And authoritarian American psychologists are eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a trip to the insane asylum. (Those traits may also get one labeled as a potential terrorist.)
Even psychologists with good intentions can erroneously label people delusional simply because they themselves make bad assumptions.
The process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient’s perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.
The authors of a paper on this phenomenon (Bell, V., Halligan, P.W., Ellis, H.D. (2003) Beliefs About Delusions. The Psychologist, 6 (8), 418-422) conclude:
Sometimes, improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness [due to a] failure or inability to verify whether the events have actually taken place, no matter how improbable intuitively they might appear to the busy clinician.
In other words, psychologists who haven’t taken the time to examine for themselves the claims of their patients will tend to label as delusional anything which they “intuitively” feel is improbable. As such, psychologists and psychiatrists are just as prone to acting out their irrational prejudices as anyone else … unless they take the time to investigate and educate themselves.
Governments Indefinitely Detaining Citizens In Psychiatric Wards Without Due Process of Law
As such, detention in psych wards on mere “suspicion” of posing a danger – without due process of law – is troubling.
Police – acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional – took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.
Col. Thierry Dupuis, the county police chief, said Raub was taken into custody upon the recommendation of mental health crisis intervention workers. He said the action was taken under the state’s emergency custody statute, which allows a magistrate to order the civil detention and psychiatric evaluation of a person who is considered potentially dangerous.
The [British] Government has established a shadowy new national anti-terrorist unit to protect VIPs, with the power to detain suspects indefinitely using mental health laws.
The team’s psychiatrists and psychologists then have the power to order treatment – including forcibly detaining suspects in secure psychiatric units.
Using these powers, the unit can legally detain people for an indefinite period without trial, criminal charges or even evidence of a crime being committed and with very limited rights of appeal.
Until now it has been the exclusive decision of doctors and mental health professionals to determine if someone should be forcibly detained.
But the new unit uses the police to identify suspects – increasing fears the line is being blurred between criminal investigation and doctors’ clinical decisions.
Scotland Yard, which runs the shadowy unit, refuses to discuss how many suspects have been forcibly hospitalised by the team because of “patient confidentiality”.
The purpose of the centre is “to evaluate and manage the risk posed to prominent people by…those who engage in inappropriate or threatening communications or behaviours in the context of abnormally intense preoccupations, many [Many? That means that some are not] of which arise from psychotic illness.”
Who gets to decide what “inappropriate” or “threatening” means? What if a whistleblower has information that a member of parliament has engaged in bribes? Would trying to reveal such information constitute “inappropriate or threatening communications or behaviours” in the context of “abnormally intense preoccupations” with that MP’s illegal actions?
The Mail continues:
So-called ‘sectioning’ allows a patient to be held for up to six months before a further psychological assessment. Patients are then reviewed every year to determine if they can be released.
Human rights activists fear the team, whose existence has never been publicised, may be being used as a way to detain suspected terrorists without having to put evidence before the courts.
Last night human rights group Liberty said the secret unit represented a new threat to civil liberties.
Policy director Gareth Crossman said: “There is a grave danger of this being used to deal with people where there is insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution.
“This blurs the line between medical decisions and police actions. If you are going to allow doctors to take people’s liberty away, they have to be independent. That credibility is undermined when the doctors are part of the same team as the police.
“This raises serious concerns. First that you have a unit that allows police investigation to lead directly to people being sectioned without any kind of criminal proceedings.
“Secondly, it is being done under the umbrella of anti-terrorism at a time when the Government is looking at ways to detain terrorists without putting them on trial.”
The team examined thousands of cases and liaised with the FBI, the US Secret Service, the Capitol Hill Police, which protects Congressmen and Senators, and the Swedish and Norwegian secret services.
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The Government is trying to bring in a wider definition of mental disorder and is resisting exclusions which ensure that people cannot be treated as mentally disordered on the grounds of their cultural, political or religious beliefs.
“When you hear they are also setting up something like this police unit, it raises questions about quite what their intentions are.
“The use of mental health powers of detention should be confined to the purposes of treatment. But the Government wants to be able to detain someone who is mentally disordered even when the treatment would have no benefit.
“Combined with the idea that someone could be classed as mentally ill on the grounds of their religious beliefs, it is a very worrying scenario.”
Indeed, while they obviously haven’t said that the government was involved, 9/11 Commissioners have said we need further investigation and that the American people should question 9/11. Does that mean they should they be committed to the same psych ward which Mr. Raub and Ms. Swinney enjoyed? Of course not.
Some people believe that 9/11 was wholly unforeseeable. Others believe that government personnel were criminally negligent in letting 9/11 happen, and then obstructed justice to cover it up. See this, this, this, this, and this. Still others believe that rogue government personnel allowed 9/11 to happen, or even played a role in the attacks themselves.
Whatever one believes about 9/11, isn’t our society built on freedom of speech? And if someone has kooky theories, won’t the scientific method and free debate defeat the baseless theories? Isn’t that what modern society is all about?
For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon. This should be a wake-up call to Americans that the police state is here.”
What Do Mental Health Professionals Say About Those Who Question 9/11?
Many sociologists and mental health professionals say that those who believe the official version without any questioning are the ones suffering from psychological defense mechanisms.
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, as well as Radiology, at Duke University Medical Center D. Lawrence Burk, Jr., MD
Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Rutgers University Barry R. Komisaruk
Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Global Health in the College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Michael D. Knox
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Laura Schafer
Similarly, American apologists for the powers-that-be are eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a trip to the insane asylum. (Those traits may also get one labeled as a potential terrorist.)
But most mental health professionals who assume that those who question 9/11 are crazy are simply victims of the the “Martha Mitchell Effect”:
The process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient’s perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.
The authors of a paper on this phenomenon (Bell, V., Halligan, P.W., Ellis, H.D. (2003) Beliefs About Delusions. The Psychologist, 6 (8), 418-422) conclude:
Sometimes, improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness [due to a] failure or inability to verify whether the events have actually taken place, no matter how improbable intuitively they might appear to the busy clinician.
In other words, psychologists who haven’t taken the time to examine for themselves the claims of their patients will tend to label as delusional anything which they “intuitively” feel is improbable.
As such, psychologists and psychiatrists are just as prone to acting out their irrational prejudices as anyone else … unless they take the time to investigate and educate themselves.
Postscript: We do not condone violence. Virtually all those who question the government’s version of 9/11 are peaceful, non-violent folks.
Related: Ex-Marine Brandon Raub Detained for Anti-Government Messages on FaceBook; First Amendment Rights Potentially Violated, Says Civil Liberties Group
A former Marine was detained for psychiatric evaluation after posting several anti-government messages on Facebook. Police are not using the word “arrest” for the matter but “detained” as under state law in Virginia police can allow emergency and temporary psychiatric detention upon the recommendation of a mental health professional.
The Marine, named Brandon Raub, has been in custody after FBI, Secret Service, and Virginia’s Chesterfield County police questioned him last Thursday evening about Facebook posts of a pending revolution.
One of Raub’s message was, “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads.”
