Aletho News


Conspirators for the Constitution: When Anti-Government Speech Becomes Sedition

By John & Nisha Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | May 30, 2023

Let’s be clear about one thing: seditious conspiracy isn’t a real crime to anyone but the U.S. government.

To be convicted of seditious conspiracy, the charge levied against Stewart Rhodes who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for being the driving force behind the January 6 Capitol riots, one doesn’t have to engage in violence against the government, vandalize government property, or even trespass on property that the government has declared off-limits to the general public.

To be convicted of seditious conspiracy, one need only foment a revolution.

This is not about whether Rhodes deserves such a hefty sentence.

This is about the long-term ramifications of empowering the government to wage war on individuals whose political ideas and expression challenge the government’s power, reveal the government’s corruption, expose the government’s lies, and encourage the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.

This is about criminalizing political expression in thoughts, words and deeds.

This is about how the government has used the events of Jan. 6 in order to justify further power grabs and acquire more authoritarian emergency powers.

This was never about so-called threats to democracy.

In fact, the history of this nation is populated by individuals whose rhetoric was aimed at fomenting civil unrest and revolution.

Indeed, by the government’s own definition, America’s founders were seditious conspirators based on the heavily charged rhetoric they used to birth the nation.

Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Marquis De Lafayette, and John Adams would certainly have been charged for suggesting that Americans should not only take up arms but be prepared to protect their liberties and defend themselves against the government should it violate their rights.

Had America’s founders feared revolutionary words and ideas, there would have been no First Amendment, which protects the right to political expression, even if that expression is anti-government.

No matter what one’s political persuasion might be, every American has a First Amendment right to protest government programs or policies with which they might disagree.

The right to disagree with and speak out against the government is the quintessential freedom.

Every individual has a right to speak truth to power—and foment change—using every nonviolent means available.

Unfortunately, the government is increasingly losing its tolerance for anyone whose political views could be perceived as critical or “anti-government.”

All of us are in danger.

In recent years, the government has used the phrase “domestic terrorist” interchangeably with “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” to describe anyone who might fall somewhere on a very broad spectrum of viewpoints that could be considered “dangerous.”

The ramifications are so far-reaching as to render almost every American with an opinion about the government or who knows someone with an opinion about the government an extremist in word, deed, thought or by association.

Get ready for the next phase of the government’s war on thought crimes and truth-tellers.

For years now, the government has used all of the weapons in its vast arsenal—surveillance, threat assessments, fusion centers, pre-crime programs, hate crime laws, militarized police, lockdowns, martial law, etc.—to target potential enemies of the state based on their ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that might be deemed suspicious or dangerous.

For instance, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Moreover, as a New York Times editorial warns, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the police if you are afraid that the government is plotting to confiscate your firearms, if you believe the economy is about to collapse and the government will soon declare martial law, or if you display an unusual number of political and/or ideological bumper stickers on your car.

According to one FBI report, you might also be classified as a domestic terrorism threat if you espouse conspiracy theories, especially if you “attempt to explain events or circumstances as the result of a group of actors working in secret to benefit themselves at the expense of others” and are “usually at odds with official or prevailing explanations of events.”

In other words, if you dare to subscribe to any views that are contrary to the government’s, you might already be flagged as potentially anti-government in a government database somewhere—Main Core, for example—that identifies and tracks individuals who aren’t inclined to march in lockstep to the police state’s dictates.

As The Intercept reported, the FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies have increasingly invested in corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior.

And then there is the treatment being meted out to those such as Julian Assange, for example, who blow the whistle on government misconduct that is within the public’s right to know.

Since his April 2019 arrest, Assange has been locked up in a maximum-security British prison—in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day—pending extradition to the U.S., where if convicted, he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

This is how the police state deals with those who challenge its chokehold on power.

This is why the First Amendment is so critical. It gives the citizenry the right to speak freely, protest peacefully, expose government wrongdoing, and criticize the government without fear of arrest, isolation or any of the other punishments that have been meted out to whistleblowers.

The challenge is holding the government accountable to obeying the law.

Following the current trajectory, it won’t be long before anyone who believes in holding the government accountable is labeled an “extremist,” relegated to an underclass that doesn’t fit in, watched all the time, and rounded up when the government deems it necessary.

We’re almost at that point now.

Eventually, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, we will all be seditious conspirators in the eyes of the government.

We would do better to be conspirators for the Constitution starting right now.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His most recent books are the best-selling Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the award-winning A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, and a debut dystopian fiction novel, The Erik Blair Diaries. Whitehead can be contacted at Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at

May 30, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

EXPOSED: Biggest FBI Spy Scandal of the Year

By Jim Bovard | The Libertarian Institute | May 25, 2023

A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion released last week revealed that the FBI violated the constitutional rights of 278,000 Americans in 2020 and 2021 with warrantless searches of their email and other electronic data. For each American that the FISA court permitted the FBI to target, the FBI illicitly surveiled almost a thousand additional Americans. This is only the latest federal surveillance scandal stretching back to the years after 9/11.

The FISA law was enacted in 1978 to curb the rampant illegal political spying exposed during the Richard Nixon administration. After the 9/11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration decided that the president was entitled to order the National Security Agency to vacuum up Americans’ emails and other data without a warrant. After The New York Times exposed the surveillance scheme in late 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that “the president has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as commander in chief, to engage in this kind of activity.” Gonzales apparently forgot the congressional impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. The Bush White House also asserted that the September 2001 “Authorization to Use Military Force” resolution Congress passed entitled Bush to tap Americans’ phones. But if the authorization actually allowed the president to do whatever he thinks necessary on the homefront, Americans had been living under martial law.

Federal judges disagreed with Bush’s prerogative to obliterate American privacy. The result was a 2008 FISA reform that authorized the feds to continue commandeering vast amounts of data. But under Section 702 of that law, the FBI was permitted to conduct warrantless searches of that stash for Americans’ data only to seek foreign intelligence information or evidence of crime.   

