From the April 2009 Idaho Observer:
Big brother: Watching, tracking, monitoring, regulating and banning
Big brother: Watching, tracking, monitoring, regulating and banning
(In the April hardcopy version of The IO, the following stories are referenced to the frontpage).
HR 45: Banning gun owners in Blair Holt’s name
The Blair Holt Firearm Licensing & Record of Sales Act of 2009 (HR 45), sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), was quietly introduced Jan. 6, 2009 with no cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security over a month later on Feb. 9, 2009.
The bill has received little media attention and many gun enthusiasts, suppliers and dealers are not aware of what the gun grabbers are proposing with this bill. Unable to disarm Americans by banning weapons and regulating ammo, the congressional majority plans to disarm Americans by banning gun owners.
The Congressional Reporting Service (CRS) summary explains that HR 45, "Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to prohibit a person from possessing a firearm unless that person has been issued a firearm license under this Act or a state system certified under this Act and such license has not been invalidated or revoked."
The act also prescribes license application, issuance, renewal requirements and "prohibits transferring or receiving a qualifying firearm unless the recipient presents a valid firearms license, the license is verified, and the dealer records a tracking authorization number."
The act designates the U.S. attorney general as responsible for administrating and maintaining the record of sales system.
HR 45 describes the mental and physical requirements for those applying for licensure. Many of the requirements are subjective so that most Americans could be denied a license and then placed on a watch list as a potential law violator. Those who are granted a license, agree to allow their homes to be searched at any time to make sure guns are safely locked away from children under 18. Violators would be subjected to fines and up to five years imprisonment.
Private sales of firearms would be heavily regulated and conducted between license holders or through licensed gun dealers— only after background checks have been performed per existing law. Each public or private sale would be recorded and a fee of $25 will be charged for each transaction; failure to follow the rules would result in loss of license and up to a year in prison.
License holders must also report changes of address to the attorney general within 60 days and report lost or stolen firearms to the attorney general within 72 hours
The definition of firearm is found in USC 18, Ch. 41. Sec. 921 and could be interpreted to include pellet guns.
Upon becoming a licensed gun owner, you also agree to physical and mental evaluations at any time.
The U.S. attorney general would also, according to the CRS, "…establish and maintain a firearm injury information clearinghouse; conduct continuing studies and investigations of firearm-related deaths and injuries; and collect and maintain current production and sales figures of each licensed manufacturer."
Who was Blair Holt?
On May10, 2007, 16-year-old Chicago honor student Blair Holt was riding a bus to school when another teenager began firing a handgun in a gang-related attack. When Holt moved to shield a girl on the bus from the spray of bullets, he was himself hit in the abdomen and died.
At Blair Holt’s funeral, Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois (representing the state’s First Congressional district) promised to honor Holt’s memory by introducing a strong gun tracking bill in Congress. One month later, Rep. Rush introduced Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act to Congress, but it was referred to a subcommittee and languished there without ever having been voted upon. On January 6, 2009, Rush reintroduced essentially the same bill to Congress as HR 45.
Though it would appear that the bill has no chance of being passed without cosponsors and because there are (at least) 60 million lawful gun owners in America, there is a stated intent among Democrats and Obama to grab guns.
Another angle to consider is that up to 18 states have introduced ammo registration bills. Though they are absurd and not likely to pass, they do serve as notices of intent.
NAIS: A plan to chip, track and trace animals, invade privacy, destroy property rights and promote the corporate monopoly of poisoned food
The number one priority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to mandate the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which is allegedly voluntary at this time at the federal level. The "official" purpose of NAIS is to make the food supply safer by being able to ID sick animals and trace sickness back to the source within 48 hours.
However, USDA regulatory schemes and corporate farming practices over the last 30 years have created the environment where sick animals are harvested and processed and their contaminated "products" entered into the commerce stream where they cause harm—and generate national headlines.
It can be argued that this environment of fear over contaminated animal products was fostered by the media-aided government to frighten people into begging for better regulation of the food supply. The government’s answer is NAIS: Total surveillance of all livestock, pets and the "premises" at which they are "registered."
While corporate meat producers back NAIS as a means to market their wares worldwide, family farmers are opposed to it for reasons that range from the time and expense of record keeping and the ongoing invasion of privacy it represents to concern for the health animals tagged with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips.
