Death By Metadata: Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Reveal NSA Role in Assassinations Overseas

Published on Feb 10, 2014

http://www.democracynow.org - In the first exposé for their new venture, First Look Media’s digital journal The Intercept, investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald reveal the National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes. The NSA identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies, an unreliable tactic that has resulted in the deaths of innocent and unidentified people. The United States has reportedly carried out drone strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cell phone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike. Scahill and Greenwald join us to discuss their report and the launch of their media project.

Share and watch the full 35-minute discussion uninterrupted

K5 Robots Predict & Prevent Crime in Your Community

The creators of the K5 robo-cop are calling these robots, “New Hometown Heroes”…it really just gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn’t it? Just imagine the near-limitless profit potential, er, safety potential…pretty soon we’ll have Pre-Crime Cops, Pre-Crime SWAT Teams…PreCrime detention centers where people can stay until…uh…K5 decides they are no longer a threat to the neighborhood? Sing along after me now, boy and girls…

“It’s a beautiful robotic day in the neighborhood, a robotic day in the neighborhood…don’t think of a crime…or else you’ll be mine…” 

Knightscope - “Imagine a friend that can see, hear, feel and smell that would tirelessly watch over your neighborhood, keep your loved ones safe and put a smile on anyone walking by your business. Imagine if we could utilize technology to make our communities stronger and safer…..together.

Knightscope is developing technology that will predict and prevent crime with an innovative combination of hardware, software and social engagement.

Crime has a $1+ trillion negative economic impact on the US each year and it will only worsen with the continued increases in population, strains on municipal budgets and volatility around the world.

The Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machine utilizes a combination of autonomous robots and predictive analytics to provide a commanding but friendly physical presence while gathering important real-time on-site data with numerous sensors.

How Does It Work?

Data collected through these sensors is processed through our predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and subsequently assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern.

If an alert is pushed, the K5 machine will turn on all of its sensors to allow the entire community to review everything and also contribute important real-time information. Our approach alleviates any privacy concerns, engages the community on a social level to effectively crowdsource security, and provides an important feedback loop to the prediction engine.

Dimensions:

Height – 60 Inches (1,524 mm)

Length – 36 Inches (914 mm)

Width – 32 inches (813 mm)

Weight – 300 pounds (136 kg)

CUSTOMER Applications

Knightscope’s quickest avenue to commercialize the K5 technology is to augment private security services on corporate campuses and in large, vacant buildings and warehouses. Tedious and monotonous monitoring should be handled by the K5, leaving “hands-on” activities to security personnel.

Knightscope has also received numerous inquiries proposing a variety of use cases where the K5 would make a positive impact. These offer substantial future growth opportunities in areas including, but not limited to, schools, shopping centers, hotels, auto dealerships, stadiums, casinos, law enforcement agencies, seaports, and airports.

USGIF: Where Our National Security Begins

While I was searching for more information (specifically about James R. Clapper Jr.) to add to the The Menace of the Military Mind post last night, I stumbled across a rather interesting corpo-government website that provides a nice behind-the-scenes look at some of the movers, shakers and decision makers who are responsible for our ever-growing World Wide Spy Machine. Here are some bits & pieces of what I’ve browsed through so far…Enjoy! ~Reb

 United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, Inc

USGIF - “In 2003, a group of leading authorities realized an inherent need for a unified vision and approach to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft. This group created the successful GEO-INTEL 2003 conference—the predecessor to the annual GEOINT Symposium—and in early 2004 established USGIF. The Foundation’s mission was, and continues to be, to bring together government, industry, academia, professional organizations and individuals for the advancement of the geospatial intelligence tradecraft as it relates to national security.

Being the first and only organization of its kind, USGIF has helped to advance the tradecraft through its many events and programs, such as the highly acclaimed GEOINT Symposium and technology focused Tech Days. The Foundation currently has more than 200 sustaining member organizations supporting and assisting in executing the Foundation’s objectives. The Foundation also has made education a top priority, exemplified by its scholarships, college and university accreditation programs, grants to underprivileged K-12 schools and other initiatives.

