Archive for the ‘criminals’ tag
Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt Market
There are those today who would claim that the lifeblood of a nation is dependent upon the graces of its government. That government is the focal point of cultural growth, and that we as citizens should respect it as such. I would be more inclined to agree if the public did not so easily confuse the ideals of leadership with the actions of criminals. That is to say, regardless of what we wish our government to be, bureaucracies rarely, if ever, embody the spirit of the common man (a necessity for any system that purports to defend the citizenry). Instead, bureaucracies almost inevitably deteriorate into vehicles for the perpetuation of tyranny driven by the very worst of all stewards; elitist minorities with delusions of godhood.
Unfortunately, despite this fact, the masses often treat these industrious vermin and the plagues of society that they build with the same reverence as they would a sincere and honorable body politic.
Government is not nor has it ever been a foregone conclusion. Government is not concrete. It is not tangible. It is not the foundation of society. Instead, government is an abstraction; a fantastic dream of collectivist paternity in the face of individual hardship. Those who fear to wander the world on their own courage, strength, and merit, seek to elevate and empower “decision makers” to provide the comfort of limited liability. Through this process, governments are created out of thin air. All governmental authority is, thus, HANDED to those in positions of leadership. What makes one man a “king” and another man a “peasant”? Only the people of a country, and where they choose to place their personal control; in their own hands, or the hands of others.
To put it simply, there is no power over us but that which we give away, and no freedom lost, that cannot be regained.
Until this reality is understood, consecutive generations of human beings will be left to wonder astonished at the endless atrocities of governments they thought they could trust. The truth is, no government, no matter how seemingly noble, deserves our full faith. All governments must be treated like storehouses of aging dynamite; with extreme vigilance, care, and suspicion, because, it is in the very nature of centralized power to sink towards destabilization and disaster.
The American dynamic was meant to be different. For the first time in history, a group of people organized an administrative body which was predicated upon the will of the general populace and not the will of the incorporated elite. The Constitution was the first legal document designed to LIMIT the power of government, not endlessly exonerate it. Though many in our modern age have become completely ignorant of its original intent, the Constitution and its written protections allowed for the first decentralized government of the Western world, if not the entire world. A government which was specifically tasked with shielding the rights of the individual beyond the desires of the mindless “majority”, or the normally influential aristocracy.
Obviously, we have strayed far and away beyond the schematics set forth by the founding fathers.
Let us finally be honest with ourselves and say it out loud; our government is not Constitutional! It has become a mutation. A monstrosity. A malformed creature given birth by the oozing genetic material of mad social scientists hell bent on dominating the building blocks of our political life. It is a thing to be abhorred, not admired, and certainly not to be trusted.
The statement above may be confusing to those who have relegated their concerns to the immediate. If one is free to walk about the streets, keep a job, have a drink, and settle in front of his television for hours on end, then what is there to be worried about? If he is not directly affected by the ill notions of men in far off banks and capitols, then why care at all? If the pain of government criminality only strikes people from “other” cultures, or other walks of life, why be concerned? For those who actually suffer from this brand of idiocy, I can only relate the unwarranted role that our government has assumed within our society and hope that they begin to realize how extraordinarily unsafe they really are. The injustices visited upon the few are invariably visited upon the many in time, especially where a rogue government resides.
The kind of intrusion by government allowed by the American people today is utterly astounding. Bank records, medical records, political viewpoints, phone conversations, emails, child rearing practices, food eating habits, health pursuits, social networking habits, biometric data, travel; nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government anymore.
At what point did we as a nation decide that the government’s opinion of the domestic ideal should become the precedent? At what point did we decide that a faceless bureaucracy knows better than we do what is best for us? When did our lives become an open book to be read at the government’s leisure?
I say “we decided”, because we must bear a large part of the blame. From the institution of the Patriot Acts, to the utilization of the FISA domestic spying bill, to the latest monitoring and cataloging by the DHS and the Federal Reserve of private internet activity, we have stood by and done little to nothing in response.
