It’s late – apologies – still trying to deal with the fact that I’m actively being scammed.
If you want grandmas and children thrown around by cops, the further advancement of the AI biometric surveillance state, the latest US death toll in Afghanistan, and more, you’ve come to the right place. For the first episode on Activist Post, I have a good one for y’all today. If you’re new here, I’m an angry anarchist, and this show is my way of possibly making you both. Get your kit – we’re hunting demons.
This season’s featured song is A Story That Shouldn’t Be Told by Zachary Larmer. Thanks to him for being the Season 2 song. If you have something similar you want to be the Season 3 song, LMK.
In the first piece of good news, Massachusetts has decided that local police can’t ping your phone to track its location, without a warrant. From EFF:
“There’s heartening news for our location privacy out of Massachusetts this week. The Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, ruled that police access to real-time cell phone location data—whether it comes from a phone company or from technology like a cell site simulator—intrudes on a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Absent exigent circumstances, the court held, the police must get a warrant.”
So while the Fourth Amendment is being more protected, the First got a victory, too, when a federal judge struck down a Texas anti-BDS law. From CommonDreams:
“In a decision hailed as a “landmark” victory for the First Amendment, a federal judge on Thursday struck down a Texas law requiring government contractors to sign a pledge vowing not to participate in the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.”
Also, TI and Scrapp Deleon worked with Lithonia Georgia’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to bail out 23 nonviolent offenders from jail, and give them the tools necessary to avoid recidivism. From HuffPo:
“Each of the recipients has been paired with a mentor for weekly check-ins, and the church has set aside money to open college funds for the recipients’ children….
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church started raising funds for the bail program at the start of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and reflection that leads up to Easter, the day that Christians believe Jesus Christ was resurrected. The church’s initial goal was to raise $40,000. It ended up raising about $120,000.”
Releasing scholarship funds for all of the children of released inmates, breaks the cycle of crime often called the “school to prison pipeline”.
And in a similar victory, as reported in a piece by Waking Times, entitled “MORE THAN 50,000 MARIJUANA CONVICTIONS IN LOS ANGELES WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY WIPED CLEAN”, it highlights the results of a new proposition passed which would expunge low-level felonies from someone’s record. LA and San Joaquin County are the latest to implement it. From WT:
“The latest and largest metroplex to take on this issue is Los Angeles, where officials from two counties are putting plans in place to reverse over 54,000 prior convictions. Code for America, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the government to use technology in the service of the citizenry, will be employing an algorithm to quickly identify qualified beneficiaries and automatically remove their convictions.”
So a lot of good is happening, but to be clear, a lot of bad is as well. Let’s hit it.
We’ll start off light – the EFF had a long running lawsuit against the NSA dismissed by a judge, who cited threats to security from secrecy breaches. From EFF:
“EFF’s case challenging NSA spying, Jewel v. NSA, has come further than any case trying to end the government’s mass surveillance programs. Our clients have survived multiple efforts by the government to end the case, and they continue to push for their day in court. As a result, we’re no stranger to overcoming legal obstacles thrown our way.
The latest obstacle came Thursday, when the court hearing our long-running case challenging NSA spying ruled that the lawsuit should be dismissed on account of the government’s argument that to proceed further would jeopardize national security. Although we are disappointed that the case was dismissed on the basis of the government’s state secrecy arguments, we are not surprised.
The Justice Department insists that our legal fight against this spying is bound by a Catch-22: no one can sue unless the court first determines that they were certainly touched by the vast surveillance mechanisms of the NSA. But, the government argued successfully, the court cannot decide whether any particular person’s email, web searches, social media or phone calls were touched by the surveillance unless the government admits it. Which, of course, it will not do.”
So while the NSA guaranteeable spies on people, and while it’s almost certain the NSA spied on their client, they can’t sue the NSA unless they can prove it happened, and that would involve accessing records only accessible if they’re being sued. All of this happens while airports become training grounds for facial recognition AI. From ZeroHedge:
“The Department of Homeland Security says that facial recognition technology will be used on 97% of passengers departing the US by 2023… Already deployed in seventeen international airports, including Atlanta, New York City, Boston, San Jose, Chicago, and two airports in Houston, DHS systems will photograph and scan passengers at their departure gate, cross-referencing their face against a library of face images from visa and passport applications, as well as those taken by border agents when foreigners enter the country.”
