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Posts Tagged ‘William Barr’

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.

 

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Don’t Be Fooled by the Deplatforming of Facebook – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2020

They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.

The big tech companies want to have it both ways, be a neutral platform legally but self-define ‘neutrality’ in such a way that benefits them politically, economically and socially while insulating themselves from breaching contracts with their customers.

Didn’t you all notice how both of these things became issues right after the wrong person won the 2016 presidential election and the British people made the wrong decision about EU Membership?

https://tomluongo.me/2020/02/22/dont-be-fooled-by-the-deplatforming-of-facebook/

The push for speech control escalates. There is now a concentration of stories concerning social media companies and their role in shaping political thought.

We are nine months from a pivotal presidential election in the U.S. and the push is on to ensure that the outcome goes the way those in power want it to.

Three times in as many weeks billionaire busybody George Soros has attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding he be removed because he is working to re-elect Donald Trump.

This seems like an absurdity. But it isn’t. It’s all part of the game plan.

Create a controversy that isn’t real to seed a narrative that there’s a problem in need of a solution. Facebook has been the center of this controversy to inflame passions on both sides of the political aisle to ensure the desired outcome.

They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.

Warren Buffet would call that a moat. I call it tyranny.

Enter Attorney General William Barr.

He weighed in recently that we need to have a conversation about Facebook et.al. in relation to their Section 230 immunity under the Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 grants immunity to companies like Facebook and Google from prosecution for content hosted on their services as they argue they are not publishers but rather just pass-through entities or platforms of user-generated content.

Now, it’s pretty clear for the past few years the social media companies have been acting with open editorial bias to deplatform undesirables. They rewrite broadly defined terms of services and EULAs (End-User Licence Agreements) which they use to justify controlling what content they are willing to host.

And that’s where the Section 230 immunity comes into play. The big tech companies want to have it both ways, be a neutral platform legally but self-define ‘neutrality’ in such a way that benefits them politically, economically and socially while insulating themselves from breaching contracts with their customers.

What’s clear from Barr’s comments he’s approaching this from a law enforcement perspective.

“We are concerned that internet services, under the guise of Section 230, can not only block access to law enforcement — even when officials have secured a court-authorized warrant — but also prevent victims from civil recovery,” Barr said. “Giving broad immunity to platforms that purposefully blind themselves — and law enforcers — to illegal conduct on their services does not create incentives to make the online world safer for children.”

And this clearly doesn’t address the real issue. That’s your sign there’s something wrong here.

Both political parties are unhappy with the current situation and that should be your red flag that a great stitch-up is in progress. Because the end goal here is government oversight that has bipartisan support.

That support has to be manufactured from both sides. The left wants protection from ‘fake news’ and ‘Russian meddling’ while the right wants a level playing field to air ideas in the public square.

Didn’t you all notice how both of these things became issues right after the wrong person won the 2016 presidential election and the British people made the wrong decision about EU Membership?

I’m sure you noticed the blatant bias exhibited by Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and the rest of these protected platforms and wondered why they were allowed to act so egregiously with seemingly no recourse?

The big tech companies don’t want more government oversight, they simply want to continue to have their have their editorial take and enforce it too while taking your money and suppressing your voice.

Government intervention is not the solution here. In fact, it is the goal of the entire exercise.

I don’t want the government coming in and further defining the rules by which Facebook can deplatform everyone who tells inconvenient truths.

Because that’s all government does. And then it empowers a bureaucracy to enforce those rules.

I don’t need a Ministry of Truth to protect me from the bad people. I know where the bad people are and, in your heart, so do you.

So the question isn’t whether Barr should strip these companies of their Section 230 immunity. Of course he should if they exhibit any kind of editorial behavior.

But, in typical Swamp fashion, Barr isn’t concerned about that. He’s concerned with using Facebook to track down criminals; the implication being drug runners, murderers, etc.

That’s a sop to law and order conservatives to get their support politically.

But the real criminals are in the bowels of the compliance departments and algorithm factories of these social media companies pushing the bounds of indecency by trying to protect us from fake news to control the flow of information.

They’ve already done a great deal of this, altering search algorithms to ensure only approved news sources show up in the results.

We know they are all working in cahoots with the intelligence agencies here in the U.S. but no one will admit it publicly. The EU and China are more honest about their tyrannical impulses using their anti-democratic structure to create rules which they force onto these multi-national companies.

Now Twitter is testing new flagging abilities for verified accounts to act as community censors, creating the illusion of a user-controlled public space. It’ll only be for those that get blue check marks. And that’s a system clearly gamed to reflect a particular ideological bias as no one who dissents from the approved globalist message gets one of those anymore.

So, only journalists from official news outlets will have this ability to fact-check in real time the pronouncements of important influencers.

