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FBI launches open attack on ‘foreign’ alternative media outlets challenging US foreign policy | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on June 9, 2020

Thus the takedown of the publication by Facebook, with FBI and FireEye encouragement represents a disturbing precedent for future actions against individuals who criticize US foreign policy and outlets that attack corporate media narratives.

Not exactly new news.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/06/05/the-fbi-launches-open-attack-on-foreign-alternative-media-outlets-challenging-u-s-foreign-policy/

Under FBI orders, Facebook and Google removed American Herald Tribune, an alternative site that publishes US and European writers critical of US foreign policy. The bureau’s justification for the removal was dubious, and it sets a troubling precedent for other critical outlets.

By Gareth Porter

The FBI has publicly justified its suppression of dissenting online views about US foreign policy if a media outlet can be somehow linked to one of its adversaries. The Bureau’s justification followed a series of instances in which Silicon Valley social media platforms banned accounts following consultations with the FBI.

In a particularly notable case in 2018, the FBI encouraged Facebook, Instagram and Google to remove or restrict ads on the American Herald Tribune (AHT), an online journal that published critical opinion articles on US policy toward Iran and the Middle East. The bureau has never offered a clear rationale, however, despite its private discussions with Facebook on the ban.

The FBI’s first step toward intervening against dissenting views on social media took place in October 2017 with the creation of a Foreign Influence Task Force (FTIF) in the bureau’s Counterintelligence Division. Next, the FBI defined any effort by states designated by the Department of Defense as major adversaries (Russia, China, Iran and North Korea) to influence American public opinion as a threat to US national security.

In February 2020, the FBI defined that threat in much more specific terms and implied that it would act against any online media outlet that was found to fall within its ambit. At a conference on election security on February 24, David K. Porter, who identified himself as Assistant Section Chief of the Foreign Influence Task Force, defined what the FBI described as “malign foreign influence activity” as “actions by a foreign power to influence U.S. policy, distort political sentiment and public discourse.” 

Porter described “information confrontation” as a force “designed to undermine public confidence in the credibility of free and independent news media.” Those who practice this dark craft, he said, seek to “push consumers to alternative news sources,” where “it’s much easier to introduce false narratives” and thus “sow doubt and confusion about the true narratives by exploiting the media landscape to introduce conflicting story lines.”

“Information confrontation”, however, is simply the literal Russian translation of the term “information warfare.” Its use by the FTIF appears to be aimed merely at justifying an FBI role in seeking to suppress what it calls “alternative news sources” under any set of circumstances it can justify.

While expressing his intention to target alternative media, Porter simultaneously denied that the FBI was concerned about censoring media. The FITF, he said “doesn’t go around chasing content. We don’t focus on what the actors say.” Instead, he insisted that “attribution is key,” suggesting that the FTIF was only interested in finding hidden foreign government actors at work.

Thus the question of “attribution” has become the FBI’s key lever for censoring alternative media that publishes critical content on U.S. foreign policy, or which attacks mainstream and corporate media narratives. If an outlet can be somehow linked to a foreign adversary, removing it from online platforms is fair game for the feds. 

The strange disappearance of American Herald Tribune

In 2018, Facebook deleted the Facebook page of the American Herald Tribune (AHT), a website that publishes commentary from an array of notable authors who are harshly critical of U.S. foreign policy. Gmail, which is run by Google, quickly followed suit by removing ads linked to the outlet, while the Facebook-owned Instagram scrubbed AHT’s account altogether.

Tribune editor Anthony Hall reported at the time that the removals occurred at the end of August 2018, but there was no announcement of the move by Facebook. Nor was it reported by the corporate news media until January 2020, when CNN elicited a confirmation from a Facebook spokesman that it had indeed done so in 2018.  Furthermore, the FBI was advising Facebook on both Iranian and Russian sites that were banned during that same period of a few days.  As Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos noted on July 21, 2018, “We have proactively reported our technical findings to US law enforcement, because they have much more information than we do, and may in time be in a position to provide public attribution.”

On August 2, a few days following the removal of AHT and two weeks after hundreds of Russian and Iranian Pages had been removed by Facebook, FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters at a White House briefing that FBI officials had “met with top social media and technology companies several times” during the year, “providing actionable intelligence to better enable them to address abuse of their platforms by foreign actors.”  He remarked that FBI officials had “shared specific threat indicators and account information so they can better monitor their own platforms.”

Cybersecurity firm FireEye, which boasts that it has contracts to support “nearly every department in the United States government,” and which has been used by Department of Homeland Security as a primary source of “threat intelligence,” also influenced Facebook’s crackdown on the Tribune. CNN cited an unnamed official of FireEye stating that the company had “assessed” with “moderate confidence” that the AHT’s website was founded in Iran and was “part of a larger influence operation.”

The CNN author was evidently unaware that in U.S. intelligence parlance “moderate confidence” suggests a near-total absence of genuine conviction. As the 2011 official “consumer’s guide” to US intelligence explained, the term “moderate confidence” generally indicates that either there are still differences of view in the intelligence community on the issue or that the judgment ”is credible and plausible but not sufficiently corroborated to warrant higher level of confidence.” 

CNN also quoted FireEye official Lee Foster’s claim that “indicators, both technical and behavioral” showed that American Herald Tribune was part of the larger influence operation. The CNN story linked to a study published by FireEye featuring a “map” showing how Iranian-related media were allegedly linked to one another, primarily by similarities in content.  But CNN apparently hadn’t bothered to read the study, which did not once mention the American Herald Tribune.

Finally, the CNN piece cited a 2018 tweet by Daily Beast contributor Josh Russell which it said provided “further evidence supporting American Herald Tribune’s alleged links to Iran.” In fact, his tweet merely documented the AHT’s sharing of an internet hosting service with another pro-Iran site “at some point in time.”  Investigators familiar with the problem know that two websites using the same hosting service, especially over a period of years, is not a reliable indicator of a coherent organizational connection.

CNN did find evidence of deception over the registration of the AHT. The outlet’s editor, Anthony Hall, continues to give the false impression that a large number of journalists and others (including this writer), are contributors, despite the fact that their articles have been republished from other sources without permission.

However, AHT has one characteristic that differentiates it from the others that have been kicked off Facebook: The American and European authors who have appeared in its pages are all real and are advancing their own authentic views. Some are sympathetic to the Islamic Republic, but others are simply angry about U.S. policies: Some are Libertarian anti-interventionists; others are supporters of the 9/11 Truth movement or other conspiracy theories.

