The DHS Wants to Know Who’s Spreading the News (or Expressing an Opinion), Your Rights Optional

Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

Freedom of speech is a well established right in this country and rooted in the 1st Amendment.  “Congress shall make no law [. . .] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”.  The U.N.’s  Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19 reads, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”  Within the United States and our jurisprudence there are some exceptions to this freedom, but by in large (up to this point in history) the restrictions are both reasonable and necessary: the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, laws prohibiting speech that incites imminent lawless action, restrictions on fighting words, regulation of commercial speech such as advertising, copyright and patent laws protecting authors and inventors control over their work, and the prohibition of slander and defamation.

Let’s be clear here that the subject isn’t just free speech, but anonymous political free speech.

Here at Res Ipsa Loqitur, there is a long standing policy of allowing anonymous posting to comments and protecting poster’s anonymity.   The decision to post under your own name or not is entirely yours.  This policy encourages free speech while allowing that having an unpopular or minority point of view should not have negative political consequences for the speaker or unnecessarily complicate their lives simply for expressing their views.  Many political insiders and Washington professionals have told Professor Turley that they enjoy reading this blog and have enjoyed posting anonymously.  The only posters here required to use their real identities are the guest bloggers and the requirement is voluntary.  None of us were coerced into using our real names.  When offered the honor of being a guest blogger, it was simply (and I think I speak for all the guest bloggers when I say fairly) a requirement in assuming editorial responsibilities.  However, all of this raises an important question.

Do you have a right to anonymous political free speech?

According to the Supreme Court, you do.  According to the Department of Homeland Security, you don’t.  They’ve hired General Dynamics to track U.S. citizens exercising this critical civil right.

The history of anonymous political free speech in America dates back to our founding.  The seminal essays found in “The Federalist Papers” were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay under the nom de plume of “Publius” although this was not confirmed until a list of authorship complied by Hamilton was posthumously released to the public.  As previously discussed on this blog, the right to anonymous political free speech has been addressed by the Supreme Court.  Most notably in the cases of Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960) and McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 514 U.S. 334 (1995).  In Talley, Justice Hugo Black writing for the majority said that, “Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all.”  In McIntyre, Justice John Paul Stevens writing for the majority said that, “Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. [… ] an author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.”  That seems clear enough in defining that citizens do have a Constitutionally protected right to anonymous political free speech.

The full DHS policy statement regarding its activities can be viewed in the DHS Privacy Compliance Review of the NOC Media Monitoring Initiative (November 15, 2011), but rt.com’s summary spells out the basics:

“Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that came out of DHS headquarters in November, Washington has the written permission to retain data on users of social media and online networking platforms.

Specifically, the DHS announced the NCO and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s own definition of personal identifiable information, or PII, such data could consist of any intellect “that permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information which is linked or linkable to that individual.” Previously established guidelines within the administration say that data could only be collected under authorization set forth by written code, but the new provisions in the NOC’s write-up means that any reporter, whether someone along the lines of Walter Cronkite or a budding blogger, can be victimized by the agency.

Also included in the roster of those subjected to the spying are government officials, domestic or not, who make public statements, private sector employees that do the same and “persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest,” which to itself opens up the possibilities even wider.

The department says that they will only scour publically-made info available while retaining data, but it doesn’t help but raise suspicion as to why the government is going out of their way to spend time, money and resources on watching over those that helped bring news to the masses.” – rt.com

This question about the right to anonymous political free speech is also asked over the background of the Electronic Privacy Information Center filing a FOIA request against the DHS to find out the details of the agency’s social network monitoring program.  On April 12, 2011, EPIC submitted a FOIA request to the DHS regarding agency records detailing the media monitoring program and seeking the following documents:

  • “All contracts, proposals, and communications between the federal government and third parties, including, but not limited to, H.B. Gary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and/or Berico Technologies, and/or parent or subsidiary companies, that include provisions concerning the capability of social media monitoring technology to capture, store, aggregate, analyze, and/or match personally-identifiable information.
  • All contracts, proposals, and communications between DHS and any states, localities, tribes, territories, and foreign governments, and/or their agencies or subsidiaries, and/or any corporate entities, including but not limited to H.B. Gary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and/or Berico Technologies, regarding the implementation of any social media monitoring initiative.
  • All documents used by DHS for internal training of staff and personnel regarding social media monitoring, including any correspondence and communications between DHS, internal staff and personnel, and/or privacy officers, regarding the receipt, use, and/or implementation of training and evaluation documents.
  • All documents detailing the technical specifications of social media monitoring software and analytic tools, including any security measures to protect records of collected information and analysis.
  • All documents concerning data breaches of records generated by social media monitoring technology.”

EPIC asked the DHS to expedite the processing of its request, citing extraordinary public interest in the plan and the public’s right to comment on the measures.  The DHS response can best be categorized as stonewalling.  The DHS acknowledged receipt of EPIC’s FOIA request on April 28, 2011, but denied the request for expedited processing.  At that time, the DHS did not disclose any records in response to the FOIA request. On May 18, 2011, EPIC appealed the DHS’s failure to make a timely substantive determination and the agency’s denial of EPIC’s expedited processing request. The DHS did not respond to EPIC’s administrative appeal and again did not disclose any records.  Left with no other recourse, EPIC filed a lawsuit against the DHS  on December 20, 2011 to compel the disclosure of documents relating to the agency’s media monitoring program.  In response to EPIC’s FOIA lawsuit, the DHS disclosed 285 pages of agency records earlier this month (January, 2012).

As part of recent disclosures related to the EPIC suit, it is revealed that the DHS has hired and instructed General Dynamics to monitor political dissent and the dissenters.  The range of websites listed as being monitored is quite impressive.  Notably, jonathanturley.org is not on this list, but equally of note is that this list is by the DHS’ own admission “representative” and not “comprehensive”.

“8. Appendices

8.1 Social Media Web Sites Monitored by the NOC’s MMC-SN Desk
This is a representative list of sites that the NOC’s MMC-SN Desk will start to monitor in order to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture under this Initiative. Initial sites listed may link to other sites not listed. The NOC’s MMC-SN Desk may also monitor those sites if they are within the scope of this Initiative.

This list is based on Appendix A of the ‘Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative” PIA, dated June 22, 2010.'” DHS Response to EPIC FOIA Request, p. 191.

The representative list can be found on page 191-194 of the DHS Response to EPIC FOIA Request.  Notably, jonathanturley.org is not on this list, but equally of note is that other WordPress blogs are on the list.  Some of the more high profile and highly trafficked sites being monitored include the comments sections of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, the Huffington Post, the Drudge Report, Wired, and ABC News.  In addition, social networking sites Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are being monitored.  For the first time, the public not only has an idea who the DHS is pursuing with their surveillance and where, but what they are looking for as well.  General Dynamics contract requires them to “[identify] media reports that reflect adversely on the U.S. Government, DHS, or prevent, protect, respond government activities.”  The DHS also instructed General Dynamics to generate “reports on DHS, Components, and other Federal Agencies: positive and negative reports on FEMA, CIA, CBP, ICE, etc. as well as organizations outside the DHS.”  In other words, the DHS wants to know who you are if you say anything critical about the government.

Anybody thinking of the name “Goebbels” at this point is not out of line.  It is a sad commentary on the degradation of civil rights in this country since 9/11 that a blog better protects your right to anonymous political free speech than the government.  Conversely, it speaks volumes about Professor Turley’s commitment to the Constitution and the wisdom of this blog’s anonymity policy.

Is the DHS overstepping in adopting a policy that is counter to the jurisprudence surrounding anonymous free speech?

Is the DHS tracking of bloggers and journalists – the gathering of such information obviously being used for investigative and possibly prosecutorial actions –  going to have a chilling effect on political free speech?

Is this yet another argument for repealing the Patriot Act and dismantling the Department of Homeland Security for blatant abuses of civil rights?

What do you think?

Source(s): DailyKos, rt.com, U.S. Constitution, U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, DHS Privacy Compliance Review of the NOC Media Monitoring Initiative (November 15, 2011) (.pdf),  EPIC.org, DHS Response to EPIC FOIA Request (.pdf)

Kudos: Otteray Scribe for pointing out the DailyKos article.

~ Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

125 thoughts on “The DHS Wants to Know Who’s Spreading the News (or Expressing an Opinion), Your Rights Optional

  1. Deustchland, Deustchland, uber alles,….

    Just another aspect of the Reichstag Fire Decrees. Or is it grounded on the Patriot Act?

    Maybe our group needs to change its moniker to Deutschland uber alles.

  2. The Patriot Inquisitor had the prisoner hauled to the desk in handcuffs and feet chains. State your name: Jackmehoff. No! Not your internet name, your real name! GeorgeW.
    And so it went. Same thing goes on at Gitmo.

  3. File a complaint with the Hague Court.

    Google this: The Nuremberg Trials:

    The Justice Trial

    United States of America v. Alstötter et al.
    (“The Justice Case”) 3 T.W.C. 1 (1948), 6 L.R.T.W.C. 1 (1948), 14 Ann. Dig. 278 (1948).
    The Justice Trial is one of the most interesting of the Nuremberg trials. The trial of sixteen defendants, members of the Reich Ministry of Justice or People’s and Special Courts, raised the issue of what responsibility judges might have for enforcing grossly unjust–but arguably binding–laws. The trial was the inspiration for the movie Judgment at Nuremberg. The movie presented a somewhat fictionalized view of the trial.
    [end]

    Ach, but Amerikanzers have no memory.

  4. “The DHS response can best be categorized as stonewalling.”

    “Is this yet another argument for repealing the Patriot Act and dismantling the Department of Homeland Security for blatant abuses of civil rights?

    What do you think?”

    YES

  5. It’s “…who’s spreading the news,” not whose.

    I sincerely hope I don’t come off as arrogant, but I so fully agree with you in all respects, that it makes me wince to see such embarrassing grammar and spelling errors of so fundamental nature. Although the yahoo right –as opposed to the Koch Brothers right or the Goldwater right– has failure to master the language as a point of pride, we on the other end are held suspect if we fall shy of the William F. Buckley standard.

    Then again, there’s no reason why we should.

  6. Joseph,

    Actually, no offense taken at all. I wrote most of that late last night and before my daily dose of coffee this morning. If I am guilty of anything as a writer, it’s falling into homophone traps (especially when I’m tired). Thanks for the spot.

  7. Monitoring speech helps the govt. control the discourse. People will self-censor. People who have opinions that govt. does not like have reason to be afraid and shut up. This leads to a shrinking of political discourse. It is part of the govt.’s propaganda network.

    Take a site like Common Dreams which presents itself as a progressive site. Articles which were too critical of the govt. are often not allowed to be published on that site. Those responding to articles who were also critical of the govt. or who mentioned that posts were being censored had not just their “incorrect thinking” post removed from the site, but all of their posts completely stripped out. Banning people for “incorrect thinking” keeps other people from realizing there are critiques of the govt. which they will not hear. The discourse shrinks.

    Most people have only heard a right wing criticism of this govt. This criticism is easily and correctly ridiculed. Unfortunately, left wing criticism has been systematically written out of existence. It is not that left wing critics do not exist, we simply have difficulty being heard. Because the left only hears bizarre right wing criticism, they will lump left wing critiques into that field and ridicule or dismiss those of us who are on the left. OWS has, for example, been called a tea party front by Democratic operatives. I’m pretty certain there are many Democrats who will believe such a thing.

    It is the shrinking of discourse which is a large part of how Democrats came to accept a candidate who commits murder, torture, indefinite detention, etc.

  8. First – it doesn’t sound like the DHS is actually abridging anything. Okay, they’re reading al Qaeda’s Facebook page. DHS probably clicked “like” so they can get invited to whatever events are coming up. Good on DHS! We need intelligence to catch the bad guys, criminals like to brag, and FB is all about feeding the ego.

    Second – so DHS is reading “Drudge Report”; them and 50 million other people. I don’t see any T’s & C’s that would restrict the US Govt from reading the site, and I imagine Drudge is happy for the traffic. I don’t see a foul here – let alone any harm. Because if you speak out in a public location, you cannot restrict people from listening to you. You cannot stop them from deciding it might be worth listening to you in the future, and/or seeking out your other public performances. There are affirmative actions you can take on the Internet to block govt viewers, just as in real life you can refuse to talk to a police officer, but if those steps aren’t being taken why blame the govt?

    Third – if you are publicly condemning the govt’s actions (say, for example, the TSA’s grope-n-scope), doesn’t this fall under “petition for redress”? The people have a right to petition (even anonymously) … ergo the govt must have the power to hear the petition. The govt may choose to change nothing (again, grope-n-scope), but sometimes things do happen – like the rules around filming on-duty cops.

    Listen – there *** ARE *** real examples of folks’ rights being abridged because of their lawfully protected speech – and such abuses must be brought into the light and stamped out. But all you’ve done here is tell us that, in addition to ye-olde newspapers, tv, and radio reports, the govt folks have bookmarked a bunch of web sites to their news feeds. Sorry, dude – EPIC fail.

  9. If this blog proves nothing else, it proves how “far left” I am not. My liberal credentials are in jeopardy because I am neither a fan of anonymous speech nor worried about the government monitoring the exercise of it. I am sick of anonymous tearing someone down and “revealing” things that should be verifiable.

    As I see it, what has always gone on has been codified. Nothing more. In an age when people in this nation are avowed Anarchists, Socialists, Communists, Militia Members, Sovereign Citizens, Black Panthers, Nazis, and other groups that are anathema to open government and democracy as well as our supposed Representative Republic, I believe that to ignore such folks and their “postings” is asking for domestic terrorism and deliberate misinformation that could get a lot of people killed, the wrong people elected and the public further confused.

    Not sure how anyone stops a blog from being read by anyone, nor how anyone can track an anonymous blogger but I have no respect for any anonymous blogger who attacks, lies, insults and demeans others from the safety of anonymity. It ruins many a discussion and deescalates the debate with certainty. It sure does here.

    You should own what you say and be prepared to back it up or answer for it. It is how I conduct my own life and how “one world” has to operate. Fighting known enemies is hard enough, the unknown, untraceable, unsuspected enemies are insidious and while you can say they are only bent on “expressing” themselves, the words often belie that excuse. Someone needs to be watching IMO.

    Jonathan Turley can disavow anything that is said here, but this is a blog that allows some pretty incredible posts and thinking he does not lend them credibility is to misread the public and underestimate the bloggers IMO.

    The lynch mobs who morphed into the Fred Phelps Organization, the TEA Party and the blogosphere have shown me that free speech is abused because of our belief that it is sacred and that is a darned shame. When everyone is yelling, no one is heard.

  10. LDG,

    “First – it doesn’t sound like the DHS is actually abridging anything.”

    Except for the right to anonymous political free speech as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment and the precedents of Talley v. California and McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission.

    “Second – so DHS is reading “Drudge Report”; them and 50 million other people. I don’t see any T’s & C’s that would restrict the US Govt from reading the site, and I imagine Drudge is happy for the traffic. I don’t see a foul here – let alone any harm.”

    That’s because you don’t understand the nature of the problem or the right being violated as evidenced by your first faulty point. They aren’t just reading the posts and comments. They are tracking down identifying information of anonymous posters. Posters who have the Constitutional right to remain anonymous.

    “Third – if you are publicly condemning the govt’s actions (say, for example, the TSA’s grope-n-scope), doesn’t this fall under “petition for redress”? The people have a right to petition (even anonymously) … ergo the govt must have the power to hear the petition. The govt may choose to change nothing (again, grope-n-scope), but sometimes things do happen – like the rules around filming on-duty cops.”

    No, it falls under the rubric of an express policy that blatantly disregards the 1st Amendment and the relevant precedent. Contrast this to the issue of filming the police where most often there was no express policy in place and that absence of policy allowed for the violation of rights. One violation is an overt and express action, the other sets of violations were allowed to happen due to a void in both code and case law, a hole that is being closed by precedent.