If you don’t think this is simply a means by which to make it seem fair to suppress the king of Twitter, Donald Trump, then you clearly haven’t had your morning coffee.

For a couple of years now I’ve been warning you that the elites are desperate to regain control over what I call The Wire. What is The Wire?

The Wire is simply a metaphor for the transmission of information.  The Wire takes many forms.  And if you aren’t sure whether something is The Wire just ask if you have control over it or not.

The Internet?  The Wire.

Electricity?  The Wire

Roads?  The Wire.

Media?  The Wire.

Money?  The Wire.

In short, The Wire is the main conduit through which we communicate with each other.  Money?  Really?  Yes, really.  What are prices if not information about what we are willing to part with your money in exchange for?

Without The Wire modern society fails.  So, government can’t shut it down but neither can it allow unrenstrained access to it.

Electricity, commerce, communications, everything, goes over The Wire.  

Control of The Wire is everything. Soros is desperately trying to hold onto control over the social media companies he’s invested so heavily in to influence their influence.

And it’s clear we’ve entered the next phase of regaining control over it.

The solution to the Section 230 Immunity issue for these companies is to remove it and open them up to civil liabilities for their inconsistent enforcement of their own policies.

Because once you do that they have no protection under commercial contract law.

Those users that use these platforms for commercial purposes are materially harmed by the ever-changing rules of these platforms.

They entered into an agreement with YouTube or Facebook in good faith expectation of a certain level of service.

Facebook’s business is built on the implicit guarantee of that service. In turn, Facebook was built on the backs of those using the platform.

Unilaterally taking away that access without compensation simply because Facebook said so is a perversion of contract law. Why should Facebook be allowed to do that? Why hasn’t this clear inequity between parties to a contract been addressed by the courts?

And that’s what we should be addressing here.

And I’m not just talking about Facebook here. Remember when the social network Gab had its internet access revoked by GoDaddy? How does GoDaddy escape paying damages for unilaterally denying service?

There is clear opportunity for them to be sued into submission by the millions of users whose businesses and reputations have been destroyed due to arbitrary enforcement of company rules.

At the end of the day these companies create and use as excuses broad powers which have almost no precedent in contract law. Their EULAs are contracts the user signs which grants them no rights or guarantees of service in any way. They can be abrogated, updated and changed to suit the company’s whim with no redress for the breach of contract from the other party.

This is outrageous, unacceptable and flies in the face of hundreds of years of contract law.

And they should be challenged in court and thrown out as illegal Contracts of Adhesion. This is settled contract law.

If Facebook wants to ban Alex Jones from their platform fine. I have zero problem with that. If they want to act as a private business which is protected under the First Amendment’s protection of Freedom of Association, great!

I’m all for re-establishing that in this society.

Let’s open up that can of worms.

It would finally be an honest conversation. Because we are rapidly approaching the moment of reverse racism, whereby Facebook doesn’t want to host racist or sexist content.

And I’m fine with that. But I’m also fine then with restaurants not serving black people or people baking wedding cakes for gay couples.

Freedom OF association is also Freedom FROM association, folks.

The shit-libs and the oligarchs want it both ways. They want you to be forced to associate with others on their terms but deny you a place in society because you disagree with them.

That is, in a word, tyrannical.

So, in a just world, Facebook owes Alex Jones millions for lost revenue and damages to Jones’ business as well as, one could argue, a portion of Facebook’s revenue it generated during the time it hosted Jones’ content which brought the company users, revenue and market share.

Multiply that lawsuit by ten for the number of platforms Alex Jones has been banned from. Then multiply that number by the millions for everyone else these platforms have materially harmed.

And then we’ll see what the market cap of the NASDAQ 100 would truly be.

And that’s one way we should fight this, not by empowering more bureaucrats to police everyone’s speech on Twitter, but to sue Twitter for non-fulfillment of obligations under the reasonable expectation of service they are to provide as a party to a legal contract.

This is what I wanted to hear William Barr was focusing on in working on. But that is exactly what will not happen.

The other is to develop technology which resists the centralizing power of these companies to control our speech, democratizing it at the incentive level, through projects like Brave and other blockchain-based systems, which empower the user, not the platform to decide which content has value and which doesn’t.

Beware the deplatforming of Facebook, it’s just another brick in the wall.

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George Soros: Latest Tactic is ‘Turn Texas Blue’ – Destroy ...

 

 

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William Barr: FBI Falsified Documents to Continue Spying on Trump & Co. After Election

Posted by M. C. on December 11, 2019

So the Justice Department, which the FIB is part of, clears the FIB.

Why should we be surprised that there are problems when the FBI investigates possible crimes they are accused of?

