20AUG2014: NO Warning – ARMY TO CONTINUE ‘BLACK HELICOPTER’ TRAINING OVER TWIN CITIES DESPITE ANGER


Unannounced drills blasted as “outrageous” by city councilor

(Paul Joseph Watson) – The U.S. Army is set to continue training exercises involving low flying “black helicopters” over Minneapolis and St. Paul tonight despite residents and local officials expressing outrage at the danger posed by the unannounced drills.

With the agreement of local police departments, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment out of Fort Campbell Kentucky has been conducting the exercises, which involve low flying Night Stalker black hawk helicopters buzzing over rooftops and in between buildings, since Monday and will continue with the drills through until Thursday evening.

Similar drills were conducted over the twin cities in 2012, before which police gave residents three days notice. This time the exercises were completely unannounced, prompting panicked locals to flood 911 and non-emergency lines.

With both law enforcement and the Army refusing to divulge precisely what the exercise is supposed to accomplish, residents and city councilors complained bitterly at taxpayer money being wasted on the exercise.

“I think it’s outrageous,” said St. Paul City Council member Chris Tolbert. “We’re going to have Black Hawks flying at a low level over a densely populated urban area without any notice at all? I had helicopters shaking my house at 11:57 last night. They were right over the trees.”

His sentiments were echoed by city council member Dave Thune, who slammed the drills as “incredibly unsafe.”

“When you’ve got Blackhawk helicopters flying between buildings full of people in the middle of the night, it’s just not safe … It’s absolutely wrong for us as a civilian police department to engage in military exercises. It shouldn’t happen here,” said Thune.

Pioneer Press reporter Joe Soucheray, who described how the low flying choppers literally shook his house, criticized authorities for failing to provide advance warning or information about the training program.

“We are supposed to be good and quiet little citizens who don’t ask too many questions,” wrote Soucheray. “Go back into your basements, folks. We’re just doing a little buzzing over your roof, maybe dropping a SEAL down a rope or whatever we feel like doing. You all just move along.”

Soucheray took issue with residents being treated like “guinea pigs,” writing, “These exercises have to be incredibly dangerous. Large, fast, essentially blacked-out helicopters are flying over a packed urban center, between downtown St. Paul buildings where people live.”

Minneapolis resident Daniel Feidt told CBS Minnesota that the training was “a waste of taxpayer money,” remarking, “It’s inappropriate for Special Forces to be operating in American cities.”

Tonya Tennessen, spokeswoman for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, justified the exercises by citing 9/11, commenting, “In a post-9/11 world, this is how homeland security happens. … These exercises are taking place in cities all over the country.”

Maj. Allen Hill denied eyewitness reports that military personnel were seen rappelling onto the top of the Federal Reserve building in downtown Minneapolis.

Back in May we reported on similar drills in Kentucky and Cincinnati which were described by eyewitnesses as resembling something out of a war zone.

In 2012, Miami residents were shocked to be awoken by a military exercise in the middle of the night which involved helicopters, fighter jets, along with simulated gunfire and grenades. Black Hawk helicopters also flew low over Los Angeles during a military drill the same year.

Back in March, we reported on Department of Defense exercises in Broward County during which low flying military helicopters landed on city buildings in Fort Lauderdale. According to a local reporter, the drills were centered around, “scaring the crap out of people”.

As we have previously explained, many see the drills as a means of acclimatizing people to accept the prospect of martial law. Some in Minneapolis and St. Paul have suggested that police departments agreed to host the drills in return for military equipment from the Pentagon.

As we have seen in Ferguson, Missouri over the last 10 days, such gear is being used to target protesters, journalists and silence the First Amendment as America increasingly begins to resemble a banana republic.

Read Original: http://www.infowars.com/army-to-continue-black-helicopter-training-over-twin-cities-despite-anger/

ALSO READ: DEESCALATING THE POLICE

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18AUG2014: New Army Manual Calls for the Use of Lethal Force Against Peaceful Protesters


***MAYDAY***

(Dave Hodges) – The new Army manual, known as ATP 3-39.33, provides discussion and techniques about civil disturbances and crowd control operations that occur in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS).

This document, just published this past Friday, August 15, 2014, promises to change the way the “authorities” deal with protesters, even peaceful ones. The consequences of ATP 39.33 could prove deadly for protesters. Further, the provisions of this Army manual could prove to be the end of the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble.