USGIF is dedicated to bringing together the many disciplines involved in the geospatial intelligence sector to exchange ideas, share best practices and promote the education and importance of a national geospatial intelligence agenda.”

USGIF is located at 2325 Dulles Corner Boulevard, Suite 450, Herndon, VA 20171.

Download USGIF Fact Sheet

ProjectGEO- “Oct 23, 2012 In this special coverage interviewing USGIF President Keith Masback we dive into detail on several topics including what the USGIF is, it’s mission, and it’s impact on the GEOINT community. Keith also talks about the Young Professionals Group (YPG) and the GEOINT symposium. Watch the video to get exciting insight into the USGIF.

Keynote Speakers At GEOINT

(National Snitch-N- Snoop Convention?)

Keynotes for GEOINT 2013*

January 9, 2014 -Several speakers have reconfirmed their keynote addresses for the rescheduled GEOINT2013* Symposium, to be held April 14-17, 2014, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla.

Confirmed speakers include:

• The Honorable James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (DNI)
• LTG Michael T. Flynn, U.S. Army, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
• Ms. Letitia A. Long, Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
• ADM William H. McRaven, U.S. Navy, Commander, U.S. Special Operations
Command (USSOCOM)
• Ms. Betty J. Sapp, Director, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
• Mr. Robert Scoble & Mr. Shel Israel, Co-Authors, “Age of Context”

The annual GEOINT Symposium is the nation’s premier intelligence event. It offers a wealth of quality information, cutting-edge technologies, and top-notch activities that keep attendees coming back year after year. In addition to insightful keynote addresses and though-provoking panels with leaders from the Defense and Intelligence communities, the GEOINT Symposium provides attendees with an unparalleled opportunity to network at various social events and explore new technologies in a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall.

GEOINTv 2012-Booth Tour Northrop Grumman (Video)

USGIF ACCOUNT LEVELS AND PRICING 

MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY

USGIF released its 2013 Membership Directory in the Q1 issue of trajectory magazine.

The directory contains brief descriptions and contact information for all 224 USGIF sustaining member organizations. The directory is also complemented by an online capabilities index, which lists more than 50 products and services the membership organizations provide.

Download the 2013 USGIF Membership Directory

USGIF BOARD MEMBERS

USGIF’s Africa Working Group Hosts First Event

Project Geo – S2 E6 – Apocalyptic Maps

Autonomous ‘Killer Robots’ Could Replace Drones Soon

RT“What was science fiction a couple of decades ago is now everyday reality. But it’s not only computers and smartphones — the progress has brought us new war machines — unmanned drones striking from the skies are no surprise for anyone today. But what has the progress of warfare prepared for us in the coming years?” 

Jody Williams is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning woman, who has fought against landmines — and won. Now she is on a crusade against the new deadly threat — killer robots.

Rule from the Shadows – The Psychology of Power

“Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”

-President Woodrow Wilson in his book the “The New Freedom” published in 1913

Excerpts, StormCloudsGathering – “The quest for power is the primary driving force of history, always has been, always will be. Those who fail to recognize this principle are not spared in the grand chess game, but rather are moved and manipulated by forces that they do not understand.

From the perspective of those who dominate the board it is obviously preferable to have a population of ignorant pawns than it is to have an array of opponents which are capable of mounting an effective resistance. To that end it has always been in the interest of the ruling class to cultivate illusions which obscure the true nature of the game…”

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

- Edward Bernays – “Propaganda” 1928

“The invisible government that Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays, and Woodrow Wilson had referred to was not just an abstract concept. It was a very real and concrete reality, and they were were well positioned to comment on it, because they directly participated in its creation.

