Legislation

Did you pay cash for that latte this morning at the Starbuck's drive-through? Well, that smiling lady who handed you your frothy espresso and your change may have been taking down your license plate as you drove off —  before jumping on the phone to report your "suspicious activity" to the FBI.

 

U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning was formally charged on Thursday under the Espionage Act (18 USC Chapter 37) with 22 crimes, including aiding the enemy.  In what is described as “the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history,” Manning is accused of passing over 700,000 documents and video clips to WikiLeaks, the widely known website devoted to exposing government corruption throughout the world.

 

“Parents are useless. The state is God.” That, says NaturalNews.com editor Mike Adams, was the message conveyed when a North Carolina state agent told a preschooler the lunch her mother had packed for her was insufficiently nutritious and made her eat chicken nuggets instead. In fact, according to Carolina Journal, the agent found the lunch of every single child in the class wanting and forced them all to consume school cafeteria food — which must have had the kids wondering what they had done to deserve such cruel and unusual punishment.
 
 

In a formal "request for information," the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked software companies for a digital tool that would systematically scan the entire social media realm to find potential terrorist-related threats and intelligence information. While hundreds of intelligence analysts are already probing overseas Facebook and Twitter posts, U.S. law enforcement officials claim digital software could sift through more data than humans ever could.

 

Though the Republican presidential debates have garnered much of the media spotlight of late, controversies such as those surrounding the Transportation Safety Administration are still very much alive. And one man who is determined to keep up the battle against the TSA's unconstitutional overreach is Texas State Rep. David Simpson, who has just filed for reelection. If elected to the 2013 biennial legislature, he has promised to reintroduce his signature bill from the 2011 session, the anti-groping Traveler Dignity Act.

 

Another day, another sticky-fingered Transportation Security Administration agent caught stealing from airline passengers: According to the Associated Press, 31-year-old Alexandra Schmid, a TSA screener at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, allegedly helped herself to a cool $5,000 from a passenger’s jacket as it passed along an X-ray conveyor belt on February 1. The passenger, a native of Bangladesh, noticed the money was missing as soon as he retrieved his jacket, at which point he reported the theft.

Evidence that New York City is considering using drones to keep an eye on its citizens is growing, according to Don Dahler of New York’s CBS Channel 2. Dahler quoted an email it obtained indicating that a detective in the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism division asked the Federal Aviation Administration “about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] as a law enforcement tool.”

 

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) missed a flight to Washington, D.C., this morning after being detained by screeners with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for refusing a full-body pat down, his staff said. The incident happened at the Nashville, Tennessee, airport when a so-called “naked-body scanner” found some sort of anomaly around the conservative Senator’s knee.

 

New York Police Commissioner Joe Kelly is considering the latest in technology — Terahertz Imaging Detection (TID) — to be mounted on police cars and allowing them to roam the streets of New York looking for people carrying guns. The NYPD, sometimes referred to as the world’s “seventh largest army” with 35,000 uniformed officers, already does a brisk business frisking potential suspects, with little pushback. In the first quarter of last year, 161,000 New Yorkers were stopped and interrogated, with more than nine out of 10 of them found to be innocent. And there are cameras already in place everywhere: in Manhattan alone there are more than 2,000 surveillance cameras watching for alleged miscreants.

 

With so many of our most essential liberties under attack from the oligarchy on the Potomac, it is little wonder that the freedom of the press and speech are next on the government guillotine.  The Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center (NOC) released its Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative last year and in that report the intelligence-gathering arm of the DHS, the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) gives itself permission to “gather, store, analyze, and disseminate” data on millions of users of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and business networking sites (Linkedin).
 
 
 
 

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