    The only epic failure here is yours in failing to both understand your rights and know when they are purposefully being ignored and infringed upon. Just because you choose not to post anonymously (assuming you’ve used your real name) does not mean that you and other citizens do not have that right. Just because you choose not to assert that right doesn’t mean others don’t and won’t. Just because you choose not to assert that right doesn’t invalidate that it is a right of others.

  11. I think Doug Casey said it best when he said, “your considered enimies of the state just being here”. Referring to the people attending a libertarian rally, but it’s fitting the walls off the national security state just keep closing in.

  12. Sandi,

    Just because you are willing to sacrifice your rights because you don’t like the consequences of free speech doesn’t give you the right to dispose of others rights. Free speech has an unwritten corollary. People are free to say what they like (within the reasonable and established guidelines mentioned at the start of this article), but if you don’t like that they can express political opinions anonymously, you are perfectly free to ignore them or offer a rebuttal. That’s the beauty of free speech, but especially political free speech. You are free to say what you like (anonymously or not), but you are not free from having what you say challenged by logic, reason and evidence. It’s a battlefield of ideas, the name tag on the thinker is ultimately not at issue. The quality of the ideas under the scrutiny of critical thinking is at issue.

  13. Gene,

    Good topic, but I have one quibble you should substitute Himmler for Goering.
    Himmler ran the Gestapo.

    As far as this blog not being on the list, I believe that we are being monitored and each of us who comments here has their own security file. One of the reasons I use my own name is that if I am going to stand up for my rights by exercising my free speech, I won’t try to hide my opinions. The truth is that if the security forces in government wants to get any one of us, they don’t even need real evidence, manufacturing it works just as well.

    To those who may say there is nothing insidious in this government effort, they are fooling themselves. This is done not only for information gathering (scary in itself) but also to institute a climate of fear to discourage disagreement with
    Military/Industrial Complex operations.

  14. Mike,

    A valid quibble, but I chose Goebbels because of his express role as Reich Minister of Propaganda. I will stipulate that Himmler is an acceptable substitute and/or supplement.

  15. “In an age when people in this nation are avowed Anarchists, Socialists, Communists, Militia Members, Sovereign Citizens, Black Panthers, Nazis, and other groups that are anathema to open government and democracy as well as our supposed Representative Republic, I believe that to ignore such folks and their “postings” is asking for domestic terrorism”

    Sandi,

    All of the groups you mention can legally believe any of those “Isms”, they are not against the law. That you or I don’t care for them and also might think them dangerous does not make them illegal. Were you old enough to clearly remember the McCarthy era, as I do, you would understand the problem more clearly. Communism for instance is a legally held political philosophy and in truth can be legally implemented in the US if a majority of citizens agree. Now I would personally be against that happening, because I have known real communists in my life and do not like the philosophy/economics. However, there is no doubt a government file somewhere showing that I even shared a meal or two with communists. Their record won’t show though that the meal(s) were spent in heated disagreement. In the McCarthy Era I could have lost my job and perhaps freedom for breaking bread with “subversives”. Is that really the kind of America you’d want to see?

  16. Just assume that every email you write, every comment to a blog (perhaps especially this one,) every letter through the mail, every telephone call – all are monitored by the federal government. If you want to have a private conversation, best to travel by a borrowed car to some open location by a random route, and then speak quickly and in low tones. Or write your conversation down on paper passed between you , and then rip it up and flush it down the toilet.

  17. “Just assume that every email you write, every comment to a blog (perhaps especially this one,) every letter through the mail, every telephone call – all are monitored by the federal government.”

    Jay S.,

    I’ve assumed all you speak of for years, however, my political opinions radical as they are, are completely legal under the Law and the Constitution. If they really want me, they’ll get me, despite the fact I’ve done nothing wrong.

  18. Good work Gene and thanks for standing up for the right to be left alone. As to jay S’s point, most of us here are “John Hancock’s” anyway so a government file on us independent of this site would sort of be redundant.

  19. “The liberties of our country…are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.”
    ~ Samuel Adams

  20. Good work Gene. Timely, cogent and well written, as always.

    Has anyone seen the latest pronouncement from Newt that if elected President he would undertake to fire government employees he deemed “too liberal?” It is exactly this kind of reactionary and illegal thinking that seems to permeate both Republican politics and all too many law enforcement agencies. And what makes me fearful for our freedoms that are going the same way as the Cheshire Cat.

    There are good reasons for some wanting to remain anonymous. Some for personal and some for professional reasons. A lot of people know my meatworld identity, so it is not a deep dark secret, but using a pen name is more of a habit than anything else right now. When I get ready to pull back the curtain I will, but will remain pseudonymous for the time being.

  21. raff, since when did ignoring laws and administrative regulations ever stop the wingers? By their own professed accounts, they have the right and just need the might to implement their agenda. They must be disciples of Andrew Jackson who ignored the SCOTUS by commenting that they could enforce their own damn laws. And who was it that inquired just how many regiments the Pope had? That it the attitude of people like Newt and his enablers. It would be funny if it were not such a real threat.

  22. OS,

    If I recall correctly the South after the CW did not not have any rights….It was treated as a spoils of War….Only after Johnson saw the great divide that the program caused did it become reversed and implemented elsewhere….

  23. When the government compiles their list of the usual suspects and rounds you all up that spoke out, y’all can talk together in the same exercise yard once a month but only on good behavior.

  24. True story — High School Civics project. I wrote the FBI and asked that it provide with with a list of all documents contained in its file on me. I received a letter stating that the FBI had no file on me. Six weeks later I wrote the FBI asking for the same information. In reply, the FBI stated that it had no documents concerning me EXCEPT for my previous inquiry.

  25. I agree with Jay S. I have at times when using the phone or email asked the recipient to meet me at the “water cooler.”

  26. If you think this is a new development, you are sadly wrong and way behind the times.
    I have been Blogging since 2006 and have repeatedly seen such entities as the office of the Sargent of Arms for the United States Senate, military ISP’s The Wall Street Journal, WAPO, and so many government offices from the Federal level to I can’t count how many state level agencies be picked up by my Stat counter.

    I actually quit looking because I am very well aware they are listening in and at one time was looking out the front window for a convoy of black Suburbans to show up.

    The fact that they are admitting this should give everyone a clue just how long this has been going on and just how serious they are about it.

    I would be very surprised if I was not being monitored after all the ranting I have done about our government.

    Am I going to stop?

    Oh, hell no.

    This is one aspect of accountability that they do not want to acknowledge, The fact that there are,people like me who watch and listen to what my government does and is telling anyone who will listen, including any government employee who happens by.

  27. I am anonymous to some and not to others but it really does not make any difference to me. Pretty much an open book in all aspects.

  28. Anytime one has an immediate family member who needs a high security clearance, one has a folder on file. I got use to Big Brother decades ago and they got use to me.

    One time, honest to god, two of them stopped by posing as missionaries for LDS. The whole thing was so ludicrous … why? Because they were both in their late 40’s/early 50’s and had no pamphlets to give me and were dressed in sport clothes. I asked them to come back with some pamphlets.

    My relative told me they wanted him to know they’d been there … either that or they thought I was really, really stupid.

    Anyway, honest to god, they came back a month later on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving with two really old, tattered books explaining Mormonism. My relative was visiting at the time so I took the books (which I still have somewhere in the storage locker) but told them to stay on the front porch because my relative wanted to talk to them. By the time he got to the door, they were gone. Never saw them again.

    True story

  29. 2012 NDAA, 1031, 1032, Indefinite Detention, White Phosphorous Fallujah, Depleted Uranium Fallujah, Birth Defects Fallujah, Rationale for the Iraq War, Use of Mefloquine in Guantanamo, Retroactive Immunity, HSPD 51, PDD 67, Continuity of Operations, Restricted Interagency Group, N987SA, Wachovia Drug Money Laundering, Craig J. Spence, Jeff Gannon, Lewis Powell, Edward Bernays, Edward Mandell House, Legal Opinions of John Yoo, NORTHCOM, Classified Interpretation of the PATRIOT ACT, Cannonball, Creed, Cowpuncher, Corkscrew, Cactus, Crystal, Cartwheel, Operation Northwoods, Operation Mighty Oaks, Project West Ford, Subproject 119

  30. Oh yeah … I forgot … they drove a car and parked in my driveway and I was the only one they talked to in my whole neighborhood.

