agency have changed. The NSA stresses in its mission statement and corporate culture that it “protects privacy rights.” Indeed, there were faded banners proclaiming that goal in our briefing room. Of course, NSAers see this as protecting Americans from foreign cyber-intrusions. In a post-Snowden era, however, it’s impossible to read that statement without suppressing a laugh.
It might be an occupational hazard, but NSA officials continue to talk about the threat environment as if they’ve been frozen in amber since 2002. To them, the world looks increasingly unsafe. Syria is the next Pakistan, China is augmenting its capabilities to launch a financial war on the United States, and the next terrorist attack on American soil is right around the corner. They could very well be correct — except that the American public has become inured to such warnings over the past decade, and their response has been to tell politicians to focus on things at home and leave the rest of the world alone. A strategy of “trust us, the world is an unsafe place” won’t resonate now the way it did in the immediate wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The NSA’s attitude toward the press is, well, disturbing. There were repeated complaints about the ways in which recent reportage of the NSA was warped or lacking context. To be fair, this kind of griping is a staple of officials across the entire federal government. Some of the NSA folks went further, however. One official accused some media outlets of “intentionally misleading the American people,” which is a pretty serious accusation. This official also hoped that the Obama administration would crack down on these reporters, saying, “I have some reforms for the First Amendment.” I honestly do not know whether that last statement was a joke or not. Either way, it’s not funny.
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — A Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged with aiding the Sept. 11 attack was ejected Tuesday from a pretrial hearing at the naval base after he ignored several warnings to stop trying to address the court about alleged mistreatment inside his high-security prison cell.
Ramzi Binalshibh, one of five Guantanamo prisoners facing a war crimes tribunal for their alleged roles in the terrorist attack, was escorted out of the court by guards at the order of the military judge, Army Col. James Pohl.
At the time, the judge was asking the five defendants to acknowledge their right to be absent during the weeklong pretrial hearing. Binalshibh refused to answer, instead using the opportunity to repeat previously made allegations that guards make banging noises throughout the night in a deliberate effort to prevent him from sleeping inside Camp 7, the highest-security section of the prison on the U.S. base in Cuba.
The judge suggested to his lawyer, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Bogucki, that Binalshibh may need a mental evaluation. The lawyer said his client is “not delusional,” and that lack of sleep inhibits his ability to participate in his defense.
Binalshibh, a Yemeni, kept trying to speak over the judge, saying at one point that “my life is in danger,” before the judge ordered him removed. Pohl said he would be brought back for the afternoon session.
The court is hearing pretrial motions to resolve preliminary legal issues in a hearing scheduled to run through Friday at the U.S. base in Cuba.
Binalshibh and his co-defendants face charges that include murder and hijacking for their alleged roles in aiding the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and could get the death penalty if convicted. A trial date has not been set.
Puzzle Piece #3:
Saudi Arabia is trying to silence calls for reform and criticism of its rulers by a campaign of intimidation and arrests against online activists, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
Since the start of the Arab spring in early 2011 the Saudi authorities have “redoubled” a crackdown against online criticism, the report says.
Puzzle Piece #4:
Texas waives search warrants if “credible” sources predict future crimes
“If their informant was so credible, why not go to the judge for a search warrant in the 3-4 hours before their illegal entry? The judge was available in the middle of the night, so there’s little basis to believe they couldn’t have gotten it earlier. And why conceal the fact that they’d already swept the house and detained the suspects in the search warrant application if everything was on the up and up?”
He has a kindred spirit in CCA Judge Lawrence Meyers, who was the only justice to dissent. As Meyers wrote, “it is obvious to me that this search warrant was obtained based upon the officers’ unlawful entry into [Wehrenberg]’s residence.”
There was more than enough time to secure a search warrant before the officers’ intrusion into the premises, but they deliberately chose not to attempt to obtain it until after they had conducted the unlawful entry. Further, had the officers entered the home and found the occupants only baking cupcakes, the officers would not have bothered to then obtain the warrant at all. It was only after unlawfully entering and finding suspicious activity that they felt the need to then secure the warrant in order to cover their tracks and collect the evidence without the taint of their entry.
In addition, Meyers argues that the confidential informant’s report that Wehrenberg was “fixing to” cook meth wasn’t independent evidence but a prediction of a future crime. The majority’s decision, he writes, means that “search warrants may now be based on predictions of the commission of future crimes,” which is an uncomfortable concept to say the least.
Puzzle Piece #5:
William Binney describes USA’s “planned perjury policy”:
All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.
This is a bigger deal than you may realize, as legal experts say that there are so many federal and state laws in the United States, that no one can keep track of them all … and everyone violates laws every day without even knowing it.
The NSA also ships Americans’ most confidential, sensitive information to foreign countries like Israel (and here), the UK and other countries … so they can “unmask” the information and give it back to the NSA … or use it for their own purposes.
Binney told us today:
The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs [is] for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].
These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.
So, they have to do a “Parallel Construction” and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a “planned programed perjury policy” directed by US law enforcement.
And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to “Foreign Counterparts.”
This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.
Puzzle Piece #6 :
The Chamber of the First Section of the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously on October 10 that making a news portal liable for defamatory comments posted by its readers does not violate article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights protecting free speech.
This decision, Delfi v. Estonia, may have negative effects on freedom of expression on the web as sites may become concerned about the responsibilities they could face if they keep their digital soap boxes open to the public.