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Intelligence Report Alleges Secret Trump-Kremlin Meetings – Blackmail

The Buzzfeed News Service released a report yesterday, allegedly produced by a former British Intelligence officer on the Kremlin-Trump dealings. The report has not been corroborated (at least publicly) by US Intelligence agencies yet. While the report agrees in several areas with the US Intelligence reports, it goes further and makes several devastating accusations including that the FSB (New KGB) had used videos of Trump engaging in unusual sexual activities with groups of Russian prostitutes, and the Trump’s Attorney had met at least once secretly with the FSB to coordinate the release of leaks damaging to Clinton. It goes on to say that Trump’s staff was in frequent contact with the FSB in planning dis-information being planted in the America media.

It is important to note – no one has independently verified the new information in the report – and as such it could be fake.However, those researching the report have been unable to prove to this point any of the assertions made are false, either. US Intelligence felt that the report was significant enough they briefed President Obama on it.

The report does follow, and expand upon intelligence data already made public. As we know, some intelligence gathered by US Intelligence Agencies has not been made public.

The “errors” in the report seem to amount to nothing more than typos.

A full copy of the report is available here.

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These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia

A dossier, compiled by a person who has claimed to be a former British intelligence official, alleges Russia has compromising information on Trump. The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.

A dossier making explosive — but unverified — allegations that the Russian government has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents, and journalists for weeks.

The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump.

Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.

The document was prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent. It is not just unconfirmed: It includes some clear errors. The report misspells the name of one company, “Alpha Group,” throughout. It is Alfa Group. The report says the settlement of Barvikha, outside Moscow, is “reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates.” It is not reserved for anyone, and it is also populated by the very wealthy.

The Trump administration’s transition team did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment. However, the president-elect’s attorney, Michael Cohen, told Mic that the allegations were absolutely false.

“It’s so ridiculous on so many levels,” he said. “Clearly, the person who created this did so from their imagination or did so hoping that the liberal media would run with this fake story for whatever rationale they might have.”

And Trump shot back against the reports a short time later on Twitter.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Second American Revolution, The Clown Bus

 

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“None dare call it Treason!” – Putin’s B-Boi

Seems the Chumph’s reaction to the recount in Michigan finally got some folks “un-stuck”.

Not only are Republicans investigating – but President Obama, likely in response to the entire INtelligence apparatus either heading out the door or threatening to revolt if the Chumph is inaugurated – finally does something significant…Not to mention a Military coup…

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Obama To Receive A Report On Russia’s 2016 Election Meddling Before Leaving Office

The report could help Democrats and Republicans alike who want more clarity on Moscow’s role.

President Barack Obama expects to receive a U.S. intelligence report on security breaches during the 2016 election before he leaves office on Jan. 20, his homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, told reporters Friday.

“The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process,” Monaco said, speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast event. Congress will be briefed on the report, she said, and Obama’s team will determine how much to share with the public once they see the results.

The U.S. intelligence community announced on Oct. 7 that it believes hackers supported by the Russian government were responsible for meddling in the election process, including by targeting the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton adviser John Podesta and other notable political figures, like former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Congressional Democrats have ramped up their pressure for more details on Russian activities since President-elect Donald Trump, who has been notably friendly toward Russia, triumphed over Clinton on Nov. 8. Last month, Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee sent Obama a letter asking him to declassify information on the Russian interference. Earlier this week, Democrats on key House committees dealing with national security sent their own letter, asking that all members of Congress be informed of everything the intelligence community knows about Russian activity in 2016.

Obama’s review may satisfy the latter demand.

But it will not necessarily satisfy the interest in giving the public further information about the Russian role. Some Russia experts believe that is essential to prevent exaggerating Russia’s power in a way that helps Moscow and to offer truly effective, rather than hyperbolic, responses.

Monaco emphasized that investigators looking at the election would consider a range of threats that affected it, not just those emanating from Russia.

She noted that she’d had to communicate with the Obama and McCain campaigns in 2008, during her previous job at the FBI, to tell them about Chinese state-sponsored intrusions into their systems.

“We’ve seen in 2008, and this last election system, malicious cyberactivity,” Monaco said. “We may be crossing a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what has happened and to impart those lessons learned.”