    I reported them to LDS who had no record of missionaries in my neighborhood during the week of Thanksgiving or, as the man who spoke with me claimed, for a couple of years.

  31. It aint funny when your only outlet to the outside world is the prison library internet computer which they let you use if you are on good behavior.

  32. Whistleblower site Cryptome has leaked a six page document from the Department of Homeland Security dated January 6, 2011. The document includes a list of 96 websites, including a number of blogs and social media sites, which are being openly monitored by the DHS. Such surveillance is business as usual for the DHS, but it also raises significant privacy concerns, particularly around exactly what sort of data the department is storing. PDF

    http://12160.info/page/breaking-homeland-security-internet-watch-list-leaked-cryptome-le

  33. Bdaman,

    Sorry about giving you such a hard time months ago on a long-forgotten thread. I was tired and it was your use of the word “only” that irritated me — it was as if there couldn’t have been other factors which played a role… Anyway, I’m sorry and hope that things are going well for you and your family.

  34. Is this yet another argument for repealing the Patriot Act and dismantling the Department of Homeland Security for blatant abuses of civil rights?

    What do you think?

    ROTFLMFAOH = Rolling on the floor laughing my fucking ass off hysterically

    Why ? Seeing how you conspired with Slartibartfast to mine email adresses to look for sock puppets I find your post incredibly funny. Dats what I think.

    I know I know I know, It’s for the greater good. If you don’t like it maybe you should pick some better friends. What a fucking dupe.

    Lets see how this holds up.

    “Freedom of speech is a well established right in this country and rooted in the 1st Amendment”

    P.S. Occupy this

  35. Thats OK ANON as I get older I tend to forget. That is unless it something that just irks the shit out of me as you can tell by the above comment.

  36. It will probably be the one blog that DHS and other monitoring agencies have missed — the one that they don’t happen to be watching — that will trip them up.

    We’re cruising on the ol’ “ship of fools.”

  37. Bdaman,

    I forgive and forget, as well…, but when I’ve said something that is rather out of character — when I feel that I may have said something hurtful — it lingers… It’s weighed on me enough that I wanted to say something. Be well.

  38. The very idea THEY would withhold till they are forced aught to be THE BIGGEST F’N RED FLAG THERE IS.

    I have tried to have open discussion here around the One and Only Remedy to the problem and no one seams willing to engage. It is done according to Federal Procedure and complete, totally uncontested. And more importantly, done in accord with Common Law. (although, propaganda has tainted this in the minds of most, including the best thinkers)

    Please let me know when shooting yourselves in the foot has run its course.

    I see many of the same posters. Is this just a practice in mental masturbation, or are you folks actually trying to learn or accomplish something?

  39. Gene,

    The problem with having Bdaman holding…He won’t share….But you always need a front man….Paul McCartney found out the hard way…..

  40. Below is the link to Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest intelligence report. The center locates, tracks and reports on hate groups. I’m really glad there is someone out there doing this. What they do appears to be the same thing that DHS contemplates doing.

    What seems to cause concern is DHS is the government, not a private special-issues group. As a major federal institution it has resources not available to SPLC — such as non-public disclosures. It can cast a larger net, accumulate massive amounts of non-directed info, and mine it later to determine if a known person is a nasty.

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2011/winter

  41. There is no system that cannot be corrupted and the US Government, intelligence gathering and military is no exception, but the idea that they would all just fold and hurt innocent people is without good evidence IMO. Sure conspiracies and zealots can muck up the works but little happens in a vacuum and good ole anonymous sources tell on everyone sooner or later. To think that the government should not be watching for the hate-filled, vengeance minded “citizen” is just ludicrous. If the system is not strong enough to identify and protect the innocent, then we need to work on that, but to pretend there is no need for concern or that all hate filled vengeance minded citizens should have free rein is naive in the extreme IMO. Responsibility is a two-way street.

  42. “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” – Benjamin Franklin

  43. Bdaman

    And Yes things continue to move in a positive direction personally.

    ===============================================

    Excellent.

    I read your post from, I don’t know, Nov. or Dec … regarding your business and have been thinking about you and wishing you well so I’m glad to know positive direction is yours.

  44. “Is this just a practice in mental masturbation, or are you folks actually trying to learn or accomplish something?” (Law DeSchilde)

    A little masturbation; a lot of learning

    Keep trying for perseverance is the name of the game

  45. rafflaw

    Blouise,
    sounds like you scared the Feds away off of your porch!

    =================================================

    They were back again in a different disguises … kind of like sock-puppets.

    The point I was trying to make is that Big Brother has been watching us for a long time and whenever National Security is in play, such as a TSPV or the like, they’re hanging around your door every 2-5 years, depending on the level and renewal time and the relationship you enjoy with the person receiving the clearance. At first it pissed me off … after all, I wasn’t the one who needed a clearance to do my job … but then I accepted it as part and parcel of my relationship with my relative. They were always watching him and because I was close to him, I was watched occasionally too. I wasn’t of any real importance to them … he was.

    I suppose if they’re reading this, they can go look it all up but he has a star on the wall … and I’m still insignificant.

  46. What the DHS needs to realize is that very soon they will be held accountable for the abuse of citizens and violations of the Constitution. Like the Nuremberg Trials, “I was just doing my job” will not work as a defense. All DHS thugs will be tried just like Nuremberg, with a similar outcome.

  47. Gene H,

    I do not believe I said anything about sacrificing my rights (although a diverse and civil society often means some sacrifice) and it is not because I “don’t like the consequences of free speech” that I made my comments. I have never tried to “dispose of others rights” but no, I do not believe that the “unwritten corollary” of free speech is plotting against the government, spreading lies, insulting people or inciting fear and irrational beliefs. I have no problem with “political opinions” being expressed anonymously, I said I was sick of the way people hide in anonymity and attack, insult and demean others opinion, parrot lies and take the truth out of context and twist the meaning. That is abuse of free speech not exercise of it IMO. Much of it would be assault if done in person to someone’s face.

    IMO, “the beauty of free speech” is respecting the right of everyone to have their opinion and rebutting what we disagree with in a respectful non-threatening and demeaning manner. The hideousness of free speech is using it to hate, debase, lie, slander, insult, intimidate and denigrate whether that is the government or a fellow blogger. I have not asked that anything I say should be “free from having what you say challenged by logic, reason and evidence”. Show me where I advocated such? The “battlefield of ideas” does not have to resemble a cage fight. “The quality of the ideas under the scrutiny of critical thinking” suffers when a pejorative, insults, attacks and intimidation of ideas is supported or enabled with anonymity to hide behind. If you do not believe free speech can be abused, that is your choice, I find it abused and demeaned on a daily basis, even here and yes, it ticks me off. Any right we have ever had impinged was due to abuse not use.

  48. Mike Spindell,
    Would you show us all where I said that any of the groups I mentioned could not legally believe any of those “Isms”? Or that anyone’s beliefs were “against the law”? Although I believe some of them are. I said we and the government have a right to be horrified, anxious and vigilant because words have a way of turning into action and hate groups, anarchists and militant groups have a history of causing violence. It is not a matter of not caring for them or supporting their positions. I said they should be monitored, they have always been monitored and they will always be monitored. It is not a new phenomenon, there are just more tools for doing so.

    I am old enough to be familiar with the McCarthy era, I am also aware of the actions during the American Revolution, the Civil War, “No Irish Need Apply, the Jim Crow South, the internment of the Japanese Americans, and GITMO, so again, the sentiment and phenomenon is not new. This is and has been “the kind of America” we have had. The FBI, CIA and local law enforcement have been “monitoring” this or that group for more administrations than I have lived through. Civil Rights have been trampled since this nation was born. My point was merely that people who speak can and do go too far and yes, in such instances need to be held accountable. Whether that is a warning from a blog moderator, or a visit from the government is not my call, but pretending there is nothing to see here is not fair IMO. I defend free speech; I do not defend the abuse of it nor agree that we cannot decide the difference.