Raub has since been in the John Randolph Medical Center, and has not been charged with any crime.
The detainment of Raub has led to public outcry as people state it might have infringed on Raub’s First Amendment rights. Further complaints came from a YouTube video showing Raub being thrown to the ground by police.
The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil liberties group, has given Raub one of their attorneys for a hearing scheduled on Monday.
“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon,” said the institute’s executive director John Whitehead.
According to CBS Richmond affiliate WTVR, Raub’s mother Cathleen Thomas said his son has no history of a mental illness.
“He never was violent or psychotic or anything like that,” said Cathleen Thomas to WTVR. “There were just conversations we had back and forth, very deep.”
Another of Raub’s postings was, “There is evil going on all around the world. The United States was meant to lead the charge against injustice, but through our example not our force. People do not respond to having liberty and freedom forced on them.”
“Our views are very strong because we are patriots,” Thomas added. “Our stance in this family is to question everything…when we lose the right to be able to stand up and say how we feel, no matter what it’s about, I think that we need to be very concerned. Because what it speaks to me is that they’re trying to shut people up. They’re trying to squelch the message.”
Raub served as a combat engineer sergeant in both Iraq and Afganistan.
A free internet has enabled millions to realize the truth about the Zionist occupational government (ZOG) – Zionist power in America and in governments of the world. It has also greatly helped enlarge our understanding of the historic role of Jewish supremacism in fomenting movements such as free masonry, communism, and hate crimes legislation, designed to hasten Jewish world dominion. (See Jewish Activists Created Communism)
In response, the government of Israel has enlisted tens of thousands of Jewish “cyber warriors” worldwide to help counter truth on thousands of blogs and websites. (Web server Go Daddy terminated Truthtellers.org last month because of such pressure.) The Jewish Anti-Defamation League continues to push for federal legislation, or a U.S. Department of Education decree, making it a “hate crime” against Jewish students to criticize Israel on university campuses. Last week the Jewish Telegraph Agency described criticism of Israel at US colleges as “overwhelming.” Israel is clearly unable to stem the tide, even in the “pro-Israel” U.S.A.
Thus, we appear to still enjoy a free society with civil liberties and rights to freedom of speech. Yet, behind the scenes, a phalanx of technology is being created that could be used to ultimately quell and outlaw inconvenient truth. Such technology, combined with legal precedent and a society well trained to hate “discriminators” and “the intolerant,” could do what still looks impossible today: Make Brave New World a reality.
Steps Toward Total Surveillance
The book New Conspiracy Reader (2004) presents four major components necessary for the level of control and surveillance required for a centrally controlled, global government:
Super-fast digital face scan software: This implies super-fast computers. The Zionist New World Order wants “digi-photo” files on every person on earth so that, even in speeding traffic, their computers can identify and track dissidents.
A federally accessible database of digi-photographs. The Real I.D. Act of 2005, plus Facebook, gives substance to such a database. Laws have been changed to require that passports include digital biometrics, with digi-photos. Facebook is a database of millions of digi-photos.
Interception of internet traffic and downloading to computer sites. Israeli-backed companies Narus and Verint, with the help of NSA (the National Security Agency), through their hard and software taps, now monitor our telecommunications.
Web cameras linked to the internet, installed at key places in the U.S. and overseas, especially airports. Eventually, entirely linked to the internet, face scans, integrated with the files NSA already is keeping on at least a million Americans, will provide ZOG with an even more complete record of our movements.
All data will be stored in federal computers such as NSA’s Utah Data Center near Bluffdale. (See New NSA Spy Center: Total Invasion of Your Privacy) (This computer complex, occupying a million square feet, will be the world’s fastest and largest to date, permanently storing everything the government is at present illegally discovering about you.)
The above surveillance tools sound like spooky nightmares from Orwell. Yet they are already becoming a reality. In May Congress passed the FAAReauthorization and Reform Act of 2011, opening the door for as many as 30,000 drones to patrol U.S. air space by the end of the decade, feeding information to federal databases.
NSA’s Jaguar computer allegedly is able to pinpoint the location of anyone downloading online. New technology provides similar ability to track computer users. For years, the Israeli government has used drones to pinpoint locations of Hamas and other Arab leaders, empowering IDF to destroy them from the air. Imagine this power someday used by the US government.
Think that can’t happen in your nation? That’s what wealthy Russians thought at their tea parties in 1916. If the 20th century taught us anything, it is the bottomless capacity of human beings to brutalize those they have dehumanized or labeled as enemies of the “common good.”
Today, western governments increasingly pursue technologies and legal precedents that quietly steal all our freedoms. Thinly justified as necessary in the “war on terror,” these hold tremendous possibilities for enslavement. Entrenchment of Zionist power in western governments, media, and finance—and, now, telecommunication monitoring via Jewish internet giants—is so extensive there is little hope that it can be removed. Total Jewish control of the world is prophesied in Scripture. (See ‘Babylon the Great’ is Israel) Yet God continues to give hope of postponement. How? By demonstrating that, when enough people speak out boldly against Jewish supremacism or Zionist oppressions, as did Jesus against the evil Jewish leaders of His day, God honors and rewards such truth-telling. Relatively recent examples of Zionist ambitions being set back include Israel’s disastrous interminable siege of Gaza (Israel’s greatest PR disaster ever), the flotilla debacle bringing international outrage against Israel, even recent cancellation of ABC’s sacrilegious “Good Christian Bitches” sitcom. (See Good Christian Bitches (GCB) Canceled!)
Christian civilization and influence have declined dramatically over the past century for a simple reason: The church is embarrassed by Jesus’ vitriolic attacks on evil Jewish leadership. They think it “anti-Semitic” to copy His example today. The key to restraining the rise of the Great Harlot Israel, is a combination of mass public outcry coupled with specific, ethinic identification of the Jewish supremacists behind such conspiracy.
Getting Us Ready for World Government
To hold back the darkness, it is vitally important that we understand and educate others about the realities of ADL-originated discrimination and “human rights” laws, which prepare society to accept government thought and speech control. These technologies will become useful once society has accepted the premises justifying their use.
Anti-discrimination laws are explicitly based on the idea of protecting people from criticism, hatred or discrimination because of inherent qualities they can’t change. These are believed to include sexual orientation along with race, gender, age, and other attributes. (Religion is often thrown in, but not protected in reality.) A person’s “homophobic” or “racist” beliefs are considered a choice, not an inherent quality. Thus, they are not protected.
This explains the decision about a British bed-and-breakfast where the religious owners refused a room to a homosexual couple. They were sued and judgment passed against them. The homosexual couple’s “human rights” were upheld; the religious couple’s rights were considered invalid. This is because government preaches that you can change your religion but not your sexual orientation. And if your religion is “hateful,” you should change it.