The argument put forth by establishment proponents has always been that the government’s task is to keep us safe. In order to do this, they say, there can be nowhere for “evil doers” to hide. Therefore, the privacy of every individual must be sacrificed for the greater good of the greater number. This argument is unabashed nonsense.
Governments do not keep people safe. Governments are historically predisposed to ending far more lives than they protect, especially when they have strayed from their original mandates. When a government goes rogue, or has been honed as a tool for control rather than defense, its directives lean towards self preservation, not the preservation of the public. That is to say, the government and those who directly benefit from its manipulation set policies that ensure their own safety, and no one else’s.
Without a doubt, all the anti-4th Amendment legislation that has been passed over the course of last decade is focused not on some sinister force, foreign or domestic. Instead, it has been focused on average American citizens, because, whether we want to admit it or not, the government sees US as their greatest enemy.
There was a time when even I would have considered this view as a bit “extreme”. However, I would now have to point out the introduction of bills and executive orders like the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, which essentially erases Posse Comitatus and allows for Martial Law to be instituted with extreme prejudice under executive authority:
As well as the attempted passage of the Enemy Belligerents Act, which would allow for the capture, torture, and indefinite incarceration of American citizens as “enemy combatants:
Not to mention the National Emergency Centers Act which allows for the detention of civilians in military and FEMA run facilities:
Or the Obama Administration’s continuance of Bush doctrine which allows for the assassination of U.S. citizens designated as “enemy combatants”:
And most recently, the National Defense Authorization Act, a defense spending action which is being used to coattail legislation which decimates all Constitutional checks and balances and leaves the door open for the government to declare any region they wish a “combat zone”. These provisions are just a rewritten combination of the Enemy Belligerents Act (both bills were fostered by the hand of John McCain) and the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, giving government free reign to designate any person, even an American citizen, as an enemy combatant. This means that anyone, including you, could one day be detained without Habeas Corpus, without fair trial, without due process, without legal representation, forever. Period.
You think rendition only occurs in Middle Eastern hellholes? Think again. With these bills and others like them, the American public is now fair game.
Rationalizations for the above actions abound. Some of the most common naïve positions include the following:
1) Assassinations Against Al Qaeda Agents, Even If They Are American Citizens, Is Justifiable
The nature of the target is irrelevant to the principle underlying the situation. I don’t care if Anwar al-Awlaki was an agent of Hades, the conscience of a country must take precedence over the short term threats that country faces. If a society is unable to maintain its conscience and its principles in the face of hardship, then perhaps that society is not worthy of survival. There are, indeed, many more important things than national security.
This is how all tyranny begins; with a small group or element of a culture singled out for the loss of human rights, while the rest of the people look on and cheer. Eventually, the exception to the rule becomes the rule, and everyone suffers. Under no circumstances should our government be allowed to rewrite Constitutional protections or our moral compass, even if it means giving so called “terrorists” fair treatment under the law. Never forget, the term “terrorist” is as arbitrary as any nowadays, and could be used against you as easily as it could be used against anyone else.
2) The Domestic Realm Is A Haven For “Homegrown Terrorists”
Again, “homegrown terrorism” is a highly arbitrary label. If one looks at statements and white papers coming from the Department Of Homeland Security, or the Department Of Justice, anyone from Constitutionalists, to Ron Paul supporters, to militia members, to barter networkers and sound money proponents, or anyone who even expresses an interest in any of these subjects, is considered a potential domestic terrorist threat.
Where is this headed? Think about it. If these types of people are already being categorized as extremists, what’s to stop the government form categorizing them as enemy combatants?