MacKenzie Fegan noted use of this as a boarding method, saying:
“I just boarded an international @JetBlue flight. Instead of scanning my boarding pass or handing over my passport, I looked into a camera before being allowed down the jet bridge. Did facial recognition replace boarding passes, unbeknownst to me? Did I consent to this?”
I just boarded an international @JetBlue flight. Instead of scanning my boarding pass or handing over my passport, I looked into a camera before being allowed down the jet bridge. Did facial recognition replace boarding passes, unbeknownst to me? Did I consent to this?
— MacKenzie Fegan (@mackenzief) April 17, 2019
JetBlue responded to her, with a standard “we’re sorry you feel that way”, telling her she can opt out, even though they didn’t tell her that before it happened, but in an exchange which followed, they said they matched faces against a US Border Patrol and Customs database, and an AI scans it and opens the gate. No info on how they got her picture. So do you want to fly? Be prepared for a future, not only of tracking, but of your face following you after airports, to do so. Add to that, from ActivistPost, The GAO has confirmed inaccuracy and privacy violations in the FBI’s use of facial recognition data.
“Until FBI officials can assure themselves that the data they receive from external partners are reasonably accurate and reliable, it is unclear whether such agreements are beneficial to the FBI, whether the investment of public resources is justified, and whether photos of innocent people are unnecessarily included as investigative leads,” auditors wrote.”
But yeah, let’s put this shit everywhere, and make sure it’s in all public places, and required for transactions. Not gonna end poorly at all. Except like in this other article linked here, facial recognition software led to someone’s arrest for stealing from an Apple store, when he didn’t do it.
He’s suing now. And while we’re talking about this kind of technocracy, the government-to-Facebook pipeline is wider than ever, their most recent hire being an author of the Patriot Act. From CommonDreams:
“Social media giant Facebook made a major hire Monday, bringing on lawyer Jennifer Newstead as the company’s general counsel—a move that generated criticism due to Newstead’s work two decades ago drafting the Patriot Act.
The company announced the hire by citing Newstead’s extensive work in government. Most recently, Newstead acted as the legal adviser for the State Department.
During her time in the Bush administration, Newstead was known for being the “day to day manager of the Patriot Act in Congress,” according to torture memo author John Yoo.
“Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement.
Newstead referred to Facebook’s role in the public discourse in a statement released by the company.
“Facebook’s products play an important role in societies around the world,” said Newstead. “I am looking forward to working with the team and outside experts and regulators on a range of legal issues as we seek to uphold our responsibilities and shared values.””
Meanwhile, Facebook is being used by law enforcement to create fake accounts, in violation of policy. From The Mind Unleashed…
“Local, state, and federal law enforcement are refusing to comply with Facebook’s policy against law enforcement creating fake social media accounts.
A new report by The Guardian details how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has violated Facebook policy by creating fake social media accounts connected to a fake university created to identify illegal immigrants. ICE agents created profiles of individuals alleged to have attended the fictional University of Farmington as part of their attempt to ensnare students in an immigration scam. More than 600 students, most of whom were Indian citizens, were indicted in the federal government’s operation….
[A] Facebook representative told The Guardian that law enforcement are subject to the same policies that require users to use their real name on Facebook. “Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts,” the representative said.”
But that immigration scam is a good segue into today’s international news. Let’s start with a pioneer of seasteading potentially facing the Thai death penalty for building his home in waters they claim to own. From CNN:
“An American bitcoin trader and his girlfriend could face the death penalty after they were accused of threatening Thailand’s sovereignty by building and living in a “sea home” off the coast of Phuket.
Chad Elwartowski and his partner Nadia Supranee Thepdet have fled their home, built atop a platform around 12 miles off the coast of Phuket, and gone into hiding after authorities revoked the American’s visa.
He had promoted “seasteads” on social media and claimed his home did not fall under the sovereignty of any country, which Thai authorities have said is untrue. He repeated the claim on Thursday, writing the home is “outside of Thailand territorial waters.”
The couple could face life imprisonment or the death penalty under the country’s Immigration Act, but authorities told CNN they are unaware if the pair are still in the country or its waters.”
I mean… can’t say I didn’t see that coming, but it’s still terrible for them. I hope they can find a country which won’t extradite them to Thailand. Hat Tip to Monica Perez and SkepticalDeist for the heads up.
— ChronicTheAgoristHedgehog (@skepticaldeist) April 22, 2019
And while that happens, the US has threatened to veto a UN resolution barring using rape as a weapon of war, because the Trump administration is opposed to language they feel is condoning of abortion and trans people. From The Mind Unleashed:
“U.S. officials are reportedly threatening to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution seeking to end the use of rape as a weapon of war over its language on reproductive health.
