Category Archives: 4th Amendment

Baltimore Police used secret technology to track cellphones in thousands of case

Baltimore Police used secret technology to track cellphones in thousands of cases

Baltimore police often surveil cellphones amid US secrecy

The Baltimore Police Department has an agreement with the U.S. government to withhold certain information about secretive cellphone surveillance technology from the public and the courts.

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The Baltimore Police Department has used an invasive and controversial cellphone tracking device thousands of times in recent years while following instructions from the FBI to withhold information about it from prosecutors and judges, a detective revealed in court testimony Wednesday.

The testimony shows for the first time how frequently city police are using a cell site simulator, more commonly known as a “stingray,” a technology that authorities have gone to great lengths to avoid disclosing.

The device mimics a cellphone tower to force phones within its range to connect. Police use it to track down stolen phones or find people.

Related:  See How This Spying Technoloyg, Stingray, works.

FBI Stingray device technology listening cell phones
FBI Stingray device

Until recently, the technology was largely unknown to the public. Privacy advocates nationwide have raised questions whether there has been proper oversight of its use.

Baltimore has emerged in recent months as a battleground for the debate. In one case last fall, a city detective said a nondisclosure agreement with federal authorities prevented him from answering questions about the device. The judge threatened to hold him in contempt if he didn’t provide information, and prosecutors withdrew the evidence.

The nondisclosure agreement, presented for the first time in court Wednesday, explicitly instructs prosecutors to drop cases if pressed on the technology, and tells them to contact the FBI if legislators or judges are asking questions.

Detective Emmanuel Cabreja, a member of the Police Department’s Advanced Technical Team, testified that police own a Hailstorm cell site simulator — the latest version of the stingray — and have used the technology 4,300 times since 2007.

Cabreja said he had used it 600 to 800 times in less than two years as a member of the unit.

Nate Wessler, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said 4,300 uses is “huge number.” He noted that most agencies have not released data.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says its officers have used the device about 1,800 times. Police in Tallahassee say they have used it more than 250 times; police in Tacoma, Wash., 170 times.

Former U.S. Judge Brian L. Owsley, a law professor at Indiana Tech, said he was “blown away” by the Baltimore figure and the terms of the nondisclosure agreement. “That’s a significant amount of control,” he said.

Agencies have invoked the nondisclosure agreement to keep information secret. At a hearing last year, a Maryland State Police commander told state lawmakers that “Homeland Security” prevented him from discussing the technology.

Wessler said the secrecy is upending the system of checks and balances built into the criminal justice system.

“In Baltimore, they’ve been using this since 2007, and it’s only been in the last several months that defense attorneys have learned enough to start asking questions,” he said. “Our entire judicial system and constitution is set up to avoid a ‘just trust us’ system where the use of invasive surveillance gear is secret.”

Cabreja testified Wednesday during a pretrial hearing in the case of Nicholas West, 21, and Myquan Anderson, 17. West and Anderson were charged in October 2013 with armed carjacking, armed robbery, theft and other violations stemming from an attack on a man in Federal Hill.

Cabreja took what he said was a copy of the nondisclosure agreement to court. It was dated July 2011 and bore the signatures of then-Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and then-State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein.

Defense attorney Joshua Insley asked Cabreja about the agreement.

“Does this document instruct you to withhold evidence from the state’s attorney and Circuit Court, even upon court order to produce?” he asked.

“Yes,” Cabreja said.

Cabreja did not comply with a defense subpoena to produce the device in court. He said he was barred from doing so by the nondisclosure agreement.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the technology or the document.

The signatories to the document agree that disclosing the existence of the stingray would “reveal sensitive technological capabilities possessed by the law enforcement community and may allow individuals who are the subject of investigation … to avoid detection.”

They agree that “disclosure of this information could result in the FBI’s inability to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal activity” by rendering the technology useless for investigations.

The signatories agree that if they receive a public records request or an inquiry from judges or legislators, they will notify the FBI immediately to allow “sufficient time for the FBI to intervene.”

Cabreja testified Wednesday that his unit received information about a stolen cellphone. He said detectives obtained a court order to get the phone’s general location using cellphone towers from a cellphone company.

With that information, detectives ventured out to the Waverly neighborhood with the Hailstorm. The device is portable and can be used from a moving vehicle. Cabreja likened it to a metal detector for cellphone signals.