3) Rendition And Torture Could Save Lives
Okay. Let’s say for the sake of argument that rendition and torture actually could save some lives, though I have never heard of any of these Jack Bauer moments taking place in the real world. Let’s say my life and those I love could be spared. Frankly, I would rather die than be a party to behavior as reprehensible as kidnapping and torture. I couldn’t care less about the theoretical benefits of the activity. As stated earlier, a nation hanging by the poisonous framework of moral relativism is doomed to failure and decay. Despite the propaganda often spread by elitist elements without our government, our military, and our local law enforcement, you DO NOT need to become the monster in order to defeat the monster. This lie should not be allowed to stand…
4) You Are “Overreacting” To The Legislation, And Americans Will Not Be Targeted
Senator Lindsay Graham, a backer of the National Defense Authorization Act, specifically outlined the bill’s jurisdiction over American citizens and even admitted it makes the U.S. itself a “combat zone” under the international laws of war (while at the same time presenting the lie that Federal due process would somehow be enforced for those who are captured). We who oppose the bill could do a lot more without being rightfully accused of “overreaction”. If Americans are not to be targeted, then why create the bill in the first place? Traditional laws of war would be more than sufficient to handle foreign threats, and domestic response agencies like the FBI could easily continue doing whatever it is they supposedly do to safeguard our country. The ONLY reason to introduce a bill which frees the U.S. Government and the DHS to act militarily within the borders of our own nation would be to target U.S. citizens, and to undermine normal Constitutional processes.
The legislation is self-incriminating. Only a complete dullard would argue otherwise.
5) The Government Is A Body Elected By The People, Therefore They Are One And The Same
The only practical explanation I can think of for someone to actually believe this argument is overmedication. Despite what we’re all taught in middle school, our government as it exists today and has for many decades does not represent the will of the people. Two dominant political parties with cosmetic differences in rhetoric but nearly identical legislative platforms and voting records is not an expression of a legitimately free republic. The system revolves around corporate ideologies of globalization, not elections. Its beneficiaries are a limited and powerful fringe of society, not the masses. It is a rigged game. A fake battle between two gladiators owned by the same Caesar. To say that the people and the government are one-in-the-same is a gross error in judgment.
After researching and acknowledging the course our government has taken, the question then arises; what is the ultimate end result? Barring multiple miracles of a complete economic turnaround, full third party inclusion in our political structure, the deconstruction of the Federal Reserve, the decentralization of financial influence, the reintroduction of Constitutional insulation degraded since 2001, and the complete pullback of troops involved in ongoing wars in the Middle East, there can be only one outcome: total conflict.
We did not create this division. The American people did not ask to be targeted. Though we certainly have not done enough to fend off the numerous attacks upon our general liberties, the root of the problem still lay within the core of our government, the puppet leaders who abuse it, and the corporate elitists who use it as a staging ground for personal agendas. We have become two separate groups that cannot and will not be reconciled. The government is openly admitting this through legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act. Its time we did the same.
When two forces diametrically opposed exist upon the same ground at the same time with the same force of will, war erupts. A war of philosophies, a war of dissent, and sometimes, a war of weapons. As unsettling as that might sound, we must take solace in the fact that we at least fight for what is honest. If every American must conform to the twisted path our government has chosen, or be branded an ‘enemy combatant”, then may we all become domestic threats in our own backyard.
After four years of reporting on the various immoral, unethical and in many cases criminal acts perpetrated by people in our financial system and Congress, we now have our evidence at the bar.
This man was gassed for waving a flag. He was not alone.
Last night “OccupyOakland” was literally laid siege by the police. Firing rubber bullets and tear gas into a peaceful gathering, they committed hundreds of cases of felonious assault upon peaceful individuals. I’ll lay odds that not one of the felons-in-blue will be indicted, prosecuted and imprisoned for their crimes.
I remind everyone that our Constitution guarantees you the right of free speech including the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
This does not, of course, include the right to riot, destroy property and commit assaults and batteries.
Well, unless you’re the cops. Then it appears that you have the right to do all of those things, irrespective of the fact that the people were exercising their lawful First Amendment rights – and nothing more.
The police didn’t stop with tear gas. They also detonated explosives within the crowd – an act that, taken by an ordinary person, would constitute the use of a bomb and be considered terrorism.
Yeah, I know, they call them “flash-bangs”; intended to stun and surprise. Let’s call them what they are: They’re explosives, otherwise known as a bomb, and legally known to the BATFE as a “Destructive Device” as they contain more than the lawful limit of powder for a common firecracker. They can (and do) cause personal injury when fired into a crowd. That injury is reasonably foreseeable when the device is delivered. This makes the act an intentional deployment of a destructive device with the intent to harm a person – a serious felony.
