Police State: US military planning to suppress domestic unrest

Thomas Gaist

US Military Plans to Crush Dissident Political Groups, Target Leaders with Sniper Fire

Links tweeted by WikiLeaks this week called attention to the development of crowd control doctrines by the US military, the most recent of which are codified in a US Army Techniques document dated April 2014, titledCivil Disturbances.” Main concepts elaborated in the document include crowd dynamics, behavior theories, crowd types, and a “Graduated Response Matrix.”

The document points to various dissident political groups as main targets of the Army’s crowd control planning. “Examples of well-organized groups are anarchists, antiglobalization groups, and anti free enterprise groups,” the US Army document states.

The paper further cites demonstrations coordinated by labor groups, specifically citing the 2011 protests at the Wisconsin capitol. “Labor unions played a large role in the 2011 Wisconsin protests that included passing on information and transporting participants,” the document states.

Special attention is given to “organized protests,” which are said to have more growth potential than spontaneous protests as result of their “centralized planning” and use of “modern technologies that allow for rapid information dissemination.”

Techniques outlined in the document include the use non-lethal weapons, “pain compliance” measures, lethal overwatch teams (snipers), and deployment of aircraft overhead (said to have a “psychological effect”).

The use of military working dog (MWD) teams is highlighted as an especially effective “intimidation measure.” “The presence of the MWD may produce a profound psychological effect on the crowd,” the document states.

The bloodbath in Donetsk

Thomas Gaist & Barry Grey

This week’s mass killings in Donetsk have further exploded efforts to portray February’s Western-orchestrated putsch in Ukraine as a “democratic revolution” and exposed the brutal and reactionary character of Washington’s puppet regime in Kiev.

They have provided a devastating demonstration of the reality of “human rights” imperialism and an indictment of all the political forces that have lined up behind it, first in the Balkans, then in Libya and Syria, and now in Ukraine.

The Obama administration in Washington and the Merkel government in Berlin both congratulated the newly elected president, billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko, even as he was overseeing the bloodbath in the east. Obama and Merkel signaled their support for the mass killing, portraying it as a means of stabilizing and unifying the country.

Within hours of Sunday’s fraudulent and undemocratic election, a devastating air assault was launched against targets in Donetsk. At least 50 militants were killed and another 31 injured as Kiev regime aircraft strafed separatist positions in and around the Donetsk airport. Speaking on behalf of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Leonid Baranov said the death toll will likely rise above 100.

As of Tuesday night, regime forces were preparing to follow the assault on Donetsk’s airport with an invasion of the city center. Civilians have reportedly been fleeing Donetsk en masse as gunfire and explosions continued to be heard from areas near the airport.

It is now clear that the election was organized to establish a political basis for the military onslaught in the east. The poll was carried out to provide a fig leaf of legitimacy to a regime installed illegally by means of a coup led by neo-fascist forces in the Svoboda Party and Right Sector militia.

Tech company “transparency reports” reveal massive NSA spying

Thomas Gaist

The token reforms proposed in the report would not substantially disrupt the mass spying operations.

Major US telecommunications companies released figures this week showing that the National Security Agency has requested data relating to tens of thousands of customer accounts in just the first half of last year. The release of the “transparency reports” was part of an agreement reached with the Obama administration allowing limited disclosures of information about the massive police-state spying apparatus.

The accounts spied on were targeted as part of the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program, which has been in operation since 2007. Using PRISM, the spy agency obtains orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require telecommunications companies to turn over information. PRISM came to the attention of the public as a result of documents provided by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Slides released by Snowden show that PRISM collects email, chat (voice and video), video, photos, stored data, file transfers, video conference data, notifications of target activity and online social networking details from a range of providers including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple.

US-NATO campaign to justify Syria war disintegrates as attack looms

Thomas Gaist and Alex Lantier

Washington’s campaign to justify war against Syria is disintegrating, as it becomes ever clearer that the war is illegal, and that Washington has no evidence to back up charges that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in Ghouta. Despite press reports of an imminent US-NATO attack, US and British officials suggested yesterday that they might delay launching the war.

There is rising concern inside the political establishment about how to package a war in Syria modeled on the hated 2003 invasion of Iraq. Again, Washington and London are moving to launch a war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction and without legal sanction from the UN Security Council—that is, in violation of international law.

