Will There Be Freedom Of The Press?

Praise the internet gods!¬† My connectivity has returned……(for now)…….

In the past year there has been an uproar about “fake news”….both sides claim the other is the fake and no one but them can know what is true and what is false.¬† Of course when this type of debate rages there will always be one side or the other that claims something about the freedom of press, which usually includes that old thing about free speech.

I wrote a post earlier about “free speech” and what it means……

Source: That Thing Called ‚ÄúFree Speech‚ÄĚ ‚Äď In Saner Thought

The 1st amendment and the 2nd are about the only ones that most Americans know by heart (that may be a bit of a stretch)…..but just in case….

The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction; this right encompasses freedom from prior restraints on publication and freedom from Censorship.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law‚Ķ abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the press.” The courts have long struggled to determine whether the Framers of the Constitution intended to differentiate press freedom from speech freedom. Most have concluded that freedom of the press derives from freedom of speech. Although some cases and some legal scholars, including Justice Potter Stewart, of the U.S. Supreme Court, have advocated special press protections distinct from those accorded to speech, most justices believe that the Freedom of the Press Clause has no significance independent of the Freedom of Speech Clause.

Okay I got you caught up a bit……

The reason I brought up the quick lesson was because of something that is happening….looks like the FBI will have an easy time spying on journalists…..

Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists‚Äô phone¬†records with approval from two internal officials ‚ÄĒ far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures.

The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.

Media advocates said the documents show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information.

Source: Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists

This does NOTHING to protect the concept of a “Free Press”….and Obama help this process before he left office……

Source: The Birth Of The ‚ÄúMinistry Of Truth‚ÄĚ ‚Äď In Saner Thought

Do you feel much safer now?

Fusion–Word Of The Day

We have added a word to the vocabulary that is a bit confusing…..FUSION.

Most people immediately think of nuclear power and such when the word is mentioned……We have Fusion food, the combining of several different cultures for a unique flavor…..then we have Fusion Jazz, to some it sounds like the musicians are all playing a different song but it is more improv than anything….and finally we have a Fusion Center.

Okay now…what is a Fusion Center?

Basically it is a program under the auspices of the Dept. of Homeland Security……

“A fusion center is a collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.”

Fusion centers contribute to the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) through their role in receiving threat information from the federal government; analyzing that information in the context of their local environment; disseminating that information to local agencies; and gathering tips, leads, and suspicious activity reporting (SAR) from local agencies and the public. Fusion centers receive information from a variety of sources, including SAR from stakeholders within their jurisdictions, as well as federal information and intelligence. They analyze the information and develop relevant products to disseminate to their customers. These products assist homeland security partners at all levels of government to identify and address immediate and emerging threats.

Beyond serving as a focal point for information sharing, fusion centers add significant value to their customers by providing a state and local context to help enhance the national threat picture. Fusion centers provide the federal government with critical state and local information and subject matter expertise that it did not receive in the past ‚Äď enabling the effective communication of locally generated threat‚Äźrelated information to the federal government. Integrating and connecting these state and local resources creates a national capacity to gather, process, analyze, and share information in support of efforts to protect the country.

Now that there is a general definition and description of what these are…I shall move one…..this story is by the Future of Freedom Foundation….keep in mind it has a Libertarian tilt to their reporting….

When it comes to mindless excess in the war on terror, it is difficult to compete with the 70+ fusion centers bankrolled by the Department of Homeland Security. They began to be set up around the nation shortly after 9/11 as federal-state-local partnerships to better track terrorist threats. But the centers have been a world-class boondoggle from the start.

Fusion centers have sent the federally funded roundup of data on Americans‚Äô private lives into overdrive. As the Brennan Center for Justice noted in 2012, ‚ÄúUntil 9/11, police departments had limited authority to gather information on innocent activity, such as what people say in their houses of worship or at political meetings. Police could only examine this type of First Amendment-protected activity if there was a direct link to a suspected crime. But the attacks of 9/11 led law enforcement to turn this rule on its head.‚ÄĚ

Source: A Billion Dollars of Federally Funded Paranoia – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Oh goodie….another government program that gets lots of cash and accomplishes little……the American way.

FBI Agents to Infiltrate Political and Religious Groups

In these days of massive fear the country has allowed the police and military to invade their privacy on the premise that they will be much safer if these groups have access to your stuff.

I read an article that talks about the FBI and their infiltration of groups in the name of security……

Beneath the FBI‚Äôs redaction marks are exceptions to rules on ‚Äúundisclosed participation.‚ÄĚ

President Trump has inherited a vast domestic intelligence agency with extraordinary secret powers. A cache of documents offers a rare window into the FBI’s quiet expansion since 9/11.

Using loopholes it has kept secret for years, the FBI can in certain circumstances bypass its own rules in order to send undercover agents or informants into political and religious organizations, as well as schools, clubs, and businesses.

Source: Hidden Loopholes Allow FBI Agents to Infiltrate Political and Religious Groups

I am amused that people find this outrageous.

Has anyone out there ever heard of the COINTELPRO?  And yes this is another history lesson for you.

Between 1956 and 1971, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted a campaign of domestic counterintelligence. The agency’s Domestic Intelligence Division did more than simply spy on U.S. citizens and their organizations; its ultimate goal was to disrupt, discredit, and destroy certain political groups. The division’s operations were formally known within the bureau as COINTELPRO (the Counterintelligence Program). The brainchild of former FBI director j. edgar hoover, the first COINTELPRO campaign targeted the U.S. Communist party in the mid-1950s. More organizations came under attack in the 1960s. FBI agents worked to subvertCivil Rightsgroups, radical organizations, and white supremacists. COINTELPRO existed primarily because of Director Hoover’s extreme politics and ended only when he feared its exposure by his critics. A public uproar followed revelations in the news media in the early 1970s, and congressional hearings criticized COINTELPRO campaigns in 1976.