The intent of the USDA to mandate NAIS is clear in all its comments, releases and memoranda regarding the subject but is trying to "sell" the concept to individuals and organizations opposing the program. The USDA even held a forum April 15, 2009, at which the testimony of proponents and opponents was heard. "Much work has been done over the past five years to engage producers in developing an animal identification system that they could support. However, many of the issues and concerns that were initially raised by producers, such as the cost, impact on small farmers, privacy and confidentiality and liability, continue to cause debate. In the spirit of President Obama’s call for transparency in government, now is the time to have frank and open conversations about NAIS. We need to work collaboratively to resolve concerns and move forward with animal traceability," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
But the USDA is not really interested in developing a plan that everyone can support because no plan to chip, register and trace animals and surveil premises could ever gain consensus. The truth is that NAIS is already in motion. In 2004, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) began implementing NAIS. The agency is already keeping tabs on premises via satellite and surveying livestock by helicopter.
"Recently, strange helicopters flew over my farm and took pictures of my livestock and my property. When I looked through my binoculars at the helicopters, I saw inscriptions on the side of the helicopters which said ‘National Animal Identification System’ (NAIS)," wrote Omak, WA, rancher Rick Jones in an open letter dated Feb. 15, 2009.
By following leads that begin atwww.nonais.org, one can see that incidents involving farmers/ranchers and NAIS helicopters flying low over private property for surveillance purposes is becoming increasingly common.
"I want to let you know that these NAIS helicopters are real and it is part of the government’s mission to monitor livestock in the United States. It is invasive and scary. It is a badly kept secret that our government really does spy on farm animals from helicopters," Jones added.
While the USDA and its partner state agencies claim that there is a lot of paranoid disinformation out there regarding the surveillance aspect of NAIS, the USDA publicly acknowledges using "Terra Server" to inspect private property from space. NAIS advocates claim that satellite surveillance of farms is being circulated as disinformation yet anyone can use "Google Earth" to zoom in on individual properties anywhere on Earth.
No NAIS activist Celeste Bishop from Washington state said in her recent article "Dirty Food, Dirty Politics," "The very Terra Server utilized by the USDA website claims, ‘it is great for: commercial farmers, family farms, and ranchers. Satellite imagery provides the agriculture business with a means to monitor land from above. We update aerial imagery as soon as we receive it to ensure that you have the most up to date. Higher resolution imagery also allows you to see crop rows and can sometimes even allow you to see individual trees in tree farms and orchards. The imagery available from TerraServer will allow you to have a visual representation of your land that is only available from the sky.’"
Like it or not, Big Brother is watching Americans’ farms and ranches from space and has been doing so since at least 2006. Bishop noted that, "On January 12, 2006 headlines splashed across the world that, ‘Satellite Images Used to Detect Crop Insurance Fraud’ were used to hold a man accountable."
Since it is obvious that the USDA is implementing NAIS by overt and covert means and that reporting and tracing animal-borne diseases to their sources within 48 hours is merely a ruse to justify invasions of private property, we must determine the true intent of NAIS.
Bishop, who has dedicated her life to stopping NAIS, has identified what she refers to as "The three pillars of NAIS."
• Transform and register property into "premises" which have no Constitutional protection.
• Electronically identify animals even though the failure rate is high; scientific evidence has been suppressed linking the RFID and electronic devices with cancer.
• 24/7 surveillance, tracking, tracing of animals including the responsibility to electronically report to the Department of Agriculture each birth, death, movement, and commingling of animals on a pay-for-service basis.
AG Holder moves to dismiss Bush era spy suit; Obama stimulus money earmarked for spies
Tom Burghardt, reporting April 13, 2009, for Global Research, wrote that, "On Friday April 3, the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss one of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) landmark lawsuits against illegal spying by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The suit, Jewell v. NSA, was filed in September, 2008, against the NSA, NSA Director Keith B. Alexander, President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence. Since the Obama administration moved into the White House last January, the lawsuit has been amended to include as defendants Obama, NSA Director Keith B. Alexander, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Dennis C. Blair, Director of National Intelligence.
The purpose of the action, EFF declared, is ending "…the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it."
Reporter Mike Sachoff explained that, "Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA."
Klein’s testimony before the court describes in detail how all AT&T Internet traffic in San Francisco is routed to a secure, NSA-controlled room at AT&T’s Folsom St. facility. The evidence also shows that up to 20 additional AT&T sites, at least half of the telecommunication giant’s domestic email, web browsing and electronic phone traffic are being diverted to the NSA.
The fact that the office of Attorney General Eric Holder, a named defendant in the case, has moved to dismiss Jewell v. NSA is a powerful indication that the Obama administration is not only "soft" on Bush administration domestic spying, but his administration intends to pick up where Bush left off.
Additional support for claims that Obama is now the U.S. spy-in-chief is found in the stimulus bill he signed last February.
Despite the nation’s economic woes, Washington Technology, a trade publication for DC lobbyists and contractors, reported March 27 that "technology companies are poised to tap into the billions of dollars that will flow from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into new federal, state and local initiatives."
