Aug 21

Another must read article by former CIA field officer Philip Giraldi.

Philip Giraldi was the foreign policy advisor to Ron Paul during his last presidential run.

Philip Giraldi

If the seemingly unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ever do come to a close and a new war with Iran, Somalia, or Sudan can somehow be avoided, the most serious long term damage from the conflicts will be to the fundamental freedoms that Americans have cherished for more than two hundred years. The erosion of America’s liberties has been driven by fear of terrorism but it is enabled by leaps in technology coupled with new legislation and a police state mentality that have made every citizen a target. Hate crimes and laws targeting the internet provide a framework that relies on advanced monitoring technology to criminalize behavior that would have been considered off limits for privacy reasons ten years ago.

The National Security Agency can monitor every phone call made in the United States and quite likely every e-mail. European security agencies have the same capabilities and have gone far down the road of legitimizing state intrusion into private activities, limiting free speech and free association. In Britain, most cities and highways are now monitored by CCTV cameras and the police have begun to use aerial drones to observe and record demonstrations of groups considered to be extreme including the right wing British National Party. New legislation in Germany will require all internet users to be licensed with a backtracking feature that will enable the government to determine where any internet transmission originated. The new regulations will require all users to have a tamper proof internet ID and will be enforced by special police. All telecommunications data, to include both internet and telephone, is already retained by the German service providers for six months, a law that has been in effect since 2008. The government can obtain the stored information by court order. It is particularly interesting to note what German politicians and officials said in support of the new legislation. One commented that it is necessary to stop the internet from becoming a “lawless chaos room.” Another described the internet as a “source of criminality, terrorism, and much similar filth.” Yet another said “What is illegal offline is also illegal online.”

Countries like China and Iran already control the servers for internet as well as the cell phone centers in their country and have not been shy about shutting down communications. In many places in Europe internet services are often screened by software that blocks certain websites and the use of words or phrases that are considered objectionable. This screening is also becoming common in hotels and other public places that offer internet services in the United States. But what is really dangerous is the combination of technologies that make it possible to control the internet with legislation that gives the authorities the ability to go after users who are deemed to be breaking the law, such as is happening in Germany.

Can there be any doubt that the monitoring of the internet to control “terrorism” and “filth” will in fairly short order also be used to repress the viewpoints of individuals and groups that are considered to be politically unacceptable? And what better weapon to use against dissidents than the criminal justice system, most particularly the hate crime legislation that is becoming both increasingly more common and more draconian in both the United States and in Europe? Hate crimes are the antithesis of the old principles that there is “equal justice under law” and that “justice is blind.” They essentially create specially protected classes of people within the criminal justice system, permitting selective enforcement of the law. Normally when there is an crime, the police investigate and make an arrest and the judiciary prosecutes. The perpetrator is punished in a manner proportionate to the seriousness of the offense. But if an incident is deemed a hate crime, i.e. that it may have been motivated by prejudice or bigotry, the penalties are harsher and the federal government has the option of trying the suspect if the state court for some reason fails to convict. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid justified the dismantling of two thousand years of jurisprudence recently, saying “”There is a difference between assaulting someone to steal his money or doing so because he is gay, or disabled, or Latino or Muslim.” Reid’s interesting interpretation notwithstanding, many would argue that hate crimes create an unconstitutional special tier of justice while the ability to try someone twice constitutes double jeopardy.

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Mar 27

If you think identity theft is bad now, wait until something called the Real ID Act goes into effect. This law federalizes and standardizes state driver’s licenses for all 50 states, and it will result in something that has been resisted in this country for a long time — a de facto national identity card.

The Real ID Act was pushed through Congress in 2005 with little meaningful debate. It imposes sweeping changes on state driver’s licenses that will result in significant new fees and hassles for everyone who needs a license or ID – not to mention posing a new threat to Americans’ privacy. And, our experience suggests that if Real ID becomes the standard for driver’s licenses, it will worsen the problem of identity theft.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) has worked with thousands of ID theft victims, providing them with information and assistance in regaining their financial health. It usually takes months to repair the damage that ID thieves are able to cause in just a few minutes – if there’s an especially aggressive thief, it can take a year, even more. And during that time you’re in credit limbo. You can’t get a credit card, take out a loan, refinance your home – or if you do, the cost of your credit is much higher than it otherwise would be.

(The ID has RFID (radio frequency identification) chips embedded in it! – The Infinite Unknown) Continue reading »

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