Tag Archives: Surveillance

Everybody must now be watched in downtown Colo. Springs – so who will go downtown in that SICKO ambiance?

The Colorado Springs municipal government has now decided to gamble city tax funds into the National Security State by spending tens upon thousands of dollars in surveillance cameras. However, who will want to go into an already sterile downtown environment into the Downtown Surveillance State future? My guess is that it will be less than we have going downtown now. Who wants to be watched all the time IN PUBLIC as if they were automatically suspected of being potential criminals? Nobody. People will instead go into public spaces elsewhere and will give downtown businesses a pass.

Where did this reactionary city government mindset come from? It came from the national military industrial prison foreign occupation mindset, did it not? Why YES it did now, Conservative Assholes. Thanks for talking it up against Big Brother but actually backing it at every major opportunity.

Colorado Spring is actually a small peanut in this spread of surveillance, as we can see Everybody’s a Target in the American Surveillance State from this article discussing what it calls ‘the crown jewel’ in the Federal Program of surveillance of its own public citizens. Could we actually expect the reactionary dips we have on the city council and as mayor to counter the national trend when we, John Q. Public shows such generalized apathy about the loss of our own freedoms? I rather think that we couldn’t have expected much thought from this group of mental and political midgets that supposedly represent us locally, and we got exactly that nothing of thought in what they just voted to watch us with… SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS.

Opposing war is not a crime: stop FBI suppression of antiwar activists JAN 25

COLORADO SPRINGS – JANUARY 25 – Protest the recent FBI raids and the DOJ grand jury subpoenas aimed at intimidating members of antiwar and Palestinian rights groups. Join Coloradans For Peace and compatriots beneath the windows of the FBI field office, located in the Plaza of the Rockies downtown, the complex where activists have been prevented from visiting their senator’s office, mostly a mall of investment bankers and brokerage firms. Not without irony, the main facade is named for war profiteer consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton. Come Tuesday Jan 25, from 4pm to 5pm. Meet on the NE corner of Tejon & Colorado.
 
Some consider the FBI to be the lesser of the US intelligence community’s seventeen known evils. Shall we draw the line at surveillance, infiltration and instigation of peace advocacy groups? Eric Holder’s Department of Justice won’t go after war criminals, torturers, or any facet of President Obama’s accelerated abuses on human rights. But they want to target humanitarian groups in hopes of tying their social causes to “terrorism, ” the traditional authoritarian label for political rival.

Dear President Obama, your email MailMerge function needs tweaking

When a Codepink blogger offered her public reply to President Obama’s “This Fourth of July” email, I thought I’d poke my own fun at passages like “as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed.” But when I examined the email Obama sent me, that laugh line had been scrubbed. Did you know our personal notes from the president were indeed personal?

It surprises no one I’m sure, to imagine that mass emails would be personalized to address the recipient. “Dear Eric, how’s the weather in Colorado, etc.” It’s no great leap then to customize each theme according to subjects of concern to me more than others.

Obama knows apparently that I’m not likely to buy “today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm’s way to preserve and protect it.” In fact I do not give a rat’s ass for a single one of our soldiers standing in harm’s way. Although we have only guesstimated body counts to go on, obviously 99% of that harm flows the other way.

Soldiers who resist orders to keep heaping harm on innocents is who I care about.

Fighting for America’s freedom begins at home. Let any citizen try to petition his government for redress and he’ll see exactly whose side the soldiers are on.

My personal 4th of July email from the president does mention our soldiers and their sacrifice, but adds another emphasis:

That sacrifice is shared with husbands and wives, with sons and daughters, with fathers and mothers, who are asked to wait at home as their loved ones protect our nation. Their heroism, too, has helped pave the path of our freedom.

Now where did the White House Mail Merge function get its wires crossed on that one? If there are Americans about whom I care less than the GIs, it’s the parents who couldn’t give them better advice. Theirs was no heroism at all, it was go with the flow. Stuck hoping their child escapes unscathed is their just due. Mothers who raised their boy to be a soldier, did it for Charles Darwin.

Neither do I care to honor those military wives furiously praying for stateside widowhood and a $100,000 insurance payoff.

Clearly my Obama message was intended to inspire a flag-drapper. How many variation of the Obama 4th of July email do you suppose went around?

I hesitate to wonder what my personal email from Obama would look like if indeed he had my number. I am hoping to avoid “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!”

Wikileaks can archive the Palin emails so she doesn’t have to, by law

palin_tongueWikileaks is off-line again. (But try 88.80.13.160) The whistle-blower safe box had just posted fragments of communications hacked from Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account. GOP campaign reps denounced the act as “a shocking invasion of the governor’s privacy and a violation of the law” Come again? Eavesdropping is illegal?

