Granted that it's not a breaking update on the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus or more State Department anti-Russian agitprop, but the leak of the US governments secret "rulebook" on how people are placed on "terrorist" watch lists is big news and this is precisely why the corrupt state-corporate media ignored it or mentioned it only briefly prior to relegating it to the memory hole. The document - clocking in at 166 pages - was published at the new online magazine The Intercept in a story written by journalists Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux entitled "Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook for Labeling You a Terrorist" despite protestations from Obama's rat bastard Attorney General Eric Holder. This is a hugely important story in that ever since September 11, 2001 - the day that changed everything - Americans have been subjected to an endless series of unconstitutional invasions of privacy, warrantless mass surveillance, stripping away of civil liberties under the pretense of fear and myriad other indignities yet it merits no national attention.
One of the big reasons for the ignoring of the publication of the watchlist rules, other than the obvious intimidation tactics of Holder's DOJ is that there were enhancements made by Mr. Transparency himself - President Barack Obama who has proved to be the biggest ripoff in history when it comes to products. People have been catching on to the ever more dismal Obama's con game to the point where he is only able to fool the low-information types (of which there are legion in The Homeland) and the sycophantic, brainless apologists who are the O-Bots. Make no mistake about it though that Obama is not only as monstrous a criminal as his predecessor but still has over two years to complete the wrecking spree and if as all indications are correct start an insane and stupid conflict with nuclear power Russia that could incinerate all of us even before Queen Hillary the Inevitable assumes office in January 2017.
The criteria that the government uses to trap more often than not innocent citizens (as well as political enemies) in a Kafkaesque limbo has been one of the most closely guarded secrets in that it is essential that the growing powers of the fascist police state never be subject to legal challenge and the rules were among the crown jewels of our rogue, secret state - until the Intercept story that is. It is a very long report and I encourage everyone to not only read it but to pass the links around before the big crackdown comes. I excerpt from the story below:
The rulebook, which The Intercept is publishing in full, was developed behind closed doors by representatives of the nation’s intelligence, military, and law-enforcement establishment, including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI. Emblazoned with the crests of 19 agencies, it offers the most complete and revealing look into the secret history of the government’s terror list policies to date. It reveals a confounding and convoluted system filled with exceptions to its own rules, and it relies on the elastic concept of “reasonable suspicion” as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat. Because the government tracks “suspected terrorists” as well as “known terrorists,” individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being a suspected terrorist, or if they are suspected of associating with people who are suspected of terrorism activity.
“Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” says Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.” Shamsi, who reviewed the document, added, “These criteria should never have been kept secret.”
The document’s definition of “terrorist” activity includes actions that fall far short of bombing or hijacking. In addition to expected crimes, such as assassination or hostage-taking, the guidelines also define destruction of government property and damaging computers used by financial institutions as activities meriting placement on a list. They also define as terrorism any act that is “dangerous” to property and intended to influence government policy through intimidation.
This combination—a broad definition of what constitutes terrorism and a low threshold for designating someone a terrorist—opens the way to ensnaring innocent people in secret government dragnets. It can also be counterproductive. When resources are devoted to tracking people who are not genuine risks to national security, the actual threats get fewer resources—and might go unnoticed.
“If reasonable suspicion is the only standard you need to label somebody, then it’s a slippery slope we’re sliding down here, because then you can label anybody anything,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent with experience running high-profile terrorism investigations. “Because you appear on a telephone list of somebody doesn’t make you a terrorist. That’s the kind of information that gets put in there.”
The fallout is personal too. There are severe consequences for people unfairly labeled a terrorist by the U.S. government, which shares its watchlist data with local law enforcement, foreign governments, and “private entities.” Once the U.S. government secretly labels you a terrorist or terrorist suspect, other institutions tend to treat you as one. It can become difficult to get a job (or simply to stay out of jail). It can become burdensome—or impossible—to travel. And routine encounters with law enforcement can turn into ordeals.
The guidelines provide the clearest explanation yet of what is happening when Americans and foreigners are pulled aside at airports and border crossings by government agents. The fifth chapter, titled “Encounter Management and Analysis,” details the type of information that is targeted for collection during “encounters” with people on the watchlists, as well as the different organizations that should collect the data. The Department of Homeland Security is described as having the largest number of encounters, but other authorities, ranging from the State Department and Coast Guard to foreign governments and “certain private entities,” are also involved in assembling “encounter packages” when watchlisted individuals cross their paths. The encounters can be face-to-face meetings or electronic interactions—for instance, when a watchlisted individual applies for a visa.
In addition to data like fingerprints, travel itineraries, identification documents and gun licenses, the rules encourage screeners to acquire health insurance information, drug prescriptions, “any cards with an electronic strip on it (hotel cards, grocery cards, gift cards, frequent flyer cards),” cellphones, email addresses, binoculars, peroxide, bank account numbers, pay stubs, academic transcripts, parking and speeding tickets, and want ads. The digital information singled out for collection includes social media accounts, cell phone lists, speed dial numbers, laptop images, thumb drives, iPods, Kindles, and cameras. All of the information is then uploaded to the TIDE database.
Screeners are also instructed to collect data on any “pocket litter,” scuba gear, EZ Passes, library cards, and the titles of any books, along with information about their condition—”e.g., new, dog-eared, annotated, unopened.” Business cards and conference materials are also targeted, as well as “anything with an account number” and information about any gold or jewelry worn by the watchlisted individual. Even “animal information”—details about pets from veterinarians or tracking chips—is requested. The rulebook also encourages the collection of biometric or biographical data about the travel partners of watchlisted individuals.
Again, it is a long story so please go and read it yourself - the above segment relating to the TSA government thug at airports is the license to steal with impunity that one would normally associate with the actions of a banana republic dictatorship - not that Obama hasn't done his damned level best to turn this country into one. The ability to steal the personal items of travelers including pricey electronics devices is yet another one of the fringe benefits that the goons who staff the checkpoints get along with herding attractive women into rooms for private 'searches", feeling up little children and humiliating old ladies in medical diapers. The surveillance system is the absolute lynchpin of the totalitarian state that we are being transformed into and this is a rare glimpse at the vague and arbitrary rules that are used by the government against its powerless citizen victims.
We now live in a society that has been reduced to predators and
prey, masters and serfs, cops and little people and vampires and cattle - every leak of official government material only bolsters the case that we are no longer as free is often advertised by the mouthpieces of the establishment.