The Senate is investigating the FBI but that means the FBI investigates itself for the most part because the Senate relies on the FBI to give it documents. Journalist Sharyl Attkisson points out that there is (duh) a real conflict of interest in the entire investigation. And she also points out that the FBI is making decisions about how much to redact requested documents.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/10/william-barr-fbi-falsified-documents-to-continue-spying-on-trump-co-after-election/

by Joshua Caplan

Attorney General William Barr says the FBI falsified documents to continue its surveillance of President Donald Trump and his associates after winning the 2016 election, revealing a detail not found in the Inspector General’s review of the Bureau’s “Crossfire Hurricane” operation in a Tuesday interview with NBC News reporter Pete Williams.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

PETE WILLIAMS: What questions will John Durham address that the IG didn’t?

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: Durham is looking at the whole waterfront. He is looking at the issue of how it got started. He’s looking at whether or not the narrative of Trump being involved in the Russia interference actually preceded July and was it, in fact, the precipitating trigger for the investigation. He’s also looking at the conduct of the investigation. There were some things done in the investigation that are not included in Horowitz’s report. He’s looking at those things. But also, a few weeks ago, I told him that he should spend just as much attention on the post-election period. I did that because of some of the stuff that Horowitz has uncovered, which, to me, inexplicable.

WILLIAMS: Such as?

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR: Their case collapsed after the election and they never told the court. They kept on getting renewals on these applications. There were documents falsified in order to get these renewals. There were all kinds of withholding of information from the court. The question really is: “What was the agenda after the election?” They kept on pressing ahead after their case collapsed. This is the President of the United States.

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Inconvenient Truths – Alarming things we have learned under Trump, but not always about him.

Posted by M. C. on November 8, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/11/stephen-f-cohen/inconvenient-truths/

By

The Nation

Almost daily for three years, Democrats and their media have told us very bad things about Donald Trump’s life, character, and presidency. Some of them are true. But in the process, we have also learned some lamentable, even alarming, things about the Democratic Party establishment, including self-professed liberals. Consider the following:

The Democratic establishment is deeply and widely imbued with rancid Russophobic attitudes. Most telling was (and remains) a core “Russiagate” allegation that “Russia attacked American democracy during the 2016 presidential election” on Trump’s behalf—an “attack” so nefarious it has often been equated with Pearl Harbor. But there was no “attack” in 2016, only, as I have previously explained, ritualistic “meddling” of the kind that both Russia and America have undertaken in the other’s elections for decades. Little can be more phobic than the allegation or belief that one has been “attacked by a hostile” entity. And yet this myth and its false narrative persist in the Democratic Party’s discourse, campaigning, and fund-raising.

We have also learned that the heads of America’s intelligence agencies under President Obama, especially John Brennan of the CIA and James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, felt themselves entitled to try to undermine an American presidential candidacy and subsequent presidency, that of Donald Trump. Early on, I termed this operation “Intelgate,” and it has since been well documented by other writers, including Lee Smith in his new book. Intel officials did so in tacit alliance with certain leading, and equally Russophobic, members of the Democratic Party, which had once opposed such transgressions. This may be the most alarming revelation of the Trump years: Trump will leave power, but these self-aggrandizing intelligence agencies will remain.

§ We also learned that, contrary to Democratic dogma, the mainstream “free press” cannot be fully trusted to readily expose such abuses of power. Indeed, what the mainstream media—leading national newspapers and two cable news networks, in particular—chose to cover and report, and chose not to cover and report, made the abuses and consequences of Russiagate allegations possible. Even now, exceedingly influential publications such as The New York Times seem eager to delegitimize the investigation by Attorney General William Barr and his appointed special investigator John Durham into the origins of Russiagate. Barr’s critics accuse him of fabricating a “conspiracy theory” on behalf of Trump. But the real, or grandest, conspiracy theory was the Russiagate allegation of “collusion” between Trump and the Kremlin, an accusation that was—or should have been—discredited by the Robert Mueller report.

§ And we have learned, or should have learned, that for all the talk by Democrats about Trump as a danger to US national security, it is their Russiagate allegations that truly endanger it. Consider two examples. Russia’s new “hyper-sonic” missiles, which can elude US missile-defense systems, make new nuclear arms negotiations with Moscow imperative and urgent. If only for the sake of his legacy, Trump is likely to want to do so.But even if he is able to, will Trump be entrusted enough to conduct negotiations as successfully as did his predecessors in the White House, given the “Putin puppet” and “Kremlin stooge” accusations still being directed at him? Similarly, as I have asked repeatedly, if confronted with a US-Russian Cuban missile–like crisis—anywhere Washington and Moscow are currently eyeball-to-eyeball militarily, from the Baltic region and Ukraine to Syria—will Trump be as free politically as was President John F. Kennedy to resolve it without war? Here too there is an inconvenient truth: To the extent that Democrats any longer seriously discuss national security in the context of US-Russian relations, it mostly involves vilifying both Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. (Recall also that previous presidents were free to negotiate with Russia’s Soviet communist leaders, even encouraged to do so, whereas the demonized Putin is an anti-communist, post-Soviet leader.)