Of course such felonies are not prosecuted when the police commit them. Just like the apparent felony murder committed in Chicago by a Gang-Banger in Blue who fatally shot an unarmed man in the back after he had already been shot four other times and was lying prone on the grass.
This man, it appears, was executed in a scene reminiscent of the various murderous thugdoms that have been all-to-common throughout history. Now we have summary justice-by-gang here, and the gang is wearing blue uniforms and badges!
Police have a tough job, but that’s not an excuse for felonious behavior. The job of the police is to Protect and Serve. Lately, it appears they serve themselves, including smuggling guns, slot machines and stolen cigarettes, shooting anyone who might happen to be a nuisance to their “right” to tromp on the people’s necks whenever they so choose.
I’ve long asked the following question: What happens when the people determine that law enforcement agencies – or the government in general – are felons?
This is no longer a rhetorical question, and the answer should give all law-abiding citizens pause.
I don’t care if you hail from the left or right, or what your particular view of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is. The fact of the matter is that we no longer have the foundational principle of this nation underlying our nation: The Rule of Law.
That’s the difference between a Constitutional Republic and tyranny.
In a Constitutional Republic you do not have the rule of 100 jackbooted thugs wearing badges, discharging firearms (albeit – thus far – with rubber bullets) at people, tossing bombs into their midst and gassing them. You also don’t have jackbooted thugs in blue shooting unarmed people in the back. Any rogue individual who attempts such a stunt goes straight to prison to rot along with the common mugger or murderer, because he or she is one and should an entire agency show up to commit these acts the immediate response is that the National Guard rises and arrests the entire agency, tossing all of them into the clink where they belong.
Today, however, this sort of abusive crap is exactly what we have in this nation and The Guard, who has sworn an oath to protect this land against all enemies, foreign and domestic, is nowhere to be found.
Those in California (along with those in both New York and Chicago) are discovering the hazards of their failure to demand that entire Constitution be strictly enforced in favor of the rights of the people.
Now you see the consequences of that failure America. You thought you were trading “a bit” of freedom for alleged security. What you were really doing is ceding your rights to a band of gang-banging felons-in-blue who have now demonstrated their clear intent to gas, bomb and even murder you.
Have you discerned the error of your ways yet?
We shall see.
IT security firm Mcafee’s recent protection report In the Dark: Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks [PDF] highlights the ever growing threat of digital attacks on the nation’s core infrastructure systems.
At one time, proprietary and locally controlled computers were responsible for monitoring and maintaining everything from electricity distribution to water treatment. But, as companies look to reduce costs and simplify command and control operations, critical infrastructure systems are being connected directly to the internet, making it much easier and much more likely that they could be attacked by foreign governments, hackers, or criminals.
This year, in a sequel report, we focused on the critical civilian infrastructure that depends most heavily on industrial control systems. As with the first report, we used survey data, research, and interviews to obtain a detailed picture of cyber risks in these sectors. The sectors on which this report focuses — power, oil, gas, and water — may well be the first targets for a serious cyberattack.
What we found is that they are not ready. The professionals charged with protecting these systems report that the threat has accelerated — but the response has not. Cyberexploits and attacks are already widespread. Whether it is cybercriminals engaged in theft or extortion, or foreign governments preparing sophisticated exploits like Stuxnet, cyberattackers have targeted critical infrastructure.
We found accelerating threats and vulnerabilities. For the second year in a row, IT executives in the critical infrastructure sector told us that they perceive a real and growing cyberthreat. Denialof- service attacks on energy networks increased. Extortion attempts were also more frequent in the CIP sectors. And hostile government infiltration of their networks achieved staggering levels of success.
Despite these vulnerabilities, many power companies are doubling down on the danger; they are implementing “smart grid” technologies that give their IT systems more control over the delivery of power to individual customers — or even to individual appliances in customers’ homes. Without better security, this increased control can fall into the hands of criminals or “hacktivists,” giving them the ability to modify billing information and perhaps even control which customers or appliances get electricity. But security is not a priority for smart grid designers; according to Woolsey, who two years ago chaired a group that published a report for the Department of Defense on grid vulnerabilities. Ninety to ninety-five percent of the people working on the smart grid are not concerned about security and only see it as a last box they have to check.
