Some articles and information for further study
<> FBI Agent Provocateurs and Fusion Centers:
Boys Gone Wild By Delinda C. Hanley
<> FBI and American Muslims at odds : An informant at a California mosque has hampered efforts to find home-grown terrorists.
<> ‘Injustice’ decried in conviction of Muslims
<> In Raleigh, Muslims view FBI with fear, mistrust
<> CAIR Questions Legality of FBI’s ‘Cruel Trick’ on Suspect’s Family
<> U.S. Muslim Coalition Considers Suspending Relations with FBI
<> Some influential Muslim groups question FBI’s actions
<> Wife of N.C. terrorism suspect describes elaborate police ruse
<> Frustration Toward FBI Boils Over for American Muslim Groups
<> Attorney FBI trained NJ blogger to incite others
Aug 18 03:51 PM US/Eastern By KATIE NELSON Associated Press Writer
“…Hal Turner worked for the FBI from 2002 to 2007 as an “agent provocateur” and was taught by the agency “what he could say that wouldn’t be crossing the line,” defense attorney Michael Orozco said. “His job was basically to publish information which would cause other parties to act in a manner which would lead to their arrest,” Orozco said….”
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Top of Form
Possibly the most infamous FBI informant of them all,
double agent/ provocateur
AKA Emad Ali Salem
his unabashed role in World Trade Center Bombing # 1 (February 26, 1993)
Some interesting reports, to be further investigated:
FBI informant Emad Ali Salem and World Trade Center Bombing # 1 (February 26, 1993)
• World Trade Center Bombing # 1 (February 26, 1993) – In the first attack on the World Trade Center, it became apparent that the building complex had come to the attention of those who sought to do the USA harm, physically and morally. The FBI coordinated the attack, which murdered 6, and wounded more than 1,000 people. The man who was the alleged ‘ringleader,’ Ramzi Yousef, was trained by the FBI, and had entered the United States on a phony passport, a massive problem unto itself.
Those who had entered the U.S. with these phony passports, had fallen under the watchful eyes of those patriots in the Immigration department, but were later fired, reprimanded, suspended, or fired, all when they were trying to do their job. Both John Carman and Mary Schneider had complained to their supervisors, and all they were met with was complete silence, and a lack of cooperation.
The New York Times published transcripts of FBI informant Emad Ali Salem, who is a former member of the Egyptian Army. These published transcripts proved that not only did the FBI know about the attack in advance — but that the FBI was going to, at the last minute, substitute an inert and useless powder in the truck bomb with live explosive material. Salem was paid one million dollars for his involvement, and was whisked away to ‘witness protection’ immediately after the event had taken place, which is what happens to many of these terrorists.
However, Salem secretly recorded his conversations with the FBI, which could have stopped the blast, but failed to do so. Thus, Salem parked the explosive-filled truck in the wrong place in the WTC parking garage, limiting the damage to six dead and 1,000 injured. But, what was SUPPOSED to happen in 1993, later came to pass on 9/11, when the buildings were brought down via controlled demolition. Interestingly, Controlled Demolition was the name of the very company which was awarded the contract to destroy and cart away the evidence of mass murder and insurance fraud, from what was — in every sense of the word — a crime scene.
“In fact according to the NY Times,
it was the FBI that decided to have the bomb explode.
The Times writes:
“Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.
“The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad Salem, should be used, the informer said.
“The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings that Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as being in a far better position than previously known to foil the February 26th bombing of New York City’s tallest towers.”
“From Los Angeles Times, October 28, 1993.
Paper Says FBI Blocked Plan To Foil N.Y. Blast
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Law enforcement offlcials planned to thwart the bombing of the World Trade Center by substituting harmless powder for explosives, but the scheme was called off by the FBl, a newspaper reported today.
Tape recordings secretly made by an FBI informer reveal that authorities were in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York’s tallest towers, the New York Times reported.
Four men are now on trial for carrying out that bombing, in which six died and more than 1,000 were injured.
The New York Times published conversations the informer, a 43 year-old former Egyptian army officer, Emad Ali Salem, taped with his FBI handlers.
On the tapes, Salem recalls that the FBI had planned on “building the bomb with a phony powder and grabbing the people who were involved in it.”
But the informer. who is heard lecturing his handlers, said the powder scheme was called off and “we didn’t do that.”
Salem also is heard on the tapes criticizing the agents for ignoring his warnings that the World Trade Center was to be bombed.
“Guys, now you saw this bomb went off and you both know that we could avoid that,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.”