The device forces cellphones to connect to it. In this case, it was a Verizon phone, so identifying information from every Verizon customer in the area was swept up.

Cabreja said the data was collected but “not seen.” Detectives were interested only in the target phone.
Cabreja said the device allows police to make a stronger signal emanate from the phone to help them find it.

“It, on screen, shows me directional arrows and signal strength, showing me the phone’s direction,” he testified.

The detectives traced the phone to a group home and knocked on the door. They told the woman who answered that they were conducting a general criminal investigation and asked to come inside, Cabreja said, and the woman agreed.

Seven detectives entered the home, he said. They used the Hailstorm to make the phone ring before anyone knew why they were really there.

Amid growing questions about the stingray, details of the technology have been trickling out of some jurisdictions, and it is now relatively easy to find descriptions online of what it does.

Insley, the defense attorney, called it the “worst-kept secret,” and questioned why local police continue to be gagged.

Cabreja took notes with him to court that he said came from a discussion last week in which the FBI coached him on what to say in court.

The talking points included: “Data is not retained.”
Cabreja did not refuse to answer any of Insley’s questions, but he said his answers were constrained by the nondisclosure agreement.

Defense attorneys and privacy advocates express concern about the scope of the stingray’s powers, and whether the courts are equipped to provide proper oversight of the police who use it. They argue that the use of the device amounts to a search and requires a warrant.

Baltimore police obtain court orders under the state’s “pen register” statute. Insley says that law authorizes police to capture only the numbers that are called or received by a phone, not the more detailed metadata and location information the stingray collects.

He said those orders also require a lower standard of proof than a search warrant, and judges are not aware of what they are authorizing.

“They’re basically duping these judges into signing authorizations to use stingrays,” Insley said. “If they can increase the signal strength of your phone or make it ring, they can pretty much make it do anything.”

But prosecutors say the language in the orders authorizes real-time GPS location, and Cabreja testified that police only use the stingray to find “target” phones and not to spy on the innocent.

In Maryland U.S. District Court last fall, an argument about the stingray device was cut short when the suspects took plea deals. And on Wednesday, following Cabreja’s testimony, prosecutors and defense attorneys entered into plea negotiations instead of debating the merits of the stingray further.

In cases where the stingray becomes a sticking point, Wessler said, “defense attorneys are being able to get really good deals for their clients, because the FBI is so insistent on hiding all of these details.”

“There are likely going to be a lot of defense attorneys in Baltimore who may have an opportunity to raise these issues,” Wessler said. “They are on notice now that their clients may have some arguments to make in these cases.”

A year after firestorm, DHS wants access to license-plate tracking system

A year after firestorm, DHS wants access to license-plate tracking system

A police car in Alexandria, Va., that has been equipped with a license-plate scanner. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By Ellen Nakashima

The Department of Homeland Security is seeking bids from companies able to provide law enforcement officials with access to a national license-plate tracking system — a year after canceling a similar solicitation over privacy issues.

The reversal comes after officials said they had determined they could address concerns raised by civil liberties advocates and lawmakers about the prospect of the department’s gaining widespread access, without warrants, to a system that holds billions of records that reveal drivers’ whereabouts.

In a privacy impact assessment issued Thursday, the DHS says that it is not seeking to build a national database or contribute data to an existing system.

Instead, it is seeking bids from companies that already gather the data to say how much they would charge to grant access to law enforcement officers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a DHS agency. Officials said they also want to impose limits on ICE personnel’s access to and use of the data.

“These restrictions will provide essential privacy and civil liberty protections, while enhancing our agents’ and officers’ ability to locate and apprehend suspects who could pose a threat to national security and public safety,” DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron said in a statement. The solicitation was posted publicly Thursday.

Privacy advocates who reviewed a copy of the privacy impact assessment said it fell short.

“If this goes forward, DHS will have warrantless access to location information going back at least five years about virtually every adult driver in the U.S., and sometimes to their image as well,” said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Commercial license-plate tracking systems already are used by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as some local and state law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement groups say the fears of misuse are overblown. But news of the DHS solicitation triggered a public firestorm last year, leading Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to cancel it and order a review of the privacy concerns raised by advocates and lawmakers.