Of course, the Chinese interference did not have the kind of impact on perceptions of a specific candidate that Moscow’s did this year.

In any case, the review will hardly end the conversation in Washington about how to handle Moscow. The review’s findings could bolster congressional efforts to punish Russia for its attempts to undermine the U.S. and its allies. Top Senate Republicansare already preparing a probe ― defying their party’s putative leader, Trump, who has said he does not believe the intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow directed meddling.

“They’ll keep doing more here until they pay a price,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told The Washington Post this week.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, welcomed the Obama administration’s announcement.

“After many briefings by our intelligence community, it is clear to me that the Russians hacked our democratic institutions and sought to interfere in our elections and sow discord,” Schiff said. “In this, tragically, they succeeded.”

“Given President-elect Trump’s disturbing refusal to listen to our intelligence community and accept that the hacking was orchestrated by the Kremlin, there is an added urgency to the need for a thorough review before President Obama leaves office next month,” he went on.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2016 in Second American Revolution

 

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The American Gestapo

Most law enforcement organizations, at last in first world countries cling tightly to their non-political, non-partisan, and neural image. As well as that of being even-haded and fair. The reason being quite simply – trust.. As we have seen in some of the cases of Murder-by-Cop of black men – It doesn’t always work out that way No system is perfect.

The FBI massively violated that rule in supporting Trump during the election.

The release of information relative to Hillary Clinton’s emails was not only false

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The FBI Is About To Get The Power To Hack Millions Of Computers

Congress had six months to debate granting President-elect Donald Trump’s FBI new legal powers to hack millions of computers, and Republican leaders objected to doing so on Wednesday.

That means that starting Thursday, a Department of Justice official will be able to go to a single judge, assert that a computer crime may involve millions of networked devices, and get a warrant that lets the FBI hack all of those devices.

According to three senators who tried to put the brakes on that new authority Wednesday so Congress could at least discuss it, there are no concrete assurances from law enforcement officials that privacy won’t be violated or that devices won’t be damaged. Nor was there any explanation of how authorities will hack Americans’ wired equipment.

“At midnight tonight, this Senate will make one of the biggest mistakes in surveillance policy in years and years,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who tried with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to offer three measures to delay or rein in the new FBI powers. “Without a single congressional hearing, without a shred of meaningful public input, without any opportunity for senators to ask their questions in a public forum, one judge with one warrant would be able to authorize the hacking of thousands, possibly
millions of devices, cell phones and tablets.”

In fact, very few Americans have any idea that the scope of online search warrants is about to get much broader. The push for the expansion stems from a case in Texas in which investigators were denied a warrant because they could not show that the computer they wanted to hack was in the federal district where the warrant was sought.

That prompted a long review by court officials of what’s known as Rule 41, a part of federal criminal procedure that defines search and seizure rules. They ultimately sent a proposal to the Supreme Court to expand the scope of the surveillance powers. The high court approved the expansion, and by law, Congress had six months to review and approve the change. The six months expire Dec. 1.

When Wyden and the two other senators asked for unanimous consent to bring up various measures to modify the new rules or just delay them for six more months, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) objected.

He said the changes were common-sense steps designed to allow law enforcement officials the ability to pursue new threats in the rapidly changing online world.

“There is a challenge when cybercriminals use the internet and social media to prey on innocent children, to traffic in human beings, to buy and sell drugs,” Cornyn said. “There has to be a way for law enforcement, for the federal government, to get a search warrant approved by a judge based on a showing of probable cause to be able to get that evidence so that the law can be enforced and these cybercriminals can be prosecuted.”

Wyden and the others do not dispute that criminals exploit all sorts of online devices ― from cameras to computers and connected appliances ― to commit crimes in ever-evolving ways.

But Wyden argued that the new powers are far too vague, and there are inadequate protections for innocent Americans whose property could be hacked legally by the feds if officials assert it is “damaged” by malware of some sort that may have been used in a crime.

He raised the specter of a mass FBI hack going wrong, and perhaps further damaging victims of a criminal hack, or even knocking vital systems offline, such as hospital computer networks.

“Legislators and the public know next to nothing about how the government
conducts the searches,” Wyden said. “The government itself is planning to use software that has not been properly vetted by outside security experts.”