Who Bombed the U.S. World Trade Center? — 1993
Growing Evidence Points to Role of FBI Operative
By Ralph Schoenman
“Defense lawyers for the eight accused assert that their clients were entrapped in schemes of which they were unaware and were subjected to proposals by Salem himself. “Salem was wired before, after and during every meeting. It is known that Salem was involved in the initial discussions, provided the safe houses in which bombs were allegedly manufactured, helped purchase the firearms and other materials that were to be used in the attacks.”
and on and on.
Hmm… what is “Blowback”:
Blowback is the espionage term for the violent, unintended consequences of a covert operation that are suffered by the civil population of the aggressor government.
or as Chalmers Johnson says, The Costs and Consequences of American Empire .
Chalmers Ashby Johnson’s trilogy
Book 1: Blowback, The Costs and Consequences of American Empire .
Book 2: The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
Book 3: Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic
Johnson sees that the enforcement of American hegemony over the world constitutes a new form of global empire. Whereas traditional empires maintained control over subject peoples via colonies, since World War II the US has developed a vast system of hundreds of military bases around the world where it has strategic interests. A long-time Cold Warrior he applauded the collapse of the Soviet Union, I was a cold warrior. There’s no doubt about that. I believed the Soviet Union was a genuine menace. I still think so. But at the same time he experienced a political awakening after the USSR 1989 collapse, noting that instead of demobilizing its armed forces, the US accelerated its reliance on military solutions to problems both economic and political. The result of this militarism (as distinct from actual domestic defense) is more terrorism against the US and its allies, the loss of core democratic values at home, and an eventual disaster for the American economy. The books of the trilogy are:
* Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
* The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
* Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.
FBI Informant Emad Salem,
[WTC bombing February 26, 1993; i.e the first one]
pictured bent over in a green shirt, enables the FBI to take surveillance footage like this of the plotters making a bomb. [Source: National Geographic]
Search him on search engines: seek, ask, reflect, repeat, repent, and you may be guided
Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
October 28, 1993
Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.
The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.
The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City’s tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars. Four men are now on trial in Manhattan Federal Court in that attack.
Mr. Salem, a 43-year-old former Egyptian army officer, was used by the Government to penetrate a circle of Muslim extremists now charged in two bombing cases: the World Trade Center attack and a foiled plot to destroy the United Nations, the Hudson River tunnels and other New York City landmarks. He is the crucial witness in the second bombing case, but his work for the Government was erratic, and for months before the trade center blast, he was feuding with the F.B.I. Supervisor ‘Messed It Up’
After the bombing, he resumed his undercover work. In an undated transcript of a conversation from that period, Mr. Salem recounts a talk he had had earlier with an agent about an unnamed F.B.I. supervisor who, he said, “came and messed it up.”
“He requested to meet me in the hotel,” Mr. Salem says of the supervisor. “He requested to make me to testify and if he didn’t push for that, we’ll be going building the bomb with a phony powder and grabbing the people who was involved in it. But since you, we didn’t do that.”
The transcript quotes Mr. Salem as saying that he wanted to complain to F.B.I. headquarters in Washington about the bureau’s failure to stop the bombing, but was dissuaded by an agent identified as John Anticev.
“He said, I don’t think that the New York people would like the things out of the New York office to go to Washington, D.C.,” Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev had told him.
Another agent, identified as Nancy Floyd, does not dispute Mr. Salem’s account, but rather, appears to agree with it, saying of the New York people: “Well, of course not, because they don’t want to get their butts chewed.”
Mary Jo White, who, as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York is prosecuting defendants in two related bombing cases, declined yesterday to comment on the Salem allegations or any other aspect of the cases. An investigator close to the case who refused to be identified further said, “We wish he would have saved the world,” but called Mr. Salem’s claims “figments of his imagination.”
The transcripts, which are stamped “draft” and compiled from 70 tapes recorded secretly during the last two years by Mr. Salem, were turned over to defense lawyers in the second bombing case by the Government on Tuesday under a judge’s order barring lawyers from disseminating them. A large portion of the material was made available to The New York Times.
In a letter to Federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Andrew C. McCarthy, an assistant United States attorney, said that he had learned of the tapes while debriefing Mr. Salem and that the informer had then voluntarily turned them over. Other Salem tapes and transcripts were being withheld pending Government review, of “security and other issues,” Mr. McCarthy said.
William M. Kunstler, a defense lawyer in the case, accused the Government this week of improper delay in handing over all the material. The transcripts he had seen, he said, “were filled with all sorts of Government misconduct.” But citing the judge’s order, he said he could not provide any details.