Over the following months, ICE and DHS privacy officials developed policies aimed at increasing “the public’s trust in our ability to use the data responsibly,” according to a senior DHS privacy officer. The DHS is the first federal agency, officials said, to issue a privacy assessment on such a solicitation.

Commercial license-plate-tracking systems can include a variety of data. Images of plate numbers are generally captured by high-speed cameras that are mounted on vehicles or in fixed locations. Some systems also capture images of the drivers and passengers.

The largest commercial database is owned by Vigilant Solutions, which as of last fall had more than 2.5 billion records. Its database grows by 2.7 million records a day.

DHS officials say Vigilant’s database, to which some field offices have had access on a subscription basis, has proved valuable in solving years-old cases. Privacy advocates, however, are concerned about the potential for abuse and note that commercial data banks generally do not have limits on how long they retain data.

ICE said it will restrict agents’ access to the data to the number of years corresponding to the relevant statute of limitations for any crime being investigated. For civil immigration cases, where there is no statute of limitations, the agency is adopting a five-year limit, officials said.

ICE officers and agents also will be required to enter the type of crime associated with each query to gain access to the database, and there will be random audits to ensure that no one is using the database to look up information on personal associates. Officers and agents may search only for particular plate numbers.

ICE queries will not be shared with other agencies, unless they are working on a joint investigation, a senior DHS official said. ICE personnel also will be able to put plate numbers of interest on an “alert list,” enabling those personnel to be notified almost instantly when a plate is spotted.

Ginger McCall, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Open Government Project, said the new safeguards are not “meaningful.” She called the data retention requirements “exceedingly vague” and said tracking a person through alert lists without a warrant is troubling.

The senior DHS privacy officer said case law does not require the government to seek a warrant for such data.

“This is a step in the right direction, but it’s not nearly strong enough, given the particular acute privacy and civil liberties issues implicated by locational data,” McCall said.

FBI Says Doesn’t Need Warrant To Track Your Cell Phone

FBI Says Doesn’t Need Warrant To Track Your Cell Phone

Practically nothing to protect citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights

The FBI Says It Doesn’t Need a Warrant to Track Your Cell Phone in Public

The FBI claims that it doesn’t need a warrant to use so-called Stingray cell-phone tracking technology in public spaces, according to two US Senators raising privacy concerns over use of the devices.

Stingrays and similar devices intercept data by emulating a cell phone tower, say privacy groups. With the briefcase-size technology, police can identify and locate cell phone users in a general area or search for a specific person while also vacuuming upmetadata from phones.

The FBI recently settled on a new policy surrounding the use of Stingrays and similar technology that requires agents to obtain a warrant before using the technology in a criminal investigation. However, the policy includes such broad exceptions that privacy advocates worry they do practically nothing to protect citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights.

The new policy was first revealed by former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and the then ranking Republican on the committee, Chuck Grassley—who has since become chairman—in a letter to the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security released at the end of December.

In the letter, Leahy and Grassley question whether law enforcement agencies using cell-phone-tracking technology “have adequately considered the privacy interests of other individuals who are not targets of the inception, but whose
information is nevertheless being collected when these devices are used.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in November that the US Marshals Service was using cell-phone-tracking technology in small aircraft to search for criminal suspects, sweeping up thousands of other cell phone signals in the process.

Law enforcement agencies purchase Stingrays and similar devices—technically called International Mobile Subscriber Identity catchers—through federal grants under the auspices of anti-terrorism operations. Police say the technology can also be used for search-and-rescue operations, in kidnapping situations, and disaster response.

According to Leahy and Grassley, the FBI’s new policy contains an exception for “cases that pose an imminent danger to public safety, cases that involve a fugitive, or cases in which the technology is used in public places or other locations at which the FBI deems there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a statement to VICE that it “seems that a carve out to allow the FBI to use an IMSI catcher in public without a warrant is an exception that swallows the rule.”

Fakhoury said the FBI’s new policy is “a good first step towards transparency, but there need to be a lot more information made public about how these devices are used.

“First, what was happening before the change in policy?” Fakhoury continued. “If the new policy requires the FBI to get a warrant to use the device but has an exception for when the device is in public use, does that mean the feds were using IMSI catchers to capture signals emanating from the home, a place clearly protected by the Fourth Amendment? Second, what is the requirement for FBI’s use of these devices in public places, which is presumably where the bulk of these devices are used?”