President Barack Obama responded to the new law by sharply expanding the NSA’s seizures of Americans’ personal data. The Washington Post characterized Obama’s first term as “a period of exponential growth for the NSA’s domestic collection.” Obama’s Justice Department thwarted court challenges to the surveillance, thereby permitting the White House to claim that it was respecting Americans’ rights and privacy.

Edward Snowden blew the roof off the surveillance state with his disclosures starting in June 2013. But there was no reason to presume that federal crime sprees were not occurring before Snowden blew the whistle. Professor David Rothkopf explained in 2013 how FISA’s Section 702 worked:

“What if government officials came to your home and said that they would collect all of your papers and hold onto them for safe-keeping, just in case they needed them in the future. But don’t worry… they wouldn’t open the boxes until they had a secret government court order… sometime, unbeknownst to you.”

The 2008 FISA amendments and Section 702 snared vast numbers of hapless Americans in federal surveillance nets. The Washington Post analyzed a cache of 160,000 secret email conversations/threads (provided by Snowden) that the NSA intercepted and found that nine out of ten account holders were not the “intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.” Almost half of the individuals whose personal data was inadvertently commandeered were U.S. citizens. The files “tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and  disappointed hopes,” the Post noted. If an American citizen wrote an email in a foreign language, NSA analysts assumed they were foreigners who could be surveilled without a warrant.

Snowden also leaked secret court rulings that proved that the FISA Court had “created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans,” The New York Times reported in 2013. FISA judges rubberstamped massive seizures of Americans’ personal data that flagrantly contradicted Supreme Court rulings on the Fourth Amendment. The Times noted that the FISA court had “become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues,” and almost always giving federal agencies all the power they sought.

Unfortunately, Snowden’s courageous disclosures did not stop the outrages. The heavily-redacted 2022 opinion finally released Friday revealed that the FBI wrongly searched almost 300,000 Americans’ online lives. And this was on top of the roughly 3.4 million warrantless searches of Americans in 2021 via Section 702 that the FBI conducted that the Justice Department claimed was justified.

The latest disclosure from the FISA court signals that the FBI presumed that any American suspected of supporting the January 6, 2021 protests forfeited his constitutional rights. Roughly 2,000 pro-Trump protestors (including an unknown number of undercover agents and informants) entered the Capitol that day. But an FBI analyst exploited FISA to unjustifiably conduct searches on 23,132 Americans citizens “to find evidence of possible foreign influence, although the analyst conducting the queries had no indications of foreign influence,” according to FISA Chief Judge Rudolph Contreras. The court ruling did not disclose the standards (if any) the FBI used for its warrantless January 6 searches. Did Twitter retweets suffice?

The FBI exploited FISA to target 19,000 donors to the campaign of a candidate who challenged an incumbent member of Congress. An FBI analyst justified the warrantless searches by claiming “the campaign was a target of foreign influence,” but even the Justice Department concluded that almost all of those searches violated FISA rules. Apparently, merely reciting the phrase “foreign influence” suffices to nullify Americans’ rights nowadays. (In March, Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) revealed that he had been wrongly targeted by the FBI in numerous FISA 702 searches.)

The FBI conducted secret searches of the emails and other data of 133 people arrested during the protests after the killing of George Floyd in 2020.

The FBI conducted 656 warrantless searches to see if they could find any derogatory information on people they planned to use as informants. The FBI also routinely conducted warrantless searches on individuals listed in police homicide reports, including victims, next-of-kin, witnesses, and suspects.” Even the Justice Department complained those searches were improper.

Judge Contreras lamented: “Compliance problems with the querying of Section 702 information have proven to be persistent and widespread.” The FBI responded to the damning report with piffle:

“We are committed to continuing this work and providing greater transparency into the process to earn the trust of the American people and advance our mission of safeguarding both the nation’s security, and privacy and civil liberties, at the same time.”

In 2002, the FISA court revealed that FBI agents had false or misleading claims in 75 cases and a top FBI counterterrorism official was prohibited from ever appearing before the court again.

In 2005, FISA chief judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly proposed requiring FBI agents to swear to the accuracy of the information they presented; that never happened because it could have “slowed such investigations drastically,” the Washington Post reported. So FBI agents continued to have a license to exploit FISA secrecy to lie to the judges.

In 2017, a FISA court decision included a 10-page litany of FBI violations, which “ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight.”

In 2018, a FISA ruling condemned the FBI for ignoring limits on “unreasonable searches.” As The New York Times noted, “F.B.I. agents had carried out several large-scale searches for Americans who generically fit into broad categories… so long as agents had a reason to believe that someone within that category might have relevant information. But [under FISA] there has to be an individualized reason to search for any particular American’s information.” The FBI treated the FISA repository like the British agents treated general warrants in the 1760s, helping spark the American Revolution.

In April 2021, the FISA court reported that the FBI conducted warrantless searches of the data trove for “domestic terrorism,” “public corruption and bribery,” “health care fraud,” and other targets—including people who notified the FBI of crimes and even repairmen entering FBI offices. If you sought to report a crime to the FBI, an FBI agent may have illegally surveilled your email. Even if you merely volunteered for the FBI “Citizens Academy” program, the FBI may have illegally tracked all your online activity. As I tweeted after that report came out, “The FISA court has gone from pretending FBI violations don’t occur to pretending violations don’t matter. Only task left is to cease pretending Americans have any constitutional right to privacy.” FISA court Chief Judge James Boasberg lamented “apparent widespread violations” of the legal restrictions for FBI searches but shrugged them off and permitted the scouring of Americans’ personal data to continue.

The FISA court treats the FBI like liberal judges treat serial shoplifters. Going back more than 20 years, FISA court rulings have complained of FBI agents lying to the court and abusing the law. As long as the FBI periodically promises to repent, the FISA court entitles them to continue decimating the Fourth Amendment.