 

Army-CivilDisturbances-2014

 

In section 1-2., the manual states that  “Civil unrest may range from simple, nonviolent protests that address specific issues, to events that turn into full-scale riots“. This section of the manual clearly states that protesting is a right protected by the Constitution. However, the authorities leave themselves an out to “legally” engage in lethal force toward protesters when the manual states that “peaceful protests can turn into full-scale riots” and field commanders have the right to make that determination. Subsequently, all protests, peaceful or not, need to be managed by the potential for violence. In other words, all protests are to be considered to be violent and handled accordingly. This certainly explains the violent manhandling of the media by the DHS controlled and militarized police in Ferguson, MO.

Posse Comitatus Is Violated

On the surface, the Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC 1385) act should prevent the Army from deploying the troops in the midst of a protest that is not on the scale of something like the 1992 LA Riots. However, the Army claims exemption from Posse Comitatus in the four following areas.

  • 10 USC 331. When a state is unable to control domestic violence and they have requested federal assistance, the use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.

  • 10 USC 332. When ordinary enforcement means are unworkable due to unlawful obstructions or rebellion against the authority of the United States, use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.

  • 10 USC 333. When a state cannot or will not protect the constitutional rights of the citizens, due to domestic violence or conspiracy to hinder execution of State or Federal law, the use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.

  • House Joint Resolution 1292. This resolution directs all departments of the U.S. government, upon request of the Secret Service, to assist in carrying out its statutory duties to protect government officials and major political candidates from physical harm.

 

With regard to 10 USC 331, if the local authorities have lost control in the midst of a profound display of domestic violence (e.g. LA Riots), most Americans support the use of National Guard or the military.  However, in 10 USC 332, 333 and House Joint Resolution 1292 are ripe with exceptions which opens the door to federal authorities abusing the public for exercising their Constitutional right to protest.

In 10 USC 332, the phrase “unlawful obstructions or rebellion against the authority of the United States, use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized”  and this permits the federal government from being demonstrated against. An act of demonstration, or the most benign demonstrations of civil disobedience gives the government the authority to take “deadly action” against the public  because there are no clear distinctions on when the use of lethal and nonlethal force is appropriate (see the two charts displayed below).


murietta 2

 

In 10 USC 333, any disruption of federal law can be decisively dealt with by the federal government. The phrase “…conspiracy to hinder execution of State or Federal law, the use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized” is a telling passage of this Army document. If 10 USC 333 is applied to the letter of the written Army policy, the protesters who recently objected to illegal aliens being deposited in Murietta, California, could be subject to deadly force. Further, the protesters in Ferguson could be subject to the use of lethal force as well (Again, see the charts below).

The next time a community decides that it does not want to accept illegal immigrants, or protest the shooting of an unarmed 18 year old,  they could be met by the following:

 

swat team ferguson

 

 

No more protests.

 

The fourth exception claimed by the Army with regard to the Army’s right to violate Posse Comitatus, is presented to the American people under the veil of the need to protect politicians.

House Resolution 1292 claims any protest which makes a public official feel “threatened” would be illegal and subject to intervention by the U.S. Army. Hypothetically, if 100 protesters were to gather outside of Senator John McCain’s office in Phoenix, would that be enough to trigger a violent response by the Army? If McCain says he feels threatened, regardless if his claims are legitimate or not, it most certainly would justify the strongest response possible from the Army. Therefore, all a politician has to do is to say they feel threatened by any gathering to have the gathering dispersed and the protesters dealt with in any manner seen fit by the field commander. Make no mistake about it, this is the end of the First Amendment’s right peaceably assemble.

 Army Depictions On How Best to Kill An American Citizen Who Expresses Disagreement with the Government

 

Do you remember the uproar when DHS was caught distributing target practicing sheets of pregnant women to be used for DHS agents when they were engaged in target practicing?

 

dhs target 2

 

And of course, I am certain that you recall the use of an elderly person’s image to be used by DHS agents for the same purpose. The implication is clear; The American people are the new terrorists.

 

dhs target 1

Below, is the graphic depiction of the Army’s version of a terrorist and worse yet, there are instructions on how to best maim and kill an American citizen who is engaged in their Constitutional right to protest

 

How to best kill and maim an American.