Leahy and Grassley are pressing the Justice Department for more details on the privacy implications of the technology.

“The Judiciary Committee needs a broader understanding of the full range of law enforcement agencies that use this technology, the policies in place to protect the privacy interests of those whose information might be collected using these devices, and the legal process that DOJ and DHS entities seek prior to using them,” Leahy and Grassley wrote in their letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Reports of police departments using Stingrays first surfaced in December 2013, whenUSA Today reported that cell phone surveillance technology originally designed for the US military was finding its way into state and local police departments across the country.

Since that report, the ACLU has unearthed public records showing police departments and federal law enforcement in 19 states and the District of Columbia are using IMSI catchers.

Transparency groups and news organizations trying to dig up more information on Stingrays have been stymied by an aggressive effort from federal agents, local police departments, and the company that manufactures the devices.

Earlier this year in Sarasota, Florida, the US Marshals Service confiscated records on Stingray surveillance from a courthouse just hours before the records were due to be handed over to the ACLU.

In September, a public records request revealed state and local police must sign a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI, keeping details of the devices secret.

Prosecutors in Baltimore went so far as to toss key evidence in a case rather than reveal details of how police used a Stingray to track the defendant.

The FBI and DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement to VICE, the Justice Department said only that it is reviewing Leahy and Grassley’s letter, which calls for a response to their concerns by the end of the month.

Follow CJ Ciaramella on Twitter.

FBI Not Obtaining Search Warrants When Ease Dropping On Everyone’s Cellphones

FBI Not Obtaining Search Warrants When Ease Dropping On Everyone’s Cellphones

Agency claims citizens’ cell phone data up for grabs
FBI Stingray device technology listening cell phones
FBI Stingray device

Two U.S. Senators attempting to investigate government use of cellphone interceptors, commonly referred to as “Stingrays,” have confirmed that no search warrants are obtained when FBI agents use the devices in public.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) discovered the startling information last year during a private briefing in which agency officials laid out a list of warrant exemptions.

In a letter to Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder, both Senators expressed their concerns over the wildly broad exemptions and questioned whether seperate government agencies were following the same policy.

For example, we understand that the FBI’s new policy requires FBI agents to obtain a search warrant whenever a cell-site simulator is used as part of a FBI investigation or operation, unless one of several exceptions apply, including (among others): (1) cases that pose an imminent danger to public safety, (2) cases that involve a fugitive, or (3) cases in which the technology is used in public places or other locations at which the FBI deems there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

FBI Stingray device technology listening cell phones
Regardless of the guideline, the FBI has failed to explain how they protect cell users on private property when bulk collecting in public.

“We have concerns about the scope of the exceptions,” the letter states. “Specifically, we are concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests of other individuals who are not the targets of the interception, but whose information is nevertheless being collected when these devices are being used.”

The letter goes on to demand answers on how often the FBI and other agencies use Stingrays and what, if any, safeguards are in place to protect the data of innocent Americans.

“Across all DOJ and DHS entities, what protections exist to safeguard the privacy interests of individuals who are not the targets of interception, but whose information is nevertheless being collected by cell-site simulators?” the letter asks.

Despite claims from government entities that Stingrays are only used to investigate high-profile crimes, continued exposure on the topic proves the complete opposite to be true.

Police scanner audio obtained by the hacktivist group Anonymous last month appeared to reveal that Chicago police were using a Stingray to intercept phone calls from an Eric Garner protester.

A police department in Washington state, which claimed that it only used a Stingray to investigate crimes such as homicide, rape and kidnapping, used the device to track a missing city laptop according to a report last August.

City Council members who initially approved the department’s acquisition of the Stingray were told by police that the device was simply for “detecting IEDs,” ignoring the device’s main purpose regarding cell data.

Law enforcement groups in California have already begun applying for even more powerful cell interceptors known as “Hailstorms.”

On the federal level, government agencies have gone as far as equipping airplanes with cell interceptors to harvest cellular data from the sky.

Despite the federal government’s best attempts to hide its surveillance activities from judges, the public and the Legislative, Americans for the first time are beginning to realize the scope of the US surveillance state.