It all started as an inquiry. “The Inquiry.” to the select few who knew, was a group of 150 men assembled by Woodrow Wilson to gather the data they thought necessary to “make the world safe for democracy” after World War I was over.

Among the known members of the inquiry were Walter Lippmann, Paul Warburg (better known as the father of the Federal Reserve), and Edward House, Wilson’s closest advisor, the man responsible for convincing Wilson to sign the Federal Reserve Act in 1913.

From 1917 to 1918, the group compiled over 2000 documents to be used during postwar negotiations. The most famous of these was the 14 points document, authored by Walter Lippmann, which proposed the creation of the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations.

After the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 a portion of the Inquiry met at the Hotel Majestic with a number of British diplomats to discuss forming a permanent institution. This meeting eventually led to the decision to join forces with a group of high-ranking officers of banking, manufacturing, trading and finance companies led by Elihu Root, a powerful corporate lawyer who was also a former United States Secretary of War, and leading advocate of Americas entry into the World War I. On July 29, 1921 the merged group filed a certification of incorporation, officially forming the Council on Foreign Relations, also known as the CFR.

The CFR, went on to build a membership comprised of the worlds most powerful business leaders, politicians and corporations. Among the corporate members are Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Chevron, Exxon, Shell, BP Oil, General Electric, Raytheon, Lockhead Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Bloomberg, Rothschild North America, and Dyncorp international. You can find a complete list on the CFR website.”

Group psychology is a weapon and like all weapons it is capable of being used for good or for evil. For many years it has been in the wrong hands. It has been hidden from the public and used against them. It’s time for the people to pick up that weapon and use it to free themselves.

Time to start studying.

Read Gustave Le Bon’s books: “The Crowd” and “The Psychology of Revolution”.

Read Edward Bernays’ books: “Propaganda” and “Crystalizing Public Opinion”.

And read Gene Sharp’s books: “From Dictatorship to Democracy” and “National Security Through Civilian-Based Defense”

Learn the theory. Learn the techniques and start using them to spread the truth rather than hiding it. Start using them to prevent wars rather than start them. Start using them to stop the militarization of the police and to end the surveillance state. Use them to bring this corporate mafia to its knees.

To some of you this might be a bit frightening. This is dangerous stuff. These are ideological m-16s with boxes of ammunition.

If even a few motivated individuals started using these techniques effectively it could seriously disrupt the balance of power.

But that’s exactly what’s needed.

I challenge you to look around. Look at the state of the world. Look at where these psychopaths are taking us. If you do not feel the imperative to change the course we are on, then you are not paying attention.

To be continued (Parts 2 and 3 are already under way).”

Read Full Story With Sources, Full Transcript and Bonus Footage Here

Is the State Department Trying to Silence Pakistani Drone Victims by Delaying Their Attorney’s Visa?

Rafiq ur-Rehman’s mother was working as his two children played near her in a field just outside his village of Tappi in the tribal region of North Waziristan in Pakistan when some of the CIA’s pilotless spy planes targeted their village and fired four missiles almost one year ago this month. 

TruthOut- “Rehman’s children, 13-year-old Nabila and 9-year-old Zubair, watched as the drone strike killed their 67-year-old grandmother, Mamana, instantly, and lodged shrapnel into their legs, hospitalizing them. Rehman returned from work to find the remains of his mother, his injured and bleeding children and a smoking field dotted with dead cattle.

A year later, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida) has formally invited Rehman, who is a primary school teacher in North Waziristan, and his children to testify about their experience before a Congressional ad-hoc hearing. It would mark the first time survivors of military drone strikes have traveled to Capitol Hill to give a voice and face to the reality of the CIA’s covert drone program.

But the family can’t travel to the United States to tell lawmakers their story because their attorney’s visa has been delayed by the State Department. Rehman’s attorney and translator, Shahzad Akbar, is a fellow at the human rights organization Reprieve and represents more than 156 drone strike victims.