The current state of US-Russian relations is unprecedentedly dangerous, not only due to reasons cited here—a new Cold War fraught with the possibility of hot war. Whether President Trump serves one or two terms, he must be fully empowered to cope with the multiple possibilities of a US-Russian military confrontation. That requires ridding him and our nation of Russiagate allegations—and that in turn requires learning how such allegations originated.

Opponents of Barr’s investigation into the origins of Russiagate say it is impermissible or unprecedented to “investigate the investigators.” But the bipartisan Church Committee, based in the US Senate, did so in the mid-1970s. It exposed many abuses by US intelligence agencies, particularly by the CIA, and adopted remedies that it believed would be permanent. Clearly, they have not been.

However well-intentioned Barr may be, he is Trump’s attorney general and therefore not fully credible. As I have also argued repeatedly, a new Church Committee is urgently needed. It’s time for honorable members of the Senate of both parties to do their duty.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Sentence First, Crime Later?

Posted by M. C. on November 5, 2019

This would allow the government to read all messages — even those that are encrypted, making it all but impossible to escape the government’s watchful eye.

They do that already. This merely legalization.

A recent internal FBI memo warned that a belief in “conspiracy theories” is a sign that someone could be a domestic terrorist. “Conspiracy theorist” is an all-purpose smear used against anyone who questions the government’s official narrative on an event or issue. Tying a belief in “conspiracy theory” to terrorism is an effort to not just stigmatize but actually criminalize dissenting thoughts on matters such as foreign policy, climate change, gun control, and the Federal Reserve.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2019/november/04/sentence-first-crime-later/

Written by Ron Paul

Attorney General William Barr recently sent a memo to law enforcement officials announcing a new federal initiative that would use techniques and tools developed in the war on terror, such as mass surveillance, to identify potential mass shooters. Those so identified would be targets of early interventions, which would include the disregarding of Second Amendment rights, as well as the imposing of mandatory counseling and involuntary commitment.

The program would likely match data collected via mass surveillance with algorithms designed to identify those with mental problems that would lead them to commit violent crimes. So, this program would deprive Americans of respect for their rights not because they committed, or even threaten to commit, a violent act but because their tweets, texts, or Facebook posts trigger a government algorithm.

In order to enhance the government’s ability to conduct mass surveillance, Barr has been trying to force tech companies to allow the government to have a “backdoor” for accessing electronic information. This would allow the government to read all messages — even those that are encrypted, making it all but impossible to escape the government’s watchful eye.

Many mental health professionals admit that diagnosing mental health issues involves a degree of subjectivity. So how can we trust a government-designed computer algorithm to accurately identify those with mental health problems? The answer is we can’t. Barr’s program will no doubt result in many individuals who are not a threat to anyone being deprived of respect for their rights. The program will also fail in detecting future mass shooters.

Some mental health professionals argue that holding certain political beliefs is a sign of mental illness. Not surprisingly, federal agencies like the FBI agree that those expressing “anti-government extremism”— like supporting a constitutional republic instead of a welfare-warfare state — are potential threats.

A recent internal FBI memo warned that a belief in “conspiracy theories” is a sign that someone could be a domestic terrorist. “Conspiracy theorist” is an all-purpose smear used against anyone who questions the government’s official narrative on an event or issue. Tying a belief in “conspiracy theory” to terrorism is an effort to not just stigmatize but actually criminalize dissenting thoughts on matters such as foreign policy, climate change, gun control, and the Federal Reserve.

Some people support using political beliefs as a basis for labeling someone as “mentally disturbed” because they think it will mainly affect “right-wing extremists.” These people are ignoring the FBI’s history of harassing civil rights and antiwar activists, as well as the recent controversy over the FBI labeling “black identity extremists” as a threat.

A government program to monitor electronic communications to identify potential mass shooters puts all Americans at risk of losing their liberty due to their political views or a few social media posts. All those who value liberty must oppose this dangerous program.

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AG William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program

Posted by M. C. on October 29, 2019

And some of us thought Barr was a good guy.

Power, control, the US Department of “Justice”

The DOJ, which includes the FIB, has its own “living” definition of crime.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/william-barr-formally-announces-orwellian-pre-crime-program/262504/

by Whitney Webb
Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public.

Barr also requested that those who received the memorandum send their “best and brightest” to a training conference at FBI headquarters this coming December where the DOJ, FBI and “private sector partners” will prepare for the full implementation of the new policy and will also be able to provide “new ideas” for inclusion in the program.