Congress Passes Bill Allowing ‘Unlimited Access To Communications of Every American’

Congress Passes Bill Allowing ‘Unlimited Access To Communications of Every American’

Amash labels legislation “most egregious I’ve encountered”

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits illegal searches and seizures by the Government.  The reason for this amendment was the persecution the British government was performing on the Colonist in America.  Our Founding Fathers knew what a government was capable of against its on citizens as they had personally experienced this.

Fourth Amendment

According to Congressman Justin Amash, Congress just passed a bill which grants the government and law enforcement “unlimited access to the communications of every American”.  The government is allowed to search and seize all of our communications without probably cause or a search warrant.

When the Michigan lawmaker discovered that the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015 had been amended with a provision that authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of all communications data from U.S. citizens, he desperately attempted to organize a roll call vote on the bill.

However, the legislation was passed yesterday 325-100 via a voice vote, a green light for what Amash describes as “one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative”.

The bill allows the private communications of Americans to be scooped up without a court order and then transferred to law enforcement for criminal investigations.

The legislation effectively codifies and legalizes mass warrantless NSA surveillance on the American people, with barely a whimper of debate.

Read the full text of Congressman Amash’s letter below, which was sent out before the bill was passed.

*********************

Dear Colleague:

The intelligence reauthorization bill, which the House will vote on today, contains a troubling new provision that for the first time statutorily authorizes spying on U.S. citizens without legal process.

Last night, the Senate passed an amended version of the intelligence reauthorization bill with a new Sec. 309—one the House never has considered. Sec. 309 authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations.

To be clear, Sec. 309 provides the first statutory authority for the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of U.S. persons’ private communications obtained without legal process such as a court order or a subpoena. The administration currently may conduct such surveillance under a claim of executive authority, such as E.O. 12333. However, Congress never has approved of using executive authority in that way to capture and use Americans’ private telephone records, electronic communications, or cloud data.

Supporters of Sec. 309 claim that the provision actually reins in the executive branch’s power to retain Americans’ private communications. It is true that Sec. 309 includes exceedingly weak limits on the executive’s retention of Americans’ communications. With many exceptions, the provision requires the executive to dispose of Americans’ communications within five years of acquiring them—although, as HPSCI admits, the executive branch already follows procedures along these lines.

In exchange for the data retention requirements that the executive already follows, Sec. 309 provides a novel statutory basis for the executive branch’s capture and use of Americans’ private communications. The Senate inserted the provision into the intelligence reauthorization bill late last night. That is no way for Congress to address the sensitive, private information of our constituents—especially when we are asked to expand our government’s surveillance powers.

I urge you to join me in voting “no” on H.R. 4681, the intelligence reauthorization bill, when it comes before the House today.

/s/

Justin Amash
Member of Congress

Oath Upheld: Nashville Cops Refused Secret Service Request for Illegal Search of Obama Critic

Oath Upheld: Nashville Cops Refused Secret Service Request for Illegal Search of Obama Critic

Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson recently sent a letter to Congress alleging that Secret Service agents asked Nashville police to falsify a warrant so that the agents could search the home of a Nashville resident who had posted about President Obama on Facebook.

by bennswan.com

Following Secret Service Director Julia Pierson’s recent resignation over a major security breach at the White House, new allegations are facing the president’s embattled security detail.

Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson
Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson

According to Phil Williams at News Channel 5, Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson sent a scathing letter last week to the House Committee on Oversight complaining that Secret Service agents asked Nashville police officers to falsify a warrant during an investigation into a local resident who allegedly posted “threatening” comments about President Obama on Facebook.

Williams’ report notes that, in January of 2013, Secret Service agents working out of the Nashville field office visited the home of the resident who made the Facebook postings and knocked on his door. Then, an agent called local police and asked for backup, stating that the individual was refusing to let them in without a warrant and appeared to be armed.

When Nashville police arrived, they informed the Secret Service agents that the man in question is a licensed gun owner, did not violate the law, and that a warrant would be required in order to investigate further.

Chief Anderson said in his letter, “one of the agents then asked a [Nashville police] sergeant to ‘wave a piece of paper’ in an apparent effort to dupe the resident into thinking that they indeed had a warrant.” Faced with a request to violate their oath of office and the rights of a citizen, the officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department flatly refused and left the scene.