This basis for human rights law is increasingly laid down by precedents throughout the west, including America. It leads in one direction: to the utter social divestment of people whose beliefs are unacceptable to the government. Today, they are not allowed to adopt children (as “homophobic” Christians are restricted in Britain). Tomorrow they may be put in “reeducation camps” to have their chosen beliefs forcibly changed. We must defend free speech even for the person whose beliefs we most loathe.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans don’t know the first thing about hate crime or discrimination laws, how ADL is behind them, or how they lead to totalitarianism. Just like the giant computer in Utah, these laws quietly gobble the freedom we appear to still enjoy.
To counter the threats of freedom-stealing technology, and public willingness for the sake of security to let freedom be stolen, we must pursue attainable legislative goals. We have seen encouraging legislative precedents. Repeatedly, federal efforts to massively invade our privacy have been daunted by public outcry. In 2002 the Information Awareness Office was created by Congress in response to 9/11 to give the government unrestrained surveillance and eavesdropping powers over all telecommunications. Protest was so intense and widespread that by 2003 the IAO was defunded by Congress. The government has been forced to perform in secret much of what it hoped could be done with public approval. The same public outcry defeated the SOPA and PIPA internet takeover bills.
Persuading Congress to say “No!” to more legislation stealing internet privacy is an attainable goal. Call your state’s U.S. Senators and those of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence right now protesting the CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, H.R. 3523). This bill authorizes Jewish telecommunication companies, such as Google, Verizon, Comcast, Facebook, and Time-Warner Cable, to spy on Americans for the government. Call 202-224-1700. Members of this committee are posted on the Action Page at Truthtellers.org.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
Photo: Name Withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz
The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.
Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978—and the number of plural marriages has tripled—so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.
But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.
Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks. In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.
The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever.
Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.
But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”
For the NSA, overflowing with tens of billions of dollars in post-9/11 budget awards, the cryptanalysis breakthrough came at a time of explosive growth, in size as well as in power. Established as an arm of the Department of Defense following Pearl Harbor, with the primary purpose of preventing another surprise assault, the NSA suffered a series of humiliations in the post-Cold War years. Caught offguard by an escalating series of terrorist attacks—the first World Trade Center bombing, the blowing up of US embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and finally the devastation of 9/11—some began questioning the agency’s very reason for being. In response, the NSA has quietly been reborn. And while there is little indication that its actual effectiveness has improved—after all, despite numerous pieces of evidence and intelligence-gathering opportunities, it missed the near-disastrous attempted attacks by the underwear bomber on a flight to Detroit in 2009 and by the car bomber in Times Square in 2010—there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created.
In the process—and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration—the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it’s all being done in secret. To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever.
UTAH DATA CENTER
When construction is completed in 2013, the heavily fortified $2 billion facility in Bluffdale will encompass 1 million square feet.
1 Visitor control center
A $9.7 million facility for ensuring that only cleared personnel gain access.
Designated space for technical support and administrative personnel.
3 Data halls
Four 25,000-square-foot facilities house rows and rows of servers.
4 Backup generators and fuel tanks
Can power the center for at least three days.
5 Water storage and pumping
Able to pump 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day.
6 Chiller plant
About 60,000 tons of cooling equipment to keep servers from overheating.
7 Power substation
An electrical substation to meet the center’s estimated 65-megawatt demand.
Video surveillance, intrusion detection, and other protection will cost more than $10 million.
Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Conceptual Site plan
A swath of freezing fog blanketed Salt Lake City on the morning of January 6, 2011, mixing with a weeklong coating of heavy gray smog. Red air alerts, warning people to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, had become almost daily occurrences, and the temperature was in the bone-chilling twenties. “What I smell and taste is like coal smoke,” complained one local blogger that day. At the city’s international airport, many inbound flights were delayed or diverted while outbound regional jets were grounded. But among those making it through the icy mist was a figure whose gray suit and tie made him almost disappear into the background. He was tall and thin, with the physique of an aging basketball player and dark caterpillar eyebrows beneath a shock of matching hair. Accompanied by a retinue of bodyguards, the man was NSA deputy director Chris Inglis, the agency’s highest-ranking civilian and the person who ran its worldwide day-to-day operations.
A short time later, Inglis arrived in Bluffdale at the site of the future data center, a flat, unpaved runway on a little-used part of Camp Williams, a National Guard training site. There, in a white tent set up for the occasion, Inglis joined Harvey Davis, the agency’s associate director for installations and logistics, and Utah senator Orrin Hatch, along with a few generals and politicians in a surreal ceremony. Standing in an odd wooden sandbox and holding gold-painted shovels, they made awkward jabs at the sand and thus officially broke ground on what the local media had simply dubbed “the spy center.” Hoping for some details on what was about to be built, reporters turned to one of the invited guests, Lane Beattie of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. Did he have any idea of the purpose behind the new facility in his backyard? “Absolutely not,” he said with a self-conscious half laugh. “Nor do I want them spying on me.”
For his part, Inglis simply engaged in a bit of double-talk, emphasizing the least threatening aspect of the center: “It’s a state-of-the-art facility designed to support the intelligence community in its mission to, in turn, enable and protect the nation’s cybersecurity.” While cybersecurity will certainly be among the areas focused on in Bluffdale, what is collected, how it’s collected, and what is done with the material are far more important issues. Battling hackers makes for a nice cover—it’s easy to explain, and who could be against it? Then the reporters turned to Hatch, who proudly described the center as “a great tribute to Utah,” then added, “I can’t tell you a lot about what they’re going to be doing, because it’s highly classified.”
And then there was this anomaly: Although this was supposedly the official ground-breaking for the nation’s largest and most expensive cybersecurity project, no one from the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for protecting civilian networks from cyberattack, spoke from the lectern. In fact, the official who’d originally introduced the data center, at a press conference in Salt Lake City in October 2009, had nothing to do with cybersecurity. It was Glenn A. Gaffney, deputy director of national intelligence for collection, a man who had spent almost his entire career at the CIA. As head of collection for the intelligence community, he managed the country’s human and electronic spies.
Within days, the tent and sandbox and gold shovels would be gone and Inglis and the generals would be replaced by some 10,000 construction workers. “We’ve been asked not to talk about the project,” Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction, one of the three major contractors working on the project, told a local reporter. The plans for the center show an extensive security system: an elaborate $10 million antiterrorism protection program, including a fence designed to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour, closed-circuit cameras, a biometric identification system, a vehicle inspection facility, and a visitor-control center.
Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate.
Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinky, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)
It needs that capacity because, according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) In terms of scale, Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, once estimated that the total of all human knowledge created from the dawn of man to 2003 totaled 5 exabytes. And the data flow shows no sign of slowing. In 2011 more than 2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people were connected to the Internet. By 2015, market research firm IDC estimates, there will be 2.7 billion users. Thus, the NSA’s need for a 1-million-square-foot data storehouse. Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.
The data stored in Bluffdale will naturally go far beyond the world’s billions of public web pages. The NSA is more interested in the so-called invisible web, also known as the deep web or deepnet—data beyond the reach of the public. This includes password-protected data, US and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers. “The deep web contains government reports, databases, and other sources of information of high value to DOD and the intelligence community,” according to a 2010 Defense Science Board report. “Alternative tools are needed to find and index data in the deep web … Stealing the classified secrets of a potential adversary is where the [intelligence] community is most comfortable.” With its new Utah Data Center, the NSA will at last have the technical capability to store, and rummage through, all those stolen secrets. The question, of course, is how the agency defines who is, and who is not, “a potential adversary.”