 

The second chart is a sample guideline on when the application of lethal force is appropriate to be applied to protesters. Please note the ambiguity with regard to the application of lethal force. It is also noteworthy to point out that the following chart provides for the planned use of snipers to target the perceived leaders of a protest. These procedures remind one of the events in Kiev prior to the ouster of the Russian-friendly Prime Minister. It would appear that CIA agents were beta testing these procedures in Kiev prior to the coup.

 

 

army use of lethal force

Conclusion

ATP 39.33 is quite clear in its intent which is to eliminate the act of protesting from the American landscape. More disturbingly, the right to summarily execute peaceful protesters is contained in this Army manual due to the purposeful ambiguity of when it is appropriate to use deadly force against protesters.This Army manual is an example of hard core, in-your-face martial law befitting the most violent regimes in the history of the planet.

There is another message contained in ATP 39.33 and that is the clear anticipation that the American people are going to feel the need to be protesting in earnest in the foreseeable future. What exactly are the American people going to feel compelled to protest that remains unspecified in this manual? Could it be resistance to mandatory Ebola vaccinations? Could we be looking at food riots in the future? Will it be a currency collapse that puts Americans in the street? Will America rise up and say no to the plans for World War III and the coming conscription of both potential military personnel and a civilian labor slave force as described under Executive Order 13603?

Not only should this document be a frightening wake-up call for all Americans, it should also serve as a warning for what is to come.

Read Original: http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2014/08/18/new-army-manual-calls-for-the-use-of-lethal-force-against-peaceful-protesters/

Also Read: DEESCALATING THE POLICE by JACK MULLEN

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14AUG2014: The Military Occupation Of Ferguson, Missouri Is Just A Preview Of What Is Coming To America


(The American Dream) – Let’s be honest – Ferguson, Missouri is under military occupation right now, and the entire world is watching in horror as militarized police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed protesters.  Yes, the rioting and looting in Ferguson needed to be stopped.  If order had not been restored, more stores and businesses would have been destroyed.  However, there is no excuse for the brutal tactics now being employed.  At one point, police snipers were even using laser scopes to target protesters that were obviously unarmed.  Sadly, this is just a preview of what is coming to America in the years ahead.  As the economy falls apart and people become even more angry and even more frustrated, there will be a lot more incidents of civil unrest like we have just witnessed in Ferguson.  And in response, the federal government and our overly militarized police will seek to crush those uprisings with overwhelming force.  How is it possible that our once very peaceful nation has fallen apart so dramatically?

What we just watched happen in Ferguson was truly bizarre.  If you didn’t know any better, you might have thought that you were looking at images from a really bad post-apocalyptic disaster movie.

The following is how the New Yorker described the scene…

Last night, as the images and stories from Ferguson, Missouri, joined the news churn, many who registered their thoughts via social media noted that what they were seeing—policemen with dogs and AR-15 assault rifles standing in a Stygian, blue-lit cloud of tear gas; crowds of protesters with their hands in the air, screaming “Hands up, don’t shoot”; members of the press being removed from the scene—did not look like America.

And I will certainly agree with that.

It did not look like America.  At least not the America that I grew up in.

In a WND article, one woman was quoted as saying that it looked “like something right off the streets of Iraq”…

Cheryl Chumley has been watching developments in Missouri, where Michael Brown was shot over the weekend, and just overnight two more people were shot, including one by police.

Armored vehicles on patrol, Kevlar-wearing, camouflage dressed officials carting high-powered rifles, tear gas wafting through the air – sounds like something right off the streets of Iraq. But it’s not. It’s actually the scene that’s playing out in Ferguson right now, with SWAT-type police taking to the residential streets for crowd control duties,” she said.

Was all of this really necessary?

The rioting and the looting had already ended.  Was there really a need to fire tear gas at unarmed people?

In the YouTube video posted below, you can see footage of some of the craziness that took place…

And in this next YouTube video, there is footage of one protester holding his head after being hit directly in the face with a rubber bullet by the police…

In this day and age, images like this spread like wildfire.  Thanks to social media, people all over the country and all over the planet will get a first-hand look at how brutal our militarized police have become.

And the more attention this gets, the more likely that it is that violence will spread to more cities.  Already, a major protest is being planned for Sunday directly in front of police headquarters in Los Angeles.  A man was shot and killed on Monday by the LAPD and people are upset about it.  They have seen what has been happening in Ferguson and now they want to take action.