Akbar has accused the State Department of deliberately barring his entry to the United States to silence the voices of drone strike survivors after they have prepared for months to travel to Washington, D.C. The State Department already has granted Rehman’s and his children’s visas.

“I have been blacklisted for simply one reason, that is my drone work. Otherwise, if I am any kind of security threat, [the State Department] can simply say,” Akbar told Truthout in a telephone interview.

This is not the first time Akbar has had trouble gaining entry into the country. Before he began investigating drone strikes in 2010, he traveled frequently to the U.S. as a consultant for U.S. agencies. But when he was invited to speak at a human rights conference in May 2011 at Columbia University about his work on legal cases involving drone strikes, his visa was delayed by the State Department for 14 months…”

Click Here For Full Story on TruthOut

America’s Private Sector Army

Prior to the Iraq war, most people wouldn’t have heard of the private military companies (PMCs) that provide their services to the USA. Then came the the headlines, thick and fast, as the heavy involvement of PMCs such as Blackwater led to controversy. 

Excerpts, The Kernel - “The number of contractors used is staggering. In 2010 there were 94,413 contractors in Afghanistan, compared with 91,600 US troops.

MERCENARIES IN EVERYTHING BUT NAME

Most PMCs provide logistical support, but one stands out above all others: Blackwater. Described by some as a “private army”, they differ from modern day military units such as the British Army’s Brigade of Gurkhas and the French Foreign Legion, in that they are an autonomous company providing military services. Mercenaries in everything but name. Blackwater in particular stands out for their boots-on-the ground provision of “security guards” who look, smell and operate like any other combat soldier.

Blackwater, now called Academi, became known for a string of controversial incidents involving its personnel. Now that Middle Eastern occupations are winding down and court cases have been settled, Blackwater has managed to slip under the radar again. But it still exists, albeit with a new name, and is as influential as ever.

In the sixteen years of its existence, Blackwater has changed the face of modern warfare. How did they do it, what are they doing now and what does their continued existence mean for the future?

In explaining his vision for Blackwater, its founder Erik Prince famously stated:

“We are trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service.” 

Blackwater started out by offering training services to the military and landed a major contract to train Navy personnel following the 2000 bombing of USS Cole of the coast of Yemen.

With their reputation established, Blackwater began to hoover up government contracts as the War on Terror progressed. At first they provided security to secret CIA bases, then they became the default private security force for the raft of diplomats and State Department employees who found themselves involved in occupied Iraq. Blackwater proudly remind people that “not one State Department employee was killed while we were protecting them”. No officials may have been killed but a number of innocent Iraqis did, at the barrel of Blackwater guns.

The US military has long had a reputation for financial ineptitude when it come to hardware acquisition. It’s a reputation that has persisted with their procurement of contract services. At the height of the Iraq war, sergeants in the military were getting paid one-sixth of their counterparts from Blackwater. This problem of capitalism colliding with patriotism was so serious that Defense Secretary Robert Gates considered asking US troops to sign a non-compete clause…

…The largest incident branded on Blackwater’s reputation is what has become known as The Blackwater Baghdad shootings. On September sixteenth 2007, Blackwater military contractors shot and killed seventeen Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad…

“They became a symbol of what was seen as an occupying force. They are always heavily armed with machine-guns, and wear body armour and wraparound sunglasses. Usually they are beefy men with goatees, covered in tattoos. They swagger around like something out of a movie. Their presence here has been deeply damaging.”

Blackwater has become a destination of choice for ex-public servants looking for a cushy retirement, resulting in the company having even stronger ties to the centres of American power post-Iraq than pre-Iraq. The board of directors now includes Bobby Ray Inman, the former head of the National Security Agency and Jack Quinn, the former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton. 

Lessons have learned by both the Government and private companies from their flirtation over the last couple of decades and the legacy will have repercussions on future conflicts. The Government has found a way to patch up their military personnel shortcomings with off-the-shelf and adaptable solutions: no need for the tedium of training youngsters and paying out pension plans.