The transcripts do not make clear the extent to which Federal authorities knew that there was a plan to bomb the World Trade Center, merely that they knew that a bombing of some sort was being discussed. But Mr. Salem’s evident anguish at not being able to thwart the trade center blast is a recurrent theme in the transcripts. In one of the first numbered tapes, Mr. Salem is quoted as telling agent Floyd: “Since the bomb went off I feel terrible. I feel bad. I feel here is people who don’t listen.”
Ms. Floyd seems to commiserate, saying, “hey, I mean it wasn’t like you didn’t try and I didn’t try.”
In an apparent reference to Mr. Salem’s complaints about the supervisor, Agent Floyd adds, “You can’t force people to do the right thing.”
The investigator involved in the case who would not be quoted by name said that Mr. Salem may have been led to believe by the agents that they were blameless for any mistakes. It was a classic agent’s tactic, he said, to “blame the boss for all that’s bad and take credit for all the good things.”
In another point in the transcripts, Mr. Salem recounts a conversation he said he had with Mr. Anticev, saying, “I said, ‘Guys, now you saw this bomb went off and you both know that we could avoid that.’ ” At another point, Mr. Salem says, “You get paid, guys, to prevent problems like this from happening.”
Mr. Salem talks of the plan to substitute harmless powder for explosives during another conversation with agent Floyd. In that conversation, he recalls a previous discussion with Mr. Anticev.
“Do you deny,” Mr. Salem says he told the other agent, “your supervisor is the main reason of bombing the World Trade Center?” Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev did not deny it. “We was handling the case perfectly well until the supervisor came and messed it up, upside down.”
The transcripts reflect an effort to keep Mr. Salem as an intelligence asset who would not have to go public or testify.
A police detective working with the F.B.I., Louis Napoli, assures Mr. Salem in one conversation, “We can give you total immunity towards prosecution, towards, ah, ah, testifying.” But he adds: “I still have to tell you that if you’re the only game in town in regards to the information,” then, he says, “you’ll have to testify.” Studied for Signs of Illegality
The transcripts are being closely studied by lawyers looking for signs that Mr. Salem and the law enforcement officials, in their zeal to gather evidence, may have crossed the legal line into entrapment, a charge that defense counsel have already raised.
But the transcripts show that the officials were concerned that by associating with bombing defendants awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Mr. Salem might have been accused of spying on the defense.
In an undated conversation, Mr. Anticev tries to explain the perils.
“We’re not allowed to have any information regarding that,” he tells Mr. Salem. “That could jeopardize, you know, if you go see a lawyer, ah, you know, with the defendant’s friend or whatever like that, and you’re talking about things we’re not suppose to, ah, condone that. We’re not supposed to make people do that for us. That’s like sacred ground. You can’t be privileged, ah, you can’t know what’s being talked about at all.”
Mr. Salem seems to bridle. “I, I, I don’t think that’s right,” he says.
The agent insists: “Yeah, but that’s just a guideline. If that ever happened, ah, you can back and reported on the meeting between, ah, you know, Kunstler and Mohammad A. Elgabrown. Forget about it. I mean a lot of people ah the case can get thrown out. You understand?” The references were to the defense lawyer, Mr. Kunstler, and his client in the second bomb case, Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny.
Mr. Salem seems to reluctantly agree.
“They want you to have a hand in it,” Mr. Anticev goes on, “but they’re afraid that when you get that kind of, ah, too deep, like me, it’s almost like, especially with all this legal stuff going on right now.”
If it were just intelligence gathering, the agent says, “You can do anything you want. You could go crazy over there and have a good time. Do you know what I mean?”
The agent goes on: “But now that everything is going to court and there is legal stuff and it’s just, it’s just too hard. It’s just too tricky, if, this, you know. And then there’s the fact if you come by with the big information, he did this, ah, let me talk about this with the other people again.”
“O.K.,” Mr. Salem says. “All right. O.K.”
<> And the Granddaddy of them all
—September 11, 2001 — or as it is called 911,
and the growing evidence of “confluence”, and is it the
“new Pearl Harbor” that
“The Project for the New American Century” (PNAC)
from 1997 to 2006 with stated goal “to promote American global leadership,” hoped would occur to help build USA enhanced military and defense capabilities for the new Amertican Century, after the decline of need after the end of the “Cold War” the demise of the “Evil Empire” of International Communism and USSR?????
They said in
for September 11, 2001 (9/11) Truth and Justice Movement to expose the official cover-ups, you may start on these below:
Griffin, David Ray (2005). The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press.
Griffin, David Ray (2004). The New Pearl Harbor. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press.
Ruppert, Michael C. (2004). Crossing the Rubicon. Gabriola Island, BC Canada: New Society Publishers.