The Oregon senator and a couple of dozen others have written to the Department of Justice about those and other concerns, but did not find the answers persuasive. (Read the exchanges here.)

Wyden predicted that when something inevitably goes wrong, the anger will be aimed a lawmakers who couldn’t be bothered to add checks on the new powers.

“I think when Americans find out that the Congress allowed the Justice Department to just wave its arms in the air and grant itself new powers under the Fourth Amendment without the Senate even being part of a single hearing, I think law-abiding Americans are going to ask, ‘So what were you people in the Senate thinking?’” Wyden said. “What were you thinking about when the FBI starts hacking the victims of a hack, or when a mass hack goes awry and breaks their device, or an entire hospital system in effect has great damage done?”

 

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Olbermann Makes Case for Trump-Putin

Olbermann gets the very tip of the Rump-Putin iceberg here. There is a lot more, as well as significant financial ties between someone on Trump’s staff and a Russian cut-out organization. The FBI didn’t find that…Outside independent hackers did. With FBI Director Comey’s release of information designed to damage Clinton, it is fairly obvious why the FBI hasn’t found anything to date…They were told not to look. The Intelligence Agencies. who are looking are extremely concerned as has been published in  the news. That suggests there are far deeper ties. Take that in conjunction with the announcement that it is Russian Government Intelligence which is hacking the Democrat email servers, databases, and voter rolls…

And what you have is Treason.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2016 in Chumph Butt Kicking

 

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Police Harass BLM Ahead of Republican Convention

Seems like Cointelpro is still active in Cleveland…

 

Are Police Targeting Black Lives Matter Activists Ahead of the GOP Convention?

Law enforcement says it’s community outreach. Activists say it’s a harassment campaign.

With the Republican National Convention fast approaching in Cleveland, tensions over security are mounting. Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is expected to draw thousands of protesters and the scene outside the convention could turn volatile. At least two outside police departments have pulled out of the security effort, citing concerns that the city is ill-prepared. And the American Civil Liberties Union sued Cleveland over protest rules it views as draconian. (A settlement was reached last week.) Now, local and federal authorities have begun aggressively tracking activists—including members of the Black Lives Matter movement who have helped spotlight Cleveland’s brutal policing problems.

Last week, law enforcement agents began visiting the homes of known activists in Cleveland. Jocelyn Rosnick, an attorney with the Ohio chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which is providing legal advice and holding civil rights trainings for activists ahead of the RNC, said her group had received about two dozen reports from activists who said they’d been visited by agents from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Secret Service, or by Cleveland PD officers and Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies. Law enforcement agents, some of them said, also made phone calls to relatives, neighbors, and places of employment asking about the activists’ whereabouts. According to Rosnick, most of these reports have come from people involved with the local chapter of Black Lives Matter or the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The people receiving these visits and calls have found them intimidating. Local resident Dionne Hudson told Cleveland’s NewsChannel 5 that two law enforcement officials visited her home on June 21 looking for her 20-year-old daughter, who was among 71 people arrested at a protest following the acquittal of Cleveland PD officer Michael Brelo for a fatal shooting. Her daughter’s case was thrown out and she has not been involved in a protest since, Hudson said. “Where can we find her at? They asked things of that nature. What’s her phone number. It was like they were hunting her down,” Hudson said. “It’s intimidating.”

A prominent Cleveland activist, contacted byMother Jones via the National Lawyers Guild, said an agent with the FBI’s Cleveland field office left him a voicemail last Tuesday asking to speak with him. The activist, who asked to remain anonymous, said he had heard from others who received visits or phone calls from law enforcement. One said officers stopped him while he was jogging, and another said officers blocked his car with theirs as he attempted to pull out of his driveway. The activist, who has done organizing in Cleveland for nearly two decades, said he was not intimidated, but he worries about the impact on younger, less experienced activists.

“Clearly this is a harassment campaign,” he said. He pointed to the FBI’s history of targeting activists, including a local 2012 case in which five Occupy activists were arrested on terrorism charges after a federal agent infiltrated their group. The Cleveland PD, meanwhile has said it planned to use undercover officers in its security preparations. The activist said he thinks law enforcement is using the convention as a pretext to harass people who may end up on their radar for other reasons.