By buying up experienced Army personnel, Blackwater have made themselves indispensable as a training institution for America’s elite troops. And next time the US goes gung-ho into another country? The contractors will be ready. Academi have developed and manufactured their own infantry mobility vehicle called The Grizzly APC. They were too late to the military hardware party this time around but they have all the pieces in place to take an even greater role in the USA’s next major conflict.” Full Article on The Kernel

 

 

Unmanned F-16 Fighter Jet Completes First Flight

“The Air Force has maintained that QF-16s will only be used in training exercises when pilots are completing dogfight simulations in the air. The planes remain capable of being flown by an on board pilot though, and a bomb will be placed on board in the event that an unmanned plane needs to be destroyed.”

via RT- “The US Air Force and the Boeing aerospace and defense corporation announced they have successfully converted a retired F-16 into a drone. It is now possible for fighter jets to fly supersonic speeds, land, and operate normally without a pilot on board.

Boeing announced Tuesday that modified versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon will operate as a QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target for use in Air Force training practices. Last week, two Air Force pilots controlled the first successful flight from the ground station at Florida’s Tydall Air Force Base.

The maiden flight departed from the runway as normal and completed a series of simulated maneuvers in the air over the Gulf of Mexico, surpassing the speed of sound and landing safely.

It was a little different to see it without anyone in it, but it was a great flight all the way around,” said US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Inman, the commander of the 82nd Aerial targets Squadron. “It’s a replication of current, real world situations and aircraft platforms they can shoot as a target. Now we have a 9G capable, highly sustainable aerial target.” Full Story

DoD’s Active Denial System

“For the first millisecond, it just felt like the skin was warming up. Then it got warmer and warmer and you felt like it was on fire…” 

The Active Denial System had its first demonstration of power aboard an Army vessel at Joint Base Langley-Eustis September 12, 2013.

Like all focused energy, the beam will irradiate all matter in the targeted area, including everything beyond/behind it that is not shielded, with no possible discrimination between individuals, objects or materials. Anyone incapable of leaving the target area (e.g., physically handicapped, infants, incapacitated, trapped, etc) would continue to receive radiation until the operator turned off the beam. Reflective materials such as aluminium cooking foil should reflect this radiation and could be used to make clothing that would be protective against this radiation.

The Active Denial System, from a presentation ...

The Active Denial System, from a presentation of the U.S. Department of defense (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Wiki- The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon developed by the U.S. military, designed for area denial, perimeter security and crowd control. Informally, the weapon is also called the heat ray since it works by heating the surface of targets, such as the skin of targeted human subjects. Raytheon is currently marketing a reduced-range version of this technology. The ADS was deployed in 2010 with the United States military in the Afghanistan War, but was withdrawn without seeing combat. On August 20, 2010, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced its intent to use this technology on prisoners in the Pitchess Detention Center in Los Angeles, stating its intent to use it in “operational evaluation” in situations such as breaking up prisoner fights. The ADS is currently only a vehicle-mounted weapon, though U.S. Marines and police are both working on portable versions. ADS was developed under the sponsorship of the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program with the Air Force Research Laboratory as the lead agency. There are reports that Russia is developing its own version of the Active Denial System…

…Many possible long-term effects have been studied, with the conclusion that no long-term effects are likely at the exposure levels studied. However, over-exposures of either operators or targets may cause long-term damage including cancer. According to an official military assessment, “In the event of an overexposure to a power density sufficient to produce thermal injury, there is an extremely low probability that scars derived from such injury might later become cancerous. Proper wound management further decreases this probability, as well as the probability of hypertrophic scarring or keloid formation.”
  • Cancer: A mouse cancer study was performed at two energy levels and exposures with a 94 GHz transmitter: a single 10 second, 1 W/cm exposure; and repeated 10 second exposures over 2 week period at 333 mW/cm. At both energy levels, no increase in skin cancers were observed. No studies of higher energy levels, or longer exposure times have been performed on millimeter wave systems.
  • Cornea damage: tests on non-human primate eyes have observed no short-term or long-term damage as the blink reflex protects the eye from damage within 0.25s.
  • Birth defects: millimeter waves only penetrate 0.4mm (1/64″) into the skin, making direct damage to the testes or ovaries impossible.
  • Blisters and scarring: pea-sized blistering due to second degree burns occurred in a very small (less than 0.1%) of tested exposures, which have a remote potential for scarring.