Federal intelligence agencies refuse to even estimate how many Americans’ private data has been rounded up in government databases. There is no reason to presume that the feds have disclosed all their FISA wrongdoing. Prior to Edward Snowden’s leaks, the feds probably admitted less than 1% of federal surveillance abuses.

Section 702 will expire this year unless Congress reauthorizes that provision of the law. But the FBI’s perpetual crime wave has created a hornet’s nest on Capitol Hill. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) asked: “How much longer must we watch the FBI brazenly spy on Americans before we strip it of its unchecked authority?” Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) declared, “We need a pound of flesh. We need to know someone has been fired.” Even Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, opposes reauthorizing Section 702 without fundamental reforms.

But will Congress finally stop the federal spying spree on Americans? As I tweeted on December 27, 2012, “FISA Renewal: Only a fool would expect members of Congress to give a damn about his rights and liberties.” Without radical reform, FISA should be renamed the “Trust Me, Chumps!” Surveillance Act.

Jim Bovard is the Junior Fellow for The Libertarian Institute. He is the author of Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and 7 other books.

May 25, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Former Deputy Nat’l Security Adviser: FBI, CIA & DOJ Will Rig 2024 Election

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | May 22, 2023

Former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, who served for the first four months of the Trump administration under Michael Flynn, says that the deep state is going to rig the 2024 US election following their success in 2020.

“We now have black-and-white evidence that the FBI interfered in the 2016 election. When they failed to elect Hillary Clinton, they set out to destroy the Trump administration,” she told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo.

“Go back to 2020. This time, the CIA got involved in the election with those 51 former intel agents who said the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation. So they’ve gotten away with it for two elections. They will surely try and get away with it in 2024, right?

Because there are no consequences…

“There is now hard evidence that there was election interference by the U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice. Those individuals must be terrified that a Republican president comes in with a Republican Attorney General, investigates them, and charges them with all of the crimes they have committed over the last eight years. Take it to the bank.

They will absolutely interfere in 2024…

These people are selling us out. Not only to foreign leaders, but they are interfering in our elections.

They are tearing up the Constitution… This is just a gut punch to the American people.”

May 22, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

New report unveils how CIA schemes color revolutions around the world

By Yuan Hong | Global Times | May 4, 2023

For a long time, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has plotted “peaceful evolution” and “color revolutions” as well as spying activities around the world. Although details about these operations have always been murky, a new report released by China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and Chinese cybersecurity company 360 on Thursday unveiled the main technical means the CIA has used to scheme and promote unrest around the world.

According to the report, since the beginning of the 21st century, the rapid development of the internet offered “new opportunity” for CIA’s infiltration activities in other countries and regions. Any institutions or individuals from anywhere in the world that use US digital equipment or software could be turned into the CIA’s “puppet agent.”

For decades, the CIA has overthrown or attempted to overthrow at least 50 legitimate governments abroad (the CIA has only recognized seven of these instances), causing turmoil in related countries. Whether it is the “color revolution” in Ukraine in 2014, the “sunflower revolution” in Taiwan island, China, or the “saffron revolution” in Myanmar in 2007, the “green revolution” in Iran in 2009, and other attempted “color revolutions” — the US intelligence agencies are behind them all, according to the report.

The US’ leading position in technologies of telecommunication and on-site command has provided unprecedented possibilities for the US intelligence community to launch “color revolutions” abroad. The report released by the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and 360 disclosed five methods commonly used by the CIA.

The first is to provide encrypted network communication services. In order to help protesters in some countries in the Middle East keep in touch and avoid being tracked and arrested, an American company, which, reportedly, has a US military background, developed TOR technology that can stealthily access the internet — the Onion Router technology.

The servers encrypt all information that flows through them to help certain users to surf the web anonymously. After the project was launched by American companies, it was immediately provided free of charge to anti-government elements in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt and other countries and regions to ensure that those “young dissidents who want to shake their own government’s rule” can avoid the scrutiny of the government, according to the report.

The second method is to provide offline communication services. For example, in order to ensure that anti-government personnel in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries can still keep in touch with the outside world when the internet is disconnected, Google and Twitter quickly launched a special service called “Speak2Tweet,” which allows users to dial and upload voice notes for free.

These messages are automatically converted into tweets and then uploaded to the internet, and publicly released through Twitter and other platforms to complete the “real-time reporting” of the event on site, said the report.

The third method is to provide on-site command tools for rallies and parades based on the internet and wireless communications. The report noted that the US RAND Corporation has spent several years developing a non-traditional regime change technology called “swarming.” The tool is used to help a large number of young people connected through the internet join the “one shot for another place” mobile protest movement, greatly improving the efficiency of on-site command of the event.

The fourth is American developed software called “Riot.” The software supports 100 percent independent broadband network, provides variable WiFi network, does not rely on any traditional physical access method, does not need telephone, cable or satellite connection, and can easily escape any form of government monitoring.

The last one is the “anti-censorship” information system. The US State Department regards the research and development of the system as an important task and has injected more than $30 million into the project.

High vigilance needed

Moreover, the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and 360 company have spotted Trojan horse programs or plug-ins related to the CIA in recent cyberattacks targeting China. The public security authorities have investigated these cases, the Global Times has learned.

Aside from the five methods the CIA has used to incite unrest globally, through further technical analysis, the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and 360 company also identified another nine methods used by the CIA as “weapons” for cyberattacks, including attack module delivery, remote control, information collection and stealing, and third-party open-source tools.

The response center and 360 company also spotted an information-stealing tool used by the CIA, which is also one of the 48 advanced cyber weapons exposed in the confidential document of the US National Security Agency.

The discovery of these information-stealing tools shows that the CIA and the US National Security Agency will jointly attack the same victim, or share cyberattack weapons with each other, or provide relevant technical or human support, according to the report.