Chief Anderson, upset that his officers were asked to violate a citizen’s rights in a way that could have escalated into a dangerous situation, contacted then Secret Service Director Julia Pierson and Assistant Director A.T. Smith to file a complaint. Pierson did not reply to Anderson, but Smith did so in a demeaning tone, essentially telling Nashville’s police chief to “mind [his] own affairs” and refusing to investigate the incident.

An angry Anderson then met with officials in the Secret Service’s Nashville field office and asked, “Do you think it is appropriate to wave a piece of paper in the air and tell him you have a warrant when you do not have a warrant?” In his letter, Anderson noted that an unnamed Secret Service official replied, “I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer.”

Anderson then inquired as to why Secret Service agents would request that Nashville police falsify a warrant if they felt that it was something that they had lawful authority to do, implying that merely by asking, the agents were demonstrating their understanding that they were making an illegal request. Anderson noted that his “complaint was not well-received” and that officials would not offer any reassurance that similar incidents would be prevented in the future.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson forced to resign over several SS scandals.
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson forced to resign over several SS scandals.

Chief Anderson believes that the Nashville incident is evidence that corruption in the Secret Service runs deeper than just its director. He feels that there are problems with the culture of the organization and that major administrative reform is necessary. As the above-embedded video by News Channel 5 points out, Anderson indicated that, in the future, Nashville police officers will have to request permission from top officials before assisting Secret Service agents in further investigations.

As a side note, back in May of 2013, shortly after the incident, Secret Service agents did not invite Nashville police to assist in providing security for First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to the Music City. It is not known whether the dispute over the warrant factored into that decision, but it is unprecedented for local police to be left out of security plans during a visit by a first lady.

US Army Preparing for Deadly Forced Against Unarmed US Civilians

US Army Preparing for Deadly Forced Against Unarmed US Civilians

Training to use lethal Force during “Full Scale Riots”

Training manual outlines “sniper response” during crowd control operations

by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON, Infowars.com

Document: Army Preparing to Use Lethal Force Against "Unarmed Civilians" During "Full Scale Riots" in U.S.

A document released by the U.S. Army details preparations for “full scale riots” within the United States during which troops may be forced to engage in a “lethal response” to deal with unruly crowds of demonstrators.

The appearance of the document amidst growing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, with the National Guard now being called in to deal with the disorder, is an ominous coincidence.

The 132-page document, titled U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances (PDF), was written in April 2014 and recently obtained by Public Intelligence.

Soldier fighting military

The document makes it clear that the techniques detailed therein are to be applied both outside andinside the “continental United States (CONUS)” in the event of “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

The training manual outlines scenarios under which, “Civil unrest may range from simple, nonviolent protests that address specific issues, to events that turn into full-scale riots.”

The most shocking aspect of the document is the fact that it describes the deployment of a “lethal response” directed against “unarmed civilians,” including “sniper response” and “small arms direct fire.”

Under the heading “sniper response,” the document states, “Ensure that target leaders or troublemakers are targeted,” in addition to a passage which states, “Exploit the psychological effect of an attack.”

Under the heading “small arms direct fire,” the manual states, “Escalate gradually, starting with a small caliber, single round and work up to a large caliber, automatic.”

Another graphic which depicts “escalation of trauma” directs soldiers how to use “riot batons” in order to cause the necessary level of injury or death to the subject. “Deadly force final target areas” include the back of the neck, the solar plexus, the neck, the spine and the head.

In light of events in Ferguson, where a predominantly black community has faced off with militarized police, it’s interesting to note that the manual makes reference to civil unrest that can arise out of “ethnic hatred” and, “Community unrest (that) results in urban conflicts that arise from highly emotional social and economic issues.” The document also mentions how rioters target “retail stores,” as happened during the looting in Ferguson.

“Significant ethnic differences in a community can create an atmosphere of distrust, even hatred…… (and) can cause an eruption of civil disorder that can lead to full riots,” states the document.

Although the document makes reference to the Constitutional rights of American citizens it goes on to stress that such protections are null and void under a state of emergency, asserting that Posse Comitatus, which is supposed to limit the power of the federal government to use military personnel domestically, “does not apply” under declared “emergency authority” or “When the need for the protection of federal property or federal functions exists.”

