Oakland emails give another glimpse into the Google-Military-Surveillance complex
March 11, 2014
On February 18, several hundred privacy, labor, civil rights activists and Black Bloc anarchists packed Oakland’s city hall. They were there to protest the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight outta Mission Impossible.
It was a rowdy crowd, and there was a heavy police presence. Some people carried “State Surveillance No!” signs. A few had their faces covered in rags, and taunted and provoked city officials by jamming smartphones in their faces and snapping photos.
Main item on the agenda that night: The “Domain Awareness Center” (DAC) — a federally funded project that, if built as planned, would link up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city — including CCTV cameras in public schools and public housing projects, as well as Oakland Police Department mobile license plate scanners — into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software, surveil the city by location and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.
During the meeting, city officials argued that the DAC would help police deal with Oakland’s violent crime and invoked 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, saying that a streamlined intelligence system would help protect residents in the event of natural disaster or terrorist attack.
Their explanation was met with hisses, boos, outbursts and constant interruption from the packed gallery, and the city council struggled to retain order, repeatedly threatening to clear the room.
The anger wasn’t just the standard objection to surveillance — or at least it was, but it had been intensified by a set of documents, obtained through a public records request by privacy activists, that showed city officials were more interested in using DAC’s surveillance capabilities to monitor political protests rather than fighting crime. The evidence was abundant and overwhelming: in email after email, Oakland officials had discussed the DAC usefulness for keeping tabs on activists, monitoring non-violent political protests and minimize port disruption due to union/labor strikes.
In particular, officials wanted to use the surveillance center to monitor Occupy Wall Street-style activists, and prevent union organizing and labor strikes that might shut down the Port of Oakland.
This revelation was particularly troubling in Oakland — a city with a large marginalized black population, a strong union presence and a long, ugly history of police brutality aimed at minority groups and political activists. Police conduct is so atrocious that the department now operates under federal oversight.
Ultimately, the information contained in the document helped anti-DAC activists convince Oakland’s city council to somewhat limit the scope and size of the surveillance center. It was a minor victory, but a victory nonetheless.
But buried deep in the thousands of pages of planning documents, invoices and correspondence was something that the activists either seemed to have missed or weren’t concerned by. A handful of emails revealing that representatives from Oakland had met with executives from Google to discuss a partnership between the tech giant and the DAC.
The emails showed that Google, the largest and most powerful megacorp in Surveillance Valley, was among several other military/defense contractors vying for a piece of DAC’s $10.9-million surveillance contracting action.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), quoted by the Huffington Post.
A Republican is incapable of hearing themselves whine. She equates no longer being able to torment and discriminate the gay community with being bullied? Her gay-bashing is tiresome!
So follow her conservative logic on bullying: she feels bullied by the gay community, therefore, we should get rid of anti-bullying laws in schools.
Fucking idiotic piece of refuse. Yes. The “gay lobby” created the idea that you can be fired for being gay in half of the country, and are specificially banned from being a teacher in more than half of that.
I can never have respect for a failed state like the USA while this woman is a rockstar of one of its biggest political parties… #whosaiddemocracywastthebest?
The NSA whistleblower accused Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, of hypocrisy
But senior Senate Democrats continued to back Feinstein’s unprecedented public attack, calling on the president to allow swift publication of an unclassified version of her committee’s report into the CIA’s interrogation activities. “I support Senator Feinstein unequivocally, and I am disappointed that the CIA is apparently unrepentant for what I understand they did,” Senate majority leader Harry Reid told reporters.
Senator Ron Wyden, a long-time critic of intelligence overreach, told CNN: “The bottom line is: I am becoming convinced the CIA is simply fearful of the interrogation report being made public, and I think it’s time for the American people to get that information.”
The CIA is refusing to back down, raising the prospect of Obama being forced to choose whether to support his party or the intelligence community. “We are not in any way, shape or form trying to thwart this report,” said Brennan at a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. “As far the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers are concerned, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that; that’s beyond the scope of reason.”
She also alleged that anonymous CIA officials were effectively conducting a smear campaign in the media to discredit and “intimidate” Senate staff by suggesting they had hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain a separate, critical internal report on the detention and interrogation programme.
Staff working on the Senate investigation have been reported to the Department of Justice for possible criminal charges by a lawyer at the CIA who himself features heavily in the alleged interrogation abuses. The CIA’s inspector general is conducting another inquiry into the issue.
Feinstein said the two investigations, launched at the behest of the CIA, amounted to an attempt at “intimidation”. She revealed that CIA officials had also been reported to the Department of Justice for alleged violations of the fourth amendment and laws preventing them from domestic spying.
Senate vote ended years of bitter wrangling and relieved the worst impacts of broad spending cuts known as sequestration
Be careful. This is a Republican victory (though not as bad as the brainless of the GOP would like it to have been). But it’s an important, quick, read.
On December 4, 1969, Fred Hampton was murdered while he was sleeping in his bed. He was shot in the arm, shoulder, and twice through the head. He was just 21 years old. Mark Clark was also killed that morning. Right after the shootings, State’s Attorney Hanrahan called a press conference where he announced that the Black Panthers had organized a “vicious, unprovoked attack” on the police who had appeared at an apartment at 4:45 that morning to supposedly search for illegal weapons. Seven survivors of the targeted murder, including Hampton’s fiance Deborah Johnson who was 8 months pregnant, were arrested and charged with attempted murder. After 13 years of litigation, Flint Taylor, Jeffrey Haas, and other lawyers at the People’s Law Office were able to prove that the shootings were actually assassinations organized by the F.B.I. as part of its Cointelpro program.
The following excerpts, collected by Henry Hampton and Steve Fayer for the Eyes on the Prize documentary series, feature Deborah Johnson recounting the shootings that killed Fred Hampton.
“The first thing that I remember after Fred and I had went to sleep was being awakened by somebody shaking Fred while we were laying in bed. Saying, “Chairman, Chairman, wake up! The pigs are vamping. The pigs are vamping.” About the same time, I looked up and I saw what appeared to be flashes of light going across the entranceway to the back bedroom. It looked like a million flashes of light, because the apartment was pretty much dark. I rolled over to Fred — he sill hadn’t moved at this point, as I recall — and then slid down to Fred’s right side, so that put me closest to the wall in the bedroom […]
Someone else was in the room with me and kept yelling out, “Stop shooting, stop shooting, we have a pregnant sister in here.” Eventually the shooting stopped and they said we could come out. I remember crossing over Fred and telling myself over and over. Be real careful. Don’t stumble, they’ll try to shoot you. Just be real calm. Watch how you walk. Keep your hands up. Don’t reach for anything. Don’t even try to close your robe.
I’m walking out of the bedroom, there are two lines of policemen that I have to walk through on my right and my left. I remember focusing on their badge numbers and their faces. Saying them over and over in my head, so I wouldn’t forget. As I walked through these two lines of policemen, on of them grabbed my robe and opened it and said, “Well, what do you know, we have a broad here.” Another policeman grabbed me by the hair and pretty much just shoved me — I had more hair then — into the kitchen area. It was very cold that might. I guess that it snowed. The back door was open. Some people were on the floor in the kitchen.
I heard a voice come from the dining room area. Someone said, “He’s barely alive. He’ll barely make it.” The shooting, I heard some shooting start again.”
Look closely at the picture…Is something’s wrong here?
The US government as an average US family…. read the full article here
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