Thompson, Paul (2004). The Terror Timeline. New York, NY: Regan Books
Center for Cooperative Research, Complete 9/11 Timeline
Recommended DVD documentaries:
9/11 Press for the Truth (released 9/2006)
The Great Conspiracy: the 9/11 News Special You Never Saw
remember that the fact that they hauled away all of the crime scene is itself evidecen of a cover up,
as it has been said:
1. Demolition explosives leave evidence of their use, just like fingerprints at a crime scene. The “fingerprint” of Thermite (an incendiary explosive which cuts through steel) was conclusively identified in samples from the World Trade Center by Physics Professor Dr. Steven E. Jones. Additional samples from Ground Zero examined by Chemist Kevin Ryan and other scientists also conclusively identified conditions consistent with the use of demolition charges. Documentation of billions of microspheres containing molten metal from the chemical signature of Thermite can be found in the BPAT Report from FEMA; the Report of the United States Geological Survey; and the report of RJ Lee Group (the company hired by the WTC insurance company to conduct an independent private study). Those findings should have led to investigation procedures determined by the National Fire Protection Association:
“NFPA very clearly states melted steel or concrete is a sign of exotic accelerants. Therefore, the
debris should have been thoroughly analyzed for exotic accelerants, specifically Thermite.”
<> many testify that there were explosions and evidence of explosive “fingerprints” abound in the literature, just read
The North Tower is consumed in a vast eruption as would be produced by a choreographed cascade of thousands of small blasts.
<> and on and on and on, gems, nuggets, treasures, and diamonds and pearls,,,,
go on, search it for yourself if you dare,,, think and reflect and put the pieces of the puzzle together,,,
Below: Stinger – used by US supply and support in Afghanistan in 1980’s on
ALSO: Used in FBI “sting” Agent-Provocateur operations
FBI tracks cell phones without warrant
The Snitch in Your Pocket
Law enforcement is tracking Americans’ cell phones in real time—without the benefit of a warrant.
By Michael Isikoff | NEWSWEEK
Published Feb 19, 2010
From the magazine issue dated Mar 1, 2010
Amid all the furor over the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program a few years ago, a mini-revolt was brewing over another type of federal snooping that was getting no public attention at all. Federal prosecutors were seeking what seemed to be unusually sensitive records: internal data from telecommunications companies that showed the locations of their customers’ cell phones—sometimes in real time, sometimes after the fact. The prosecutors said they needed the records to trace the movements of suspected drug traffickers, human smugglers, even corrupt public officials. But many federal magistrates—whose job is to sign off on search warrants and handle other routine court duties—were spooked by the requests. Some in New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas balked. Prosecutors “were using the cell phone as a surreptitious tracking device,” said Stephen W. Smith, a federal magistrate in Houston. “And I started asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office, ‘What is the legal authority for this? What is the legal standard for getting this information?’ ”
Those questions are now at the core of a constitutional clash between President Obama’s Justice Department and civil libertarians alarmed by what they see as the government’s relentless intrusion into the private lives of citizens. There are numerous other fronts in the privacy wars—about the content of e-mails, for instance, and access to bank records and credit-card transactions. The Feds now can quietly get all that information. But cell-phone tracking is among the more unsettling forms of government surveillance, conjuring up Orwellian images of Big Brother secretly following your movements through the small device in your pocket.
How many of the owners of the country’s 277 million cell phones even know that companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint can track their devices in real time? Most “don’t have a clue,” says privacy advocate James X. Dempsey. The tracking is possible because either the phones have tiny GPS units inside or each phone call is routed through towers that can be used to pinpoint a phone’s location to areas as small as a city block. This capability to trace ever more precise cell-phone locations has been spurred by a Federal Communications Commission rule designed to help police and other emergency officers during 911 calls. But the FBI and other law-enforcement outfits have been obtaining more and more records of cell-phone locations—without notifying the targets or getting judicial warrants establishing “probable cause,” according to law-enforcement officials, court records, and telecommunication executives. (The Justice Department draws a distinction between cell-tower data and GPS information, according to a spokeswoman, and will often get warrants for the latter.)
The Justice Department doesn’t keep statistics on requests for cell-phone data, according to the spokeswoman. So it’s hard to gauge just how often these records are retrieved. But Al Gidari, a telecommunications lawyer who represents several wireless providers, tells NEWSWEEK that the companies are now getting “thousands of these requests per month,” and the amount has grown “exponentially” over the past few years. Sprint Nextel has even set up a dedicated Web site so that law-enforcement agents can access the records from their desks—a fact divulged by the company’s “manager of electronic surveillance” at a private Washington security conference last October. “The tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement,” said the Sprint executive, according to a tape made by a privacy activist who sneaked into the event. (A Sprint spokesman acknowledged the company has created the Web “portal” but says that law-enforcement agents must be “authenticated” before they are given passwords to log on, and even then still must provide valid court orders for all nonemergency requests.)