Hackers working under the venerable pseudonym “Anonymous” posted email from the Alaska Governor which appeared to violate government safeguards about official communications. Emails regarding state business are supposed to go through government mail systems and be archived accordingly. Personal email accounts are not to be used to circumvent government oversight. The hackers invite the public to decide for themselves whether communications at the addresses sarah.palin@yahoo.com and gov.sarah@yahoo.com violated these restrictions.

Wikileaks is a repository of leaked information to which government or corporate whistle-blowers can post who want to bring evidence of wrong-doing to the public’s attention. Wired has an excellent profile of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The site has been targeted by the courts and corporate hackers to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information. For example, Wikileaks leaked instruction manuals from the DoD’s secret prison system.

Why Wikileaks has become inaccessible this time is hopefully due simply to too much traffic. You can check Wikileak for access updates, if lame commentary. When Wikileaks published offshore banking records showing how US corporations are evading federal taxes, the Swiss bank Julius Baer prevailed upon a US court to revoke the wikileaks.org domain name.

Apparently the Secret Service has vowed to investigate who hacked into Sarah Palin’s account. This should be a revealing test of Wikileaks’ stealth measures. Wikileaks contributors use a FIREFOX pluggin called TOR to spread their online tracks over a distribution of participating TOR users. In addition communications are encrypted with PGP -Pretty Good Privacy. Unavoidably however, a not insignificant number of machines on the network are recognized to be intelligence agents.

(Scrubbing Bubbles said “We work hard so you don’t have to.”)

Undercover surveillance has uniform too

den-sun-under-civilian.jpgDENVER- DNC day 0, Undercover observers.
 
Could this NOT BE A COP? My goodness the cops had undercover uniforms too! White shirt, tan cargo shorts, white socks, running shoes, camera and backpack. This bicyclist was helping to track Unconventional Denver as they veered from the permitted parade route along 16th Street Mall.

den-undercover-videotape.jpgAnother barrel bellied gentleman was recording the Sunday antiwar rally. There were hundreds of police video cameras out there, not held at the ready for something to happen, like the other videographers, but constantly pointed. Wouldn’t that be recording a bunch of nothing, unless you’re simply trying to document faces?

I have another theory, which comes of imagining dozens of surveillance cameramen each shift, clocking out and depositing multitudes of digital videotape cassettes, marked by location, time, and perhaps incident. Would that seem to be a nightmare to organize? I’m thinking these cameras were up to something else.

Two cops a tapingThese two square pegs were videotaping the Sunday UA Lincoln Boulevard standoff. The person in the foreground is an example of what real participants look like. His camera is waiting for something to capture. The rear two have cameras aloft, whether they’re paying attention our not.

Third cop a watchingThe yellow shirted boy scout gestured to this third duffer behind them. I’m not sure the signal except that he stepped back as I photographed.

I wonder if these cameras held aloft haven’t been retrofitted to give live video feeds, instead of recording unto individual DATs. I bet they’re transmitting wireless signals to a communications truck nearby, where not only are the images being recorded into a data bank, likely they are being monitored for a real-time sense of what’s happening in the crowd. That might explain why the cameramen were seldom seen panning or changing their angle. It might also be possible that they were receiving their instructions through the camera viewfinders.

Undercover plantNow this guy isn’t wearing the day uniform. What’s he doing? I include him just for contrast. He’s wearing the black colors of a provocateur or plant and sure enough when the antiwar march came its closest to the Pepsi Center, suddenly he broke his silence. Where before he’s stood back, observing the morning rally. Now he was moving through the marchers offering instructions. Many of the organizers were trying to create something of a circle in front of the Pepsi Center entrance. This “marcher” who held no banner, and wore no political message, was now helpfully urging everyone to continue past.

Tuesday night helicopters over Denver

den-mon-vertical.jpgDENVER- Night has just fallen and a helicopter searchlight has moved from North of the Capitol, to Civic Center Park, to the downtown center. Police in riot gear are rounding corners off to the North East. Police troops riding SUVs are coming from the southern parts. I’m riding on the 16th Street Mall shuttle. As I get out, I see the bus has been followed by two white vans full of policemen. Across my path toward where Marie is waiting are a dozen bicycle cops.

Of course here we are live-blogging about DPD troop movements. Suddenly the server seems to be acting buggy.

If you think I’m suffering delusions of grandeur when I imagine that every cop I pass seems to be reporting the event into his headpiece, consider the budget they’re spending on all of us.

Denver spent fifty million on DNC security, including a Super Fusion Center. They expected fifty thousand protesters. That makes for some easy math. $50M divided by 50k means a thousand dollars of equipment and manpower had been allocated for each protester. Since fewer than expected showed up, that’s a lot of intelligence firepower to spread over quite a bit fewer than 50 thousand protesters.