"Many of the initiatives include new corporate welfare projects devised by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to ‘keep America safe," Burghardt reported.
In its motion to dismiss Jewell, the Obama administration, echoing the same statist logic employed by the Bush administration, claimed that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue "out of hand."
DOJ terror litigation counsel Douglas Letter, in support of the motion to dismiss, stated that, by allowing the case to proceed, the court "would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security."
According to EFF attorneys, The DOJ now claims "...that the U.S. government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying—that the government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes."
Not even Bush AG Alberto Gonzales, who argued that torturing terror war detainees was "constitutional," went so far as to claim that the U.S. government is above the law when it comes to domestic spying.
Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com said, "In other words, beyond even the outrageously broad ‘state secrets’ privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and—even if what they’re doing is blatantly illegal and they know it’s illegal—you are barred from suing them unless they ‘willfully disclose’ to the public what they have learned."
The court has not yet ruled on the government’s motion to dismiss Jewell. If the motion is granted, Obama’s promise for change will, in this instance, come with wiretaps and cameras.
Cell phones: Not just for talking anymore
Bob Segall of NBC affiliate WTHR TV 13 News of Indianapolis, with the help of WTHR producer Cyndee Hebert, was able to show that cell phones have some rather unique features.
The "13 Investigates" news segment, which originally aired Nov. 13, 2008 and is currently available on YouTube, began by describing how Tacoma, WA, teenager Courtney Kuykendall and her family continued receiving harassing phone calls even after they had changed cell phones and numbers. "Imagine someone watching your every move, hearing everything you say and knowing where you are at every moment. If you have a cell phone, it could happen to you. 13 Investigates explains how your cell phone can be secretly hijacked and used against you - and how to protect yourself," Segall stated in his intro.
The Kuykendalls were afraid to use their phones because anonymous stalkers with disguised voices had taken control of the Kuykendall’s cell phones and repeatedly threatened Courtney with murder and rape; it was apparent that the callers were aware of the family’s every move. "They’re listening to us and recording us," Courtney’s mother, Heather Kuykendall, told NBC’s Today Show. "We know that because they will record us and play it back as a voicemail."
How can this be happening? The answer to that question is found on the Internet. Just type "spyware" into your favorite search engine and you will find companies offering equipment with claims that you can tap into someone’s calls, read their text messages and track their movements "anywhere, anytime." The technology, they say, is great if you are trying to "catch a cheating spouse," protect your children from an abusive babysitter or "hear what your boss is saying about you." And while you’re spying on others, the Spyware companies say "no one will ever know" because it’s supposed to be "completely invisible" with "absolutely no trace."
"Security experts say it’s no internet hoax," Segall said..
"I think a lot of people think their cell phone calls are very secure but our privacy isn’t always what we think it is," said Rick Mislan, a former military intelligence officer who now teaches cyber forensics at Purdue University’s Department of Computer and Information Technology.
According to Segall, "Mislan has examined thousands of cell phones inside Purdue’s Cyber Forensics Lab, and he says spy software can now make even the most high-tech cell phone vulnerable."
WTHR’s "spy test"
To test Mislan’s confirmation of spyware hawkers’ claims, 13 Investigates, with the permission of Hebert, purchased and downloaded Spyware on her personal cell phone.
[Quoted from the text]:While Hebert was at home making phone calls to her family with her "loaded" cell phone, Segall was outside her house listening on his cell phone.
Every time Hebert made or received a phone call, Segall received an instant text message, telling him that Hebert was talking on her cell phone so that Segall could call in and listen.
On his computer, Segall also got a copy of Hebert’s text messages and a list of phone numbers detailing each incoming and outgoing call to Hebert’s cell phone.
And no matter where Hebert went with her phone, Segall received constant satellite updates on her location. He could literally track Hebert anywhere she went.
"It’s hard to believe you can do all that," Hebert said when she saw the spy software in action. "I think that’s really scary."
When spy software was installed onto Hebert’s phone, that phone became an instant spy device - even when the phone was not being used.
As Hebert’s cell phone was simply sitting on a table or attached to her purse, Segall could activate the speaker on the phone and secretly listen in to the phone’s surroundings. While Hebert was in a meeting on the 36th floor of a downtown Indianapolis building, Segall heard her conversations, even though he was four miles away.
13 Investigates found more than a dozen companies willing to sell this type of cell phone spy software, which ranges in price from $60 to $3,000. The majority of the companies are located in foreign countries such as Thailand, Taiwan and the United Kingdom—and for good reason. Most of the advertised applications for the spy software are illegal in the United States.