In a statement to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a FBI spokeswoman said agents were conducting community outreach as a part of their security planning for the convention. “Law enforcement is reaching out to individuals known to the community who might have information that could help to ensure a safe and secure environment during the RNC,” the FBI spokeswoman said. Neither the FBI’s field office nor the Cleveland mayor’s office, which is handling media requests related to the RNC, responded to inquiries from Mother Jones.

Since 2014, Cleveland has seen a wave of protests in response to police shootings of black people. Activists affiliated with Black Lives Matter have also disrupted severalpolitical events since the beginning of the campaign season. One BLM leader saidin an interview last July that the group would take “any opportunity we have to shut down the GOP convention.” But Rosnick noted that many of the people who had been contacted by law enforcement recently said they had no plans to protest at the convention.

J. Edgar Hoover

Law enforcement also conducted these kinds of operations ahead of national political conventions in 2008 and 2012, Rosnick said, but “to me it seems like they have cast a wider net this time around.” She said members of an arts collective on the city’s west side—which hosted meetings related to protests of the Tamir Ricecase—have also been paid visits. And Maggie Rice, an organizer with Food Not Bombs, told Mother Jones that at least four of her group’s members were visited by FBI agents and plainclothes Cleveland police last week. “It made me feel uneasy,” one of those members told Mother Jones, “like no one I knew was necessarily safe.”

Randy Cunningham, a 66-year-old veteran environmental activist who’s coordinating an anti-poverty march for the GOP convention, described how two Cleveland PD detectives visited his home on June 20: One carried a manila folder with his name on it that contained a picture of his driver’s license and other documents, Cunningham said. He said they asked him questions about his plans for the march, how many people were expected to attend, and if he knew of people who might be coming from out of town to cause mayhem.

Meanwhile, Mother Jones also contacted four supporters of Trump in the Cleveland area who submitted applications for parade permits during the RNC. All replied they had not been contacted by law enforcement…. Read More Here

 
 

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The Death of Black Lives Matter?

A lot of questions swirling around in the media about the future viability of the Black Lives Matter movement. Most of the questions center around the organization’s “leaderless” style, wherein no specific person or small group of people have emerged as spokespersons for the organizations as a whole. The fact that BLM isn’t one group, tied together by an identifiable central leadership doesn’t make it easy for the press to identify goals, platforms, and causes beyond the obvious…

White folks get nervous when their is no black strongman to talk for “de black folks”. Which is the basis of Cornel West’s rants about “prophetic leadership”, which is just another term for “strong man” leadership.

One of the oldest maxims of warfare, dating to before Sun Tsu is to “kill the leader”. An approach successfully used against the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in the assassinations of Medgar Evers, and Dr King. The democratic construct of many organizations tied to a central goal, each pursuing resolution by self actualized actions against the components of structural racism makes for an agile, inclusive movement where the “leaders” cannot be marginalized by the MSM, or co-opted.

Why is that important? And even more key – what are the conditions which brought us to this point?

  1. The black Church has abrogated and destroyed the very moral foundations of it’s role as a central gathering point in the Civil Rights Movement. Often discussed is the male-female schism, but far more important in the context of the modern civil rights movement is the generational schism. The youth is leaving the Church, and there is little reason to believe they will be back.
  2. Black politicians, and political institutions have failed, and largely sold out the very people they were elected to represent, and have little to no connection with the millennial generation or backbone to face the basic problems of taking down structural Jim Crow. Raised in the era where the fault lines were written in specific laws clearly delineating the rights, or more appropriately the lack of rights of persons of color. The approaches used in attacking the State House, which the older politicians are wed to, have little value in what is essentially a shadow war, where results very often are wildly different from intentions.
  3. We now live in an America which is equivalent to Josef Stalin’s communist KGB wet dream. All forms of electronic communication are surveiled, it is almost impossible to walk down the street in any American City without being recorded on dozens of cameras, systems of “electronic control”. Your life is recorded from the second you are born, and such information is not only available to the Government, it is available to major corporations. They know whether you drink Coke over Pepsi, and it is a pretty safe bet whatever Amazon, Google, or Facebook knows – the Government knows too. They can see through the walls (or ceiling) of your house, listen to your conversations 20,000 miles away, and tell you when, where, and how many times your spouse has been banging the neighbor. The recent charade over “breaking” an iPhone is an example. What took the FBI 5 months would have taken the black intelligence agencies and Military 15 seconds. If a couple of itinerant hackers can penetrate the systems of banks for millions of credit card numbers, or even the Federal Government for 5 million social security and employee files, WTF do you think a Government Agency with computer systems the size of a small subdivision can do? The Internet is not secure…By design. The so called Internet of Things (IoT) is your life on blast.