But wherever civil unrest does erupt, our militarized police will certainly be there to quickly stamp it out.  As a recent Slate article detailed, the militarization of our police has reached unprecedented heights in recent years…

Since 2006, according to an analysis by the New York Times, police departments have acquired 435 armored vehicles, 533 planes, 93,763 machine guns, and 432 mine-resistant armored trucks. Overall, since Congress established its program to transfer military hardware, local and state police departments have received $4.3 billion worth of equipment. Accordingly, the value of military equipment used by these police agencies has increased from $1 million in 1990 to $324 million in 1995 (shortly after the program was established), to nearly $450 million in 2013.

And when police get all of this equipment, it is inevitable that they are going to use it.  One result of this has been the astounding increase in the number of SWAT team raids in America.  The following numbers come from my previous article entitled “10 Facts About The SWATification Of America That Everyone Should Know“…

#1 In 1980, there were approximately 3,000 SWAT raids in the United States.  Now, there are more than 80,000 SWAT raids per year in this country.

#2 79 percent of the time, SWAT teams are deployed to private homes.

#3 50 percent of the victims of SWAT raids are either black or Latino.

#4 In 65 percent of SWAT deployments, “a battering ram, boot, or some sort of explosive device” is used to gain forced entry to a home.

#5 62 percent of all SWAT raids involve a search for drugs.

#6 In at least 36 percent of all SWAT raids, “no contraband of any kind” is found by the police.

#7 In cases where it is suspected that there is a weapon in the home, police only find a weapon 35 percent of the time.

#8 More than 100 American families have their homes raided by SWAT teamsevery single day.

#9 Only 7 percent of all SWAT deployments are for “hostage, barricade or active-shooter scenarios”.

#10 Even small towns are getting SWAT teams now.  30 years ago, only 25.6 percent of communities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team.  Now, that number has increased to 80 percent.

And of course African-American communities receive a greatly disproportionate amount of attention from our militarized police.  Just imagine how you would feel if every time you saw a police officer you cringed in fear because you might be about to get searched again.  The following is how author Michelle Alexander put it in her book “The New Jim Crow“…

Ultimately, these stop-and-frisk operations amount to much more than humiliating, demeaning rituals for young men of color, who must raise their arms and spread their legs, always careful not to make a sudden move or gesture that could provide an excuse for brutal — even lethal — force.

Like the days when black men were expected to step off the sidewalk and cast their eyes downward when a white woman passed, young black men know the drill when they see the police crossing the street toward them; it is a ritual of dominance and submission played out hundreds of thousands of times each year.

So what can we do about this?

How can we change the system?

How can we reverse this alarming militarization of our police?

Unfortunately, our system has become so corrupt that there is very little that we can do.  In fact, one newly released study discovered that average Americans have a “near-zero” statistical impact on public policy…

A startling new political science study concludes that corporate interests and mega wealthy individuals control U.S. policy to such a degree that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

The startling study, titled “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics and was authored by Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin Page. An early draft can be found here.

Noted American University Historian Allan J. Lichtman, who highlighted the piece in a Tuesday article published in The Hill, calls Gilens and Page’s research “shattering” and says their scholarship “should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government.”

 

Read original here: http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-military-occupation-of-ferguson-missouri-is-just-a-preview-of-what-is-coming-to-america

ALSO READ: DEESCALATING THE POLICE

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14AUG2014: HEADS UP TUCSON – MILITARY URBAN WARFARE TRAINING WITH LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT


The Tucson Police Department announced on their Facebook page to notify the public there will be increased military presence in and around the City of Tucson through the end of today. There will be increased military presence and helicopter traffic during the urban warfare training. These exercises will be coordinated with City and County officials.

Read more here: http://www.arizonadailyindependent.com/2014/08/12/weve-only-just-begun-carpenters/#sthash.Bhx2fISl.dpuf

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SANDY HOOK BEHIND THE SCENES UNANSWERED QUESTIONS – Facts and Recollections


PART 1 – THE WRECKING BALL

by Stephanie Sledge | Opinion | 31 JULY2014

Newtown, you are not alone” ~ Barack Obama: Prayer Vigil for Connecticut Shooting Victims

As a country, we have been through this too many times.” ~Barack Obama

The alleged Sandy Hook school shooting, which took place on December 14, 2012, was quite the show and I am still waiting to see if the cast will be receiving an Academy Award for the best theatrical insanity in the ‘Wreck America’ category. The hidden agenda connected with the “shooting” at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut is apparently too deep for most Americans to decipher and understand. The plotters and planners of this allegedly scripted event continues to be interpreted (by those paying attention) as a deep act of criminal deception, which used false representations to gain an unjust advantage over the nation, while leaving a trail of injuries to the rights of the American People.