Segall then explained that, in 2003, "…the FBI used cell phone spy software to eavesdrop on the conversations of organized crime families in New York, and it used those conversations in its federal prosecutions."
Private investigator Tim Wilcox explained to Segall that, "The technology is there. It’s been there a long time. It’s accessible and it’s done all the time."
The harassment eventually did stop for the Kuykendalls after getting law enforcement involved, but "authorities" claim they were not able to locate the culprits who had hijacked the family’s cell phones—and lives—for several months.
To avoid the chance of spyware being loaded onto your phone requires making sure it never leaves your side. Some claim that removing the battery when the phone is not in use will disable spyware if your phone is loaded, but others caution that the phone has a backup system and it can still be used as a microphone to record conversations and as a GPS locator.
There is only one way to protect yourself: Get rid of your cell phone and avoid conversations with people who have them.
Rockefeller moves to give president control of "cybersecurity"
Senate bills No. 773 and 778, introduced April 1, 2009 by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), comprise the Cyber Security Act of 2009, which would create a new Office of the National Cyber Security Advisor. The advisor, charged with protecting the nation against cyber attack and conducting surveillance to prevent cybercrime and catch cyber criminals, will be appointed by and report directly to the president.
Per the bill, the advisor will regulate the cybersecurity industry and monitor cyber traffic. Under the authority of the president, the advisor will be able to access private online data and even shut the Internet down or restrict Internet traffic upon declaring a state of cyber emergency.
Among the powers to be granted the advisor is the ability to take control of Internet information networks, such as banking, air/rail/auto/truck/marine traffic, communications and weather, that have been arbitrarily deemed critical to national security. The opportunity for this unchecked authority to be used for political advantage is extreme.
In support of his bills, Sen. Rockefeller said, "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records—the list goes on."
The federal government has been trying unsuccessfully to gain control over the Internet for several years by regulating content and levying user fees. The Cyber Security Act will likely accomplish administratively what Congress has not been able to accomplish legislatively—the control of content and the imposition of user fees to finance the czar’s operations.
Bill co-sponsor Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), said in support of the act, "If we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina."
Drew Zahn of WorldNetDaily reported that, "Critics....have pointed to three actions Rockefeller and Snowe propose that may violate both privacy concerns and even constitutional bounds:
"First, the White House, through the national cybersecurity advisor, shall have the authority to disconnect "critical infrastructure" networks from the Internet—including private citizens’ banks and health records, if Rockefeller’s examples are accurate—if they are found to be at risk of cyber attack. The working copy of the bill, however, does not define what constitutes a cybersecurity emergency, and apparently leaves the question to the discretion of the president.
"Second, the bill establishes the Department of Commerce as "the clearinghouse of cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information," including the monitoring of private information networks deemed a part of the ‘critical infrastructure.’
"Third, the legislation proposes implementation of a professional licensing program for certifying who can serve as a cybersecurity professional."
The text of S 773 and S 778 redundantly attempt to justify establishing the Office of the National Cyber Security Advisor and the development of a huge cybersecurity bureaucracy. The proposed bills are currently before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Military contractors hired by Census Bureau locking in on the global positioning of Americans’ front doors
On July 31, 2006, National Public Radio announced, "Two-and-a-half years from now, in early 2009, the Census Bureau plans to send an army of 100,000 temporary workers down every street and dusty, dirt road in America. They will be armed with handheld GPS devices.
"Robert LaMacchia, head of the Census Bureau’s geography division, says they’ll capture the latitude and longitude of the front door of every house, apartment and improvised shelter they find.
"‘We will actually knock on doors and look for hidden housing units," he says. "We will find converted garages; from the outside, it may not look like anybody lives there.’"
It is happening all across America right now. Legions of temporary workers are crawling the countryside, hopping locked gates and ignoring no trespassing signs to walk right up to Americans’ front doors to register the global position of their front doors and tag them to addresses.
Idaho Chapter Eagle Forum President Jane Lesko of Grangeville experienced such an invasion and has been getting to the bottom of this campaign. She was told that temporary Census Bureau workers are authorized to trespass per 13 USC, 223(7)(2). However, the statute only applies when they are taking a census, which will not be underway until next year.
Producer Marie Gunther of The Power Hour was told about the issue and scheduled Lesko to appear on the popular radio talk show. The next day she received a visit from a GPS-toting temp. When confronted, the man said that the purpose of locating America’s front doors is to have a check on census takers when the 2010 count is being taken, which is obviously nonsense.
The Census Bureau is working with defense contractors Harris Corporation and Michael Baker to complete this task by July 31, 2009. One has to assume that locking in the coordinates of Americans’ front doors has martial rather than civil implications.