Even before war has begun, Obama administration officials are in disarray. In a PBS television interview last night, Obama attempted to back away from threats of an imminent attack: “We have not yet made a decision, but the international norm against the use of chemical weapons needs to be kept in place. If we are saying this in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, stop doing this; that can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term.”

Obama’s claim that his administration has not decided to move against Assad is an absurd lie. Washington has called for Assad’s overthrow for over a year, while the CIA massively armed Al Qaeda-linked Islamist opposition militias against his regime.

A senior US official contradicted Obama yesterday, telling NBC that US moves toward intervention in Syria are “past the point of no return,” and that strikes will be launched in days.

US prepares military onslaught against Syria

Thomas Gaist

The Obama administration is in the final stages of its longstanding preparations for a massive military onslaught against Syria. President Obama is signing off on one of the various scenarios that have been developed over the past two years by the Pentagon. In all likelihood, the initial stages of the attack will involve the use of cruise missiles fired from US navy vessels and “standoff” attacks launched by US war planes from beyond Syria’s borders.

According to an NBC News report Tuesday evening, the US could hit Syria with an initial three days of missile strikes, beginning as early as Thursday. Subsequent waves of strikes could then be launched, unnamed senior officials told NBC, “to target what was missed in further rounds.”

“We are ready to go,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday.

“This is as much a warning to Iran, as I see it, as it is action against Syria,” Representative Peter King of New York told CNN.

In order to provide political camouflage for the military operations and deceive the public, the administration and the media are claiming that the attack will be of a limited nature. This is a lie. Aside from the fact that the use of bombs and missiles against a heavily populated capital must lead to massive casualties, the political and military aims of the undeclared war are far-reaching.

The US and its imperialist co-conspirators in Britain, France and Germany intend to destroy the Assad regime’s military capabilities, eliminate its ability to resist the proxy “rebel” forces that are serving US interests, and bring about regime-change.

This outcome will set the stage for a war against Iran within the next year or two, if not earlier.

NSA used decryption technology to spy on the United Nations

Thomas Gaist

The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported over the weekend that documents supplied by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden prove the NSA spied on internal communications at the United Nations headquarters in New York City during the summer of 2012. The NSA has also targeted the European Union and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to Der Spiegel.

Documents published by Der Spiegel show that the NSA tapped into the UN’s internal video conferencing system and deployed decryption technology to gain access to the video stream. Within weeks of penetrating the video stream, the NSA ramped up the number of communications being decrypted and monitored from 12 to 458.

“The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” read one of the documents quoted in the report.

Der Spiegel further reported on a US intelligence program called the “Special Collection Service,” which operates in diplomatic facilities across the globe. “The surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists,” the magazine wrote.

Previous revelations have shown systematic spying by the US on EU governments. American intelligence operatives apparently gained access to the virtual private network (VPN) relied on by EU embassies in the US. Files copied from NSA servers by Snowden include detailed plans of the EU’s information technology infrastructure and other internal EU documents.

The latest revelations of the massive and international scope of the US government’s illegal spying operations come only two weeks after a White House press conference in which President Obama repeated the official lies about the supposedly limited and legally sanctioned character of the secret NSA programs.

Declassified secret rulings found NSA spying program unconstitutional

Thomas Gaist

Three secret US court opinions declassified Wednesday show that the NSA collected at least 58,000 emails and other US communications per year that were “wholly domestic” and completely unrelated to terrorism. According to a senior US official quoted in USA Today, the court opinions were declassified by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper because Clapper believed they show “effective self-policing” by the NSA.

In one of the documents, a heavily blacked-out 86-page 2011 secret court opinion released Wednesday that declared NSA activities to be unconstitutional, US District Judge John Bates wrote that on three occasions within a three-year period, the state “disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program.”

The declassified opinion further stated that “the volume and nature of the information [the government] has been collecting is fundamentally different than what the court had been led to believe.”

The declassified documents were posted at icontherecord.tumblr.com, a web page that was created on Wednesday “at the direction of the President of the United States,” and which claimed to provide “immediate, ongoing and direct access to factual information related to the lawful foreign surveillance activities carried out by the US Intelligence Community.”