There is little doubt that such records can be a powerful weapon for law enforcement. Jack Killorin, who directs a federal task force in Atlanta combating the drug trade, says cell-phone records have helped his agents crack many cases, such as the brutal slaying of a DeKalb County sheriff: agents got the cell-phone records of key suspects—and then showed that they were all within a one-mile area of the murder at the time it occurred, he said. In the fall of 2008, Killorin says, his agents were able to follow a Mexican drug-cartel truck carrying 2,200 kilograms of cocaine by watching in real time as the driver’s cell phone “shook hands” with each cell-phone tower it passed on the highway. “It’s a tremendous investigative tool,” says Killorin. And not that unusual: “This is pretty workaday stuff for us.”
But there is also plenty of reason to worry. Some abuse has already occurred at the local level, according to telecom lawyer Gidari. One of his clients, he says, was aghast a few years ago when an agitated Alabama sheriff called the company’s employees. After shouting that his daughter had been kidnapped, the sheriff demanded they ping her cell phone every few minutes to identify her location. In fact, there was no kidnapping: the daughter had been out on the town all night. A potentially more sinister request came from some Michigan cops who, purportedly concerned about a possible “riot,” pressed another telecom for information on all the cell phones that were congregating in an area where a labor-union protest was expected. “We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of abuse on this,” says Gidari.
That was precisely what Smith and his fellow magistrates were worried about when they started refusing requests for cell-phone tracking data. (Smith balked only at requests for real-time information, while other magistrates have also objected to requests for historical data on cell-phone locations.) The grounds for such requests, says Smith, were often flimsy: almost all were being submitted as “2703(d)” orders—a reference to an obscure provision of a 1986 law called the Stored Communications Act, in which prosecutors only need to assert that records are “relevant” to an ongoing criminal investigation. That’s the lowest possible standard in federal criminal law, and one that, as a practical matter, magistrates can’t really verify. But when Smith started turning down government requests, prosecutors went around him (or “judge shopping,” in the jargon of lawyers), finding other magistrates in Texas who signed off with no questions asked, he told NEWSWEEK. Still, his stand—and that of another magistrate on Long Island—started getting noticed in the legal community. Facing a request for historical cell-phone tracking records in a drug-smuggling case, U.S. magistrate Lisa Pupo Lenihan in Pittsburgh wrote a 56-page opinion two years ago that turned prosecutors down, noting that the data they were seeking could easily be misused to collect information about sexual liaisons and other matters of an “extremely personal” nature. In an unusual show of solidarity—and to prevent judge shopping—Lenihan’s opinion was signed by every other magistrate in western Pennsylvania.
The issue came to a head this month in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia. A Justice Department lawyer, Mark Eckenwiler, asked a panel of appeals-court judges to overturn Lenihan’s ruling, arguing that the Feds were only asking for what amounted to “routine business records.” But he faced stiff questioning from one of the judges, Dolores Sloviter, who noted that there are some governments, like Iran’s, that would like to use such records to identify political protesters. “Now, can the government assure us,” she pressed Eckenwiler, that Justice would never use the provisions in the communications law to collect cell-phone data for such a purpose in the United States? Eckenwiler tried to deflect the question, saying he couldn’t speak to “future hypotheticals,” but finally acknowledged, “Yes, your honor. It can be used constitutionally for that purpose.” For those concerned about what the government might do with the data in your pocket, that was not a comforting answer.
The FBI Could Be Watching You on Facebook
By Daniela Perdomo, AlterNet
Posted on March 18, 2010, Printed on March 18, 2010
At the dawn of the Internet, people used coded user names and cartoon avatars to represent themselves online. Today, most users post their real names and literally upload all their personal data and make it publicly available — photos, videos, notes, even random thoughts now called “status updates.”
No doubt about it, Internet 2.0 is a freer, more open place — a place where people feel quite at ease as they share their lives on the Web with their entire social networks: best friends, family, people they hardly know, and even folks they’ve never even met.
Social-networking sites have driven this seemingly insatiable need to share, share, and share some more. But because it’s all done online and not “in real life” (or IRL, in Web-speak), there remains a sense of anonymity even as we interact on the Internet, a very public place open to anyone with a computer.