Perhaps the most jarring aspect of the memorandum is Barr’s frank admission that many of the “early engagement” tactics that the new program would utilize were “born of the posture we adopted with respect to terrorist threats.” In other words, the foundation for many of the policies utilized following the post-9/11 “war on terror” are also the foundation for the “early engagement” tactics that Barr seeks to use to identify potential criminals as part of this new policy. Though those “war on terror” policies have largely targeted individuals abroad, Barr’s memorandum makes it clear that some of those same controversial tactics will soon be used domestically.

Barr’s memorandum also alludes to current practices by the FBI and DOJ that will shape the new plan. Though more specifics of the new policy will be provided in the forthcoming notice, Barr notes that “newly developed tactics” used by the Joint Terrorist Task Forces “include the use of clinical psychologists, threat assessment professionals, intervention teams and community groups” to detect risk and suggests that the new “early engagement program” will work along similar lines. Barr also alludes to this “community” approach in a separate instance, when he writes that “when the public ‘says something’ to alert us to a potential threat, we must do something.”

However, the memorandum differentiates suspected terrorists from the individuals this new program is set to pursue. Barr states that, unlike many historical terrorism cases, “many of today’s public safety threats appear abruptly and with sometimes only ambiguous indications of intent” and that many of these individuals “exhibit symptoms of mental illness and/or have substance abuse problems.”

Thus, the goal of the program is ostensibly to circumvent these issues by finding new and likely controversial ways to determine intent. As will be shown later in this report, Barr’s recent actions suggest that the way this will be accomplished is through increased mass surveillance of everyday Americans and the use of algorithms to analyze that bulk data for vaguely defined symptoms of “mental illness.”

Barr also suggested the likely courses of action that would follow the identification of a given individual as a “potential mass shooter.” The Attorney General notes that in past cases individuals deemed a violent or terroristic threat before they commit a crime are subject to “detention, court-ordered mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, electronic monitoring”, among other measures. Ostensibly, the new program would then apply these same practices to individuals in the U.S. that federal authorities believe are “mobilizing towards violence,” as Barr put it.

Bill Barr’s been busy

The memorandum, despite heralding a new era of Orwellian surveillance and “pre-crime” on a national level, has been sparsely covered by the mainstream media. One of the few reports that did cover the new Justice Department policy, published Wednesday by the Huffington Post, framed the new Barr-led initiative as largely positive and asserted that the “anti-terror tactics” to which Barr alluded could “help thwart mass shooters.” No mention was made in the piece of the threat such a program is likely to pose to civil liberties.

Furthermore, no mention was made of Barr’s clear push over the past few months to lay the groundwork for this recently announced program. Indeed, since becoming Attorney General under President Trump, Barr has spearheaded numerous efforts to this end, including pushing for a government backdoor into consumer apps or devices that utilize encryption and for a dramatic increase of long-standing yet controversial warrantless electronic surveillance programs.

On July 23rd, Barr gave the keynote address at the 2019 International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) and mainly focused on the need for consumer electronic products and applications that use encryption to offer a “backdoor” for the government, specifically law enforcement, in order to obtain access to encrypted communications as a matter of public safety.

Barr went onto say that “warrant-proof encryption is also seriously impairing our ability to monitor and combat domestic and foreign terrorists.” Barr stated that “smaller terrorist groups and ‘lone wolf’ actors” — such as those involved in the series of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio that occurred in the weeks after his speech — “have turned increasingly to encryption.” Barr later noted that he was specifically referencing encryption used by “consumer products and services such as messaging, smartphones, email, and voice and data applications.”

To overcome the resistance by some private companies — who do not want to renege on their right to privacy by giving the government backdoor access to their devices — and American consumers, Barr tellingly anticipated “a major incident may occur at any time that will galvanize public opinion on these issues.” Shortly after this speech, several mass shootings, including one at an El Paso Walmart took place, which again brought the issue to the forefront of political discourse.

As MintPress reported at the time, Barr’s uncanny prediction and a litany of other oddities related to the El Paso shooting left many answered questions about the FBI’s foreknowledge of the event. In addition, the tragedy did appear to serve as the very “galvanizing” event that Barr had anticipated, as the solution offered by President Trump in the wake of the shootings was the creation of a government backdoor into encryption as well as calling for the very pre-crime system Barr formally announced just last week.

The pre-crime dragnet takes shape

More recently, Barr and U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a data access agreement on October 3rd that allows both countries to demand electronic data on consumers from tech companies based in the other country without legal restrictions. It is the first executive agreement reached as part of the controversial Clarifying Overseas Use of Data Act or CLOUD Act passed by the U.S. Congress last year.

The CLOUD Act has come under fire from rights groups who have warned that the legislation gives “unlimited jurisdiction to U.S. law enforcement over any data controlled by a service provider, regardless of where the data is stored and who created it” and that this also “applies to content, metadata, and subscriber information”, including private messages.