The NSA’S SPY NETWORK
Once it’s operational, the Utah Data Center will become, in effect, the NSA’s cloud. The center will be fed data collected by the agency’s eavesdropping satellites, overseas listening posts, and secret monitoring rooms in telecom facilities throughout the US. All that data will then be accessible to the NSA’s code breakers, data-miners, China analysts, counterterrorism specialists, and others working at its Fort Meade headquarters and around the world. Here’s how the data center appears to fit into the NSA’s global puzzle.—J.B.
1 Geostationary satellites
Four satellites positioned around the globe monitor frequencies carrying everything from walkie-talkies and cell phones in Libya to radar systems in North Korea. Onboard software acts as the first filter in the collection process, targeting only key regions, countries, cities, and phone numbers or email.
2 Aerospace Data Facility, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado
Intelligence collected from the geostationary satellites, as well as signals from other spacecraft and overseas listening posts, is relayed to this facility outside Denver. About 850 NSA employees track the satellites, transmit target information, and download the intelligence haul.
3 NSA Georgia, Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia
Focuses on intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Codenamed Sweet Tea, the facility has been massively expanded and now consists of a 604,000-square-foot operations building for up to 4,000 intercept operators, analysts, and other specialists.
4 NSA Texas, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio
Focuses on intercepts from Latin America and, since 9/11, the Middle East and Europe. Some 2,000 workers staff the operation. The NSA recently completed a $100 million renovation on a mega-data center here—a backup storage facility for the Utah Data Center.
5 NSA Hawaii, Oahu
Focuses on intercepts from Asia. Built to house an aircraft assembly plant during World War II, the 250,000-square-foot bunker is nicknamed the Hole. Like the other NSA operations centers, it has since been expanded: Its 2,700 employees now do their work aboveground from a new 234,000-square-foot facility.
6 Domestic listening posts
The NSA has long been free to eavesdrop on international satellite communications. But after 9/11, it installed taps in US telecom “switches,” gaining access to domestic traffic. An ex-NSA official says there are 10 to 20 such installations.
7 Overseas listening posts
According to a knowledgeable intelligence source, the NSA has installed taps on at least a dozen of the major overseas communications links, each capable of eavesdropping on information passing by at a high data rate.
8 Utah Data Center, Bluffdale, Utah
At a million square feet, this $2 billion digital storage facility outside Salt Lake City will be the centerpiece of the NSA’s cloud-based data strategy and essential in its plans for decrypting previously uncrackable documents.
9 Multiprogram Research Facility, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Some 300 scientists and computer engineers with top security clearance toil away here, building the world’s fastest supercomputers and working on cryptanalytic applications and other secret projects.
10 NSA headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland
Analysts here will access material stored at Bluffdale to prepare reports and recommendations that are sent to policymakers. To handle the increased data load, the NSA is also building an $896 million supercomputer center here.
Before yottabytes of data from the deep web and elsewhere can begin piling up inside the servers of the NSA’s new center, they must be collected. To better accomplish that, the agency has undergone the largest building boom in its history, including installing secret electronic monitoring rooms in major US telecom facilities. Controlled by the NSA, these highly secured spaces are where the agency taps into the US communications networks, a practice that came to light during the Bush years but was never acknowledged by the agency. The broad outlines of the so-called warrantless-wiretapping program have long been exposed—how the NSA secretly and illegally bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was supposed to oversee and authorize highly targeted domestic eavesdropping; how the program allowed wholesale monitoring of millions of American phone calls and email. In the wake of the program’s exposure, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which largely made the practices legal. Telecoms that had agreed to participate in the illegal activity were granted immunity from prosecution and lawsuits. What wasn’t revealed until now, however, was the enormity of this ongoing domestic spying program.
For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. A tall man with strands of black hair across the front of his scalp and dark, determined eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses, the 68-year-old spent nearly four decades breaking codes and finding new ways to channel billions of private phone calls and email messages from around the world into the NSA’s bulging databases. As chief and one of the two cofounders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Binney and his team designed much of the infrastructure that’s still likely used to intercept international and foreign communications.
He explains that the agency could have installed its tapping gear at the nation’s cable landing stations—the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the US where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under US law. Instead it chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country—large, windowless buildings known as switches—thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the US. The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says. “That’s not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast.”
The eavesdropping on Americans doesn’t stop at the telecom switches. To capture satellite communications in and out of the US, the agency also monitors AT&T’s powerful earth stations, satellite receivers in locations that include Roaring Creek and Salt Creek. Tucked away on a back road in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania, Roaring Creek’s three 105-foot dishes handle much of the country’s communications to and from Europe and the Middle East. And on an isolated stretch of land in remote Arbuckle, California, three similar dishes at the company’s Salt Creek station service the Pacific Rim and Asia.
The former NSA official held his thumb and forefinger close together: “We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”
Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. According to Binney—who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago—the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.
The software, created by a company called Narus that’s now part of Boeing, is controlled remotely from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland and searches US sources for target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. Any communication that arouses suspicion, especially those to or from the million or so people on agency watch lists, are automatically copied or recorded and then transmitted to the NSA.
The scope of surveillance expands from there, Binney says. Once a name is entered into the Narus database, all phone calls and other communications to and from that person are automatically routed to the NSA’s recorders. “Anybody you want, route to a recorder,” Binney says. “If your number’s in there? Routed and gets recorded.” He adds, “The Narus device allows you to take it all.” And when Bluffdale is completed, whatever is collected will be routed there for storage and analysis.
According to Binney, one of the deepest secrets of the Stellar Wind program—again, never confirmed until now—was that the NSA gained warrantless access to AT&T’s vast trove of domestic and international billing records, detailed information about who called whom in the US and around the world. As of 2007, AT&T had more than 2.8 trillion records housed in a database at its Florham Park, New Jersey, complex.
Verizon was also part of the program, Binney says, and that greatly expanded the volume of calls subject to the agency’s domestic eavesdropping. “That multiplies the call rate by at least a factor of five,” he says. “So you’re over a billion and a half calls a day.” (Spokespeople for Verizon and AT&T said their companies would not comment on matters of national security.)
After he left the NSA, Binney suggested a system for monitoring people’s communications according to how closely they are connected to an initial target. The further away from the target—say you’re just an acquaintance of a friend of the target—the less the surveillance. But the agency rejected the idea, and, given the massive new storage facility in Utah, Binney suspects that it now simply collects everything. “The whole idea was, how do you manage 20 terabytes of intercept a minute?” he says. “The way we proposed was to distinguish between things you want and things you don’t want.” Instead, he adds, “they’re storing everything they gather.” And the agency is gathering as much as it can.
Once the communications are intercepted and stored, the data-mining begins. “You can watch everybody all the time with data- mining,” Binney says. Everything a person does becomes charted on a graph, “financial transactions or travel or anything,” he says. Thus, as data like bookstore receipts, bank statements, and commuter toll records flow in, the NSA is able to paint a more and more detailed picture of someone’s life.