But as social-networking grows (Facebook overtook Google in U.S. traffic for the first time ever last week) so do the ways law enforcement agencies use the information we voluntarily share with the online world.
Hardly any popular culture observer can forget the now-defunct but forever-notorious NBC show “To Catch a Predator,” which featured law enforcement agents posing as children in order to catch online pedophiles. Policing chat-rooms and message boards catering to pedophiles hardly ruffled anyone’s feathers (though broadcasting their misery on network television certainly did), but what if all the sites you used everyday were being closely observed by law enforcement agencies? What if people who weren’t suspected of any illegal activity were being watched?
Internal documents released this week by the FBI, Dept. of Justice and the IRS — all as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) — show they are among the likely many other law enforcement agencies that have taken to using the personal data people freely share on social-networking sites to monitor location, investigate social circles and otherwise gather intelligence on individuals of interest. (The Dept. of Defense, CIA, Dept. of Homeland Security, Dept. of Treasury — which includes the IRS – and the Director of National Intelligence have not yet responded to EFF’s FOIA.)
Investigators at these federal agencies even create false personas online in order to deceive social-networking users to consent to sharing personal data online — a convenient way of circumventing legal process that would ordinarily have to involve proven probable cause and a warrant.
As law enforcement agents increasingly find reasons to use social-networking sites, questions regarding crime-fighting and privacy arise. The bad news is there are no real good answers regarding what users’ rights really are, what social-networking companies are required to do (and not to do), and what regulations ought to govern the use of these sites in investigative law enforcement work given that there isn’t really a legal system designed to supervise social-networking sites. It’s a real legal gray area.
According to Mike German, policy counsel on national security, immigration and privacy at the ACLU, while you might expect the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to outline these issues, the law does not cover many of the services social-networking sites offer and the resulting data they store. A lot of this has to do with the fact that ECPA was written in 1986. It’s been amended since then — especially to accommodate the PATRIOT Act — but it doesn’t include references to a lot of the data people now upload onto social-networking sites, like videos, photos, public chats or “walls,” and the like. (One social-networking service that is covered by ECPA is direct-messaging or personal messages, which under the law function a lot like e-mail.)
So while you would expect that the same laws that govern, say, another mode of conversation like your cell phone would apply to your use of Twitter or LinkedIn, the truth is they don’t. And although most of these sites’ terms of service (TOS) say that users must represent themselves accurately, or that your information is for-your-eyes-only, law enforcement agents work their way around this.
After all, says Nate Cardozo, an attorney at EFF, the TOS “don’t protect you. They protect Facebook or MySpace or whatever. It’s a violation of Facebook’s terms of service to do what the FBI is doing” — deceiving users into sharing information with them by pretending to be someone else — “but you as a user have no enforceable rights. There’s no indication that Facebook would go after the FBI for doing this. You’re not protected by the terms of service; the terms of service only protects the site.”
If an FBI or IRS agent manages to trick you into sharing your profile and other personal data, it’s legally viewed as consent on your part, says Cardozo. No warrant needed.
An internal PowerPoint presentation prepared by the Dept. of Justice, titled “Obtaining and Using Evidence from Social Networking Sites” further shows that major social-networking sites have ways of working with law enforcement agencies, allowing them to circumvent legal process (read: warrants) in other ways.
According to the presentation, Facebook is “often cooperative with emergency requests.” What this means is that if a law enforcement agency sends Facebook a request for information and claims the data is needed urgently, the company may very well provide what the agency asks for, despite there being no legal proof of probable cause.
This especially concerns Mike German, the ACLU policy counsel, given certain agencies’ track record in using emergency disclosure loopholes. “For example, the Attorney General’s disclosures of FBI audits regarding the PATRIOT Act shows that the FBI has falsely claimed emergencies through letters to obtain information from telecommunications companies that are covered by ECPA,” he said. “With that historical loophole abuse in mind, I’m worried by how the FBI is using emergency disclosure requests placed to social-networking sites.”
The ECPA law states that complying with emergency information requests from law enforcement is voluntary. But because social-networking sites aren’t covered by the law, there is no transparency on how government and these companies cooperate, German says. Agencies could be using the murky legal structure to simply monitor and obtain data on people who are not suspected of any crime — as they have done in the past, he says. In other words: a real slippery slope in terms of privacy.
Besides Facebook, the Dept. of Justice presentation noted that MySpace required warrants for all information over six months old while the “bad news” is that Twitter required official warrants for just about any request. (The “good news” is that most data on Twitter is public anyway, the presentation adds.)