Yet, Barr and Patel claimed that the data access agreement will instead “enhance” civil liberties and further asserted that the agreement would be used to go after “pedophiles” and “organized crime”, even though both Barr and his U.K. equivalent have shown minimal interest in pursuing the co-conspirators of child sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, whose sex trafficking network has been linked to both organized crime and the intelligence agencies of both the U.S. and Israel. Some have charged that the lack of interest on the part of William Barr is due to the fact that Barr’s father once hired the now deceased pedophile.

Notably, Jeffrey Epstein also had an apparent interest in pre-crime technologies, and was a key funder of the controversial technology company Carbyne911, along with former Israeli Prime Minister and close Epstein associate Ehud Barak. Carbyne911 is one of several Israeli companies that market their software products to the U.S. as a means of reducing mass shootings and improving the response times of emergency service providers. These companies boast numerous and troubling connections to the governments and intelligence communities of both the U.S. and Israel. Epstein, himself linked to the intelligence apparatuses of both nations, invested at least $1 million in Carbyne911 through a “data mining” company he controlled.

As was detailed in a recent MintPress exposé on these companies, Carbyne911 and similar companies extract any and all data from consumer smartphones for merely making emergency calls and then use it to “analyze the past and present behavior of their callers, react accordingly, and in time predict future patterns,” with the ultimate goal of smart devices making emergency calls to the authorities, as opposed to human beings.

Data obtained from these software products, already used by several U.S. counties and slated to be adopted nationwide as part of a new national “next generation” 911 system, will then be shared with the same law enforcement agencies who will soon be implementing Barr’s “national disruption and early engagement program” to target individuals flagged as potentially violent based on vague criteria.

Notably, following the El Paso shooting, President Trump has been mulling the creation of a new federal agency known as HARPA that would work with the Department of Justice to use “breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence,” specifically “advanced analytical tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.” The data to be analyzed would be harvested from consumer electronic devices as well as information provided by health-care providers to identify who may be a threat.

It is important to point out that such initiatives, whether HARPA or Barr’s newly announced program, are likely to define “mental illness” to include some political beliefs, given that the FBI recently stated in an internal memo that “conspiracy theories” were motivating some domestic terror threats and a series of questionable academic studies have sought to link “conspiracy theorists” to mental illnesses. Thus, the Department of Justice and “mental health professionals” have essentially already defined those who express disbelief in official government narratives as both a terror threat and mentally ill — and thus worthy of special attention from pre-crime programs.

Sleepwalking into a nightmare

This widely overlooked background is crucial to understanding William Barr’s recent memorandum and the massive and greatly underreported shift in the policy it heralds. Over a period of several months, Barr — aided by “private sector partners” as well as other current and former government officials — has been laying the groundwork for the system he has now formally announced.

Through the software products offered by companies like Carbyne911 and through Barr’s personal crusade to mandate government backdoors into encrypted software and products, Barr’s new pre-crime program already has the tools for the mass extraction and storage of consumer data by means of both private tech companies and public services like emergency call centers.

Through the already drafted plan for HARPA and its proposed solution to identifying “mental illness” via artificial intelligence and machine learning, this newly announced “pre-crime” program will have the means to analyze the mass of data harvested from consumer electronic devices from Carbyne and other means using vague “mental health criteria.”

While many of the specifics of the program remain unknown, the actions of Barr and others in government and private sectors show that this newly announced initiative is the product of years of careful planning and many of the tactics and tools it is poised to use have been in the works for months and even years.

In recent decades, and especially after the September 11 attacks, Americans have quietly traded an increasing number of civil liberties for increased government “counter-terrorism” programs and wars purportedly waged to “keep us safe.” Now, those same policies used to target “terrorists” are set to be used against ordinary Americans, whose electronic lives and communications are now set to be scoured for evidence of “mental illness.” If these untransparent algorithms flag an individual, that could be enough lead to court-ordered “mental health treatment” or even imprisonment regardless of whether or not a crime was committed or even planned.

As a consequence, William Barr’s coming “pre-crime” program is arguably worse than the stuff of dystopian science fiction novels and films as it not only aims to detain Americans who have committed no crime but will expressly target individuals based on their use of electronic consumer products and the contents of their communications with their friends, family, co-workers, and others.

Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

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US in Moral Decline – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 23, 2019

Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to such use, do you believe that there should be the initiation of force against him?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/10/walter-e-williams/us-in-moral-decline/

By

Last week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr told a University of Notre Dame Law School audience that attacks on religious liberty have contributed to a moral decline that’s in part manifested by increases in suicides, mental illness and drug addiction. Barr said that our moral decline is not random but “organized destruction.” Namely that “Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

The attorney general is absolutely correct. Whether we have the stomach to own up to it or not, we have become an immoral people left with little more than the pretense of morality. The left’s attack on religion is just the tiny tip of the iceberg in our nation’s moral decline. You say: “That’s a pretty heavy charge, Williams. You’d better be prepared to back it up with evidence!” I’ll try with a few questions for you to answer.

Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to such use, do you believe that there should be the initiation of force against him? Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a yes or no. For me the answer is no to both questions. I bet that nearly every college professor, politician or even minister could not give a simple yes or no response.

A no answer, translated to public policy, would slash the federal budget by no less than two-thirds to three-quarters. After all most federal spending consist of taking the earnings of one American to give to another American in the form of farm subsidies, business bailouts, aid to higher education, welfare and food stamps. Keep in mind that Congress has no resources of its own. Plus there’s no Santa Claus or tooth fairy that gives Congress resources. Thus, the only way that Congress can give one American a dollar is to first, through intimidation and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American.

Such actions by the U.S. Congress should offend any sense of moral decency. If you’re a Christian or a Jew, you should be against the notion of one American living at the expense of some other American. When God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that He did not mean thou shalt not steal unless there is a majority vote in the U.S. Congress. By the way, I do not take this position because I don’t believe in helping our fellow man. I believe that helping those in need by reaching into one’s own pocket to do is praiseworthy and laudable. But helping one’s fellow man in need by reaching into somebody else’s pockets to do so is worthy of condemnation.

We must own up to the fact that laws and regulations alone cannot produce a civilized society. Morality is society’s first line of defense against uncivilized behavior. Religious teachings, one way of inculcating morality, have been under siege in our country for well over a half a century. In the name of not being judgmental and the vision that one lifestyle or set of values is just as good as another, traditional moral absolutes have been abandoned as guiding principles. We no longer hold people accountable for their behavior and we accept excuses. The moral problems Attorney General William Barr mentioned in his speech, plus murder, mayhem and other forms of anti-social behavior, will continue until we regain our moral footing.

In 1798, John Adams, a leading Founding Father and our second president said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I am all too afraid that a historian, writing a few hundred years from now, will note that the liberty American enjoyed was simply a historical curiosity. Then it all returned to mankind’s normal state of affairs — arbitrary abuse and control by the powerful elite.

 

 

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CIA Analysts Lawyer Up As Brennan, Clapper Ensnared In Expanding Russiagate Probe | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on October 20, 2019

Dunham, Barr and associates better watch their backs.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/cia-analysts-lawyer-brennan-clapper-ensnared-expanding-russiagate-probe

CIA analysts involved in the intelligence assessment of Russia’s activities during the 2016 US election have begun to hire attorneys, as Attorney General William Barr expands his investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, led by US Attorney John Durham.
US Attorney John Durham

The prosecutor conducting the review, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, has expressed his intent to interview a number of current and former intelligence officials involved in examining Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper, Brennan told NBC News. –NBC

NBC learned of the ‘lawyering up’ from three former CIA officials “familiar with the matter,” while two more anonymous leakers claim there’s tension between the Justice Department and the CIA over what classified documents Durham has access to….

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Who’s Afraid of William Barr? | The Nation

Posted by M. C. on July 20, 2019

…his primary focus was not the hapless FBI under James Comey but the CIA under John Brennan.

https://www.thenation.com/article/whos-afraid-of-william-barr/

By Stephen F. Cohen

William Barr, a two-time attorney general who served at the CIA in the 1970s, would seem to be an ultimate Washington insider. According to his Wikipedia biography, he has—or he had—“a sterling reputation” both among Republicans and Democrats. That changed when Barr announced his ongoing investigation into the origins of Russiagate, a vital subject I, too, have explored.

As Barr explained, “What we’re looking at is: What was the predicate for conducting a counterintelligence investigation on the Trump campaign.… How did the bogus narrative begin that Trump was essentially in cahoots with Russia to interfere with the U.S. election?” Still more, Barr, who is empowered to declassify highly sensitive documents, made clear that his primary focus was not the hapless FBI under James Comey but the CIA under John Brennan. Evidently this was too much for leading Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, who assailed Barr for having “just destroyed…the scintilla of credibility that he had left.” Not known for a sense of irony, Schumer accused Barr of using “the words of conspiracy theorists,” as though Russiagate itself is not among the most malign and consequential conspiracy theories in American political history.

More indicative is the reaction of the generally liberal pro-Democratic New York Times and Washington Post, the country’s two most important political newspapers, to Barr’s investigation. Leaning heavily on the “expert” opinion of former intelligence officials and McCarthy-echoing members of Congress such as Adam Schiff, both papers went into outrage mode. The Times bemoaned Barr’s “drastic escalation of [Trump’s] yearslong assault on the intelligence community” while rejecting “the president’s unfounded claims that his campaign had been spied on,” even though some forms of FBI and CIA infiltration and surveillance of the 2016 Trump campaign are now well documented. (See, for example, Lee Smith’s reporting.)