One notable independent contributor to AHT is Philip Giraldi, an 18-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service and and an articulate critic of US wars in the Middle East and of Israeli influence on American policy and politics. From its inception in 2015, the AHT has been edited by Anthony Hall, Professor Emeritus at University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.

In announcing yet another takedown of Iranian Pages in October 2018, Facebook’s Gleicher declared that “coordinated inauthentic behavior” occurs when “people or organizations create networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are what they’re doing.” That certainly doesn’t apply to those who provided the content for the American Herald Tribune.

Thus the takedown of the publication by Facebook, with FBI and FireEye encouragement represents a disturbing precedent for future actions against individuals who criticize US foreign policy and outlets that attack corporate media narratives.

Shelby Pierson, the CIA official appointed by then director of national intelligence in July 2019 to chair the inter-agency “Election Executive and Leadership Board,” appeared to hint at differences in the criteria employed by his agency and the FBI on foreign and alternative media.

In an interview with former acting CIA Director Michael Morrell in February, Pierson said, “[P]articularly on the [foreign] influence side of the house, when you’re talking about blended content with First Amendment-protected speech…against the backdrop of a political paradigm and you’re involving yourself in those activities, I think that makes it more complicated” (emphasis added).

Further emphasizing the uncertainty surrounding the FBI’s methods of online media suppression, she added that the position in question “doesn’t have the same unanimity that we have in the counterterrorism context.”

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Collusion Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Posted by M. C. on May 25, 2020

It is particularly symbolic that in the midst of this imbroglio, the FBI just accidentally revealed the name of another Saudi embassy official complicit in the September 11 attacks, whose identity was long kept hidden by the US government as a “state secret” whose revelation could cause “significant harm to the national security.” Collusion, foreign adversary, national security: in Washington, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

https://jacobinmag.com/2020/05/ignore-trumps-bluster-obamagate-is-a-serious-scandal/

Branko Marcetic

Russiagate looks less like a righteous crusade for truth and justice and more like the typical shenanigans for which the FBI and US security state have long been known: prosecutorial overreach, entrapment, and the criminalization of foreign policy dissent.

 

The crux of Russiagate is that it’s a political scandal masquerading as a criminal one.

The interminable scandal has been back in the news this past week thanks to the Trump Department of Justice’s decision to drop charges against Michael Flynn. Flynn was once briefly Trump’s national security advisor before being fired and then charged with lying to the FBI over a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Last Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee finally released fifty-seven transcripts of closed-door interviews it conducted with various key players in the saga over 2017 and 2018, covering Flynn’s call with Kislyak and other matters.

Since the news dropped, every effort has been made to turn Flynn’s absolution into the latest Trump outrage. Barack Obama himself weighed in, charging in a leaked phone call with supporters that “there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free,” and that the “rule of law is at risk.”

Four years into this chaotic and reactionary presidency, there are more than enough legitimate Trump scandals to go around. But as with many things Russiagate, both the Flynn case and the release of the transcripts reflect far more poorly on the Obama administration, American’s hallowed national security institutions, and the anti-Trump “Resistance.”

Understanding why requires going all the way back to 2016 and the beginnings of the Flynn case. Flynn was a former intelligence official pushed out of the Obama administration over, among other things, his management style. Years later, he became a characteristically weird Trump guy: a heterodox foreign policy thinker who combined occasional opposition to endless war with conspiratorial Islamophobia, and became nationally known for flirting with the “alt-right” and chanting “Lock her up!” at the 2016 RNC.

Flynn’s loyalty to Trump was rewarded that year when he was announced as the president-elect’s national security advisor. At the same time, Flynn had, like many in Trump’s orbit, been investigated by the FBI over whether he was a Kremlin agent, and only further raised hackles after it was leaked that he had spoken to Kislyak the same day that Obama ordered sanctions and expelled thirty-five Russian embassy officials as retaliation for Russia’s interference in that year’s election.

Flynn was, at first, pushed out by Trump when it turned out he had caused Vice President Mike Pence to unwittingly lie about the contact. He was then later charged by Robert Mueller and his team in the course of the “collusion” probe with lying to the FBI (not, as Obama claimed, perjury), which at the time was cause for much speculation: it was the umpteenth “beginning of the end” of Trump’s presidency but ultimately produced no new revelations about a Trump-Russia conspiracy. Now, he’s been allowed to skip a maximum of five years in jail and walk away “scot-free,” as Obama put it.

But through it all and since, details have trickled out that have made the entire saga far less clear-cut than those most invested in the “collusion” narrative would have the public believe. For one, despite all the innuendo around Flynn’s Russian contacts and his sitting next to Putin at a dinner, investigators found nothing unseemly when looking into Flynn and had all but closedtheir investigation into him when the news about the Kislyak call broke.

Secondly, the charge Flynn was ultimately slapped with, lying to the FBI, now looks more like a case of entrapment. Recently released notes written by Bill Priestep, former FBI counterintelligence director, prior to interviewing Flynn about the Kislyak call suggest the Bureau was looking at the option to “get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.” In the notes, Priestep wrote that “I believe we should rethink this,” that simply showing Flynn evidence so he could admit wrongdoing wasn’t “going easy on him” and was routine FBI practice, and that “if we’re seen as playing games, WH [White House] will be furious,” so they should “protect our institution by not playing games.”

What’s more, contemporaneous notes show that the investigators themselves weren’t sure Flynn had intentionally lied to them, and that Comey himself had said so in a March 2017 briefing, before claiming he had never said anything of the sort after being fired by Trump.

There were further improprieties in the investigation. Flynn has claimed, with some evidence, that the FBI pressured him to sit down for the interview without a lawyer. Additionally, two years ago, Comey himself admitted that he had violated protocol by sending investigators to interview Flynn without going through the White House counsel, calling it “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in … a more organized administration.”

Things get worse when one goes through the Mueller team’s interview notes for then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates and Mary McCord,

Read the rest of this entry »

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Justice Department Attempts To Blame Encryption for Terrorist Attack Feds Failed To See Coming – Reason.com

Posted by M. C. on May 21, 2020

That’s the reason why Wray and Barr keep appealing directly to lawmakers (some of whom are sadly too amenable) and aren’t really trying to win over the public. They know full well that encryption backdoors and other security vulnerabilities can and are already used for malicious purposes by criminals and oppressive governments. They don’t care, as long as they get access, too.

https://reason.com/2020/05/19/justice-department-attempts-to-blame-encryption-for-terrorist-attack-feds-failed-to-see-coming/

When a Saudi Arabian man named Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, in December 2019, killing three and injuring eight, the FBI assumed (correctly) it was an act of terrorism.