The right, normally concerned about “Personal freedom” has been utterly subverted by Faux News having bent over and spread wide by fear-mongering about largely nonexistent “International Terrorism”, and convinced the true function of the invasion of privacy is to keep the black and brown folks in their place. They have become common whores to racism, discarding any pretense of personal liberty or freedom.

So…The disorganization of Black Lives Matter is about something else entirely.

Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter Movement Is Most Visible on Twitter. Its True Home Is Elsewhere.

For the movement to survive, it needs to focus on work that doesn’t lend itself to 140 characters.

In March 2012, nearly a month after George Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, hundreds of high-school students in Miami-Dade and Broward counties staged walkouts to protest the fact that Zimmerman hadn’t been arrested on any charges. A group of current and former Florida college activists knew that they had to do something too. During a series of conference calls, Umi Selah (then known as Phillip Agnew) and others in the group planned a 40-mile march from Daytona Beach to the headquarters of the Sanford Police Department—40 miles symbolizing the 40 days that Zimmerman had remained free. On Good Friday, 50 people set off for Sanford. The march culminated in a five-hour blockade of the Sanford PD’s doors on Easter Monday. The marchers demanded Zimmerman’s arrest and the police chief’s firing. Within two days, both demands had been met.

A little over a year later, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty on charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Undeterred by the legal setback, the activists—calling themselves the Dream Defenders—showed up in Tallahassee and occupied the Florida statehouse for four weeks in an effort to push Republican Governor Rick Scott to call a special legislative session to review the state’s “stand your ground” law, racial profiling, and school push-out policies, all of which the organization linked to Martin’s death. Fueled in part by participants sharing updates on Twitter, the occupation became a national story, and Selah fielded a flood of requests from media and progressive organizations. Some wanted to give an award to the Dream Defenders; others wanted to add Selah to lists proclaiming the arrival of a new generation of civil-rights heroes. (One writer said he embodied the spirit of Nelson Mandela.) Others wanted his perspective on the burgeoning racial-justice movement. After a while, Selah wanted none of it.

The breaking point came when a major news outlet profiled him without first conducting an interview. The result, he says, was an account that credited him with successes in social-justice movements he wasn’t even involved in. “If I was a person in the [immigrants’-rights] movement, I would look at this article and think, ‘Who the hell is this dude?’” he told me. “I really panicked. I imagined somebody saying, ‘Why is this dude telling Time magazine that he’s been in the forefront of these movements, and we’ve never seen him here?’”

Selah’s response was to pull himself out of the spotlight. He started declining media requests and posting less often to social media. When he did accept an invitation to speak, his goals were to disavow any hero label thrust on him by others and to demystify the Dream Defenders’ work.

Selah is an organizer, not a media personality, and so the trade-off made sense for him. But for others, that might not be the case. Twitter personality and trailing Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson was described in a recent New York Times profile as “the best-known face of the Black Lives Matter movement” and BLM’s “biggest star.” Now followed by more than 300,000 Twitter users, Mckesson began building his following by live-tweeting the protests in Ferguson in August 2014 after driving there from Minneapolis, where he lived at the time. More than a million mentions and retweets on the social-networking platform made him the protagonist of the Times magazine’s cover story on Black Lives Matter and earned him a spot on Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders list. But is he an organizer? The historian Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, says she defines organizing as “bringing people together for sustained, coordinated, strategic action for change.” Mckesson, who wisely calls himself a “protester,” is doing something else entirely. The problem is that too many of us don’t know to look for the difference.