If we figure the demonstrations thus far have drawn five thousand persons of interest. Would that mean $10,000 is being spent on each? Probably the figure’s more like 1,000 people who could be considered to pose an imagined risk. That would mean $50,000 per. Over the course of five days, that’s $10,000 each person, each day. Figuring 90% of the security budget might have been spent on equipment, $1,000 per day would remain to pay, what, seven law enforcement personnel working overtime for each citizen suspect?

If you consider yourself unpredictably active enough to be among those thousand, tomorrow, when you are facing a line of armor clad riot cops, pick out seven and have them call you Sir.

It’d be a symbolic gesture. Probably the actual DPD staff allocated to you personally is comprised of three riot cops, one plain-clothed informer, and two surveillance analysts. Does that leave one unaccounted for? One full time person working on who knows what about you? Very likely.

It’s hard not to feel special.

One of these things is not like the other.

One of these things just doesn’t belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others, By the time I finish my song? Beside the haircut.
DPD undercover
DENVER- Here are the clues: nondescript dark clothing, no distinguishing logo, requisite black backpack and cargo pants. See anybody else who brought layered clothes and a backpack to the couple hour long training event? Amidst dozens of cameramen, reporters and videographers covering the self-defense training, he was the only person who insisted on videotaping everyone’s faces. He wasn’t participating, he wasn’t asking for photo releases, and his was also the only handycam not aimed at the cops.

Taking videos is one thing. But look out for these types trying to instigate trouble. They’ll be throwing stones at windows, or grabbing you to thrust you into nearby uniformed police. These are the agent provocateurs who’ll try to start trouble.

I am being followed

Can we start a series called I’M BEING FOLLOWED? Why not! As we feed our paranoia, what with all the increasing surveillance, isn’t it likely we ARE being watched? Here are bound to be found some interesting tales.

I had just come from a conversation about potential protest detractors whose chief strategy is to try to provoke violence. They do it by saying such repugnant things that you want to hit them. They’re not violent themselves, but their intent is exactly that. They don’t have to call you a freak, but they could insult something you care about so much, your cause for example, that you feel compelled to stand up for it. In fact if they are insulting a third party, it’s all the easier to feel self righteous and magnanimous to escalate the vehemence of upholding their honor. The Defenders of Jerusalem is such a group, for example. In Denver they delight in goading the Native American rights groups. Go figure. The Minutemen are another, picking on defenseless immigrants.

Later in the day I was at the supermarket checkout and a woman behind me initiated a conversation. She was complimenting me on my shoes. I thought this was an odd opening line, as I knew my shoes were not particularly distinguishable, they were certainly not attractive. “I love your shoes” she must have repeated. I turned to see a plump frizzy-dark-haired woman looking down at the Tevas on my feet. I never saw her face. She explained, still not looking up, that they were made in the country where she was born, Israel. “Oh, I replied, they’re comfortable” I mumbled, even as it occurred to me that by coincidence I’ve been complaining to myself about them. Teva. I’ll have to go look them up.

Eavesdropping on a tree in the forest

Moon over clock tower Neufreistadt SLNEUFREISTADT, SL- Wandering a little in Neufreistad last night I came upon a chain hanging from a clock tower. Pulling it would ring a bell far above. It was night in Second Life, the moon and I were alone in the NFS sim, mine the only avatar even in the surrounding sims. The obvious question arose, if I were to ring this bell with no one around, would anyone hear it?

Do I know enough to say? A sim owner or manager, that is to say the person who owns that virtual estate or the person given authority to run it, can monitor SL activity without being online. They have a bird’s eye view, or so I understand, an extrasensory perception relating to the realm for which they are responsible. Ordinary users can see and hear what’s in our vicinity, and can sharpen our sight depending on how lifelike we want our faculties. (actually we can eavesdrop too, with virtual bugs to spy on virtual happenings.) Sim admins have meta power.

Above them, Linden Labs, the real world laboratory which houses Second Life, oversees the mechanics of their virtual creation. Their view is that of lab technician over the maze, watching the mouse try to find the cheese, omnipresent and unobserved if only because of their irrelevance to the reality below.

I cannot say whether any are listening, but I do know that they could. Such is the unexplored, but not indefinite world of virtual reality. You may not have been there before, but someone has, and certainly someone tends to it and has an interest in checking in. And that’s not even to consider the NSA.

Is there a real world anymore where you can act on a thought unobserved? With Google Earth, as an example of surreptitious satellites, could a tree fall, anymore, unheard? Can you travel in your car, sit in your room, whisper out of earshot of your cellphone, and feel you have privacy?

In cyberspace, surveillance is inescapable. But in the virtual dimension, whose landscape is it that’s being watched? Does the virtual world exist on your computer screen as much as it lies your head? From which are the spooks reporting?