These new findings also offer important new evidence in tracing the identity of the APT-C-39 attackers. In 2020, 360 company independently discovered an APT organization that had never been exposed to the outside world, and named it APT-C-39. The organization specifically targets China and its friendly countries to carry out cyberattack and stealing activities, and its victims are spread all over the world.

The report also noted that the danger of CIA attack weapons can be glimpsed from third-party open-source tools as it often uses these tools to carry out cyberattacks.

The initial attack of the CIA cyberattack operation will generally be carried out against the victim’s network equipment or server. After obtaining the target purview, it will further explore the network topology of the target organization and move to other networked devices in the internal network to steal more sensitive information and data.

The controlled target computer is monitored in real time for 24 hours, and all information will be recorded. Once a USB device is connected, the private files in the victim’s USB device will be monitored and automatically stolen. When conditions permit, the camera, microphone and GPS positioning device on the user terminal will be remotely controlled and accessed, according to the report.

These CIA cyber weapons use standardized espionage technical specifications, and various attack methods echo and interlock and have now covered almost all internet and IoT assets worldwide, and can control other countries’ networks anytime, anywhere to steal important and sensitive data from other countries.

The American-style cyber hegemony is evident, the report notes.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Thursday that US intelligence and espionage activities and cyberattacks on other countries deserve high vigilance from the international community.

The US must take seriously and respond to the concerns from the international community, and stop using cyber weapons to carry out espionage and cyberattacks around the world, Mao said.

In response to the highly systematic, intelligent, and concealed cyberattacks launched by the CIA against China, it is important for domestic government agencies, scientific research institutions, industrial enterprises, and commercial organizations to quickly find out and deal with them immediately upon discovery, the report says.

The report suggests that in order to effectively deal with imminent network and real-world threats, while adopting self-controllable localized equipment, China should organize self-inspection against APT attacks as soon as possible, and gradually establish a long-term defense system to achieve comprehensive systematic prevention and control against advanced attacks.

May 4, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Washington’s Crackdown on Whistleblowers Poses Danger to Free Speech

By James Tweedie – Sputnik – 14.04.2023

The US government is tightening its grip over the internet, social media and free speech. Facebook* whistleblower Ryan Hartwig and former Google and YouTube software engineer Zach Vorhies reveal the dangers and implications.

A US bill targeting the TikTok app is really a wider crackdown on online privacy and public scrutiny of government, two Big Tech whistleblowers have told Sputnik.

The Restrict Act, currently working its way through the US Congress, has been touted as an attack on Chinese software developer ByteDance — whose US CEO Shou Zi Chew was hauled before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March.

The legislation would allow the government to restrict access to apps from any firm it chooses — raising the prospect of its use to protect US firms from foreign competitors. But tech experts and free speech advocates fear it will open the door to a widespread crackdown against online critics of the White House.

Ryan Hartwig said the legislation was “essentially the Patriot Act online” — referring to legislation passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that allowed unwarranted government wiretapping of US and foreign citizens’ phone lines.

“It’s a horrible piece of legislation. Basically it’s not only banning TikTok, it’s giving the government authority to arrest people for anything they say online. It’s definitely clear that the government wants to continue to restrict free speech online,” Hartwig said. “It is really a problem. They are going to crack down.”

The bill is ostensibly aimed at protecting children and teenagers from harmful content, which the former Facebook employee said had some validity. “But the Restrict Act does a lot more than just censor a few bad posts. It basically gives them blanket authority… and criminalizes any kind of political speech.”

“If I just attack them, if I say bad things about the president, it gives the government authority to arrest me.” Hartwig stressed. “The Restrict Act can punish people for whistleblowing on an illegal government action.”

Just this week, 21-year-old US Air National Guard enlisted Airman Jack Teixeira was arrested as the suspect in the embarrassing Pentagon leaks of Ukrainian plans for its yet-to-materialize spring counter-offensive. Teixeira was traced through an online chat group for video gamers on the Discord app. The whistleblower said its users should “be concerned.”

The ‘blockchain’ technology used by Bitcoin and other concerns — essentially a variant of mass file-sharing for online data — could protect users’ rights, he said.

“There are websites that are using blockchain technology to avoid censorship, which is great. So there’s one called Bastion that is Blockchain-based and cannot be deleted off the internet,” Hartwig explained, calling the technology “the future of the Internet.”

But protecting oneself from government snooping is difficult for the average casual web surfer.

“Unless you’re a tech nerd, and you have all kinds of things for it,” Hartwig says. “It starts with using a different operating system, because most people use Microsoft Windows. So a lot are moving over to Linux, which has less vulnerabilities,” he said.

Using a virtual private network (VPN) protects users from advertisers gleaning their web history, but “it’s hard to prevent that from tracking us because I’m sure the NSA has tools that can bypass pretty much anything,” he added. “They probably know exactly what we’re talking about.”

“People are waking up to government censorship and surveillance,” Hartwig insisted. “It’s important for us to realize that the government is not our friend… If that bill passes, then the United States will have become essentially a police state. We will no longer be a free country.”

Zach Vorhies emphasized that the point of online snooping was not to eavesdrop on citizens, but to tar them by association with known suspects.

“We know from the Snowden leaks that the NSA tracks by default the endpoints of communication. It turns out that the most valuable part of a communication is not the content that is said but identifying who is talking to who in order to build a relationship graph.”

Even AI assistants like Amazon Alexa have been used to record their users’ conversations. “Police have used court orders to grab audio content from these Alexa’s when they were supposedly not in active recording mode,” the tech expert noted.

Vorhies agreed that users of internet chats like Discord and 4Chan should be “concerned”, because “no corporate or public space is safe for private speech anymore. That ship has sailed long ago.”

He said the government and major tech corporations were “strong-arming companies to employ AI monitoring of content.”

“We saw this in the 2020 election when the iPhone app store kicked off Parler for not integrating content-approved moderation,” Vorhies noted. “It looks like the government is going to play a soft hand for the meantime and let the big tech organizations employ massive censorship through their terms of service.”