The NSA also has the ability to eavesdrop on phone calls directly and in real time. According to Adrienne J. Kinne, who worked both before and after 9/11 as a voice interceptor at the NSA facility in Georgia, in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks “basically all rules were thrown out the window, and they would use any excuse to justify a waiver to spy on Americans.” Even journalists calling home from overseas were included. “A lot of time you could tell they were calling their families,” she says, “incredibly intimate, personal conversations.” Kinne found the act of eavesdropping on innocent fellow citizens personally distressing. “It’s almost like going through and finding somebody’s diary,” she says.
In secret listening rooms nationwide, NSA software examines every email, phone call, and tweet as they zip by.
But there is, of course, reason for anyone to be distressed about the practice. Once the door is open for the government to spy on US citizens, there are often great temptations to abuse that power for political purposes, as when Richard Nixon eavesdropped on his political enemies during Watergate and ordered the NSA to spy on antiwar protesters. Those and other abuses prompted Congress to enact prohibitions in the mid-1970s against domestic spying.
Before he gave up and left the NSA, Binney tried to persuade officials to create a more targeted system that could be authorized by a court. At the time, the agency had 72 hours to obtain a legal warrant, and Binney devised a method to computerize the system. “I had proposed that we automate the process of requesting a warrant and automate approval so we could manage a couple of million intercepts a day, rather than subvert the whole process.” But such a system would have required close coordination with the courts, and NSA officials weren’t interested in that, Binney says. Instead they continued to haul in data on a grand scale. Asked how many communications—”transactions,” in NSA’s lingo—the agency has intercepted since 9/11, Binney estimates the number at “between 15 and 20 trillion, the aggregate over 11 years.”
When Barack Obama took office, Binney hoped the new administration might be open to reforming the program to address his constitutional concerns. He and another former senior NSA analyst, J. Kirk Wiebe, tried to bring the idea of an automated warrant-approval system to the attention of the Department of Justice’s inspector general. They were given the brush-off. “They said, oh, OK, we can’t comment,” Binney says.
Sitting in a restaurant not far from NSA headquarters, the place where he spent nearly 40 years of his life, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together. “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” he says.
There is still one technology preventing untrammeled government access to private digital data: strong encryption. Anyone—from terrorists and weapons dealers to corporations, financial institutions, and ordinary email senders—can use it to seal their messages, plans, photos, and documents in hardened data shells. For years, one of the hardest shells has been the Advanced Encryption Standard, one of several algorithms used by much of the world to encrypt data. Available in three different strengths—128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits—it’s incorporated in most commercial email programs and web browsers and is considered so strong that the NSA has even approved its use for top-secret US government communications. Most experts say that a so-called brute-force computer attack on the algorithm—trying one combination after another to unlock the encryption—would likely take longer than the age of the universe. For a 128-bit cipher, the number of trial-and-error attempts would be 340 undecillion (1036).
Breaking into those complex mathematical shells like the AES is one of the key reasons for the construction going on in Bluffdale. That kind of cryptanalysis requires two major ingredients: super-fast computers to conduct brute-force attacks on encrypted messages and a massive number of those messages for the computers to analyze. The more messages from a given target, the more likely it is for the computers to detect telltale patterns, and Bluffdale will be able to hold a great many messages. “We questioned it one time,” says another source, a senior intelligence manager who was also involved with the planning. “Why were we building this NSA facility? And, boy, they rolled out all the old guys—the crypto guys.” According to the official, these experts told then-director of national intelligence Dennis Blair, “You’ve got to build this thing because we just don’t have the capability of doing the code-breaking.” It was a candid admission. In the long war between the code breakers and the code makers—the tens of thousands of cryptographers in the worldwide computer security industry—the code breakers were admitting defeat.
So the agency had one major ingredient—a massive data storage facility—under way. Meanwhile, across the country in Tennessee, the government was working in utmost secrecy on the other vital element: the most powerful computer the world has ever known.
The plan was launched in 2004 as a modern-day Manhattan Project. Dubbed the High Productivity Computing Systems program, its goal was to advance computer speed a thousandfold, creating a machine that could execute a quadrillion (1015) operations a second, known as a petaflop—the computer equivalent of breaking the land speed record. And as with the Manhattan Project, the venue chosen for the supercomputing program was the town of Oak Ridge in eastern Tennessee, a rural area where sharp ridges give way to low, scattered hills, and the southwestward-flowing Clinch River bends sharply to the southeast. About 25 miles from Knoxville, it is the “secret city” where uranium- 235 was extracted for the first atomic bomb. A sign near the exit read: what you see here, what you do here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here. Today, not far from where that sign stood, Oak Ridge is home to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and it’s engaged in a new secret war. But this time, instead of a bomb of almost unimaginable power, the weapon is a computer of almost unimaginable speed.
In 2004, as part of the supercomputing program, the Department of Energy established its Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility for multiple agencies to join forces on the project. But in reality there would be two tracks, one unclassified, in which all of the scientific work would be public, and another top-secret, in which the NSA could pursue its own computer covertly. “For our purposes, they had to create a separate facility,” says a former senior NSA computer expert who worked on the project and is still associated with the agency. (He is one of three sources who described the program.) It was an expensive undertaking, but one the NSA was desperate to launch.
Known as the Multiprogram Research Facility, or Building 5300, the $41 million, five-story, 214,000-square-foot structure was built on a plot of land on the lab’s East Campus and completed in 2006. Behind the brick walls and green-tinted windows, 318 scientists, computer engineers, and other staff work in secret on the cryptanalytic applications of high-speed computing and other classified projects. The supercomputer center was named in honor of George R. Cotter, the NSA’s now-retired chief scientist and head of its information technology program. Not that you’d know it. “There’s no sign on the door,” says the ex-NSA computer expert.
At the DOE’s unclassified center at Oak Ridge, work progressed at a furious pace, although it was a one-way street when it came to cooperation with the closemouthed people in Building 5300. Nevertheless, the unclassified team had its Cray XT4 supercomputer upgraded to a warehouse-sized XT5. Named Jaguar for its speed, it clocked in at 1.75 petaflops, officially becoming the world’s fastest computer in 2009.
Meanwhile, over in Building 5300, the NSA succeeded in building an even faster supercomputer. “They made a big breakthrough,” says another former senior intelligence official, who helped oversee the program. The NSA’s machine was likely similar to the unclassified Jaguar, but it was much faster out of the gate, modified specifically for cryptanalysis and targeted against one or more specific algorithms, like the AES. In other words, they were moving from the research and development phase to actually attacking extremely difficult encryption systems. The code-breaking effort was up and running.
The breakthrough was enormous, says the former official, and soon afterward the agency pulled the shade down tight on the project, even within the intelligence community and Congress. “Only the chairman and vice chairman and the two staff directors of each intelligence committee were told about it,” he says. The reason? “They were thinking that this computing breakthrough was going to give them the ability to crack current public encryption.”