Police searching car
Police searching car

It is important to stress that this training manual applies to U.S. Army operations in foreign countries as well as domestically on U.S. soil. Indeed, section 2-18 of the document goes into detail about domestic protests such as the 1999 anti-WTO demonstration in Seattle.

The emergence of the document as National Guard troops prepare to descend on Ferguson, Missouri to deal with looting and civil unrest follows a report we published just a few weeks before the outbreak of the Ferguson riots which documented how National Guard troops were training to detain unruly African-American citizens in prison camps before handing them over to police.

In a special video report, Alex Jones documented how the story was part of wider preparations by the government for domestic disorder that have been ongoing for years.

We have reported previously on similar documents that outline how the U.S. Army would be forced to resort to lethal measures in order to deal with unruly Americans during times of emergency within the United States.

In 2012 we covered FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations, a U.S. Army manual that describes how political activists in prison camps will be indoctrinated by specially assigned psychological operations officers. The document makes numerous references to how government agencies like the DHS, ICE and FEMA will be involved in the domestic internment of U.S. citizens during “civil support operations.”

second US Army Military Police manual that was leaked months later also outlined how military assets would be used domestically to quell riots, confiscate firearms and even kill Americans on U.S. soil during mass civil unrest.

U.S. troops and National Guard also worked with local police to incarcerate Americans in detention camps during drills Alex Jones covered in 1999 in Oakland, California.

A report produced in 2008 by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Institute warned that the United States may experience massive civil unrest in the wake of a series of crises which it termed “strategic shock.”

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” stated the report, authored by [Ret.] Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, adding that the military may be needed to quell “purposeful domestic resistance”.

Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, was established under the pretext of a “mass exodus” of illegal aliens crossing the Mexican/US border.

During the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, however, it was revealed that the program was a secretive “scenario and drill” developed by the federal government to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, assign military commanders to take over state and local governments, and detain large numbers of American citizens determined by the government to be “national security threats.”

Homeland Security spends $450,000 on ‘state of the art’ gym memberships

Homeland Security spends $450,000 on ‘state of the art’ gym memberships

By Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon

DHS martial law homeland security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is spending more than $450,000 on gym memberships for TSA agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees who work desk jobs at a procurement office in Washington, D.C.

Last month, DHS bought gym memberships for ICE workers in its Office of Acquisition to boost their morale and “improve working conditions.”

“As part of the agency-wide Health and Wellness program, sponsored by Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has a requirement to provide ICE employees in Tech World Office at 801 I Street, NW Washington, DC, 20536 with access/membership to a fully comprehensive state-of-the-art health club facility,” the June solicitation said.

On July 7 the agency announced it had purchased 236 gym memberships to Vida Fitness, which describes itself as “more than just a gym,” offering an “Aura Spa, Bang Salon, Fuel Bar, Gear Shop, Endless Pools, luxurious locker rooms, and the rooftop Penthouse Pool and Lounge.”

The government will spend an estimated $400,000 for two-year memberships at the upscale Vida gym located in the Renaissance Hotel on 9th street.

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Police Militarization: The New Search and Seizure

Police Militarization: The New Search and Seizure

By Ted Baumann, The Sovereign Investor

German WWI soldiers

As World War I drew to a close in November 1918, over 2.5 million soldiers of the Imperial German Army remained in the field. They brought training, experience and battle-hardened attitudes with them as they streamed back across Germany’s borders.

These soldaten soon found ways to deploy their skills at home. Supported by Minister of Defense Gustav Noske, right-wingers — including one Corporal Adolf Hitler — organized ex-soldiers into Freikorps, and armed them with surplus military weaponry.

These militia brutally crushed Germany’s nascent post-war democratic movement. For the next 20 years, they provided the core of the feared Brownshirts, street thugs who helped Hitler and the Nazis into power.

Fast forward 100 years. Another faltering empire in domestic political crisis, the United States, brings its own frustrated warriors and their weapons back home …

DHS martial law homeland security

Brownshirts in America — far-fetched? Not at all. They’re already here, this time dressed in black or camo. I’ve already told you about the militarization of our borderlands, using tactics drawn directly from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. I warned then that events there would soon affect you and me.