The tech guru said it would take about a day for someone with the coding know-how to write software for a “private space” on the internet, which government agencies would be unable to crack.

“It’s my expectation that the elite families that control governments and military are using such obscure private spaces to communicate,” he ventured. “I can’t stress enough what an exciting time we are entering. It’s also terrifying as we are entering an age of so many unknowns. It’s obvious that Pandora’s box has been opened, and the elites are putting both hands in and grasping tightly.”

April 14, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

US efforts to ban TikTok are pure projection by the world’s biggest spy power

By Timur Fomenko | RT | April 4, 2023

As the United States contemplates a possible ban on TikTok, it relentlessly accuses Beijing of using the popular Chinese-owned social media application as a means of espionage, claiming that the Communist Party has access to user data.

Ironically, Washington itself is known to be doing exactly what US politicians are accusing China of doing. Using the unique advantage of having jurisdiction over the world’s top internet companies, the US has given itself the right to look into the private communications of foreign citizens anywhere in the world. Combine that data-sharing between intelligence agencies of the US and its allies, and you get the most comprehensive espionage regime in the world.

While American politicians and media constantly talk about fears of Chinese espionage, the near-absence of coverage of Washington’s own spying efforts ought to be a reminder of where the true power lies. When it comes to the shady activities of the CIA and the NSA, the public tends to only learn what they did years later from declassified documents, or what they “have been doing all along” from rare whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. All discussion and speculation about what they “may be doing right now” tends to be dismissed as conspiracy theories. Conversely, allegations of Chinese spying activities are constantly explained as “we all know they’re doing it” in the public eye, despite the lack of solid proof.

These warning signs remind us that the most cryptic source of all spying in the world is not China, but the US. Since the Second World War, the US has, in conjunction with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, maintained a worldwide spying regime known as the ‘Five Eyes’ which, in the age of mass communications, has been designed so that each government can bypass its own privacy laws and judicial restraints in order to spy on each other’s citizens, while supplying information within the group. In doing so, they have created a number of communication interception and surveillance programs, as revealed by Snowden, such as PRISM, ECHELON, XKEYSCORE, etc.

Of course, the US nearly holds a monopoly over the means of information and data gathering – definitely more so than any other country. This is because it has the privilege of having the world’s most dominant internet companies located on its own soil, such as Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Meta. These organizations are required by law to share data with the US government and authorities should they request it. But the US has also gone even further, as revealed by the Washington Post in 2020, the CIA had secretly acquired a Swiss cryptography company and used it to rig those machines to be able to spy on all who used them.

In pursuing its comprehensive spying regime, the US has been keeping an eye on friend and foe alike. This has included wiretapping the chancellor of Germany, coordinating with the intelligence services of other countries to undermine their commercial interests, such as Denmark and the Eurofighter program, and the list goes on.

And yet, American lawmakers suggest that you should truly be scared of TikTok, even as they prepare to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows US intelligence agencies to spy on foreign citizens’ phones and online communications without a warrant. Legalized in 2008, Section 702 needs to be reauthorized every few years lest it lapses under a sunset clause. Congress extended it in 2012 and again in 2018 and there’s little reason to believe it will fail to do so again before the next deadline, set for December this year.

The real problem Washington has with TikTok is not the alleged spying for Beijing’s benefit – it’s the fact that TikTok is the first global-spanning social media network of its magnitude that isn’t under US control – and thus, cannot be weaponized by the US for its own espionage. As such, it weakens the global surveillance regime built up by the US, which is, perhaps, the principal motivation behind Washington’s obsession with keeping control of “the future of the internet” out of Beijing’s hands. It’s more than a matter of spy games – it’s a matter of hegemony, and as such, it’s pure projection on Washington’s part to sound the alarm over TikTok’s alleged breaches of privacy.

As it stands, the US has an unrivaled digital spying network and is the greatest single threat to individual privacy online. If major internet companies are not owned or controlled by Washington or its closest allies, then the privacy of individuals around the world is increased, not decreased. The US has never been apologetic or open about how it monitors the communications of billions of people. Even if one has their suspicions about China, how can Washington’s claims about TikTok, and the motives behind the mounting pressure on the social media platform, be taken at face value?

April 8, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

I am the “US-based Kremlin intermediary” that tried to help Tucker Carlson book an interview with Putin

By Anya Parampil · The Grayzone · March 20, 2023

Tucker Carlson accused the NSA of spying on his personal communications when he tried to schedule an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I can corroborate his story.

On March 10, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told the Full Send podcast that the US government “broke into [his] text messages” in the summer of 2021, just months before the launch of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Carlson claimed the spying occurred as he was planning a trip to Russia, where he hoped to record a conversation with the country’s president. According to Carlson, he learned of the surveillance after a US government source arranged to meet him in Washington and proceeded to share information with him that only someone with access to his private, personal text messages could have known.

“This person’s like… ‘Are you planning a trip to go see Putin?’ This was the summer before the war started. And I was like, ‘how would you know that? I haven’t told anybody,’” Carlson recalled.

“I was intimidated,” he added. “I’m embarrassed to admit, but I was completely freaked out by it.”

Carlson’s interview with Full Send did not represent the first time he spoke publicly about the NSA’s surveillance of his private communications. On June 28, 2021, Carlson opened his primetime Fox News show with a monologue accusing the Biden Administration of spying on his team, disclosing that an NSA whistleblower had contacted him and “repeated back to us information about a story that we are working on that could have only come directly from my texts and emails.” At the time, he did not disclose specific details about the story in question.

“The NSA captured that information without our knowledge, and did it for political reasons,” the Tucker Carlson Tonight host declared, asserting his source informed him that the Biden Administration planned to “leak” his private texts “in an attempt to take this show off the air.”