Alshamrani, who was 21 and a lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, was at a training program sponsored by the Pentagon in an agreement with Saudi Arabia. A subsequent investigation by both the United States and Saudi Arabia would show that Alshamrani may have been radicalized by Al Qaeda as far back as 2015 and had been tweeting out angry comments against the United States and Israel prior to the attack. That information started coming to light less than a week after the attack, raising questions about whether the American government had done a bad job vetting Alshamrani before letting him into the United States to train.

But Alshamrani also had two iPhones that were locked (which the FBI couldn’t get access to upon his death), so instead of focusing on what intelligence failures allowed for Alshamrani to enter the United States, the Justice Department is instead continuing its attack on encryption. Immediately after the attack, FBI got a warrant to search Alshamrani’s phones andthey approached Apple, asking for help breaking into them. Apple reportedly gave the FBI access to data that the man had stored on his iCloud, but as has been their practice for years now, their encryption system doesn’t give Apple the ability to bypass it and the company would not assist in breaking into the phones.

This has been a sticking point between Apple (and other tech companies) and the Justice Department for years now. Strong encryption is vital to protecting everybody’s data privacy from criminals and any other bad actors with malicious intent (like authoritarian governments and spies). Criminals and terrorists, of course, can also use encryption to prevent their conversations and plans from being detected by police who might stop them. Any tool can be used for good and bad purposes.

This fight is back in the news this week because the Justice Department revealed on Monday that it had finally managed to break into Alshamrani’s phone without Apple’s help. This should be good news, but it’s clear that the FBI and Department of Justice have decided that they’re going to continue using this case to try to attack end-to-end encryption and attempt to force tech companies to install virtual backdoors that allow government officials to bypass security protections.

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr briefly summarized what they’ve learned from Alshamrani’s phone:

  • Alshamrani and his Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) associates communicated using end-to-end encrypted apps, with warrant-proof encryption, deliberately in order to evade law enforcement.
  • Alshamrani’s preparations began years ago. He had been radicalized by 2015, and having connected and associated with AQAP operatives, joined the Royal Saudi Air Force in order to carry out a “special operation.”
  • In the months before the 2019 attack, while in the United States, Alshamrani had specific conversations with overseas AQAP associates about plans and tactics. In fact, he even conferred with his AQAP associates up until the night before the attack.

Note that the first item is obvious, and the second item was actually uncovered early on in the investigation. The third item, intended to serve as a justification for attacking encryption, is more of an indication of an intelligence failure. The press release from the Justice Department makes it clear that Alshamrani was not on the FBI’s radar prior to the attack and there’s no sign they had been trying to get access to his phone data until after the attack. The Justice Department observes in the release, “The phonescontained important, previously-unknown information that definitively established Alshamrani’s significant ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), not only before the attack, but before he even arrived in the United States. The FBI now has a clearer understanding of Alshamrani’s associations and activities in the years, months, and days leading up to the attack.”

So even though the federal government was unsuccessful in noticing Alshamrani’s radicalization that happened four years ago, before he ever came to America, the problem is now that they couldn’t get into his phone after the deed was done.

Both Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray continue to use these edge cases to demand that Congress force companies like Apple to cooperate with the feds and let them bypass encryption.

“If not for our FBI’s ingenuity, some luck, and hours upon hours of time and resources, this information would have remained undiscovered,” Barr said in the statement. “The bottom line: our national security cannot remain in the hands of big corporations who put dollars over lawful access and public safety. The time has come for a legislative solution.”

It has been a long-running strategy for the Justice Department to treat Apple’s extremely valuable and important encryption tools as just some marketing gimmick to win over customers.

In a speech yesterday, Barr and Wray continued the assault. Barr said:

Apple’s desire to provide privacy for its customers is understandable, but not at all costs. Under our nation’s long-established constitutional principles, where a court authorizes a search for evidence of a crime, an individual’s privacy interests must yield to the broader needs of public safety. There is no reason why companies like Apple cannot design their consumer products and apps to allow for court-authorized access by law enforcement while maintaining very high standards of data security. Striking this balance should not be left to corporate boardrooms. It is a decision to be made by the American people through their representatives.

Let’s circle back to my observation above that a tool can be used for either good purposes or bad. That’s the Justice Department’s own argument, right? People are using encryption to hide crimes. Except, suddenly, when the Justice Department wants a key to bypass the encryption, suddenly it’s possible to create a tool that can only be used by the “right” people.

That’s not how encryption backdoors work. And as it has reminded us all every time this stupid argument rears its head, Apple responded yesterday with the same message. End-to-end encryption protects us because there aren’t backdoors. Apple responded (via The Verge):

It is because we take our responsibility to national security so seriously that we do not believe in the creation of a backdoor—one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.

Customers count on Apple to keep their information secure and one of the ways in which we do so is by using strong encryption across our devices and servers. We sell the same iPhone everywhere, we don’t store customers’ passcodes and we don’t have the capacity to unlock passcode-protected devices. In data centers, we deploy strong hardware and software security protections to keep information safe and to ensure there are no backdoors into our systems. All of these practices apply equally to our operations in every country in the world.

That’s the reason why Wray and Barr keep appealing directly to lawmakers (some of whom are sadly too amenable) and aren’t really trying to win over the public. They know full well that encryption backdoors and other security vulnerabilities can and are already used for malicious purposes by criminals and oppressive governments. They don’t care, as long as they get access, too.

 

Be seeing you

 

 

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FBI Accidentally Unmasks Saudi Link to 9/11 Hijackers | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on May 14, 2020

Right. Nearly 20 years after the fact, the American public does not know how much evidence exists to connect the Saudi government with the crime—but it is not for a lack of trying. The last two decades have been a painstaking exercise in discovery, with three administrations and a mostly compliant Congress enforcing legal roadblocks all the way. Isikoff’s reporting is a brilliant reminder of that.

Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, according to Isikoff, is “a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1999 and 2000. His duties apparently included overseeing the activities of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers within the United States.”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/state-of-the-union/fbi-accidentally-unmasks-saudi-link-to-9-11-hijackers/

Home/The State of the Union/FBI Accidentally Unmasks Saudi Link to 9/11 Hijackers

FBI Accidentally Unmasks Saudi Link to 9/11 Hijackers

Trump carries on the obstruction, as victims’ families fight tooth and nail to expose the Kingdom’s complicity.

Saudi nationals accused of hijacking planes in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

It has been so long that we forget why Americans are so mistrustful of Saudi Arabia and its despotic monarchy. It’s not about oil, or their human rights, or even the dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (though that all undoubtedly plays a part).

It’s their long assumed role in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

Fantastically, that was brought all back to seering clarity yesterday when Yahoo News reported that the FBI had mistakenly unmasked the name of a Saudi embassy official who has been long linked with the hijackers on 9/11. The name has since been “re-masked” so to speak, but not before the press seized upon it and reminded Americans how close the Kingdom of Saud was to the worst terrorist attack on American soil in our history.

According to reporter Michael Isikoff, who broke the story, at Yahoo:

The disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks.

The declaration was filed last month but unsealed late last week. According to a spokesman for the 9/11 victims’ families, it represents a major breakthrough in the long-running case, providing for the first time an apparent confirmation that FBI agents investigating the attacks believed they had uncovered a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

Not surprisingly, the filing in question was part of an attempt to keep the Saudi officials name and “all related documents” secret. From Isikoff:

Ironically, the declaration identifying the Saudi official in question was intended to support recent filings by Attorney General William Barr and acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell barring the public release of the Saudi official’s name and all related documents, concluding they are “state secrets” that, if disclosed, could cause “significant harm to the national security.”

Right. Nearly 20 years after the fact, the American public does not know how much evidence exists to connect the Saudi government with the crime—but it is not for a lack of trying. The last two decades have been a painstaking exercise in discovery, with three administrations and a mostly compliant Congress enforcing legal roadblocks all the way. Isikoff’s reporting is a brilliant reminder of that.

We know that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and that Saudi Arabia had been aggressively promoting its extremist brand of  Islam throughout the world for decades, including establishing Wahabbist mosques and distributing religious textbooks here in the U.S. We know those teachings informed the Al Qaeda terrorist organization that plotted and executed the 9/11 attacks.

Washington has been accused of covering up for the House of Saud from the very beginning. Every administration—Bush, Obama and now Trump—has attempted to thwart the lawsuits by the 9/11 families to out the Saudi connection and retain restitution for victims of the nearly 3,000 killed.

Court after court has said the lawsuits can go forward. Saudi Arabia has spent millions of dollars in trying to influence Congress, even using our own veterans in a foolhardy lobbying campaign to stop the cases from moving forward. They have been unable, so far, to overturn a 2016 law (JASTA) that made it easier to file terrorism suits against other countries in U.S. courts.

The kingdom has long denied that any official has been directly connected to the attacks. The families have centered their case, so far, on Fahad al Thumairy, an imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California, and Omar al Bayoumi, said to be a Saudi intelligence officer. They say the two were helping the hijackers acclimate here in the U.S. before the attacks.

This is where Isakoff’s findings come into play:

A redacted copy of a three-and-a-half page October 2012 FBI “update” about the investigation stated that FBI agents had uncovered “evidence” that Thumairy and Bayoumi had been “tasked” to assist the hijackers by yet another individual whose name was blacked out, prompting lawyers for the families to refer to this person as “the third man” in what they argue is a Saudi-orchestrated conspiracy.

That third man’s name has been meticulously redacted in every reference, except for the mistake found by Isikoff, where he was named as “Jarrah.”

Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, according to Isikoff, is “a mid-level Saudi Foreign Ministry official who was assigned to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 1999 and 2000. His duties apparently included overseeing the activities of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees at Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic centers within the United States.”

Jarrah “was responsible for the placement of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees known as guides and propagators posted to the United States, including Fahad Al Thumairy,” according to Catherine Hunt, a former FBI agent based in Los Angeles who has been assisting the families in the case and issued this information in a court declaration.

All of the information regarding Jarrah has been sealed and classified as “state secrets.” While Trump has told the 9/11 families he would help them, even calling James Comey and Robert Mueller, “scum” for helping to obstruct their ability to get information that would bolster their case, it is clear that Trump’s own people—Barr and Grennell—are taking on that role for his White House. The question is, how long will this go on and will Trump’s recent cooling towards the Kingdom provide the some opening for the 9/11 families, and the American people, to finally get the truth?

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Joint Law Enforcement Task Forces are Creating a National Police State

Posted by M. C. on April 26, 2020

This jurisdictional neverland also allows members of these task forces to escape accountability or punishment when they use excessive force, destroy property, or simply engage in sloppy police work. Balko’s article chronicles the story of a man who was beaten senseless after undercover members of a joint task force mistook him for a wanted individual. The state and federal law enforcement officers both dodged prosecution by playing ping-pong with state and federal jurisdictions.

Ironically, the Obama administration couldn’t even conduct a cost-benefit study on joint police task forces because records were almost nonexistent.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/joint-law-enforcement-task-forces-are-creating-a-national-police-state/

by

Through the proliferation of joint law enforcement task forces, the federal government is creating a national police force that operates in a legal twilight zone with little or no oversight.

Law enforcement officers from various state, local and federal law enforcement agencies make up these joint task forces. The concept evolved out of the unconstitutional “War on Drugs” launched by President Richard Nixon. The first multi-jurisdictional task forces were put together in the 1970s.

Dan Baum chronicled the evolution of these multi-jurisdictional police forces in his book, Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure. Radley Balko summarized Baum’s description of the origins of these task forces in a Washington Post article writing, “Nixon wanted ‘strike forces’ that could kick down doors and put the fear of God into drug offenders without burdensome hurdles like the Fourth Amendment or the separation of powers.”

Initially, many local law enforcement agencies weren’t interested in getting in bed with federal cops and were wary of the aggressive tactics employed by the joint task forces. But the feds used federal grants and asset forfeiture money to bribe reticent departments and incentivize participation. The number of joint task forces grew exponentially in the 1980s and 1990s. The deployment of these task forces also expended beyond the “war on drugs.”

Today, you will find hundreds of joint state-federal task forces across the U.S. Just consider this list of task forces in the Pittsburgh area alone.

  • Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC)
  • Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • FBI Opioid Task Force
  • Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force
  • J-CODE (Joint Criminal Opioid DarkNet Enforcement Team)
  • Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit
  • Pittsburgh Financial Crimes and Electronics Task Force
  • Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force
  • Western Pennsylvania Violent Crimes Task Force

As of 2016, the DEA oversaw or participated in 271 anti-drug task forces across the U.S. Through a program called Project Safe Neighborhood, the Department of Justice ran another 86 taskforces as of 2018. The FBI administers 160 violent gang task forces.

The U.S. Marshalls run 60 Fugitive Task Forces. The ATF oversees the National Explosives Task Force and forms task forces for specific investigations. According to Balko, the U.S. Attorney General runs 18 task forces through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program. And then there are the countless temporary joint task forces created every year for special investigations and law enforcement initiatives.

Due to their nature, joint task forces operate in a legal twilight zone that gives them wide latitude. As Balko explained, they often go about their business with little or no oversight. Often, it’s impossible to identify any local officials overseeing their work. And even when somebody is technically in charge of the task force, they often give it free rein.

With little oversight, they have a record of overstepping and misdeeds, from excessive force to shootings, to mistaken raids, to straight-up corruption.”

This jurisdictional neverland also allows members of these task forces to escape accountability or punishment when they use excessive force, destroy property, or simply engage in sloppy police work. Balko’s article chronicles the story of a man who was beaten senseless after undercover members of a joint task force mistook him for a wanted individual. The state and federal law enforcement officers both dodged prosecution by playing ping-pong with state and federal jurisdictions. As Balko illustrates, In practice, joint task forces can “pick whichever laws — state or federal — afforded them the most power and the least accountability.”

Ironically, the Obama administration couldn’t even conduct a cost-benefit study on joint police task forces because records were almost nonexistent. According to those conducting the study, “Not only were data insufficient to estimate what task forces accomplished, data were inadequate to even tell what the task forces did as routine work.”

There are other pernicious consequences resulting from the rise of joint police task forces.

Local police can circumvent strict state asset forfeiture laws by claiming cases are federal in nature due to the participation in a joint task force. Under these arrangements, state officials simply hand cases over to a federal agency, participate in the case, and then receive up to 80 percent of the proceeds.

And the money and power that comes when local cops partner up with the feds incentives local police to focus on “national” priorities such as the war on drugs, federal gun control and “anti-terrorism” efforts instead of prioritizing more routine local policing such as murder, rape and property crime.

We also see the influence of these task forces in the state legislative process. Police lobbyists often oppose warrant requirements, limits on state and local cooperation with federal surveillance, prohibitions on the state enforcement of unconstitutional federal gun control, asset forfeiture reform, and other laws blocking state enforcement of unconstitutional federal laws because they don’t want to jeopardize “our federal partnerships.” In other words, their relationships with their “federal partners” trumps the Constitution.

The federal government was never intended to exercise “police powers” in the first place. The Constitution only defines four federal crimes – treason, piracies and felonies committed on the high Seas, counterfeiting, and crimes against the law of nations. The federal government also has criminal jurisdiction within Washington D.C. and its other enclaves.

The creation of every other federal crime violates the Constitution.

In other words, virtually the entire federal law enforcement apparatus is unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, the federal government is developing a national police force that operates outside of any jurisdictional, legal or constitutional boundaries. Joint task forces are a threat to liberty. States should simply withdraw.

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Attorney General Barr Refuses to Release 9/11 Documents… — ProPublica

Posted by M. C. on April 22, 2020

“The extraordinary lengths that they’re going to here suggest that there must be some deep, dark secret that they’re still trying very hard to hide after almost 20 years,” said a lawyer for the families, Steven Pounian. “But who are they protecting? Something might be a Saudi government secret. But how can these be secrets that still need to be kept from the American people after all this time?”

https://www.propublica.org/article/attorney-general-barr-refuses-to-release-9-11-documents-to-families-of-the-victims

by Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

 

Months after President Donald Trump promised to open FBI files to help families of the 9/11 victims in a civil lawsuit against the Saudi government, the Justice Department has doubled down on its claim that the information is a state secret.

In a series of filings just before a midnight court deadline on Monday, the attorney general, William Barr; the acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell; and other senior officials insisted to a federal judge in the civil case that further disclosures about Saudi connections to the 9/11 plot would imperil national security.

But the administration insisted in court filings that even its justification for that secrecy needed to remain secret. Four statements to the court by FBI and Justice Department officials were filed under seal so they could not be seen by the public. An additional five, including one from the CIA, were shared only with the judge and cannot be read even by the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Barr insisted to the court that public discussion of the issue “would reveal information that could cause the very harms my assertion of the state secrets privilege is intended to prevent.”

What the various security agencies are trying to hide remains a mystery.

Since the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in federal district court in New York in 2017, their primary focus has been on the relationship between the hijackers and relatively low-level Saudi officials. Those include at least two Saudis who crossed paths in Southern California with the first two Al Qaeda operatives who were sent to the United States by Osama bin Laden in January 2000.

Yet the broad outlines of the hijackers’ connections to those two Saudi officials — a diplomat at the kingdom’s Los Angeles consulate and a suspected Saudi spy living as an exchange student in San Diego — have been publicly known for years. The FBI shared thousands of pages of its files on the plot with the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, which explored them in its 2004 report.

“The extraordinary lengths that they’re going to here suggest that there must be some deep, dark secret that they’re still trying very hard to hide after almost 20 years,” said a lawyer for the families, Steven Pounian. “But who are they protecting? Something might be a Saudi government secret. But how can these be secrets that still need to be kept from the American people after all this time?”

The Justice Department has declassified some information about the Saudi role in 9/11 and shared it with lawyers for the plaintiffs under a protective order that allows them to read it but not make it public. But the department has not asked the lawyers to obtain security clearances to view other material, as is fairly common in national security cases involving American and foreign citizens whose constitutional rights are at issue.

The chorus of senior national security officials who wrote in support of the Trump administration’s secrets claim appeared to respond in part to Justice Department guidelines set down by the Obama administration in 2009. Those rules were intended to restrain overly aggressive use of the privilege, which the administration of George W. Bush had often cited after 9/11 to block legal challenges to its policies on torture, extraordinary rendition and warrantless surveillance.

Barr cited those more restrictive guidelines in his statement to the district court, noting that they prohibited the government from asserting a state secrets claim in order to conceal illegalities or potential embarrassment. He assured the magistrate judge in the case, Sarah Netburn, that those guidelines had been met.