Related: Brownshirts: “Keep your mouth shut”, Threaten Arrest of Medical Personnel At Illegal Immigrant Camps Along US Border

ATF Police
ATF Police

I was right. A few weeks ago, a police paramilitary unit raided a house not too far from my home in Atlanta, in search of a teenager suspected of dealing drugs. Upon breaking down the door, they lobbed a flash bang grenade into the crib of a two-year-old child, Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, blowing a hole in the infant’s chest. The teenager they were searching for — a relative in the family — did not even live in that house.

This is the norm in today’s America. The American Civil Liberties Union recently released a report documenting the explosive growth of paramilitary police forces like the one that assaulted Bou Bou.

Originally intended for hostage situations and shootouts, police paramilitaries are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, largely for routine jobs such as search warrants or municipal code violations — all within our own borders.

DHS Armored Personnel Carrier
DHS Armored Personnel Carrier

Related: Police Dept Quietly Preparing For War

These boys have some really nasty “toys.”

Since the late 1980s, the Department of Defense’s Program 1033 has transferred tons of military-grade weaponry, including machine guns, tanks and aircraft, to state and local police departments, free of charge.

As our Middle Eastern wars degenerated into counterinsurgencies, these weapons have become more and more oriented to the sort of urban “combat” that SWAT teams seem to think is their mission.

Related: Boston Police Conduct Military Style Raid in Residential Area, No Warrant

Police aiming at home DHS
Police In Boston in Armored Humvee aiming at home. Picture taken from Homeowners window.

None of this would have happened, however, if America’s police hadn’t embraced the opportunity to go military with such gusto. Indeed, America’s police culture long ago abandoned any pretense at a Mayberry-style “Officer Friendly” approach.

With few exceptions, police now see themselves as an occupying army, confronting a population where every individual is a potential “hostile.” Police routinely refer to their daily beats as “tours,” and to interaction with potential criminals as “combat.”

Related: Government Now Says Americans Protecting Themselves Are Extremist

Related:  Homeland Security Building Checkpoints Far From Border, Stopping US Citizens

What accounts for this radical change in attitudes? Where’s Sheriff Andy Taylor? The influx of former military personnel into domestic policing jobs definitely plays a role. So too does the glorification of force that goes with being a militaristic empire surrounded by imagined enemies.

More important, however, is the profound change in the relationship between citizen and government in America since 9/11.

In everything that matters, we citizens are no longer treated as the “employers” of civil servants like police, to whom they are accountable, but as the object of government’s efforts to impose its own independent will.

From the President, to the  National Security Agency, to your local sheriff’s office, a sense of impunity and utter lack of accountability reigns supreme.

Aiding and Abetting

Today’s police are recruited and trained in a carefully cultivated atmosphere of us vs. them that treats the rest of us as potential threats to be neutralized, not as citizens to be served and protected.

But every policeman in the country is theoretically accountable to representatives elected by the citizenry. If America’s police are out of control, it’s because those elected officials aren’t doing their jobs. And that means we aren’t, either.

Many citizens of interwar Germany’s Weimar Republic craved “law and order” to such an extent that they were willing to overlook blatant abuses of basic rights and freedoms, as long as they were directed at “others.”

Political opponents were deemed not to be “real Germans.” As political temperatures rose, the militaristic skills and attitudes developed on the Western and Eastern fronts of 1914-18 were increasingly substituted for democratic debate and process. Many Germans thought this was fine, because the ascendant forces seemed to favor their own interests.

Then came Hitler. As the courageous theologian Martin Niemöller wrote shortly after his release from a Nazi concentration camp:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Americans would do well to meditate on Pastor Niemöller’s words. Too many of us are guilty of looking the other way as our politicians allow America’s police forces to morph into heavily armed, unaccountable paramilitary thugs.

Doesn’t sound believable in America, does it?  Already this year there have been numerous confrontations by police in military style uniforms, firearms, and vehicles invading neighborhoods without warrants looking for a thug (see story).

Related: Police can now search cars without Warrants 

Also this year, the Bureau of Land Management, a Federal group responsible for protecting lands and animals surrounded a family farm and held them at gun point using 200 armed agents plus 12 snipers. Why would an agencies that protects wildlife have a military style army when we already have so many other agencies with armed protection? (see story)

US Government coming for preppers DHS police See: Government Coming After Preppers