Carlson’s colleagues at Fox proceeded to studiously ignore his allegations, while other mainstream news outlets appeared to mock the host for going public with the information. When anonymous NSA officials announced that an internal agency review found “no evidence” to support Carlson’s claims the following month, the corporate press took them at their word.

Amidst the NSA’s denials, however, a report surfaced that seemed to directly support Carlson’s narrative. On July 7, an Axios “scoop” cited unnamed US officials accusing the Fox host of “talking to U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries about setting up an interview with Vladimir Putin shortly before [he] accused the National Security Agency of spying on him.”

Though the government officials who planted that story remain anonymous, I can confirm the identity of at least one of the “US-based Kremlin intermediaries” in question.

It was me. They lied.

In April 2021, Tucker Carlson told me that he was trying to book an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that he kept running into roadblocks. Though Tucker knew I previously worked as an anchor and correspondent for the Russian government-funded news channel RT America in Washington DC, he was not asking for my assistance. In fact, I do not believe he even considered that I could help him book the interview in any way.

Regardless, I attempted to assist Tucker’s pursuit of the interview through a senior Russian government contact. Ironically, the contact had not been established through my time at RT America, but my work as a correspondent for The Grayzone, the online outlet that has employed me since early 2019. The Grayzone is fully independent and not connected to Russia or any other government, financially or otherwise.

In July 2019, I traveled to Caracas, Venezuela, to cover a high-level diplomatic meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. While in Caracas, I met Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov and interviewed him for The Grayzone’s YouTube channel. (Many of the predictions Ryabkov made, including that the US dollar would soon lose its significance in the global economy, are currently playing out as a direct result of US and European sanctions levied in response to the Ukraine war).

Having found his insights on international relations extremely relevant to my coverage of the emerging multi-polar world, I maintained occasional contact with Ryabkov over email in the months following our discussion. When Tucker told me that he was hoping to arrange an interview with Putin, I offered to connect him with Ryabkov.

I had met Tucker in July 2018, when we both covered President Trump’s highly anticipated summit with his Russian counterpart in Helsinki, Finland. Though Tucker had been dispatched to the Finnish capital for an interview with Trump, I personally always believed that a far more interesting conversation would have resulted from an exchange between him and Putin (who was instead left to have a predictably hostile, largely forgettable encounter with Chris Wallace, then of Fox, now at CNN).

When Tucker expressed his desire to interview Putin three years later, I volunteered to put him in contact with Ryabkov by email so they could discuss his plan to visit Russia. I expected to write a basic introductory email, receive a standard “thank you” from both parties, and let Tucker’s team manage communication from there.

Both Tucker and Ryabkov replied to my initial message within hours. Yet their digital exchange took an inexplicable turn.

On the evening of April 16, 2021, I sent a brief email introducing Ryabkov to Tucker. Tucker responded within minutes, informing Ryabkov that he planned to record shows in Russia in the summer of that year. Just over five hours later, Ryabkov replied that he would be happy to talk with Tucker and proposed time slots for a phone call the following week.

I assumed my role was done. Yet on April 20, I received a follow-up email from Ryabkov.

“Strangely, I can not send my message of interest to talk to Mr.Carlson directly to him. I tried it twice with no success,” the diplomat informed me, before asking me to relay his message.

At the time, I did not think much of the issue. I thought that perhaps Tucker’s email service, which was different than mine, had sent the note to spam, or that I had mistyped an email address. In retrospect, however, I should have been suspicious. Both Tucker and Ryabkov had received and replied to my initial message, meaning their respective addresses were typed correctly in the thread. And Ryabkov’s email to Tucker wasn’t going to spam – it was failing to deliver altogether.

The digital communication error between Ryabkov and Tucker was not a one-off event. Weeks later, on May 25, I received a message from Ryabkov’s team explaining that Tucker had failed to reply to a yet another email. They kindly requested I ask Tucker if he had received their message. Once again, he had not.

Roughly one month later, Tucker informed me that a source inside the NSA had contacted him to warn that the US government had caught wind of his effort to interview Putin by spying on his electronic communications. Tucker went public with the story on June 28. As summarized above, virtually every single mainstream reporter, including those at Fox, trusted the denials of the US government rather than rally behind one of their own.

There are three points I must emphasize here. One: it is completely normal and routine for journalists to maintain contact with high-level government sources, domestic or otherwise. Two: it is also normal and routine for journalists to share those connections with trusted colleagues and friends. Three: at the time, I genuinely believed that a Tucker-Putin interview would have moved us closer to peace. Instead, we are currently positioned on the brink of nuclear war.

Oh, and the obligatory fourth point: I am absolutely not a Kremlin operative or “intermediary.” I have no relationship with the Kremlin, and I have not accepted financial support from any state or state-sponsored organization since my departure from RT America in December 2018. Even then, my “relationship” with the Russian government was completely transparent. Would anyone suggest that US or British citizens employed by Al Jazeera, for example, are representatives of the Emir of Qatar? I worked for RT America because they gave me an opportunity to cover the actions of my own country at home and abroad from a perspective that domestic, corporate-run networks would have never allowed. When that reality changed (paradoxically thanks to US, not Russian, government interference), I walked out — but that’s a story for another day.

In truth, even my “Russian” forename is simply a product of the fact that my Indian-American father and American mother could not agree on anything else to call me. So why did US government sources characterize me as a Kremlin intermediary? Do they have any evidence to formally accuse me of being such? Or did they simply dump that information on an unquestioning Axios reporter without even offering them my name?

The answer to the second question is of course, no. The answer to the third: probably. As for the first? Clues can be found in the more recent effort to tarnish Tucker’s reputation through legal machinations and the selective leaking of his private text messages.

Target: Tucker

In March 2021, Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on the basis that it incurred financial damages as a result of the network’s coverage of the 2020 Presidential Election. Though Tucker is not named in the suit, last year a judge allowed Dominion to seize the Fox host’s private text messages. Within months, the contents of Carlson’s personal texts had made their way to the pages of the Washington Post.