ADS operators would be exposed to more than the standard maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits for RF energy, and military use requires an exception to these exposure limits.”

The Council on Foreign Relations noted that ”wider integration of existing types of nonlethal weapons (NLW) into the U.S. Army and Marine Corps could have helped to reduce the damage done by widespread looting and sabotage after the cessation of major conflict in Iraq” Continue reading

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Below is a link to a very disturbing animated infograph of all confirmed US drone strikes in Pakistan alone…

Out Of Sight,Out Of Mind

via Out of Sight, Out of Mind – “Because the US Government does not disclose strike information, the data must be manually collected on the ground by reporters. The challenge is that stories and estimates vary between sources. In cases where there are inconsistencies, a minimum and a maximum number of possible fatalities are recorded. We take the average whole number between these estimates for each attack. In a few instances there were fatalities confirmed, but the estimated number of fatalities was not obtainable. In these cases, we simply omitted the fatalities. The list of high-profile targets (the white squares) comes from the New America Foundation.”

ESTIMATED TOTAL FATALITIES - 3149

 

“Since 2004, the US has been practicing in a new kind of clandestine military operation. The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it’s much cheaper than deploying soldiers, it’s politically much easier to maneuver (i.e. flying a drone within Pakistan vs. sending troops) and it keeps the world in the dark about what is actually happening. It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. The success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high. This project helps to bring light on the topic of drones. Not to speak for or against, but to inform and to allow you to see for yourself whether you can support drone usage or not.
Attacks and Victims View
The first view you see illustrates the attacks by the drones. We also wanted to give an emphasis on the victims. By clicking on the Victims link you can see an expanded view of the actual victims with the total number of attacks and fatalities for each month.
Important Notes
The category of victims we call “OTHER” is classified differently depending on the source. The Obama administration classifies any able-bodied male a military combatant unless evidence is brought forward to prove otherwise. This is a very grey area for us. These could be neighbors of a target killed. They may all be militants and a threat. What we do know for sure is that they are targeted without being given any representation or voice to defend themselves.” Learn More Here

The Syrian War: What You’re Not Being Told

The latest post from StormCloudsGathering.

What’s really going on in Syria? Let’s look at the evidence.

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Wargasm

HT – The Internet Post

“Mesmerized as if by the nastiest pornographic abyss stare into TV news each night waiting to see a new war in full throated hell.  Even more than with the usual not so subliminal sexual and obedience programming America observes with barely repressed excitement the rulers Satanic desires unfold on TV. A wet, wonderful Syrian wargasm is only an image away. Economies fail to remain erect so the rulers of the Patriarchy go on TV and ritually chew and swallow an economic performance enhancement pill of dung called war…” 

Full Document by Publius Here

Building The Global Special Operation Forces Partnership

This is…well…unnerving…and chilling.

 

ISOF

ISOF (Photo credit: United States Forces – Iraq (Inactive))

 

(May 2012) Military assault demonstrations at the ISOF 2012 conference in Tampa bay, Florida. The participating SOF teams came from 10 allied nations: Australia, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Norway, Poland, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and included American SEALs, Green Berets, Air Force Combat Controllers, and US Marines. This year ISOF’s theme is “Building the Global SOF Partnership.” This is composed of mutually supporting partners working to identify and preemptively address problems, and helping to defeat the appeal of violent extremism.