According to the Guardian—which first reported on U.S. opposition to the measure late Monday—Trump officials are objecting to the resolution’s “language on victims’ support from family planning clinics.”
“In recent months, the Trump administration has taken a hard line, refusing to agree to any U.N. documents that refer to sexual or reproductive health, on grounds that such language implies support for abortions,” the Guardian reported. “It has also opposed the use of the word ‘gender,’ seeing it as a cover for liberal promotion of transgender rights.””
So great – rape people as part of war because of transpeople and abortion! How noble. Meanwhile, numbers released Thursday have confirmed that in the first three months of 2019, the US and allies has killed more civilians than Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan. From TFTP:
“In the first quarter of 2019, pro-government forces were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians, while insurgents killed 227.
The leading causes of civilian deaths were air strikes (145 fatalities) and ground search operations primarily carried out by US-backed Afghan forces (72).
Women and children comprised half of civilian casualties from aerial operations, with international forces responsible for the vast majority of these.
Overall, 581 civilians were killed and 1,192 wounded, representing a 23 percent decrease in overall casualties on the same quarter last year.
The numbers are apparently so disturbing that UN officials are now calling for an investigation into the killings.”
And meanwhile, the CIA, whose Operation Cyclone would form the basis for much radicalism today, has former director Mike Pompeo on record saying “I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s — it was like — we had entire training courses.”
"I was the CIA Director; we lied, we cheated we stole. We had entire training courses."
— Jonathan Lalonde (@JonathanLalon12) April 19, 2019
And all this happens while we’re now 72 trillion dollars in total American debt, 22 of it to other countries.
Something to think about while I cover the stuff much more local to this place… let’s start the “fuck the police” segment of the show!
While people are admitting to evil, let’s talk about a top Chicago cop admitting cops look the other way when fellow cops commit crime. Quote:
“Do I think there might be officers that look the other way? Yeah, I do. … There are a lot of reasons why cops might not report misconduct. If they see their partner engage in misconduct, they may look the other way.”
So keep that in mind while I read these other stories… starting with a kid who did zero wrong, and when cops threatened to arrest him, ran. They threw the nine year old to the ground, who then soiled himself, and booked him, only to later release him. One has to wonder if the only reason they did was that his mom used to be a cop.
And the kid has every reason to be afraid. Cops are now being given DHS grants for drones to expand the surveillance state even more…
… and being allowed to drive mobile blood testing vans around to force blood draws for substances anytime, anywhere…
… which makes these next stories even worse. Worse like a diabetic mom who went into shock and got into a car crash being hurt by police because they mistook her condition for being drug abuse.
Or like a four foot eleven inch grandma who refused a warrantless search being thrown outside and then thrown at a concrete wall while they illegally searched her place and denied her medical care, causing a hernia which put her in surgery and out of work for three months. The officers have faced no punishment.
And then the samne police department who bashed that kid’s face into pavement last week had another cop attacking a man handcuffed to a bed as part of a “wellness check”.
And in other news, a man is now suing Phoenix AZ police after they fired six bullets into his car, and unleashed a dog to shred him for a minute after they caught up, because he started to drive away when they pulled a gun on him for zero reason. The victim is the only one serving time, and the officer is back on duty.
And finally, more cops mistook an innocent New Haven CT couple for armed robbers, blocked their car, and tried to execute them. From TFTP:
“Stephanie Washington, 22, was hospitalized last week after two trigger-happy cops opened fire on her and her boyfriend Paul Witherspoon, 21. According to police, Officer Devin Eaton and Yale police Officer Terrance Pollack were responding to reports of a robbery at a nearby gas station when they stopped the vehicle in which Washington was a passenger.
In only seconds, both officers jumped out of the vehicles and began shooting at this innocent couple. After they shot Washington, they realized the couple was unarmed and hadn’t done anything wrong.
Witherspoon’s uncle told reporters that there was an argument at the gas station, but no attempted robbery. His comments were backed up by the fact that no charges were filed against either of the vehicle’s occupants.”
So there you have it… they can scan you with inefficient tools, getting better by the day, for a government which lies, cheats, and steals, and looks the other way when officials commit crimes, all so they can crank up the debt with massive for-profit schemes like a “war on terror” where they are the biggest terror threat. Just another day in the Hellscape.
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