In addition to giving the NSA access to a tremendous amount of Americans’ personal data, such an advance would also open a window on a trove of foreign secrets. While today most sensitive communications use the strongest encryption, much of the older data stored by the NSA, including a great deal of what will be transferred to Bluffdale once the center is complete, is encrypted with more vulnerable ciphers. “Remember,” says the former intelligence official, “a lot of foreign government stuff we’ve never been able to break is 128 or less. Break all that and you’ll find out a lot more of what you didn’t know—stuff we’ve already stored—so there’s an enormous amount of information still in there.”
The NSA believes it’s on the verge of breaking a key encryption algorithm—opening up hoards of data.
That, he notes, is where the value of Bluffdale, and its mountains of long-stored data, will come in. What can’t be broken today may be broken tomorrow. “Then you can see what they were saying in the past,” he says. “By extrapolating the way they did business, it gives us an indication of how they may do things now.” The danger, the former official says, is that it’s not only foreign government information that is locked in weaker algorithms, it’s also a great deal of personal domestic communications, such as Americans’ email intercepted by the NSA in the past decade.
But first the supercomputer must break the encryption, and to do that, speed is everything. The faster the computer, the faster it can break codes. The Data Encryption Standard, the 56-bit predecessor to the AES, debuted in 1976 and lasted about 25 years. The AES made its first appearance in 2001 and is expected to remain strong and durable for at least a decade. But if the NSA has secretly built a computer that is considerably faster than machines in the unclassified arena, then the agency has a chance of breaking the AES in a much shorter time. And with Bluffdale in operation, the NSA will have the luxury of storing an ever-expanding archive of intercepts until that breakthrough comes along.
But despite its progress, the agency has not finished building at Oak Ridge, nor is it satisfied with breaking the petaflop barrier. Its next goal is to reach exaflop speed, one quintillion (1018) operations a second, and eventually zettaflop (1021) and yottaflop.
These goals have considerable support in Congress. Last November a bipartisan group of 24 senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to approve continued funding through 2013 for the Department of Energy’s exascale computing initiative (the NSA’s budget requests are classified). They cited the necessity to keep up with and surpass China and Japan. “The race is on to develop exascale computing capabilities,” the senators noted. The reason was clear: By late 2011 the Jaguar (now with a peak speed of 2.33 petaflops) ranked third behind Japan’s “K Computer,” with an impressive 10.51 petaflops, and the Chinese Tianhe-1A system, with 2.57 petaflops.
But the real competition will take place in the classified realm. To secretly develop the new exaflop (or higher) machine by 2018, the NSA has proposed constructing two connecting buildings, totaling 260,000 square feet, near its current facility on the East Campus of Oak Ridge. Called the Multiprogram Computational Data Center, the buildings will be low and wide like giant warehouses, a design necessary for the dozens of computer cabinets that will compose an exaflop-scale machine, possibly arranged in a cluster to minimize the distance between circuits. According to a presentation delivered to DOE employees in 2009, it will be an “unassuming facility with limited view from roads,” in keeping with the NSA’s desire for secrecy. And it will have an extraordinary appetite for electricity, eventually using about 200 megawatts, enough to power 200,000 homes. The computer will also produce a gargantuan amount of heat, requiring 60,000 tons of cooling equipment, the same amount that was needed to serve both of the World Trade Center towers.
In the meantime Cray is working on the next step for the NSA, funded in part by a $250 million contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It’s a massively parallel supercomputer called Cascade, a prototype of which is due at the end of 2012. Its development will run largely in parallel with the unclassified effort for the DOE and other partner agencies. That project, due in 2013, will upgrade the Jaguar XT5 into an XK6, codenamed Titan, upping its speed to 10 to 20 petaflops.
Yottabytes and exaflops, septillions and undecillions—the race for computing speed and data storage goes on. In his 1941 story “The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges imagined a collection of information where the entire world’s knowledge is stored but barely a single word is understood. In Bluffdale the NSA is constructing a library on a scale that even Borges might not have contemplated. And to hear the masters of the agency tell it, it’s only a matter of time until every word is illuminated.
James Bamford (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America.
Congress OKs 30,000 flying drones spying on Americans across U.S. cities
In case you didn’t know it – and you probably didn’t – Congress, with little fanfare, passed an FAA reauthorization bill last week President Obama is expected to sign into law that will make it much easier for the government to put scores of unmanned spy drones into American skies.
Not only that the legislation authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015. If the law takes full effect, it is believed as many as 30,000 drones could be hovering over the U.S. by 2020.
The drones, which are widely used in Afghanistan to spot and target suspected insurgents and Taliban operatives in that country as well as neighboring Pakistan, have been used by American government agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, for a few years, in an observation/surveillance capacity. DoH has also used drones in disaster relief operations, and advocates say they can be successfully employed to fight fires and locate missing hikers.
Say Good-bye to Privacy
Privacy advocates, however, are sounding the alarm good and loud.
“There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities,” Steven Aftergood, head of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told the Washington Times.
Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a watchdog group, added that her organization is particularly “concerned about the implications for surveillance by government agencies.”
Her agency is suing the FAA to determine just how many certificates the agency has already issued to police, government agencies and a smattering of private research institutions to allow them to fly drones in U.S. airspace. The agency says it handed out 313 certificates in 2011; by year’s end, 295 were still active “but the FAA refuses to disclose which agencies have the certificates and what their purposes are,” said the Times.
The drone lobby in the US has had a stunning success in pushing its agenda of enabling unmanned drones to fly freely in civil airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bill has been passed by both Senate and Congress and now simply awaits President Obama’s signature before becoming law. The bill sets a deadline of 30 September 2015 by which the FAA must allow “full integration” of unmanned drones into US civil airspace
This deadline, along with several other provisions were pushed by the US drone lobby group, Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). In fact AUVSI boast on its website about helping to draft some of bill.
Given that there is as yet no proven technology that would allow drones to ‘sense and avoid’ other aircraft, the deadline of just 3½ years before full integration is either incredibly ambitious – or just plain foolish. Already pilots are expressing their disquiet as Business Week reports:
Commercial airlines and pilots are less than thrilled with the idea of sharing the sky. They point out there’s no system that allows operators of unmanned aircraft to see and steer clear of piloted helicopters and planes. Nor are there training requirements or standards for the ground-based “pilots” who guide them. It’s also not clear how drones should operate in airspace overseen by air-traffic controllers, where split-second manoeuvring is sometimes required. Until unmanned aircraft can show they won’t run into other planes or the ground, they shouldn’t be allowed to fly with other traffic, says Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Assn.
Privacy issues also seem to have been ignored by the bill (and AUVSI, naturally). Hours before the bill was passed Jay Stanley of the ACLU urged Congress
“to impose some rules (such as those we proposed in our report) to protect Americans’ privacy from the inevitable invasions that this technology will otherwise lead to. We don’t want to wonder, every time we step out our front door, whether some eye in the sky is watching our every move…. The bottom line is: domestic drones are potentially extremely powerful surveillance tools, and that power — like all government power — needs to be subject to checks and balances.”