At a ceremonial gathering at the White House last Sept. 11, representatives of the families of those killed in the attacks repeatedly asked Trump for fuller access to the FBI’s secret files in the case. According to more than a half-dozen people who were at the meeting, he assured several of them he would help.

“He looked us in the eye on 9/11, he shook our hands in the White House and said, ‘I’m going to help you — it’s done,’” recalled one of those present, Brett Eagleson, a banker whose father was killed in the World Trade Center. “I think the 9/11 families have lost all hope that the president is going to step up and do the right thing. He’s too beholden to the Saudis.”

The White House press office did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment on the families’ characterizations of the meeting. One day after that encounter, Justice Department officials agreed to release the name of one mid-level Saudi religious official who had been tied to the case in an FBI document that had been partially declassified earlier. At the same time, however, Barr asserted the state secrets privilege to protect other FBI documents sought by the families. The latest flurry of statements supporting that claim responded to challenges from the plaintiffs.

Although the close alliance between the United States and the Saudi kingdom has survived countless moments of tension, it has frayed in recent months in ways that could prove helpful to plaintiffs in the 9/11 lawsuit.

In recent weeks, Republican senators from states that have been hard hit by the collapse of world oil prices have criticized the Saudi government with growing intensity. On March 25, before the Trump administration negotiated a cut in Saudi oil production, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska cited the law under which the 9/11 families were allowed to sue the Saudi government as one of the levers of pressure that the United States could use if the kingdom did not take account of American concerns.

In a letter on Monday, three other influential senators asked the Justice Department’s inspector general to examine in depth why the FBI has refused to disclose more information about Saudi connections to the plot in response to a subpoena filed by the 9/11 families in 2018.

Those senators, Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, and two Democrats, minority leader Charles Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, cited a recent investigative report by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine that raised new questions about the FBI’s inquiry into the Saudi role in the attacks.

“The September 11 attacks represent a singular and defining tragedy in the history of our Nation,” the senators wrote to the Justice Department inspector general, Michael Horowitz. “Nearly 20 years later, the 9/11 families and the American public still have not received the full and transparent accounting of the potential sources of support for those attacks to which they are entitled.”

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DOJ Says FBI Not Trustworthy – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on April 15, 2020

Your FIB

10 Classified FBI Secrets - YouTube

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/04/02/doj-says-fbi-not-trustworthy/

News Updates From CLG

02 April 2020 

All links are here:

https://www.legitgov.org

IG Horowitz Found ‘Apparent Errors or Inadequately Supported Facts’ in Every Single FBI FISA Application He Reviewed | 31 March 2020 | The Justice Department inspector general said it does “not have confidence” in the FBI’s FISA application process following an audit that found the Bureau was not sufficiently transparent with the court in 29 applications from 2014 to 2019, all of which included “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.” Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December which found that the FBI included “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures” during its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign… Horowitz’s office said in a report released Tuesday that of the 29 applications — all of which involved U.S. citizens — that were pulled from “8 FBI field offices of varying sizes,” the FBI could not find Woods Files for four of the applications, while the other 25 all had “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.” The Woods Procedure dictates that the Justice Department verify the accuracy and provide evidentiary support for all facts stated in its FISA application. The FBI is required to share with the FISA Court all relevant information compiled in the Woods File when applying for a surveillance warrant.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/ig-horowitz-found-apparent-errors-or-inadequately-supported-facts-in-every-single-fbi-fisa-application-he-reviewed/

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Fife Is In Charge

Posted by M. C. on April 13, 2020

It has become apparent recently that the Wuhan district in China has been a known viral hotspot, particularly for mutant coronavirus, since H1N1 more than ten years ago. The Daily Mail tells us that the US has spent $137 million on Wuhan research labs. Yet the CDC, NIH, Fauci’s NIAID and the WHO were caught totally unprepared. The US has a dozen or more spy agencies including the CIA, DHS, DIA and FIB. They were so busy spying on US citizens that they completely missed a deadly epidemic sweeping China until it was so bad the Chinese had to ‘fess up.
What are we paying these people for?

Oh wait!

It’s Trump’s fault!

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-How US surveillance nabs more than spies

Posted by M. C. on March 16, 2020

And tramples your Constitution in the process

Follow the link below to view the article.

http://erietimes.pa.newsmemory.com/?publink=0966ace49

WASHINGTON — The case against Nassif Sami Daher and Kamel Mohammad Rammal, two Michigan men accused of food stamp fraud, hardly seemed exceptional. But the tool that agents used to investigate them was extraordinary: a secretive surveillance process intended to identify potential spies and terrorists.

It meant that the men, unlike most criminal defendants, were never shown the evidence authorities used to begin investigating them or the information that the Justice Department presented to obtain the original warrant.

The case is among recent Justice Department prosecutions that relied on the same surveillance powers, known by the acronym FISA, that law enforcement officials acknowledge were misused in the Russia investigation. Those errors have prompted a reckoning inside the FBI and debate in Congress about new privacy safeguards. The attention given to FISA has also cast a spotlight on cases such as the Michigan one, where surveillance tools used to investigate foreign intelligence threats end up leading to prosecutions for commonplace, domestic crimes.

The department says it can’t turn a blind eye to crimes it uncovers when scrutinizing someone for national security purposes, even if those offenses weren’t the initial basis of the investigation. In recent years, inquiries that began with FISA warrants have yielded charges including child pornography and bank and wire fraud.

Current and former officials say just because a FISA warrant produces charges other than national security ones doesn’t mean the target is no longer considered a national security threat. Sometimes, particularly when disrupting a terrorism plot, prosecutors may charge other crimes they find evidence of for fear of tipping the target’s conspirators to the investigation’s actual purpose.

But critics say building routine cases on evidence derived from FISA warrants undermines constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. And if the original surveillance application is riddled with errors or omissions, they say, any resulting prosecution is tainted. Though some judges have raised concerns, no court has prohibited the practice, and the Supreme Court has never directly confronted the specific issue.

Patrick Toomey, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union national security project, noted that the Fourth Amendment requires the government to describe the type of criminal evidence it’s seeking before conducting a search.

“Our view is that the types of broad searches for foreign intelligence information flips the Fourth Amendment on its head when the government repurposes those searches for domestic criminal prosecutions,” Toomey said .

That’s what happened with Daher and Rammal. They were charged in August 2018 with defrauding the food stamp program in a scheme that investigators say was based at a Detroit service station.