Additionally disturbing to German is the fact that the presentation lists social-networking sites as a way to investigate defense witnesses. “Normally, undercover operations are typically covered by undercover guidelines — a fairly rigorous process,” he says.”But it’s unclear when it’s online undercover activity. Particularly when they’re not actually investigating the crime but investigating witnesses to the crime. There’s an intimidation factor there that seems a bit worrisome.”
Cardozo, of the EFF, a non-profit digital rights advocacy group, says his organization sued these agencies in order to “make it clear to the public that law enforcement engages in these activities.” He adds: “We were comforted to see that there were guidelines of some kind but shocked to see how pervasive these practices are.”
And as German notes, with the exponential growth of social media, “it’s past time to clear up what our privacy rights are. The opportunity for abuse [by law enforcement] is great.”
According to German, there is a movement brewing for ECPA reform, but there is also a need for greater transparency from the social-networking service providers — and the government — in how law enforcement requests are handled. And Cardozo says the EFF is pushing for law enforcement to maintain some sort of legal process.
But because oversight of these agencies requires monumental change, perhaps the most important thing to do in the short-term is be aware. “Most of what you put online is a lot more traceable to you than you think it is,” says Cardozo.
Given that loopholes are very likely being used to collect information on even law-abiding citizens, everyone should give further consideration to the information they choose to share online. As IRL, on the Web, law enforcement abuse is real.
© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/146077/
Four Men Convicted in Plot to Bomb Synagogues
By KAREEM FAHIM
A jury of six women and five men in Federal District Court in Manhattan deliberated for eight days.
The four defendants — Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen, James Cromitie and David Williams IV — face up to life in prison. Mr. Williams and Mr. Payen were found not guilty of one charge, attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States.
Prosecutors said the men, who all lived in Newburgh, N.Y., willingly cooperated with an informer working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation who posed as a terrorist and supplied the men with inert bombs and Stinger missile tubes.
On May 20, 2009, the men were arrested in the Riverdale section of the Bronx after they planted the bombs in cars outside two synagogues.
The authorities said that they also planned to travel to Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, north of New York City, to fire missiles at military transport planes.
Over the course of the nearly eight-week trial, prosecutors relied on recordings of conversations between the informer, Shahed Hussain, and the defendants. Most of the recordings featured Mr. Cromitie, the first of the defendants to meet the informer, and by far the most talkative. In conversations filled with bravado, Mr. Cromitie made anti-Semitic statements and talked about committing violent acts. But he also voiced doubts about his intentions.
Defense lawyers said those doubts proved that Mr. Cromitie and the other men were reluctant participants, and they argued entrapment. The lawyers concentrated on painting Mr. Hussain as a liar and a manipulator who coaxed impoverished men toward a kind of violence to which they were not predisposed, a requirement of the entrapment defense. The strategy has never been successful in terrorism cases since 9/11, experts say.
The jury deliberations stalled at one point, when jurors revealed they had seen evidence that was not introduced at trial, including a transcript that the judge had called inadmissible. But the judge, Colleen McMahon, refused a request by the defense lawyers for a mistrial. She dismissed a juror who had seen the inadmissible transcript, and asked the other jurors to resume their deliberations.
Let us place this particular case in broader context. On the issue of entrapment, Wikipedia (the online encyclopedia) states the following:
Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540 (1992), is a case decided by the United States Supreme Court regarding the criminal procedure topic of entrapment. A narrowly divided court overturned the conviction of a Nebraska man for receiving child pornography through the mail, ruling that postal inspectors had implanted a desire to do so through repeated written entreaties.
It was the first time the court had considered an entrapment case from outside the realm of controlled-substance enforcement, or one involving conduct that had only recently been criminalized. By relying exclusively on whether the defendant had a predisposition to commit the crime, the court appeared to have finally resolved a lingering issue in its previous decisions on the subject.
The decision was seen as a rare triumph for defendants before a conservative court that frequently sided with prosecutors. Guidelines for federal law enforcement agents were changed in its wake, and it was described as having brought entrapment “back from the dead.”
For Muslim defendants accused of “terrorism,” the entrapment defense is still comatose! I can’t recall any case involving a Muslim, of the large volume of cases that have come through U.S. federal courts, where the entrapment defense has proven successful. The thing that is so alarming about the Newburgh 4 case, is rarely has the issue of entrapment been so clearly pronounced by unchallenged facts surrounding the case!
And still – after EIGHT DAYS OF DELIBERATION, and with one of the most fair-minded judges that I’ve ever seen preside over a terrorism conspiracy case – a jury comes back with a finding of guilty. Once again, we should be asking ourselves how could this happen in a country that promotes itself around the world as, “A land of liberty and justice for all?”