Behind the curtain, a contrived piece of planned trickery continues to have a deep impact upon the Citizens of America. In my opinion, there were a lot of mistakes made by those with the criminal minds involved, which led to the toughest gun control measures ever passed in the State of Connecticut. More repercussions will follow as a result of this travesty.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE 

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MOVIE REVIEW: “AMERICA” 

MOVIE REVIEW – “AMERICA”


“The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining super capitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control…. Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent.” – Congressman Larry P. McDonald, 1976

“We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.” – David Rockefeller

by Jack Mullen  | 30JULY 2014

Warning : spoiler possible.

Dinesh D’Souza, India born researcher, author and producer of documentaries is out with a new documentary based on his book of the same name, “America: Imagine a World Without Her.” [1]

Note: This documentary and D’Souza’s highly successful “ 2016: Obama’s America” documentary are likely the reason D’Souza was investigated and charged with violation of campaign finance laws for “making illegal campaign contributions”.  [2]

“America” begins not by praising American history and the men and women who made her great, but by examining criticisms of the country and noting the many psychological operations in progress undermining the nation through programmed guilt.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW HERE

23JUL2014: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist


Retrieved: anewworldsociety.ning.com

( Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux) – The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

Over the years, the Obama and Bush Administrations have fiercely resisted disclosing the criteria for placing names on the databases—though the guidelines are officially labeled as unclassified. In May, Attorney General Eric Holder even invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent watchlisting guidelines from being disclosed in litigation launched by an American who was on the no fly list. In an affidavit, Holder called them a “clear roadmap” to the government’s terrorist-tracking apparatus, adding: “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.”

Blacklisted  The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a TerroristThe Intercept1

nomination_chart

In 2012 Tim Healy, the former director of the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, described to CBS News how watchlists are used by police officers. “So if you are speeding, you get pulled over, they’ll query that name,” he said. “And if they are encountering a known or suspected terrorist, it will pop up and say call the Terrorist Screening Center…. So now the officer on the street knows he may be dealing with a known or suspected terrorist.” Of course, the problem is that the “known or suspected terrorist” might just be an ordinary citizen who should not be treated as a menace to public safety.

Until 2001, the government did not prioritize building a watchlist system. On 9/11, the government’s list of people barred from flying included just 16 names. Today, the no fly list has swelled to tens of thousands of “known or suspected terrorists” (the guidelines refer to them as KSTs). The selectee list subjects people to extra scrutiny and questioning at airports and border crossings. The government has created several other databases, too. The largest is the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), which gathers terrorism information from sensitive military and intelligence sources around the world. Because it contains classified information that cannot be widely distributed, there is yet another list, the Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, which has been stripped of TIDE’s classified data so that it can be shared. When government officials refer to “the watchlist,” they are typically referring to the TSDB. (TIDE is the responsibility of the National Counterterrorism Center; the TSDB is managed by the Terrorist Screening Center at the FBI.)

In a statement, a spokesman for the National Counterterrorism Center told The Intercept that “the watchlisting system is an important part of our layered defense to protect the United States against future terrorist attacks” and that “watchlisting continues to mature to meet an evolving, diffuse threat.” He added that U.S. citizens are afforded extra protections to guard against improper listing, and that no one can be placed on a list solely for activities protected by the First Amendment. A representative of the Terrorist Screening Center did not respond to a request for comment.

The system has been criticized for years. In 2004, Sen. Ted Kennedy complained that he was barred from boarding flights on five separate occasions because his name resembled the alias of a suspected terrorist. Two years later, CBS News obtained a copy of the no fly list and reported that it included Bolivian president Evo Morales and Lebanese parliament head Nabih Berri. One of the watchlists snared Mikey Hicks, a Cub Scout who got his first of many airport pat-downs at age two. In 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general issued a scathing report identifying “significant weaknesses” in the system. And in 2009, after a Nigerian terrorist was able to board a passenger flight to Detroit and nearly detonated a bomb sewn into his underwear despite his name having been placed on the TIDE list, President Obama admitted that there had been a “systemic failure.”