Unconcerned by the activities of either agency, the papers warned ominously that Barr’s probe “effectively strips [the CIA] of its most critical power: choosing which secrets it shares and which remain hidden.” It “could be tremendously damaging to the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies.” Not surprisingly, given the Times’ three-year role in promulgating Russiagate allegations, it preempted Barr’s investigation by declaring that US intelligence agencies’ covert actions were part of “a lawful investigation aimed at understanding a foreign power’s efforts to manipulate an American election.” Considering what is now known, this generalization seems a whitewash both of the Times’ coverage and the agencies’ conduct. (In the Post, see coverage by Toluse Olorunnipa and Shane Harris.)

Hillary Clinton, also not surprisingly, agreed. As paraphrased by Matt Stevens in the Times on May 3, she accused Barr of diverting attention “from what the real story is. The real story is the Russian interference in our election.” According to the defeated Democratic candidate, “the Russians were successful in sowing ‘discord and divisiveness’ in the country, and helping Mr. Trump.” But who has actually sowed more “discord and divisiveness” in America—the Russians or Mrs. Clinton and her supporters, by still refusing to accept the legitimacy of her electoral loss and Trump’s victory?

Unfortunately, but predictably, Barr’s investigation has become polarizing, with Fox News, for example, bannering each new unsavory Russiagate revelation and the Times and the Post mostly ignoring them altogether. In particular, the Democratic Party, once traditionally skeptical of intelligence agencies, is becoming the party of an intel cult and thus of the new US-Russian Cold War. Only a few of the party’s leaders, notably presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, demur from this dangerous folly. (Might Democratic reticence also be due to the circumstance that the intelligence chiefs now under investigation were appointees of former President Obama, who has been remarkably silent about the entire Russiagate saga? What, as I have asked previously, did Obama know, when did he know it, and what did he do?)

Everyone who cares about the quality of American political life, no matter what they think about Trump, should encourage Barr’s probe…

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nsa-spying-2

 

 

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The Hidden Reason The ‘Russia Collusion’ Investigation Ever Got Started – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on June 26, 2019

Montgomery claims that Brennan and Clapper used the super-surveillance system Montgomery designed to spy on Article III federal judges, including the onetime head of the FISA court Judge Reggie Walton

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/06/25/news-the-hidden-reason-the-russia-collusion-investigation-ever-got-started/

By

In Brief

  • The Facts:While many have come to conclude that Donald Trump did not collude with Russia, there may be a deeper and darker explanation as to why the Russia Collusion probe started other than powerful people having a strong dislike for Donald Trump.
  • Reflect On:Can we see the “Russia Collusion” probe as a form of “projection” of the crimes that the accusers themselves had a hand in committing?

If the investigation into whether or not Donald Trump colluded with Russia and the ensuing ‘special counsel’ headed by Robert Mueller is starting to look to you like little more than a smoke screen, you are not alone. If FBI agent Peter Strzok’s text message that ‘there’s no big there there’ seems prophetically self-incriminating, you are on the right track. And if Attorney General William Barr’s appointment of US attorney John Durham to investigate how the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election began has you anticipating that maybe, finally, the floodgates of truth are about to open wide, I would not be one to bet against you.

Nothing is guaranteed in the political arena, of course. Certainly not in terms of the public being told the truth of what is really going on in the chambers of power. Nor should we be looking to our elected leaders or their appointees for our ultimate salvation. However, for those with an ear to the ground and a sense of the rising dramatic tension in political theatre, it seems that there is nothing else left but for the truth behind the weakening veils of deception to start gushing out.

There is now an abundance of riches when it comes to evidence that there is a shadow government, a Deep State, that has long wielded the power behind the U.S. Government, and has operated in its own self-interest to the detriment of the American people and their liberties. The notion that the entire ‘Russia Collusion’ narrative was founded on the desire of this shadow government to hide its own activities from the public, and project its own crimes onto innocent people, will start to make more and more sense to an ever-widening audience in the coming months.

Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery

In a May 12th article by Mary Fanning and Alan Jones of theAmericanReport.org entitled “Comey Launched Trump Russia Investigation Day After General Exposed ‘The Hammer‘,” we learn about inventor and software designer Dennis Montgomery, a CIA/DOD/DHS/NSA/FBI contractor-turned-whistleblower.

Writer’s Note: As soon as I had written the line above I clicked on the link to the American Report article as I wanted to review it and select some quotes from it. Below is a screenshot of the message I received:

This sort of thing can no longer be considered ‘coincidence’. These technical glitches can only happen so many times before we are able to presume that this is evidence of intentional sabotage to prevent people from knowing the truth. In his radio show Operation Freedom, Dave Janda warned about this very thing–that the deep investigative articles on this site might soon be shut down by this ‘can’t provide a secure connection’ message…

The ‘Hammer’

Read the rest of this entry »

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