Read more……

Source: Cointelpro legal definition of Cointelpro

This is nothing new….the government has been invading groups for decades and all in the name of ….SECURITY.

Like A Cheap Spy Novel

In my younger days I was a fan of the pulp fiction spy novel….my fave character was the CIA’s Sam Durell….he always got the best assignments and the most beautiful women…..it appears that in today’s world these cheap novels are coming to life……

Let me explain……

Surely most of you have an opinion on the Trump “Dirty Dossier”…well it matters not what we want to believe….this post is about a situation around the alleged document….

Do I need to recap the story so far….then go to Google and do your own work….

It appears that one of the players in this supposed incident is no longer with us….

The body of Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping , was discovered in his car.He was an aide of Igor Sechin ‚Äď the ex-Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, who now heads up state-owned Rosneft oil.Mr Steele, the former British spy behind the , wrote in an intelligence report that he had a source close to Sechin.

Now it’s suspected that Erovinkin, who’s been called a key liaison between Sechin and Vladimir Putin, was that source.Media reports suggest his death was a result of foul play and it’s been speculated that the Kremlin is to blame.In his report dated July 19, 2016, Mr Steele said his source revealed alleged links between Trump and Putin.
Source: Donald Trump ‘dirty dossier spy’ found dead in back of car in Moscow | Daily Star
I am not siding with one side or the other……my only interests in this situation is the people that keep dying around Putin….I think there is more to these deaths than most want to admit.
Just saying…is it life imitating art?

Whistleblowing

Yep you guessed it!¬† Time for one of the Professor’s historic perspectives.¬† (and the peasants weep)

There is a wealth of opinions around those people that have leaked information to Wikileaks….to some they are heroes to others they are traitors….

My first experience with a whistle blower was Daniel Ellsberg and the release of the “Pentagon Paper”(you may dash for the Google button now you need the exercise)….then there was other major “blowers” Manning and Snowden….there have been others but they were minor compared to those three.

you may call these people anything you like but the fact is that whistle blowing is a duty to the nation…..

John McCain and Paul Ryan and numerous other super-patriots condemned President Obama’s pardon of Chelsea Manning.

In 1778 the Continental Congress¬†ruled¬†that ‚Äúit is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds, or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states.‚ÄĚ

Other pro-whistleblower legislation has been passed in recent years.

Apparently too many do not understand the term “duty”…..

Our nationalist leaders don‚Äôt care about any of this. They just want to make sure no one‚Äôs ‚Äúgonna mess with us.‚ÄĚ But as more of our misdeeds go unreported, more and more of the world is learning to hate us.

Personally, I have no problem with whistle blowers….any time we can expose the governmental darkness to the public light then they should be celebrated.

Class dismissed!

A Researchers Dream!

Finally!  Something of interest in the news!

This news may not do anything for some people….but for me it is a welcome sight…..now I can spend my day doing what I do best….research!

MY regular readers know that I prefer to do research and not take someone’s word on subjects like international relations and intel gathering…..I spend many hours pouring over documents and such trying to get at the meat of a problem or situation……

Finally, the CIA has released a butt-load of previously classified documents giving me something to do for awhile……

Decades ago, the CIA declassified a 26-page secret document cryptically titled ‚Äúclarifying statement to Fidel Castro concerning assassination.‚ÄĚ

It was a step toward greater transparency for one of the most secretive of all federal agencies. But to find out what the document actually said, you had to trek to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and hope that one of only four computers designated by the CIA to access its archives would be available.

But today the CIA posted the Castro record on its website along with more than 12 million pages of the agency’s other declassified documents that have eluded the public, journalists, and historians for nearly two decades. You can view the documents here.

Source: CREST | CIA FOIA (foia.cia.gov)

Of course all this is heavily redacted but yet there could be a wealth of information within the documents….late nights and lots of coffee…..

I have my new years present!  Thank you CIA

Obama Broadly Expands NSA Power

In the closing days of his presidency our president Obama has expanded the power of the NSA……and the chances of further abuses of our privacy…….a final shot, if you will…..

With just over a week left in office, President Obama has massive expanded NSA authority to share the personal communications swept up in their many warrantless wiretap schemes with America’s other 16 spy agencies.

The move aims to ‚Äúrelax‚ÄĚ limits imposed by privacy laws by allowing the NSA to share raw data in a more or less limitless fashion with the other 16 spy agencies before the privacy laws are even applied to them. This is meant to get more eyes on the data collected.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who like Obama is out the door in about a week, defended the move, arguing that all the spy agencies will be bound by existing rules once they get ahold of and process the raw data. Privacy experts, however, note that the existing privacy protections aren’t great to begin with, and the expansion to so many different agencies just increases the risk of abuse.

(antiwar.com)

But there is more on this presidential move……

the Obama administration finalized new rules that allow the National Security Agency to share information it gleans from its vast international surveillance apparatus with the 16 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

With the new changes, which were long in the works, those agencies can apply for access to various feeds of raw, undoctored NSA intelligence. Analysts will then be able to sift through the contents of those feeds as they see fit, before implementing required privacy protections. Previously, the NSA applied those privacy protections itself, before forwarding select pieces of information to agencies that might need to see them.

Source: Why Is Obama Expanding Surveillance Powers Right Before He Leaves Office? – Defense One

Will any of this be overturned by the incoming president….or will these abuses be further extended?¬† All indicators point to the later.