While the opinions were released as part of damage control efforts aimed at demonstrating the supposed effectiveness of judicial oversight of surveillance, they show a pattern of regular and massive violations by the government of its own regulations.

Detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner approved at highest levels of US and UK governments

Thomas Gaist and Joseph Kishore

The UK government is aggressively defending its decision to detain David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport, seizing his laptop, camera, cell phone and other personal items. Miranda was detained under a UK terrorism law while traveling from Berlin to his home in Rio de Janeiro.

The detention of Miranda was a blatant act of political intimidation directed at all those who seek to reveal crimes and conspiracies against democratic rights carried out by the British and US governments, including former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden, who has worked closely with Greenwald, is currently exiled in Russia. He has been the subject of an international campaign of vilification, led by the Obama administration.

According to a report by the Reuters news agency, “One US security official told Reuters that one of the main purposes of the British government’s detention and questioning of Miranda was to send a message to recipients of Snowden’s materials, including the Guardian, that the British government was serious about trying to shut down the leaks.”

In other words, the detention had nothing to do with “terrorism” or “national security,” but was, rather, a political decision. This decision clearly involved the highest levels of the US and British governments. On Monday, a White House spokesman acknowledged that the Obama administration had been given a “heads up” about the planned detention. British Prime Minister David Cameron also had advance notice of the plans to detain Miranda, Downing Street confirmed yesterday. The Guardian quoted a source within the government as saying, “We were kept abreast in the usual way. We do not direct police investigations.”

The suggestion from the UK government that somehow the final decision was made by local police agencies is a fraud. The approval of Miranda’s dentition clearly came from No 10 and the White House.

UK detains Glenn Greenwald’s partner under terrorism law

Barry Grey and Thomas Gaist

British authorities detained David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, for nine hours on Sunday under a counterterrorism law. They held Miranda, 28, a citizen of Brazil, incommunicado and interrogated him without giving him the opportunity to secure legal counsel.

Miranda was stopped by British officers as he passed through London’s Heathrow Airport on his way from Berlin to his Rio de Janeiro home, which he shares with Greenwald. The officials released Miranda without charge after nine hours, the maximum detention time allowed under the law. They confiscated Miranda’s electronic equipment, including his mobile phone, laptop computer, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and game consoles.

Greenwald has written a series of stories, mainly for the British Guardian, exposing the mass surveillance programs carried out by the US National Security Agency (NSA), based on documents given to him by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Along with Snowden, Greenwald has become a target for attacks by US politicians and media figures. Two months ago, David Gregory, the moderator of NBC News’ “Meet the Press” program, asked Greenwald in the course of an interview why he should not be prosecuted, along with Snowden, under US espionage laws. The Guardian has also published articles about blanket electronic surveillance carried out by Britain’s General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

US officials cite deadly drone strike in Yemen to defend NSA spying operations

Thomas Gaist

Checkpoint: A policeman searches a car at a post close to the
U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen
(Associated Press)

US drones launched missiles at vehicles carrying four men, alleged to be members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen’s Marib province early Tuesday. The attack was the latest development in the global terror alert announced by the Obama administration last Friday. On Monday, the administration indicated that the alleged terror plot was centered in Yemen.

Also on Tuesday, the administration ordered US government personnel to leave Yemen and urged all Americans in the country to follow suit. Britain also ordered its official personnel out of the country.

These developments mark an escalation of the global terror alert that was announced Friday and expanded Sunday with the extension for a week of the closure of US diplomatic facilities in North Africa and the Middle East. The US has closed diplomatic posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Algiers, Basrah, Baghdad, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Dhaka, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kabul, Kuwait City, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli and nine other cities. The US State Department’s global travel alert remains in force until the end of August.

The Marib strike is the latest of at least four drone strikes launched by the US against Yemen since July 28. The US is known to have bombarded targets in Yemen with twelve missile strikes so far this year, following a total of forty strikes in 2012. At least 24 children under the age of 18 have been killed by US strikes against Yemen.

CBS News reported Tuesday evening that a Naval reconnaissance plane was hovering over Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, for much of the day, suggesting that Washington is planning to intensify its attacks on the country.

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