Obama hoped that his response to the “underwear bomber” would be a turning point. In 2010, he gave increased powers and responsibilities to the agencies that nominate individuals to the lists, placing pressure on them to add names. His administration also issued a set of new guidelines for the watchlists. Problems persisted, however. In 2012, the U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report that bluntly noted there was no agency responsible for figuring out “whether watchlist-related screening or vetting is achieving intended results.” The guidelines were revised and expanded in 2013—and a source within the intelligence community subsequently provided a copy to The Intercept.

tbu2

“Concrete facts are not necessary”

The five chapters and 11 appendices of the “Watchlisting Guidance” are filled with acronyms, legal citations, and numbered paragraphs; it reads like an arcane textbook with a vocabulary all its own. Different types of data on suspected terrorists are referred to as “derogatory information,” “substantive derogatory information,” “extreme derogatory information” and “particularized derogatory information.” The names of suspected terrorists are passed along a bureaucratic ecosystem of “originators,” “nominators,” “aggregators,” “screeners,” and “encountering agencies.” And “upgrade,” usually a happy word for travellers, is repurposed to mean that an individual has been placed on a more restrictive list.

The heart of the document revolves around the rules for placing individuals on a watchlist. “All executive departments and agencies,” the document says, are responsible for collecting and sharing information on terrorist suspects with the National Counterterrorism Center. It sets a low standard—”reasonable suspicion“—for placing names on the watchlists, and offers a multitude of vague, confusing, or contradictory instructions for gauging it. In the chapter on “Minimum Substantive Derogatory Criteria”—even the title is hard to digest—the key sentence on reasonable suspicion offers little clarity:

“To meet the REASONABLE SUSPICION standard, the NOMINATOR, based on the totality of the circumstances, must rely upon articulable intelligence or information which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrants a determination that an individual is known or suspected to be or has been knowingly engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to TERRORISM and/or TERRORIST ACTIVITIES.”

The rulebook makes no effort to define an essential phrase in the passage—”articulable intelligence or information.” After stressing that hunches are not reasonable suspicion and that “there must be an objective factual basis” for labeling someone a terrorist, it goes on to state that no actual facts are required:

“In determining whether a REASONABLE SUSPICION exists, due weight should be given to the specific reasonable inferences that a NOMINATOR is entitled to draw from the facts in light of his/her experience and not on unfounded suspicions or hunches. Although irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary, to be reasonable, suspicion should be as clear and as fully developed as circumstances permit.”

While the guidelines nominally prohibit nominations based on unreliable information, they explicitly regard “uncorroborated” Facebook or Twitter posts as sufficient grounds for putting an individual on one of the watchlists. “Single source information,” the guidelines state, “including but not limited to ‘walk-in,’ ‘write-in,’ or postings on social media sites, however, should not automatically be discounted … the NOMINATING AGENCY should evaluate the credibility of the source, as well as the nature and specificity of the information, and nominate even if that source is uncorroborated.”

There are a number of loopholes for putting people onto the watchlists even if reasonable suspicion cannot be met.

One is clearly defined: The immediate family of suspected terrorists—their spouses, children, parents, or siblings—may be watchlisted without any suspicion that they themselves are engaged in terrorist activity. But another loophole is quite broad—”associates” who have a defined relationship with a suspected terrorist, but whose involvement in terrorist activity is not known. A third loophole is broader still—individuals with “a possible nexus” to terrorism, but for whom there is not enough “derogatory information” to meet the reasonable suspicion standard.

Americans and foreigners can be nominated for the watchlists if they are associated with a terrorist group, even if that group has not been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. They can also be treated as “representatives” of a terrorist group even if they have “neither membership in nor association with the organization.” The guidelines do helpfully note that certain associations, such as providing janitorial services or delivering packages, are not grounds for being watchlisted.

The nomination system appears to lack meaningful checks and balances. Although government officials have repeatedly said there is a rigorous process for making sure no one is unfairly placed in the databases, the guidelines acknowledge that all nominations of “known terrorists” are considered justified unless the National Counterterrorism Center has evidence to the contrary. In a recent court filing, the government disclosed that there were 468,749 KST nominations in 2013, of which only 4,915 were rejected–a rate of about one percent. The rulebook appears to invert the legal principle of due process, defining nominations as “presumptively valid.”

Read rest of article here: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/07/23/blacklisted/

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