Curiously, coverage of Carlson’s private messages has so far focused on a single comment he made about former President Trump — not Dominion Voting Systems. Earlier this month, mainstream outlets seized on a January 2021 text the Fox host sent one of his producers in which he claimed to “passionately” hate the former president. The story represented an obvious attempt to drive a wedge between Carlson and Trump just before the the 2024 presidential election season officially heats up.

Whether such tactics will succeed in undermining Carlson and Trump’s relationship is a question only they can answer. It is worth noting, however, that Carlson consistently attempted to reorient Trump toward his “America First” agenda throughout the latter’s time in the White House, using his show to offer principled critiques of the former president’s decision to bomb Syriaescalate regime change operations against Venezuela, and assassinate Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani. In June of 2019, Carlson personally persuaded Trump to reject the advice of his national security team and elect not to retaliate against Iran over its decision to shoot down a US drone that had violated its sovereign airspace. The Fox host’s actions not only averted a deadly US military strike on Iran, but a potential regional war.

For anyone who values peace and diplomatic engagement over military conflict, Carlson’s influence over Trump — and the US public, for that matter — must be regarded as positive. Perhaps that is why the press, including his colleagues at Fox, have refused to publicly denounce the US government’s selective targeting of Tucker. After all, aside from a handful of Fox News hosts who have attempted to cop his anti-interventionist style, the mainstream media are in virtual lockstep when it comes to inciting continued US involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

Tucker is by far the most popular US media figure to consistently denounce Washington’s escalations in the Ukraine battle, articulate the looming reality of World War III, and sound the alarm over the threat of global nuclear war. As if such positions did not threaten powerful forces enough already, last December he even dedicated a lengthy show open to investigating the murder of President John F. Kennedy, revealing a source with “direct knowledge” of classified information told him the CIA did in fact have a hand in the assassination.

Though the campaign to cancel Tucker is largely framed in terms of the culture wars and partisan debate over the events of January 6, it is substantially driven by neoconservative interventionists seeking to muzzle the pro-war Uniparty’s single greatest foe. If the Dominion lawsuit succeeds in bankrupting Fox, or even casting Tucker as the network’s scapegoat, it will have succeeded in punishing the media’s pre-eminent opponent of the escalating Ukraine proxy war.

Which brings us back to the question: why did US government sources characterize me as a “Kremlin intermediary” while feeding a “journalist” information about Tucker’s private texts back in July 2021? The answer is simple: US officials weaponized my mere existence, through innuendo, in order to suggest Tucker was involved with Kremlin agents. By undermining his credibility, they aimed to invalidate his character and by extension, his anti-war positions.

Beyond the financial threat it poses to Fox, the Dominion suit similarly aims to discredit Tucker. And politics aside, it poses a major threat to the First Amendment.

What does the fact that a corporation can sue a media organization over critical coverage, allege financial damage, and gain access to a journalist’s private texts say about a society that claims to value a free press? If Dominion is able to target a company as powerful as Fox in such a manner, what does that mean for those of us who challenge corporate and government interests in independent media? Why aren’t more journalists asking these questions?

And finally, if the Fox-obsessed Beltway press corps is truly so concerned with holding journalists accountable for “knowingly lying” to the public, there is no shortage of willful deceptions to reckon with. After all, this week marks 20 years since the launch of the US military campaign in Iraq, a catastrophic war that was directly enabled by lies its greatest cheerleaders in the press still repeat to this day.

Anya Parampil is a journalist based in Washington, DC. She has produced and reported several documentaries, including on-the-ground reports from the Korean peninsula, Palestine, Venezuela, and Honduras.

March 22, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Seymour Hersh shares opinion on Edward Snowden

RT | February 25, 2023

Thousands of people in the US intelligence community knew about illegal surveillance by the NSA, but Edward Snowden was the only one to speak out, renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said in an exclusive interview with Afshin Rattansi’s show ‘Going Underground’ on RT.

Hersh described as “quite interesting” the story of the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, who back in 2013 leaked a massive trove of classified documents revealing the agency’s extensive spying on the communications of American citizens and other shady practices.

Snowden was “a kid really into computers, not into political science,” which is why he “recoiled” when he learned that the law, which banned intercepting the conversations of Americans without a warrant, was changed under the pretext of the War on Terror.

There were 25,000 people employed by the NSA at that time, according to the Pulitzer Prize winner, and many of them knew that “the rules have changed.”

“Out of those many thousands, one [Snowden] spoke out about a direct violation of one the most sensitive things in the American Constitution,” he said. “There is something about the community that is bizarre.”

It took Snowden a lot of “guts” to do what he did and he’s now paying a high price, Hersh said, adding: “I don’t think it’s safe for him to ever come back in the country [the US].”

The former NSA contractor was charged in the US with theft of government property and giving classified data to unauthorized persons, among other things. His American passport was annulled, with Snowden now staying at an undisclosed location in Russia, where he received political asylum.

Hersh argued that the Snowedn affair should serve as a response to those who label him a “conspiracy theorist” over his reporting, including his recent bombshell article blaming the Biden administration for the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea last year.

The White House has rejected the story as “fiction,” but Snowden appeared to be convinced of its authenticity. “Can you think of any examples from history of a secret operation that the White House was responsible for, but strongly denied?” he wrote on Twitter a few weeks ago. “Besides, you know, that little ‘mass surveillance’ kerfuffle,” the NSA whistleblower added, referring to his own revelations.

Hersh told ‘Going Underground’ that “many in the US intelligence community, many in the military value the Constitution” and they have often been the sources for his reports.

Those people, some of who are high-ranking, “talked to me privately about the stuff they couldn’t stand… Those people are the people I know. And I will tell you right now – those are the people I’ll protect forever,” the journalist insisted.