  49. Sandi sez, “IMO, “the beauty of free speech” is respecting the right of everyone to have their opinion and rebutting what we disagree with in a respectful non-threatening and demeaning manner.”

    That’s where you’d be totally and completely fucking wrong and demonstrating your incompetence to discuss what the right of free speech entails.

    Did I get your attention?

    The very idea that you think you can dictate how people talk indicates that you have no problem whatsoever of limiting others rights to free speech. When you limit how people say something, you are also limiting what they say. The right to free speech doesn’t come with a guarantee that you won’t be offended or insulted or intimidated. Those are your reactions. And they are entirely in your control. Others free speech rights are not curtailed simply because you don’t like what they say or how they say it. Free speech includes the right to be offended or insulted (both your reactions) or denigrated and hated (other people’s feelings toward you or a subject to which you also have no control over). Slander (lies), however, are a crime but the defense to slander is truth. If the truth of the matter offends or insults or denigrates you? Again, too bad. Free speech also comes with the right ignore others and the right to refute what they’ve said and to do so in any manner the speaker sees fit absent the previously noted exceptions like slander.

    If that “ticks you off”?

    Too bad.

    Buy a jock.

    Grow thicker skin.

    Toughen up, buttercup.

    The arena of free speech is indeed a cage fight.

    Free speech means free. Free as in “not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.” Free as in “not subject to your personal approval for courtesy or content.”

    If you’ve got a problem with that?

    That’s your problem.

    But don’t try to tell me you’re not interested in abridging others rights after that fine display of hypocritical “do as I say because I’m Mrs. Manners” bullshit.

    If your problem is anonymity? Considering that most people don’t know the difference between anonymity and privacy or that anonymity is the weak cousin to privacy, it is even sadder that you’d want to abridge yet again others rights because your widdle feelin’s got hurt.

    Grow the fuck up, Sandi.

    And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

    I’ve either demonstrated my point or offended you by this point, Sandi.

    Either way is fine with me.

  50. “I said we and the government have a right to be horrified, anxious and vigilant because words have a way of turning into action and hate groups, anarchists and militant groups have a history of causing violence. It is not a matter of not caring for them or supporting their positions. I said they should be monitored, they have always been monitored and they will always be monitored. It is not a new phenomenon, there are just more tools for doing so.”

    Sandi, within your statement lies the problem. Then anti-war movement and the civil rights movement were both monitored by the FBI under the claim there might be communists within them. However, they were not only monitored but unconstitutionally interfered with under a program called COINTELPRO.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

    Dr. King, who we celebrate today was surreptitiously taped and wiretapped by the FBI. The activities by the government were illegal, but authorized purportedly to fight communism. That was a joke, because I knew many communists and they were the most ineffective political leaders one could imagine. The real reason was that Hoover didn’t believe Black people should have civil rights, or that people had a right to protest the Viet Nam War. What is so amusing about Hoover’s activism to save our country was that for years the FBI denied there was a Mafia, until the NY State Police raided a “Cosa Nostra” meeting in Westchester. Hoover in fact was gambling “buddies” with many a Mafia figure.

    There is a difficult line to be drawn between government protection and government intervention into people’s rights of dissent. Mostly, the government historically has step over the line into the dark side.

  51. Gene H, you prove what a true lightweight you are. I am not only not wrong,
    I am proving your “incompetence” with every rebuttal I offer and it is patently obvious. Saying that something is “the beauty of free speech” is not excluding any other attribute of free speech unless of course you are comprehension impaired. Only with thugs and tyrants has your manner of response been acceptable. Free speech is not just about “getting attention”.

    In offering an opinion, I have not tried to “dictate how people talk”. Did Professor Turley make me the new moderator? I have a different interpretation of free speech rights and no, I do not consider yelling or typing insults to be remarkable feats deserving of protection. I have been very specific about what I find objectionable and still I have not advocated for anyone to limit anything on their own blogs because I have no right to do so, but pretending that the posts have no reflection on the blog host or the poster (however anonymous you believe you are) is laughable.

    I do not believe it is remotely true that “When you limit how people say something, you are also limiting what they say”. Unless someone is truly of inferior intellect and cannot communicate with nominal language skill; cursing, insulting and demeaning because you can is not communicating, it is bullying, intimidation and priggish behavior and the lowest form of communication. No, “The right to free speech doesn’t come with a guarantee that you won’t be offended or insulted or intimidated” but it does not mean I will or should celebrate receiving such.

    Oh please, it is not “on me” if I am offended. The very purpose of your insults is to elicit a certain reaction. Who are you trying to kid? Your words are just that, your words and entirely in your control. That you are so proud to be a boor is on you.

    Many blogs and public forums curtail the insults, profanity and racist comments as they like precisely because they do not believe they add to the communication, inspire the debate or encourage comments. When you come into a host site, you are subject to their rules for a reason. Those without rules run people off when allowing the abuse that adds nothing to the conversation.

    Yours was a sad, angry and totally ineffective defense of free speech.

  52. Mike Spindell, said “There is a difficult line to be drawn between government protection and government intervention into people’s rights of dissent. Mostly, the government historically has step over the line into the dark side.” I totally agree with you on this and of course vigilance goes both ways. Government abuse is worse than citizen abuse but vigilance is not out of order for either IMO.

  53. our right to free speech and to petition the government for grievances is gone. Gone! Try making an “anti government” statement and see what happens. DHS is on public transportation, bullying passengers to try and make them engage in conversation. They are on our Metro Light Rail here in Arizona also similar events happening on Los Angeles Metro light rail- DHS agents in plainclothes riding the public trains and busses-I bet they are doing this to arrest “troublemakers”. These DHS agents are not uniformed or identify themselves as DHS/TSA but they are slightly obvious in their demeanor. Is there a website or article that addresses this issue happening now?

  54. Sandi, vigilance is one thing. Data mining of citizens is quite another. Warrantless searches and gratuitous surveillance of the press is quite another.

    And make no mistake, electronic media and blogs are the press. The “press” has evolved to be far more than dead tree media. A 12-year-old kid with a cell phone camera is as legitimate as a news reporter as a grizzled old war reporter for <em)Life(/em) magazine.

  55. Sandi,

    In case you didn’t notice, I don’t care if you’re offended.

    “Gene H, you prove what a true lightweight you are.”

    Really? I’m not interested in your opinion of me.

    “I am not only not wrong, I am proving your “incompetence” with every rebuttal I offer and it is patently obvious.”

    You saying something is obvious doesn’t constitute proof.

    “Saying that something is “the beauty of free speech” is not excluding any other attribute of free speech unless of course you are comprehension impaired.”

    The only one with comprehension impairment here is you, Sandi. You don’t get to control how or what others say, End of story. If that offends you, offense is entirely your reaction and your problem.

    “Only with thugs and tyrants has your manner of response been acceptable. Free speech is not just about ‘getting attention’.”

    According to you, it’s about meeting your standards. I say fuck your standards. They aren’t mine and you aren’t capable of dictating to me how I should speak. You don’t have any control over what or how others speak. Getting a clue yet?

    “In offering an opinion, I have not tried to “dictate how people talk”. Did Professor Turley make me the new moderator? I have a different interpretation of free speech rights and no, I do not consider yelling or typing insults to be remarkable feats deserving of protection.”

    And I said your opinion was wrong and hypocritical bullshit on top of being wrong. Try to back off it all you want. You just said others speaking in certain modes don’t deserve the protection of free speech. That’s the very essence of trying to control other’s speech, Sandi. Explicit, implicit, your message is still the same: others should conform to your standards.

    “I do not believe it is remotely true that ‘When you limit how people say something, you are also limiting what they say’.”

    And I believe that you are blind to a manifest truth. Editorial control is control. Free is not controlled by definition. When you limit how people say something you are indeed limiting what they say.