The next month, prosecutors told them that the government intended to use information collected under a warrant approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorizes law enforcement to eavesdrop on people it has probable cause to believe are agents of a foreign power.

That meant that while Daher and Rammal could see government evidence about the fraud allegations, they were denied details about the reasons for the national security surveillance.

Though the Justice Department has refused to disclose the application it submitted to the court, its filings make clear the case was part of a broader terrorism-related inquiry. Prosecutors produced a statement from Attorney General William Barr saying the FISA materials held classified information about counterterrorism investigations and that disclosing them would harm national security.

Rammal, who was raised in Lebanon, has since pleaded guilty to fraud. Daher has fought unsuccessfully to see the FISA information and is awaiting trial. His lawyers contend Daher, a Muslim, was targeted in a post-Sept. 11 “mob mentality” Neither men faced terrorist-related charges.

“Sami is a nerd with a big ego and imagination, but, he is not a terrorist or a National Security threat,” Daher’s lawyers wrote.

The Justice Department says the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act explicitly permits law enforcement to use evidence from FISA warrants for domestic criminal prosecutions and that it makes obvious sense to do so.

“Congress intended that you not ignore evidence of another crime while you’re doing foreign intelligence surveillance, and FISA itself reflects this,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the department’s top national security official, said in a statement. “It’s nonsensical to ignore evidence of a crime that we’ve lawfully gathered.”

Nonetheless, defense lawyers see the department as straying beyond FISA’s original intent.

Critics have long complained about the one-sided nature of the process. Targets of the surveillance, for instance, are consistently denied copies of FISA applications, making it hard for them to know the accuracy of the information given to the court, to learn why precisely prosecutors considered them a national security concern and to contest the legitimacy of the search.

In the Russia case, details of the FISA warrant used on ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page became known only because of the highly partisan congressional fight over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Later, the Justice Department inspector general found that the FBI omitted from its applications key information that should have been presented to the court.

The FBI has since announced steps aimed at ensuring that its wiretap applications are more accurate. The House passed legislation Wednesday containing new privacy protections. The Senate left for the week without approving it, allowing certain FISA provision s to temporarily expire.

Most FISA warrants don’t result in criminal prosecution. Page, for instance, has denied wrongdoing and was never charged. Those that do generally involve national security crimes, such as the recent espionage case against a military contractor accused of disclosing classified information.

But other recent FISA warrants have been incorporated into prosecutions with no national security charges.

In California, Abdallah Osseily, a naturalized citizen from Lebanon, was charged by national security prosecutors in 2018 with lying in bank documents and on his naturalization petition.

Prosecutors disclosed surveillance recordings that defense lawyers say did not come from conventional criminal wiretaps, though the government has refused to confirm or deny if it obtained a FISA warrant. The Justice Department says none of the evidence it’s using at trial derived from FISA. Defense lawyers have nonetheless fought to see the original application.

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Democrats and Republicans Agree: It’s Time to Throw White People In Gulags, by Eric Striker – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on March 2, 2020

The truth is, as Tucker Carlson has remarked, that “white terrorism” alarmism is nothing more than a politically motivated hoax comparable to the “8 intelligence agencies” claiming Russia stole the 2016 election for Donald Trump.

In it, the FBI admits to playing a prominent role in influencing social media companies in their decisions on who can and cannot use their platforms: 

They assure the public that they are protecting First Amendment speech and privacy, but do not detail how. They expect us to take their word for it.

https://www.unz.com/estriker/democrats-and-republicans-agree-its-time-to-throw-white-people-in-gulags/

Yesterday, the FBI made a big show of arresting multiple alleged members of a “white supremacist” group they have designated as a national security threat equivalent to ISIS.

Federal prosecutors have charged black metal fan Cameron Denton, the Nazi Al-Baghdadi, with telling the police to send SWAT teams after a journalist and a politician as a childish prank.

Four other cohorts in “AtomWaffen,” mostly young Chan trolls, were also taken into custody in the multi-state terror raid over mailing the Israeli lobbyists at the Anti-Defamation League edgy fliers that say “Our Patience Has Its Limits.”

House Representative Karen Bass has complained loudly about the FBI’s lack of transparency regarding arrest statistics related to “white supremacist terrorism.” Her implication is that the career girls, left-wing crusaders and Zionist lickspittles in federaI law enforcement – some who have proudly accepted awards from the Anti-Defamation League for railroading James Fields – are “protecting” these supposed dangerous white supremacists.

The truth is, as Tucker Carlson has remarked, that “white terrorism” alarmism is nothing more than a politically motivated hoax comparable to the “8 intelligence agencies” claiming Russia stole the 2016 election for Donald Trump.

Warren Buffett once famously said “if a cop follows you for 500 miles, you’re getting a ticket,” and the string of marijuana arrests, coercing teenagers and the mentally ill into bogus pleas, prosecuting people for their answers to confusing questions on federal forms, and various other pedestrian crimes don’t begin to justify the amount of federal resources being flushed down the toilet in surveilling and intimidating those the SPLC and ADL classify as “white nationalists.” The FBI is hiding its statistics because they know what they’re doing is wrong.

Since 2016, no member of a (white) nationalist organization has committed an act of terrorism with the possible exception of James Fields, who was loosely affiliated with Vanguard America and who would’ve beaten his trumped up political charges in any other time period.

Republicans Are No Ally

There is a House Bill on the docket intended to heed the call of the FBI Agents Association for a “domestic terrorism” law.

The Domestic Terrorism Penalties Act of 2019, introduced by Texas Republican Randy K. Weber with the support of 14 other GOP lawmakers and one Democrat, is perhaps the most dangerous piece of legislation drafted in decades.

This bill seeks to take regular crimes and add a “terrorism” enhancement if the suspect has dissident political views or belongs to an organization advocating for them. According to the language of the bill, domestic terrorism is defined as: “Whoever, with respect to a circumstance described in subsection (b), and with the intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence, affect, or retaliate against the policy or conduct of a government.”

The crime of kidnapping, which the state tried to slap on Augustus Invictus and failed, would potentially get the accused life in prison.

The crime of Assault becomes “domestic terrorist assault,” and gets you 30 years in the big house.

Political vandalism? 25 years. That’s not a typo.

In practice, if this bill were made into law, a member of the Proud Boys – who the FBI would like to classify as a domestic terror group – could get 30 years in prison for punching an anarchist heckler in self-defense at a political rally.