Today’s racial-justice movement demands an end to the disproportionate killing of black people by law-enforcement officials and vigilantes, and seeks to root out white supremacy wherever it lives. Social media has allowed its members to share documentary evidence of police abuse, spread activist messages, and forge a collective meaning out of heartrending news. At certain key moments, Twitter in particular has reflected and reinforced the power of this movement. On November 24, 2014, when the St. Louis County prosecutor announced that a grand jury had decided not to bring charges against the officer who killed an unarmed Michael Brown, Twitter users fired off 3.4 million tweets regarding the police killings of black people and racial-justice organizing, with the vast majority coming from movement supporters and news outlets, according to a recent report by American University’s Center for Media and Social Impact. Weeks later, when the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death in New York City was also not indicted, 4.4 million tweets over a period of seven days kept the nation’s attention focused on the fight for police accountability. Hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #Ferguson, #HandsUpDontShoot and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown gave users—including those not yet involved in activism—a way to contribute to conversations they cared about.

But while social media turns the microphone over to activists and organizers who are often far from the center of the media’s attention, its power doesn’t come without pitfalls. In August, a nasty Twitter fight erupted after Mckesson initiated a meeting with Bernie Sanders’s campaign. Writer and activist dream hampton posted a tweet that read: “While a meeting with @deray might be a blast, I would expect @BernieSanders to meet with actual BLM folks, those who forced this platform.” At the heart of the criticism was the claim that Mckesson was not in a position to speak to a presidential candidate on behalf of the Black Lives Matter network—an organization with chapters that grew out of the hashtag created and popularized by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Khan-Cullors. …Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Why Black Folks Need Encryption

The battle between Apple Computer and the FBI is not just about the encrypted messages on one iPhone. What it is really about is expanding the legal ability of the Federal Government to spy on it’s citizens.  This has been an ongoing battle largely behind the scenes between tech developers and Government agencies such as NIST and the NSA. Indeed in 1988 the Government forced standards groups to make TCP/IP the telecom standard upon which the Internet is based, and rejected the OSI standard in large part because the OSI Standard included encryption that was difficult to break, and features which allowed the development of advanced security technologies at the “transmission” level, whereas TCP had none, and was easily compromised by government spooks, who had been using and testing the vulnerabilities of the protocol stack for years. The Internet is not secure, and by design – can never be secured, which is why the Government defense and intelligence agencies use a custom variation of TCP/IP which incorporates capabilities to enhance secure communication.

There are roughly 7 major Commercial Off The Shelf encryption systems in use today. In order to sell those in the US, NSA requires that security “backdoors” be built in such that the systems may be easily compromised by the NSA, and we would assume law enforcement agencies. This requirement does not cover, and has not covered to this point encryption systems on devices which store information internally in flash memory or disk drives. As such manufacturers and equipment owners have been free to encrypt an secure their data by any means they deem appropriate.

There is no such thing as unbreakable encryption. Even that used by the most secret agencies in the Government isn’t unbreakable. What it is is a system which is difficult enough to break that only another government or massive corporation has access to the computer horsepower and scientists to do so – which costs lots and lots of money. So it is actually a race to develop new, more complex systems as the previous system is broken. And I can tell you from personal experience that two guys in a garage that against odds come up with something new and radical which might give those systems heartburn – are in for a visit by the guys in black suits shortly after letting the world know you’ve developed it.

Now – most of what you see on TV about the technology is bullshit. You are not breaking into a unknown secured local network just in time for the hero to do his thing with your trusty laptop. There is no such thing as a 100% secure network, if it has any connection at all to the Internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) which is a hot-button meme right now in the industry isn’t going to happen, because the security in wireless systems is so poor (on purpose and by design).

So…If you are using commercial off the shelf products like cell phones and computers – you can’t stop them from listening in. What you can do is make it difficult enough that unless somebody like the NSA comes after you, you have security. Which is exactly what Apple did.

Here’s why civil rights activists are siding with the tech giant.

Last night, the FBI, saying that it may be able to crack an iPhone without Apple’s help, convinced a federal judge to delay the trial over its encryption dispute with the tech company. In February, you may recall, US magistrate judge Sheri Pym ruledthat Apple had to help the FBI access data from a phone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters. Apple refused, arguing that it would have to invent software that amounts to a master key for iPhones—software that doesn’t exist for the explicit reason that it would put the privacy of millions of iPhone users at risk. The FBI now has two weeks to determine whether its new method is viable. If it is, the whole trial could be moot.