    “Oh please, it is not “on me” if I am offended. The very purpose of your insults is to elicit a certain reaction. Who are you trying to kid? Your words are just that, your words and entirely in your control. That you are so proud to be a boor is on you.”

    Boor? Awwwww. Like I care what you think of me, Sandi. And, yeah, it is on you if you’re offended. Offense is a reaction. Provocation is an action. The very primary purpose of my provocative purple prose was proving exactly how wrong you are and how hypocritical your provincial protestations. That I did manage to offend a prudish hypocrite is just entertaining gravy, but in the end it makes no difference to me if you’re offended or not.

    “Many blogs and public forums curtail the insults, profanity and racist comments as they like precisely because they do not believe they add to the communication, inspire the debate or encourage comments. When you come into a host site, you are subject to their rules for a reason. Those without rules run people off when allowing the abuse that adds nothing to the conversation.”

    Too bad for you this isn’t one of those moderated places. This is a free speech zone and by design. It takes an excessive amount of bad behavior to get moderated here – like threatening physical harm or assuming another poster’s identity. If you have a problem with that, feel free to leave at any time or take up the issue with the Professor. You are right about one thing though. You aren’t the moderator here.

    “Yours was a sad, angry and totally ineffective defense of free speech.”

    Actually, it was neither sad nor ineffective in demonstrating that you don’t know what you are talking about, Sandi. In fact, it made you even further reveal that you don’t know what constitutes “control” or “free speech”. And angry? Nope. Not in the slightest. Hypocrites don’t make me angry. They make me laugh.

  56. Otteray Scribe said, “vigilance is one thing. Data mining of citizens is quite another. Warrantless searches and gratuitous surveillance of the press is quite another”. I absolutely agree they are very different things but I think that boat has sailed as well. How do you unring a bell? Ten years of “Patriot Act” America is a done deal. How we get those genies back in a bottle is the 64 thousand dollar question and I do not see how anyone gets it done. Too bad people refused to listen as we took those steps.

  57. It used to be the law that slavery was legal and women couldn’t vote.
    Laws can be and are capable of repeal and revision.
    Nothing is a done deal.
    Jurisprudence and legislation are a continuum.

  58. Gene H, I have no doubt that nobody’s opinion matters to you, but as someone who thinks they are supporting and upholding free speech and its importance, you are a miserable failure. I do not need for you to admit that for it to be true. You validate my point, whether you intend to or not.

  59. Sandi,

    Some people’s opinions of me matter to me, Sandi. Just not yours. And you keep proving my point that I’m the one actually supporting and upholding free speech and its importance and that you’re the one just thinking that you do. Thinking apparently isn’t your strong suit. Denial is though. Denial is par for the course for hypocrites. It validates their self-image as consistent despite their blatant contradictions.

  60. Slavery was not the government usurping a power and women’s civil rights was a natural progression as people became enlightened and educated and was not a “government instituted” situation either at its core (just like gay rights). Thinking the government will relinquish powers that have the potential to eradicate another 9/11 or even another Unabomber is “pie in the sky” IMO.

  61. Apparently retaining unconstitutional power to the government and facing the dangers of an ever expanding unitary executive power at the price of your rights to protect you from a threat that is less likely to kill you than a car accident or crossing a street is fine for you, Sandi, but I swore an oath to protect the Constitution including the Bill of Rights from all enemies foreign and domestic. Again, “[t]hose who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” – Benjamin Franklin. IMO, Franklin was right.

  62. I did not say my opinion OF you does or should matter Gene H. I said that it is apparent that nobody’s opinion matters to you. You purport to be here to discuss issues and be part of a conversation, but the moment someone challenges your paradigm you turn into an offensive boor and no, you are not defending free speech, you are making a mockery of anyone trying to discuss anything with you. And I am done trying.

  63. “I said that it is apparent that nobody’s opinion matters to you. ”

    And you’d be wrong.

    “You purport to be here to discuss issues and be part of a conversation, but the moment someone challenges your paradigm you turn into an offensive boor and no, you are not defending free speech, you are making a mockery of anyone trying to discuss anything with you.”

    No, I’m making a mockery of the hypocrisy you display by saying you’re all for free speech as long as it conforms to your standards. But I am making mockery. Thanks for noticing.

    “And I am done trying.”

    Promises, promises.

  64. The requirement for anonymity is based in the proliferation of thought-crime laws here in the US. It is fact that I could be picked up and detained and subject to “enhanced interrogation” if I expressed opinions that landed me on a terrorist watch list. It’s in the NDAA 2012. If I wanted to argue that the Afgan terrorists are doing exactly what WE taught them to do to resist the USSR invasion in the 1980’s, that might label me a terrorist sympathizer. Right now that isn’t enough to get me in trouble, but the arrest of many “noncombatant ununiformed combatants” is only a matter of time in our War on Terror.

  65. Interesting to see brand new posters showing up and saying – with a lot of words that took someone a lot of time to type out – “this is no big deal”.

    Says volumes, actually.

  66. TMYK,

    I thought that was interesting too . . . especially if you followed some of their posts to other threads. Apologetics have certain smell to them that no amount of argumentum verbosium can cover.

  67. I just now got around to reading this. Great post, Gene. As is the case with the erosion of most rights, the elimination of the right to privacy is gradual. Therefore it doesn’t cause any great alarm. And those who engage in the collection and organization of data are simply performing technical functions with no particular meaning.

  68. Sandi,
    ” ‘The right to free speech doesn’t come with a guarantee that you won’t be offended or insulted or intimidated’ but it does not mean I will or should celebrate receiving such.”
    Actually it does. You along with every other American should celebrate the fact that our free speech has not yet been taken . You should revel in every “Fuck; every “Asshole” and every suggestion of incompetence, ignorance, or stupidity leveled at you as the unfettered excercise of that right.

    Have I yet failed to inspire you to a new appreciation for the right to free speech?

    That’s ok. I have a fall back position. If you can’t bring yourself to celebrate; you at least must admit your obligation to accept these more…raw expressions of the right to free speech…..
    And having admitted that obligation;………..any whining and bitching about it that any person might undertake………well it would just be Bad Form. No?

  69. Major Internet Sites to Black Out in Protest of Anti-piracy Bill
    The strike is slated to be the largest online strike in digital history, according to the founder of Fight For the Future.

    By NICK FOLEY
    Capital News Service

    WASHINGTON – Devoted users of Wikipedia, Reddit, WordPress and Minecraft could be in for a surprise Wednesday as they log on to their trusted favorites: These sites, and as many as 5,000 others, will shut down for 12 to 24 hours.

    Fight For the Future, a nonprofit organization devoted to maintaining freedom of expression on the Internet, organized the strike of, by its count, nearly 5,000 websites in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, according to Fight For the Future founder Tiffiniy Cheng.

    Rep. Lamar Smith, D-Texas, introduced the bill in October to keep third-party websites from stealing original content and then reaping the profits. This loss of money costs the economy $100 billion annually, according to a news release on Smith’s website.

    The strike is slated to be the largest online strike in digital history, according to Cheng, who said the bill — which also exists in the Senate as “Protect-IP Act” — threatens the existence of the Internet as an open, deregulated network of websites dedicated solely to the people.

    “The Internet is and will remain the platform for freedom of speech,” Cheng said. “This is about who controls the Internet, and it shouldn’t be corporate copyright holders.”

    The movement began Nov. 16 with “American Censorship Day,” in which websites emblazoned anti-SOPA messages on their main pages, and quickly gained momentum as the bill moved its way through Congress.

    Now, as senators ready themselves for the final vote Tuesday, some websites claim the bill’s effects could change the scope of the Internet by forcing sites to adhere to copyright laws they consider unreasonable. Yet according to a statement by Smith, such laws are necessary to punish criminals for their acts.

    http://wheaton-md.patch.com/articles/major-internet-sites-to-black-out-in-protest-of-anti-piracy-bill-f1d40df6

    WIKI’s tag line

    Imagine a World

    Without Free Knowledge
    For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia. Learn more.