Despite these safety and civil liberties concerns, thanks to the drone lobbyists thousands of drones will soon be flying in US airspace. The question then is could it happen here? Will unmanned drones be allowed to fly freely in UK civil airspace too? While it may seem like science fiction at the moment, there are many vested interests working hard behind the scene to make it happen.
At the European level, the EU has been having a series of meetings over the past year to prepare a strategy document for the introduction of drones within European airspace as the Sunday Times recently reported last week (quoting us).
European and UK lobby groups acting on behalf of the drone industry are pushing the advantages of drones and talking up their usefulness in many news publications. New Scientist magazine reports how Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a lobby group based in the Paris, says that drones will become “vital tools in many fields, from helping police track stolen cars to assisting emergency services in crisis situations such as fires, floods and earthquakes, to more prosaic tasks like advertising or dispensing fertiliser from the air.” (“High time to welcome the friendly drones” said the New Scientist editorial) . The BBC website also last week reported on how drones are cheaper and better at checking on whether farmers are complying with Common Agricultural Policy rules.
In the UK, as regular readers will know, the ‘industry-led consortium’ ASTRAEA, aims “to enable the routine use of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) in all classes of airspace without the need for restrictive or specialised conditions of operation.”
The programme is funded 50% by the taxpayer and 50% by some of the UK’s biggest military companies. According to the ASTRAEA website, the UK drone lobby group, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVS) and the Ministry of Defence are also ‘stakeholders’ in the programme. As the UAVS website states on their website much of their representation takes place “behind closed doors”.
There are two main hurdles for the drone lobby to overcome before unrestricted drone flying will become the norm in the UK. First is the safety issue. At the moment the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which is responsible for UK civil airspace severely restricts the use of drones (but see our article here ). Their main objection comes from a safety perspective. At last years ASTRAEA conference, John Clark from the UK CAA told delegates that it is for industry and the UAV community to prove that it will meet standards – “whatever you propose it must be safe” he said. There is a long way to go before the drone industry will satisfy the CAA and the public that drones are at least as safe as ‘manned’ aircraft.
Second is public skepticism. The MoD and the drone industry are well aware that the public do not like the thought of drones flying above their heads in the UK. While there will be a lot of activity over the next year or twoby lobbyists focusing on reassuring the public that drones are neither frightening nor dangerous, there also needs to be discussion about what is acceptable to the British public. As Ben Hayes of the campaign group Statewatch says in the BBC piece mentioned above, while there are lots of things that drones can be useful for, ”the questions about what is acceptable and how people feel about drones hovering over their farmland or their demonstration – these debates are not taking place.”
Unlike the US, the debate on drones in civil airspace is still wide open. We need to make sure it is not just the industry lobbyists whose voices are heard.
In scary legal news a Wisconsin judge had gone completely loopy declaring that citizens have no right to produce or eat the foods of their own choice.
In response to a request from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the judge issued a clarification of his decision last week regarding his assessment of the constitutionality of food rights. The judge expanded on his original statement that such constitutional issues are “wholly without merit.”
He explained that the FTCLDF arguments were “extremely underdeveloped.” As an example, he said the plaintiffs’ use of the Roe v Wade abortion rights case as a precedent does “not explain why a woman’s right to have an abortion translates to a right to consume unpasteurized milk…This court is unwilling to declare that there is a fundamental right to consume the food of one’s choice without first being presented with significantly more developed arguments on both sides of the issue.” Gee, I thought they both had to do with the right to decide what to do with your own body.
As if to show how pissed he was at being questioned, he said his decision translates further that “no, Plaintiffs to not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;
“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;”
And in a kind of exclamation point, he added this to his list of no-nos: “no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice…”
You have to wonder if maybe even the regulators are getting a tad uncomfortable with the rulings coming from the nation’s judiciary on food rights. Many of these individuals, biased as they are against raw milk, dabble in farming to some extent, or grew up on farms. This judge has gone way beyond what many of them have come to assume–that everyone has the right to own a cow and consume its milk Even in places that ban raw milk sales, there’s nearly always a provision in state law that anyone who owns a cow has the right to consume its milk.
It seems Judge Fiedler is saying it’s not a “fundamental right,” but rather a right granted us by the state. -The Complete Patient
The original judgement can be seen here. To quote from the main points:
1) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;
2) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;
3) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer;
4) no, the Zinniker Plaintiffs’ private contract does not fall outside the scope of the State’s police power;
5) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume foods of their choice;
In other words: Put down that carrot and backup slowly. Anything you eat or grow can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have now entered the police state of 1984. Shut up.
Why is this happening?
Simple, Big Ag is scared that small producers are going to take away a little bit of the market share. They are using their lobbyist and regulatory minions to put the squeeze on small family farms that have found a niche outside the mainstream in order to scare consumers back into buying at the big teats. When that doesn’t work they resort to government raids and insane judicial judgments against the small producers because Big Ag isn’t able to compete on a level playing field even with the help of all the subsidies they get.
What can you do?
Make a stink. Publicize these issues. Write about them on your blogs, web comments, to your representatives and in letters to the newspapers (you know, the crinkly things you fold that has the black ink – still a great tool of free speech as there are plenty of independents left.)
Most of all, support your local small farmers. Fight back with your pocket book. Hurt Big Ag where they feel the pain, in their wallets. Spend your dollars locally and as directly as you can to small stores and small family farms so that money flows back into your local economy.
You can make a difference. Do it.
Source: Activist Post, NONAIS.org
The Federal Reserve wants to know what you are saying about it. In fact, the Federal Reserve has announced plans to identify “key bloggers” and to monitor “billions of conversations” about the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs. This is yet another sign that the alternative media is having a dramatic impact. As first reported on Zero Hedge, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has issued a “Request for Proposal” to suppliers who may be interested in participating in the development of a “Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution”. In other words, the Federal Reserve wants to develop a highly sophisticated system that will gather everything that you and I say about the Federal Reserve on the Internet and that will analyze what our feelings about the Fed are. Obviously, any “positive” feelings about the Fed would not be a problem. What they really want to do is to gather information on everyone that views the Federal Reserve negatively. It is unclear how they plan to use this information once they have it, but considering how many alternative media sources have been shut down lately, this is obviously a very troubling sign.
You can read this “Request for Proposal” right here. Posted below are some of the key quotes from the document (in bold) with some of my own commentary in between the quotes….
“The intent is to establish a fair and equitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and news sources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was created in an effort to support FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative.”
A system like this is not cheap. Apparently the Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes that gathering all of this information is very important. In recent years, criticism of the Federal Reserve has become very intense, and most of this criticism has been coming from the Internet. It has gotten to the point where the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has decided that it had better listen to what is being said and find out who is saying it.
“Social media listening platforms are solutions that gather data from various social media outlets and news sources. They monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria. They can also determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document.”
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York intends to listen in on “billions of conversations” and to actually determine the “sentiment” of those that are participating in those conversations.
Of course it will be those conversations that are “negative” about the Federal Reserve that will be setting off the alarm bells.
“Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers”
Uh oh. So they plan to “identify” key bloggers and influencers?
What exactly do they plan to do once they “identify” them?
“The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms –Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube.”
Hopefully you understand this already, but nothing posted on the Internet is ever anonymous. Everything on the Internet is gathered by a vast host of organizations and is used for a wide variety of purposes. Data mining has become a billion dollar industry, and it is only going to keep growing.
You may think that you are “anonymous” when you criticize organizations like the Fed, but the truth is that if you are loud enough they will see it and they will make a record of it.
“The solution must provide real-time monitoring of relevant conversations. It should provide sentiment analysis (positive, negative or neutral) around key conversational topics.”
Why do they need to perform “sentiment analysis”?
If someone is identified as being overly “negative” about the Fed, what will they do about it?
“The solution should provide an alerting mechanism that automatically sends out reports or notifications based a predefined trigger.”
This sounds very much like the kind of “keyword” intelligence gathering systems that are currently in use by major governments around the globe.
Very, very creepy stuff.
Are you disturbed yet?
For those of us that write about the Federal Reserve a lot, this is very sobering news.
I wonder what the Fed will think about the following articles that I have posted on this site….
What is their “Social Media Monitoring Solution” going to think about those articles?
Unfortunately, this is all part of a very disturbing trend.
Recently, a very creepy website known as “Attack Watch” was launched to gather information on those saying “negative” things about Barack Obama.
Suddenly, everyone seems obsessed with what you and I are saying.
This just shows how the power of the alternative media is growing.
Not only that, but it seems as though the government also wants to gather as much information on all of us as possible.
For example, a new rule is being proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services that would force health insurance companies to submit detailed health care information about all of their customers to the federal government.
Every single day our privacy is being stripped away a little bit more.
But now it is often not just enough for them to know what we are doing and saying. Instead, the “authorities” are increasingly stepping in to silence important voices.
One of the most recent examples of this was when Activistpost was taken down by Google. We are still awaiting word on why this was done.
Sadly, the silencing of Activistpost is far from an isolated incident.
Hordes of YouTube accounts have been shut down for their political viewpoints.
Quite a few very prominent alternative media websites have been censored or attacked because of what they stand for.
So why is this happening? Well, it turns out that the power of the alternative media is growing. According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, 43 percent of Americans say that they get their news on national and international issues from the Internet. Back in 1999, that figure was sitting at just 6 percent.
The American people are sick and tired of getting “canned news”, and they are increasingly turning to the Internet in a search for the truth.
Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The “news” that we get from various mainstream sources seems to always be so similar. It is as if nearly all mainstream news organizations are reading from the same script. The American people know that they are not getting the whole truth and they have been increasingly looking to alternative sources.
The monopoly over the news that the mainstream media once possessed has been broken. The alternative media is now creating some huge problems for organizations that were once very closely protected by the mainstream media.
The American people are starting to wake up and they are starting to get very upset about a lot of the corruption that has been going on in our society.
But it turns out that the “authorities” don’t like it too much when Americans try to actually exercise free speech in America today. For example, you can see recent video of female protesters in New York City being penned in by police and then brutally maced right here.
Are you sickened by that?
You should be.
What the “authorities” want is for us to shut up, sit in our homes and act as if nothing wrong is happening.
Meanwhile, they seem determined to watch us more closely than ever.
So are you going to be afraid to talk negatively about the Federal Reserve now that you know that they are going to be watching what you say on the Internet?
The man who was instrumental in working with the federal government to sabotage a bill that would have made TSA grope downs a felony in the state of Texas was Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a former CIA agent and establishment insider considered to be the wealthiest man in Texas politics.
As we have documented, the anti-pat down bill was derailed in the Texas Senate having unanimously passed the House by 138-0 votes after the Department of Justice sent a letter threatening to impose a no fly zone over Texas and shut down Texas airports. The warning was nothing short of a federal blockade and an act of financial terrorism.
But the federal assault was aided by a traitor from within the state, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who only served to amplify the threats made by the DOJ in communicating them to members of the Senate, convincing them them to cave in and forcing the hand of Senator Dan Patrick to withdraw the bill before it could be shot down permanently.
“He came up with this elaborate political play to kill the bill without his fingerprints,” Sen. Patrick, R-Houston stated, adding, “His fingerprints are all over this.”
“Someone who will undermine his members and someone who will not stand up to the federal government — you have to ask yourself is that the kind of person that we need in the U.S. Senate,” Patrick said, adding that Dewhurst “sideswiped” him on Tuesday night by turning members against the bill.
Patrick is now planning to insert an amendment within the bill that will mandate the federal government comply within six months. However, some will merely see that as unnecessarily watering down the legislation.
“I hear he’s thinking about running for governor,” Patrick said. “I hear he’s thinking about running for senator. In the last 24 hours, he’s given me some things to think about.”
Given the fact that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is undoubtedly an establishment insider it’s unsurprising that he played the role of Judas in protecting the agenda of the Obama administration over and above the will of his own legislators and the people of Texas.
Dewhurst is a creature of the federal government, having worked as a CIA agent and also served in the US State Department. He was also director of the state Task Force on Homeland Security.
Barbie, an expert in cruel and inhumane forms of torture for the purposes of interrogation, was a key CIA liaison throughout the years Dewhurst served in South America. When the Austin Chronicle asked Dewhurst whether he had enjoyed a drink with the “butcher of Lyon” at the US embassy bar, he responded, “I never comment on intelligence matters.”
So in Dewhurst we basically have a man who helped neo-nazis, as well as Nazi torture experts, overthrow legitimate governments in the 70′s now helping the Obama administration overthrow America in 2011, by protecting an army of TSA thugs who are being used to completely demolish constitutional rights.
Following the recent raid on Osama Bin Laden’s alleged compound, Dewhurst hinted that he still moved very much within spook circles when he stated, “I can’t go into details, but the capabilities that the United States has developed over the years is nothing short of breath-taking.”
“Little is known about Dewhurst. His life story is an impenetrable fog of obfuscation punctuated by tantalizing facts,” reports the Texas Observer. “This secrecy has extended from his military record to the sources of his wealth to his current financial conflicts. He has repeatedly gotten into trouble with the Texas Ethics Commission for overly vague financial filings. State elected officials are required to either disclose their finances or put all their assets in a blind trust. Until 2008, Dewhurst declined to do either, putting his money in a (nonblind) trust and declining to release information about it.”
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.
WW~Notes: What is a former CIA agent doing in the capacity of Lt. Governor in a state? Spying on state government at all levels? The CIA is rotten from the core and I wouldn’t trust one of them in an official elected position. And you can bet he is being handsomely paid for this treason against the American people and the state of Texas. Would you expect anything less from a former black-ops ‘spook’?
WW~Notes: They haven’t gotten it yet, that a few of us are listening very closely and when the truth comes out it’s a bombshell! Brasscheck TV’s THE DOGS OF WAR exposes the truth on the airport security radiation scanners from an article in The New York Times, documentaries and various televised news clips.