MUSLIMS (esp. young Muslims) BEWARE: Irresponsible rhetoric can get you in serious trouble in the America of today.
To be continued (insha’Allah)….
El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
TO OUR FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS IN THE NEWYORK TRI-STATE AREA, PLEASE SUPPORT THE INITIATIVE BELOW.
|Rally to Support the Newburgh Four
We stand in solidarity with the families and defendants
of the Newburgh Four Trial
Friday, October 22 from 4pm to 6pm
Corner of Liberty and Broadway in Newburgh (one block from City Hall)
These four African American men did not plan the crime and had no means to commit such a crime, and yet they have been convicted and face life in prison. A government agent-provocateur was implanted in Newburgh, one of the poorest cities in New York, and with offers of food, money, marijuana, cars and vacations, lured the four into collaborating on so-called “terror plots.” Government tapes of their conversations (and other material evidence) clearly indicate the extent of the government’s entrapment of these men.
As we accelerate our organizing to end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine, let us not forget the war at home that has been targeting African Americans for generations. The community has asked for our support; let us respond to their call.
This action is endorsed by WESPAC Foundation, Project SALAM, The Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia, and The Peace Thru Justice Foundation.
Please let me know if you plan to attend from Westchester County and if you can take others in your car with you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about this action, please call Bennett Weiss at 845.569.8662.
FBI Blows It: Supposed Terror Plot Against NY Synagogues Is Bogus
FBI plant banned by mosque – because he was too extreme
By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Craig Monteilh says he was recruited by the FBI after leaving prison in 2006
The spying game wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for Craig Monteilh, a convicted criminal recruited by the FBI to investigate the march of radical Islam into Southern California. His endless talk of violent “jihad” so alarmed worshippers at the local mosque, that they took out a restraining order against him.
Monteilh spent 15 months pretending to be Farouk al-Aziz, a French Syrian in search of his religious roots. He prayed five times a day at the Islamic Centre in Irvine, Orange County, wearing white robes with a camera hidden in one of its buttons, and carried a set of car keys that contained a secret listening device.
The enthusiastic attempt to catch local Muslims discussing terror campaigns backfired, however, when community leaders went to the police with fears that the suddenly devout young man, who got up to pray at 4am, had become a radical in their midst.
The terror case Monteilh had been helping build against Ahmadullah Niazi, the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, collapsed in September, when the bungling informant revealed that his FBI handlers had instructed him to entrap his potential target and told him that “Islam is a threat to our national security”.
Yesterday, as details of his efforts to persuade Niazi to blow up buildings became public, leading US Muslim organisations said they have suspended all contact with the FBI in protest against the excesses of agents who are secretly, and in some cases illegally, monitoring mosques.
“The community feels betrayed,” Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group of more than 75 mosques, told The Washington Post. “They got a guy, a bona fide criminal, and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques… It’s like a soap opera, for God’s sake.”
Monteilh, who had previously served time in prison for forgery, says he was recruited on his release in 2006 by FBI agents, who he met in doughnut shops and Starbucks outlets. After being given the code name “Oracle”, he was told to root out radicals among the region’s 500,000 practising Muslims.
Over the 15 months that he posed as al-Aziz, Monteilh was paid almost $200,000 to pass secret tape-recordings of his conversations with local worshippers to his handlers. He became a regular at a local gym patronised by young Muslim men.
“We started hearing that he was saying weird things,” said Omar Kurdi, a Loyola Law School student who trained there. “He would walk up to one of my friends and say, ‘It’s good that you guys are getting ready for the jihad’.”
In May 2007, Monteilh recorded a conversation in which he suggested to Niazi and another young man that they blow up buildings. Niazi appeared to agree with the idea, and the tape was subsequently used as evidence in the terror case against him.
However, it now seems that Niazi had simply been attempting to humour someone he regarded as a dangerous extremist. Indeed, he was so concerned by “al-Aziz’s” attempts to plot an attack that he reported it to community leaders, who passed details to police and took out a restraining order to prevent him from entering the Islamic centre.
“Farouk had told them he had access to weapons and that they should blow up a mall,” Hussam Ayloush executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said. “They were convinced this man was a terrorist.” Soon after the restraining order was obtained, in June 2007, the FBI attempted to cut their ties to Monteilh. Several months later, the former agent was arrested and imprisoned on a separate theft charge.
In January this year, after being released, Monteilh sued the FBI, alleging that the bureau conspired to have him arrested, then allowed his informant status to become known in prison, where he was stabbed. That lawsuit failed in September, prompting him to shop his bizarre story to the media.