    Contact your representatives.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

  70. Basically the Government or anyone else collecting data on me from websites etc is a violation of Privacy. It is also why I don’t put anything on such websites that I am not willing for the world to see. Even with the so called privacy or security measures places like Facebook supposedly employ I have read entirely too much about hackers getting into such areas.
    I actually read the ToS for many places I have been to as well. For instance Facebook claims or used to claim the right to hold and use anything you post on its site even if you should go back and delete it later.
    I took that to mean that they feel they own anything posted on the site and decided to not post anything I wasn’t willing for the whole world to see.
    The Government has been steadily encroaching on the rights of its citizens and none of the federal judges of late have had the “balls” to say enough is enough and start exerting their duty to uphold the constitutional freedoms of the citizens of the US.
    The Patriot act is just one case where they have fallen down on the job. The bill allowing the government to hold people without trial for an indefinite period of time without any need to prove reasonable cause is another. Basically they just signed a bill legalizing kidnapping as long as it is done by a government official. Just like the TSA seems to have the “legal” ability to do things which would get a normal citizen arrested for sexual assault.

    Freedom of speech is a really touchy subject as Gene is correct that it applies to all speech not just what I approve of. The reactions to said speech is definitely on the person reacting to said speech. You choose how you react to a given manner of talking. I have had several people apologize for using the more “raw” form of speaking. My general reply to it is that I am generally more amused than offended by such speech.
    Oh and please let’s stop pretending to protect the children from something that someone decides should be censored. It is not the children you are trying to protect but rather you are exerting or attempting to exert control over others actions using “the children” as an excuse.

    Basically if the government is accessing files and stored records that people have a reasonable expectation of being considered private then they are violating the 4th amendment of the constitution not just the 1st which is the one that protects free speech.

    My current political position is that anyone who has supported the recent bills that are taking away the basic rights of the US citizen should be booted out of office. the problem however is finding honest politicians willing to set the country to rights.

  71. Hi Oline,

    I do agree with you when you say that what we need are some honest politicians.

    Unfortunately, money and sex and luxury vacations and the like are ridiculously hard temptations for an ambitious man to resist. Especially when accompanied by such sincere assurances that co-operating will be to the benefit of the people in the long run and so on and on and on.

    I believe as do many others here and all over America that the first thing we must do; in order to get those honest politicians is to completely remove private money from the political process. No more donations; no more PACs; no more Lobbying Congress.

    Only then will we free our politicians and leaders to act in their own and the peoples best interest.

    Only then will they be free to make vital decisions based on the will of the people rather than the will of the Big Corporations who pay them now.

    But I agree with you

  72. Bdaman said:

    “Seeing how you conspired with Slartibartfast to mine email adresses to look for sock puppets”

    Shut the fuck up you lying prick

    Not only were no email addresses nor any other personal information disclosed nor was anyone’s anonymity at all threatened, but I explained exactly how it was done on a thread you participated in last fall. This is but one of an endless litany of examples in which you have demonstrated your bad faith in discussions on this blog. Keep telling lies about me and I’ll mine every single bit of data you’ve ever left on this blog and use it to demonstrate how you have consistently been a worthless, dishonest troll (not to mention one of the biggest users of sock puppets on this blog… might that have something to do with your motive for making accusations you knew were false about me?) And I’ll do it all without ever giving a second thought to your email, IP address, or who you are in real life (honestly, I don’t fucking care–I suspect that knowing more about what a close-minded idiot you are would just be depressing). Remember that one of the consequences of my choice to reveal my name is that when you say something about Slarti you are also saying the same thing about Kevin–maybe you should consider whether or not making allegations against me that you know to be false is a good idea. In other words:

    Shut the fuck up you lying prick

    Gene,

    Does that demonstrate the point you were trying to make with Sandi?

    Blouise, OS, and Mike S,

    You’ll be getting an email from me this weekend.

    Raff,

    Hi! No maffs in this one, mate! ;-)

  73. Slarti, I think a lot of folks here do not understand the existence of the “Darknet.” There is nothing private unless your stuff is heavily encrypted. Even then there are folks out there, many of whom work for governments (not just the USA) who are busy breaking codes. 128 bit encryption, if well done, is almost impossible to break, which is why WikiLeaks used it on their “Insurance” file. Having said that, no code is impossible to break, it is just that some are more difficult than others. Bdaman and others, there are no secrets on the Internet. And that is not all, even if you limit your social and business interactions to handwritten letters and a trusty old Royal typewriter, you will STILL find your private stuff is easily available for people who know how to look for it.

    I just discovered the special web site set up by Social Security, and is fully HIPAA compliant is not all that secure.

    Slarti, I look forward to hearing from you. I had wondered how you were doing.

  74. Bdaman
    This author has47 siblings

    I only have 2 siblings. But tell us again how you were able to determine I had 47. Through IP or e-mail.

    Kevin Kessler aka Slartibartfast

    Quote on

    At the time I outed you as DeepCover7, I was regularly providing alias dictionaries to Mike and Buddha using an earlier version of this software. Using this information in addition to previously known information we were able to determine that (for instance) Byron/Roco/Rae/Tautology are all the same poster (Byron, I’m not doing this to out you – I think pretty much anyone who cares is already aware of this – I just feel it is necessary to show how and what sort of intelligence was generated to fuel the tidbits that we dropped. As I said in an email to you, I wish you’d go back to Byron – it seems more honest to me and I don’t think you were fooling anyone anyway… and I’m sure you aren’t now ;-) ) and get the following information on the email addresses (“authors” in the list) which were used to post under the name “Bdaman”:

    Un Quote

    Shut the fuck up you lying prick :)

    Gene,

    Does that demonstrate the point you were trying to make with the DHS :)

  75. Bdaman,

    You seem to mistake me for someone with a dog in this fight, but I seem to recall in Slarti’s initial exposition of his methods him specifically stating that no personally identifying information such as IPs and email addresses were collected, only anonymous tagging data linked to Gravatars (which are publicly displayed). I’d also point out that knowing how someone speaks (sock puppets) is different from controlling how or what they say. It seems to be merely a tool that shows if someone is attempting to build false consensus or helpful in identifying if a person is using multiple identities for other such propaganda tactics. But if you fellas want to roll in this particular dirt again? Be my guest.

    I’ll be the one in the clean clothes standing by the sideline, pointing to what this article is actually about. What point was I trying to make with the DHS story? The point of this article is that the DHS has hired General Dynamics to collect personally identifying information on posters including IPs and email addresses, with the goal of monitoring political dissent and to raise the question to what end is the government possibly going to use such information.

    I thought that was pretty clear, but then again, some people have better reading comprehension than others.

  76. Gene I’m just mocking your boy.

    Shut the fuck up you lying prick

    Gene,

    Does that demonstrate the point you were trying to make with the DHS

    is a copy of

    Shut the fuck up you lying prick

    Gene,

    Does that demonstrate the point you were trying to make with Sandi?

    with the name Sandi replaced with DHS.

    It’s a play right out of Andy’s book. We took names, we watched how they voted and we know where they live.

    Hint: Not Briepart

  77. Bdaman,

    Do you ever come close to making sense? However, your rambling aside, I have no issue if you wish to mock Slarti. That’s between you two. I’ve said what I have to say about that issue and the point of the article. A point that you’ve clearly missed. I was also quite clear in pointing out the distinction between my point to Sandi: ” You just said others speaking in certain modes don’t deserve the protection of free speech. That’s the very essence of trying to control other’s speech, Sandi. Explicit, implicit, your message is still the same: others should conform to your standards.”; and your whatever it is with Slarti: “I’d also point out that knowing how someone speaks (sock puppets) is different from controlling how or what they say. [. . . ] The point of this article is that the DHS has hired General Dynamics to collect personally identifying information on posters including IPs and email addresses, with the goal of monitoring political dissent and to raise the question to what end is the government possibly going to use such information.”

    Summary:

    1) Controlling how people speak is controlling what they say.

    2) Knowing how someone speaks is identification of methodology, not control. Knowledge of methodology is not the equivalent of control.