That would be a mixed blessing for racial justice activists, some of them affiliated with Black Lives Matter, who recently wrote to Judge Pym and laid out some reasons she should rule against the FBI. Theletter—one of dozens sent by Apple supporters—cited the FBI’s history of spying on civil rights organizers and shared some of the signatories’ personal experiences with government overreach.

“One need only look to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and wiretapping of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to recognize the FBI has not always respected the right to privacy for groups it did not agree with,” they wrote. (Targeted surveillance of civil rights leaders was also a focus of a recent PBS documentary on the Black Panther Party.) Nor is this sort of thing ancient history, they argued: “Many of us, as civil rights advocates, have become targets of government surveillance for no reason beyond our advocacy or provision of social services for the underrepresented.”

Black Lives Matter organizers have good reason to be concerned. Last summer, I reported that a Baltimore cyber-security firm had identified prominent Ferguson organizer (and Baltimore mayoral candidate) Deray McKesson as a “threat actor” who needed “continuous monitoring” to ensure public safety. The firm—Zero Fox—briefed members of an FBI intelligence partnership program about the data it had collected on Freddie Gray protest organizers. It later passed the information along to Baltimore city officials.

Department of Homeland Security emails, meanwhile, have indicated that Homeland tracked the movements of protesters and attendees of a black cultural event in Washington, DC, last spring. Emails from New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Metro-North Railroad showed that undercover police officers monitored the activities of known organizers at Grand Central Station police brutality protests. The monitoring was part of a joint surveillance effort by MTA counter-terrorism agents and NYPD intelligence officers. (There are also well-documentedinstances of authorities spying on Occupy Wall Street activists.)

In December 2014, Chicago activists, citing a leaked police radio transmissionalleged that city police used a surveillance device called a Stingray to intercept their texts and phone calls during protests over the death of Eric Garner. The device, designed by military and space technology giant Harris Corporation, forces all cell phones within a given radius to connect to it, reroutes communications through the Stingray, and allows officers to read texts and listen to phone calls—as well as track a phone’s location. (According to theACLU, at least 63 law enforcement agencies in 21 states use Stingrays in police work—frequently without a warrant—and that’s probably an underestimate, since departments must signagreements saying they will not disclose their use of the device.)

In addition to the official reports, several prominent Black Lives organizers in Baltimore, New York City, and Ferguson, Missouri, shared anecdotes of being followed and/or harassed by law enforcement even when they weren’t protesting. One activist told me how a National Guard humvee had tailed her home one day in 2014 during the Ferguson unrest, matching her diversions turn for turn. Another organizer was greeted by dozens of officers during a benign trip to a Ferguson-area Wal-Mart, despite having never made public where she was going.

In light of the history and their own personal experiences, many activists have been taking extra precautions. “We know that lawful democratic activism is being monitored illegally without a warrant,” says Malkia Cyril, director of the Center for Media Justice in Oakland and a signatory on the Apple-FBI letter. “In response, we are using encrypted technologies so that we can exercise our democratic First and Fourth Amendment rights.” Asked whether she believes the FBI’s promises to use any software Apple creates to break into the San Bernadino phone only, Cyril responds: “Absolutely not.”

“I don’t think it’s any secret that activists are using encryption methods,” says Lawrence Grandpre, an organizer with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle in Baltimore. Grandpre says he and others used an encrypted texting app to communicate during the Freddie Gray protests. He declined to name the app, but said it assigns a PIN to each phone that has been approved to access messages sent within a particular group of people. If an unapproved device tries to receive a message, the app notifies the sender and blocks the message from being sent. Grandpre says he received these notifications during the Freddie Gray protests: “Multiple times we couldn’t send text messages because the program said there’s a possibility of interception.”

Cyril says “all of the activists I know” use a texting and call-encryption app calledSignal to communicate, and that the implication of a court verdict in favor of the FBI would be increased surveillance of the civil rights community. “It’s unprecedented for a tech company—for any company—to be compelled in this way,” Cyril says….

 

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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