One of the more startling results of our research is the discovery of the constant probing and assault faced by these crucial utility networks. Some electric companies report thousands of probes every month. Our survey data lend support to anecdotal reporting that militaries in several countries have done reconnaissance and planning for cyberattacks on other nations’ power grids, mapping the underlying network infrastructure and locating vulnerabilities for future attack.
More than 40 percent of the executives we interviewed expect a major cyberattack within 12 months — an attack, that is, that causes severe loss of services for at least 24 hours, a loss of life or personal injury, or the failure of a company.
Up until a couple years ago, the threat of total infrastructure failure existed only in the sphere of science fiction. Recently, however, the vulnerabilities of the physical hardware on power grids, water utility grids and other important infrastructure elements were made perfectly clear with the spread of the Stuxnet virus, which wrecked havoc on Iranian nuclear facilities. The virus, often referred to as malware, literally destroyed the physical centrifuges responsible for the enrichment of uranium by forcing them to spin out of control. All the while monitoring stations reported perfectly normal conditions.
The scary thing? Stuxnet isn’t isolated to just Iranian nuclear facilities:
Our data indicates that the Stuxnet virus did indeed have a global reach. Around 40 percent of respondents found Stuxnet on their computer systems. Stuxnet was more likely to appear in the electricity sector, where 46 percent of respondents found the malware.
Stuxnet was an extraordinary advance in sophistication over the kinds of malware used by the criminal underground. The Belarusian security firm that initially identified Stuxnet at first believed it to be a backdoor for hackers. But closer inspection revealed the complex nature of the virus. It features multiple exploits that were previously unknown, has Microsoft Windows driver modules that had been signed using genuine cryptographic certificates stolen from respectable companies, contains about 4,000 functions, and uses advanced anti-analysis techniques to render reverse engineering difficult. It is almost certainly the work of a government, not a criminal gang.
In fact, Stuxnet was the work of a government – reportedly two of them. It is believed that intelligence agencies within the United States and Israel are responsible for its conception.
What this shows is that advanced computer scripts and malware target not just personal computers, but highly advanced, purportedly secure critical systems. Those who would attack the nation’s infrastructure could bring these systems down for not just 24 hours using traditional denial-of-service attacks, but potentially weeks and months by executing programs that directly attack the grid’s hardware .
Imagine, for a moment, what such an attack on our water utility plants might look like. While water safety conditions monitored by engineers on remote computer systems attached to the internet might look perfectly normal on the surface, a malicious virus may be at work behind the scenes, controlling the delivery (or lack thereof) of water treatment chemicals into an entire city or region’s water supply.
A similar attack could occur on the electrical grid, sending surges to vital transformers across the nation. Because many of our systems are decades’ old, they could be overwhelmed, much like Iran’s Siemens-built centrifuges. In such a scenario, because of the lack of availability of the damaged equipment and the sheer size of such a widespread attack, it could take weeks or months to repair.
There are roughly 150 oil refineries in the United States, and most of them are likely running on similar hardware, from well known industry manufacturers. Is it that much of a stretch to consider the possibility that a coordinated attack on these systems could send pressure and a host of other control mechanisms in our refineries out of control – all the while engineers monitoring the systems notice nothing out of the ordinary? Such an attack, even if partially successful, could cripple the entire country.
As infrastructure is further centralized, our exposure to potentially catastrophic events continues to increase. Not only is much of our nation’s infrastructure hardware outdated, but the security on newly integrated 21st century smart-grids is lax at best.
We’ve seen coordinated attacks on our stock trading systems. We’ve seen that high security nuclear control systems can be compromised. We know that governments, cyber criminal extortion gangs, hackers and shadow intelligence agencies are actively working on viruses, malware and gaming scenarios designed specifically to crush utility infrastructures on a national scale.
The threat is real. It is present. If such an attack were ever executed there will be nothing emergency responders could do, especially in the case of a widespread, coordinated onslaught of the grid.