    3) The DHS wants to know who is saying what and where, not how they are saying it – they know how as how is the means by which General Dynamics is providing the personally identifiable tracking information, and to posit the question “To what end?” The logical answer being to control what how and what they say through chilling free speech and/or intimidation of political dissent via mechanism of law.

    To my knowledge, you have never been identified personally here nor has your free speech been curtailed (and being demolished as nonsense by logic, reason and evidence does not count as curtailment, simply effective rebuttal). The day someone reveals your identity here or censors you for content (as opposed to some other egregious transgression you may or may not make such as assuming another poster’s identity) is the day you have a legitimate complaint. Until then, I suggest that what you have is a problem with somebody identifying your methodology, not censoring your content or revealing your identity as neither of those later events have happened no matter how you wish to conflate things. That or you simply like to fight with Slarti. Possibly all of the above.

  78. OS,

    I just assume anything on the web can be cracked given sufficient resources and that any government agency concerned with intelligence can obtain those resources if necessary and it is likely that many commercial groups can as well.

    Gene,

    Sorry for the hijack (or pseudo-hijack) of your thread. I felt the opportunity to call out Bdaman’s lies and contrast what I was doing to what DHS is doing was too good to pass up. Now excuse me whist I descend into the mud again…

    Bdaman,

    Listen up you sniveling troll–you will never be able to point out a lie I’ve told on this site… for the simple reason I’ve never told one. Sure, you’ll find the occasional factual error (which I will have corrected if it was pointed out–and, in several cases, was the one who pointed out my own error in the first place) and inaccurate opinion (usually noted as an opinion), but you wont find blatant lies or other intellectual dishonesty in my comments (which is but one example of the differences between us). Gene already pointed out how it was done (which was completely consistent with what I’ve previously posted here), so I will just point out what you are either too ignorant or too stupid to understand: there is a difference between knowing the email address used to post two different comments and knowing that two different comments were posted using the same email address. The first violates anonymity and the second does not. While it is true that the (publicly available) information that I made use of can theoretically be decoded to yield email addresses (which would violate anonymity), I currently have neither the time nor the resources nor the skills necessary to do so and, should all of those things change, I will never have the desire to do so. Contrast this with the DHS–an organization that does currently have the time, resources, and skills necessary to get your email address (and likely your IP address and more as well) in addition to an apparent desire to obtain such information. I don’t know if DHS has software monitoring your every virtual move right now, but it is obvious to anyone but a complete moron that they have the capability to do so easily and this article suggests that they are making use of that capability (while I don’t have the capability to do this at all). So remember that although you can use your free speech to tell lies about me, you cannot prevent me from using my free speech–and every bit of public information that you have willingly left on this blog–to point out your lack of integrity.

    By the way, if you want to use my name, learn how to spell it.

  79. “The point of this article is that the DHS has hired General Dynamics to collect personally identifying information on posters including IPs and email addresses”

    Thanks for pointing that out

  80. Good for the goose is good for the gander; the principle of authoritarianism in America compels that equivalent scrutiny be accorded Big Brother as that which is doled out in the name of security under any principle of Big Brother rules. Can anyone be not subject to scrutiny under the American Constitution; after all, America is meant to be a democracy, not a dictatorship, or a monarchy. If anything, it is scrutiny under the Constitution which is compelling, not authoritarianism.

  81. “raff, since when did ignoring laws and administrative regulations ever stop the wingers?”

    Well, in point of fact, it never stopped anybody ELSE in government either. What the agencies in the executive branch, the legislators (these are the least guilty of it, of course, because they have less individual control of the reporting of their conduct) and the courts (most notorious for obvious reasons, and wielding the greatest power in general) do is to do exactly as they please, report or fail to report, distort or “redact” whatever they want, and flush the laws, regulations, rules and everything else down the big toilet of impenetrable power together with the rights of whomever they have targeted.

    A mother in Iowa (circa 1995) was ordered, AFTER SHE WON HER APPEAL, to not speak about what had taken place in the courts OR IN HER OWN LIFE OR IN HER CHILD’S LIFE OR IN HER MARRIAGE — with ANYONE — or she would lose all her parental rights. Her speech, by the way, was restricted based on CONTENT. She was not allowed to speak with her daughter about sex, for instance. The child was of an age where a girl asks her mother about sex. This was the combined acction of the judicial and executive branches in the State of Iowa. Bonnie Campbell was instrumental in putting this situation in place and she defended it viciously.

    The mother was not allowed to speak with her own therapist about anything that had occurred.

    The same happened to a woman in New York, whose husband was at one time the Chief Executive of Westchester County. In order to get her $3,333.33 per month alimony after a 40-year marriage, she was placed under a gag order that prevented her from speaking about either her situation or her FEELINGS about the situation or her husband or the court case, etc. (NO CHILDREN INVOLVED; NO SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS INVOLVED; JUST DIVORCE AND MONEY INVOLVED — oh well, a little bit of public corruption, a little bit of adultery at the taxpayers’ expense, a little bit of campaign money here and there) even to her therapist. THEN the police came to her to interview her about her husband because he was about to be appointed a Supreme Court Judge in New York, and they interview every family member or ex-family member. She could not speak with them about it because of the gag order. Yet they put through the recommendation and the guy became a judge.

    This guy who went from being Chief Executive to Judge, by the way, had said in court that he did not UNDERSTAND the court order that had been handed down for him to pay alimony, and that was why he was not in contempt when he failed to do so.

    THAT was in the record that the ex-wife was not allowed to reveal.

    He’s a judge now. Quality of the courts has not diminished, though, because it couldn’t.

    All this is said anonymously. See, if I reveal who I am, Judge O’Anonymous in New York will figure out something. Can’t have that.

  82. It seems to me that our focus was always against human rights violations and abuse, and that should be where our focus stays. If we stray from that, there will be no lasting justification for any military action. Our country has always prided itself as the world’s bastion against tyranny, we must not be pulled down from that stance, to a level of third world dictatorships who abuse and torture whomever they desire in the name of their country’s security. We have always been the world’s oasis of liberty and freedom. There is no reason, nor excuse plausible enough to relinquish this unparalleled stance.

    It is what makes our country great in the eyes of all the world. If we give it up for whatever reason, we will no longer set the example for the world to follow.

  83. Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 10:30 AM EST

    Homeland security offers anything but
    The department is a black hole for tax dollars — and its funding could jeopardize our country’s infrastructure

    By Mattea Kramer

    http://www.salon.com/2013/02/28/tk_5_partner_4/

    Excerpt:

    Perhaps the strangest part of homeland security operations may be this: there isno agreed-upon definition for just what homeland security is. The funds Washington has poured into the concept will soon enough approach a trillion dollars and yet it’s a concept with no clear boundaries that no one can agree on. Worse yet, few are asking the hard questions about what security we actually need or how best to achieve it. Instead, Washington has built a sprawling bureaucracy riddled with problems and set it on autopilot.

    And that brings us to today. Budget cuts are in the pipeline for most federal programs, but many lawmakers vocally oppose any reductions in security funding. What’s painfully clear is this: the mere fact that a program is given the label of national or homeland security does not mean that its downsizing would compromise American safety. Overwhelming evidence of waste, duplication, and poor management suggests that Washington could spend far less on security, target it better, and be so much safer.

    Meanwhile, the same report that warned in early 2001 of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil also recommended redoubling funding for education in science and technology.

    In the current budget-cutting fever, the urge to protect boundless funding for national security programs by dismantling investment essential to this country’s greatness — including world-class education and infrastructure systems — is bound to be powerful. So whenever you hear the phrase “homeland security,” watch out: your long-term safety may be at risk.

  84. AP,

    Thanks for posting that. I was thinking about doing a column on that story after reading it this morning. Still might.

  85. I usually do not leave a comment, but after browsing
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    News (or Expressing an Opinion), Your Rights Optional | JONATHAN TURLEY.

    I do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be simply me or does it look as if like a few of
    the remarks look like they are written by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are writing on other places, I would like to keep up with you.
    Could you make a list of all of all your public
    pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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