Paint a political slogan on a piece of property? 25 years. For perspective, the average convicted rapist serves 5.4 years. The typical child molester serves 3 years. The median time done by a 1st degree murderer? 17.3 years.

The law also has a “conspiracy” clause. If you “conspire” to commit an assault, which according to ADL SHIELD recipient Thomas T. Cullen’s legal reasoning can be uncharitably defined as members of the Rise Above Movement texting each other “Smash the Reds,” you are punished as harshly as if you had committed the act.

Institutions associated with conservatism, like the Marine Corps, are also implementing draconian rules and regulations. 44% of all military recruits hail from the South, but Commandant General David Berger has recently announced a plan to thoroughly eradicate all symbols of Southern and Confederate heritage from bases.

At CPAC, the convention of the supposed conservative “grassroots,” early supporters of President Trump like Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes have been “canceled” by the conservative movement and forcefully bounced, while left-wing extremists like Jared Holt have been given press credentials.

In “respectable” conservative media, not a single person has made a peep in defense of the Constitution.

The only response to the elite agenda to punish white men for their political beliefs has come from Kyle Shideler, the Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy.

In The Federalist, a pseudo right-wing publication famous for hiding its donors, Shideler responds to the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security’s decision to elevate “white supremacy” as a “high-level threat” in response to Black Israelites killing Jews not with civil liberties concerns, but ideological ones.

According to Shideler, the problem is that groups the federal government defers to for classifying groups as terrorist have a bias against “conservatives” and “libertarians.”

Shideler would like catches in any new legislation that would clearly protect the rights of anti-Muslim neo-cons like himself from terrorism prosecutions, by clearly designating “Islamists, Antifa, national socialists, black nationalists, or white supremacist groups” as groups who are not “committed” to the US Constitution, and thus fair game for persecution.

This appears to be inspired by Germany’s law for the “protection of the Constitution,” which gives the BRD’s intelligence services a free hand to censor and arrest critics of the government. The milquetoast conservative challengers to Angela Merkel’s highly unpopular immigration policy, Alternativ Fur Deutschland, have been subjected to extensive surveillance and pressure from the secret police thanks to this law.

Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Designations

An article in the New York Times criticizes the strategy of using Congress to visibly legislate our rights away due to the potential for public scrutiny and backlash.

Instead, they recommend an idea previously proposed by General John Rutherford Allen, which is to create a list of foreign nationalist groups and then prosecute Americans in contact with them (which is inevitable thanks to the global nature of the internet) as enablers of terrorism. This gives the government extensive powers to suspend your constitutional rights.

To understand the ramifications of a Foreign Terrorist Organization classification, when Trump issued an empty threat to add Mexican drug cartels to the list of FTOs, the media and Mexican government understood it as a warning that he was going to order drone strikes and send troops to kill drug lords.

They have good reason to believe this. A few months after Trump added the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as an FTO, he greenlit the assassination of Iranian state official General Qassem Soleimani, who led the group.

Representative Max Rose has already drafted suggestions for groups to add to the list: Azov Battalion, an anti-Russian militia that receives weapons from the US and Ukrainian governments, National Action, a defunct British based group that was primarily internet based, and the Nordic Resistance Movement, an above ground Scandinavian protest group that is legally permitted in Sweden.

These groups are wildly disparate and, with the exception of Azov, are not waging armed struggle. The choice of adding an organization like NRM appears to be motivated by the fact that they have many American fans and supporters who Rose would like to see droned or tortured in Guantanamo Bay. In the case of National Action, which was founded on the internet forum Iron March, they also had extensive online ties with people from all over the world

State Department designations are completely arbitrary and decided by the president without oversight. The executive office could for example find that the Scandza Forum, a gathering of nationalist intellectuals from around the world, is a terrorist organization without giving a reason, and then subject everyone who sends money or attends the conference as material supporters of terrorism.

The Real Motive

On February 26th, the FBI gave a presentation to the House of Representatives detailing what they are doing to fight “anti-Semitism.”

In it, the FBI admits to playing a prominent role in influencing social media companies in their decisions on who can and cannot use their platforms:

It is also important to highlight our outreach to social media and technology companies. FBI interactions with social media companies center on education and capacity building, in line with our goal to assist companies in developing or enhancing their terms of service to address violent extremist exploitation of their platforms.

They assure the public that they are protecting First Amendment speech and privacy, but do not detail how. They expect us to take their word for it.

It is unknown how significant the role of the government is in the mass censorship of dissidents from social media, but it isn’t relevant. As Mike Enoch has said, the distinction between private and public is irrelevant, it is a “system.”

Amazon, the book vending monopoly, has given Jewish organizations the right to engage in cyber book burnings without much in the way of government pressure. Most of Counter-Currents’ catalogue has been eliminated, as has the written work of various journalists, scholars and historians like Colin Flaherty, Kevin MacDonald, Jared Taylor, and multiple Holocaust revisionists. Even materials of primary historical value, like collections of speeches by Third Reich officials, are in their iron sights. This is not a war on terrorism, it’s a war on ideas.

In a time where government officials across the country are emptying their jail cells and “law and order” Republican Donald Trump has implemented “criminal justice reform,” (which he admitted is highly unpopular) public safety is clearly not why our oligarchs are having this conversation.

A better explanation can be found in the work of University of Connecticut academic Peter Turchin.

According to Turchin, who combines historicism with mathematics to draw forecasts of political stability, the United States and other liberal Western nations are due for “popular mobilizations,” potentially violent, starting in the 2020s. Turchin famously predicted the rise of the 2016 Trump populist movement and Brexit.

The thesis of Turchin’s book, Ages of Discord, states that declining living standards, mass immigration, the corruption of liberal institutions and polarization in general have primed the United States and other liberal plutocracies for collapse.

The fall may be bloody, or it could be a less dramatic Soviet-style downfall, but it’s happening, says Turchin. He has lectured to Jews and members of the managerial elite in Washington and New York, who in turn have debated his work in the publications they read. A handful of billionaires, thanks to the internet, have been exposed as the architects of our nation’s decline. They know they have lost the public’s consent to rule and are preparing for war against their subjects as a list ditch effort to cling to power.

Telling the truth has never been cheap. Dissidents should mentally prepare to withstand the erratic spasms of a monster in its death throes. The coming years are bound to be trying times for those who refuse to submit to the doctrines and dogmas of an immoral and oppressive system.

 

 

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