February 25, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | 1 Comment

Ex-minister charged for revealing state secrets

RT | February 22, 2023

Denmark’s former Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen has been charged with divulging state secrets, after claiming Danish military intelligence worked with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on a number of foreign officials, among them ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Frederiksen confirmed the charges in a Facebook post on Tuesday, saying he had been indicted for the “disclosure or passing on of state secrets.” He insisted on his innocence, however, claiming the allegations are motivated by politics

“I deny having exceeded the limits of my far-reaching freedom of speech as a politician, and I have not revealed alleged state secrets. Period,” he said, adding “I will demand a jury trial, as this is a political case.”

Danish officials declined to cite Frederiksen by name in discussing the charges, with prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen saying the case “includes highly classified information that cannot be presented openly.”

While the details of the state secrets indictment remain under wraps, after facing preliminary charges last year Frederiksen suggested the case was linked to public comments he made regarding joint surveillance missions involving Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service and the NSA. In multiple media interviews in 2020 and 2021, Frederiksen said the Danish agency helped the NSA eavesdrop on high-level officials in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden – including Germany’s then-Chancellor Angela Merkel and several of her political rivals.

Though the NSA’s part in the spying was revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden – who leaked a massive trove of classified documents while working as a private contractor in 2013 – Denmark’s role only came to light in subsequent media reports, which cited a confidential Danish intelligence review carried out following the Snowden revelations.

Frederiksen served as defense minister between 2016 and 2019 and later entered politics under Denmark’s Liberal Party. He retired from public life last year, however, meaning his parliamentary immunity has lapsed and he can now be prosecuted.

No trial date has been set for the former official, who faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

February 22, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment


By Kit Klarenberg | MintPress News | February 2, 2023

Throughout January, a deluge of previously concealed evidence exposing how journalists, spies and social media platforms perpetuated and maintained the RussiaGate fraud has entered the public domain at long last, via the Elon Musk-approved “#TwitterFiles” series.

While Twitter’s Pentagon-connected owner evidently has a partisan agenda in releasing this material, the at-times explosive disclosures amply confirm what many independent journalists and researchers had long argued. Namely, false claims of Kremlin-directed bot and troll operations online were duplicitously weaponized by an alphabet soup of U.S. intelligence agencies to bring major social networks to heel, and enduringly enshrine their status as subservient wings of the national security state.

Yet, while RussiaGate only becomes ever-more dead and buried over time, and the true purposes it served becomes increasingly stark, a central component of the conspiracy theory stubbornly clings to life. In June 2017, The Intercept published a leaked N.S.A. document, which it claimed revealed “a months-long Russian hacking effort against the U.S. election infrastructure.”

Ever since, it has been an article of faith in the mainstream media and among Democratic politicians that Russian G.R.U. cyberwarriors “hacked” the 2016 election, if not others too, by malevolently attempting to alter vote tallies to skew results. Moreover, Reality Winner, the N.S.A. analyst who leaked the document and ended up in jail as a result, has been elevated to the status of a heroic whistleblower on a par with Edward Snowden.

These outcomes, or at least something like them, may well have been the specific objectives of the individual and/or entity that furnished the N.S.A. with the information contained in the leaked report. For as we shall see, there are strong grounds to believe Winner unwittingly walked into a trap laid by the C.I.A.


Before The Intercept had even published its scoop on the leaked file, Reality Winner was in jail, pending trial for breaches of the Espionage Act. Her arrest, announced by the Department of Justice on the same day the story was published, only added to the mainstream frenzy that erupted in the wake of its publication.

Overnight, the hitherto unknown Winner, a United States Air Force Intelligence Squadron veteran who’d received a medal for aiding the identification, capture, and assassination of hundreds of “high-value targets,” became a major cause célèbre for Western liberals, and campaigns calling for her release backed by major press freedom and digital rights groups sprouted in profusion.

Winner’s incarceration, and the failure of the N.S.A. to take action on the report’s findings publicly or privately, also furthered suspicions that proof of Donald Trump’s ties to the Kremlin being subject to a politicized coverup at the highest levels, in which the ostensibly independent U.S. intelligence community itself was implicated.

It is perhaps due to Winner becoming the main focal point of the scandal, combined with desperation among liberal politicians and journalists to substantiate the RussiaGate narrative, that the leaked report’s details were never subject to serious mainstream scrutiny.

While The Intercept declared the document “displays no doubt” that a wide-ranging cyberattack in which spear-phishing emails were dispatched to over 100 local election officials mere days before the 2016 election “was carried out by the G.R.U.,” its contents suggest nothing of the kind.

The report, authored by an N.S.A. intelligence analyst, does attribute this activity to the G.R.U. But the underlying “raw intelligence” – evidence upon which that conclusion is based – is not contained in the file. It is abundantly clear, though, the finding was far from concrete anyway.

For one, the report states, “it is unknown if the G.R.U. was able to compromise any of the entities targeted successfully.” Still, more significantly, the agency is said only to be “probably” responsible – an “analyst judgment” based on the purported hacking campaign having “utilized some techniques that were similar to other G.R.U. operations.” The analyst is nonetheless forced to concede “this activity demonstrated several characteristics that distinguish it [emphasis added]” from known prior G.R.U. hacking operations.

Yet further cause for doubt about the report’s clearly unsupported headline claim is provided by the extremely unsophisticated methods employed by who or what was behind the spear-phishing efforts, which included the use of a blatantly fraudulent Gmail account. Evidently, this was not a professional operation and had very little chance of succeeding. Why would an elite intelligence agency stoop to such rudimentary tactics, particularly if its operatives were seriously determined to compromise U.S. election integrity?

Even more dubiously, among the named recipients of a purported G.R.U. spear-phishing email is the election office of American Samoa, an unincorporated U.S. territory located in the South Pacific, southeast of Samoa itself. Its population is just 56,000, and they cannot vote in mainland elections.

While a criminal hacker might have an interest in personal data held by such an entity, it is difficult to conceive what possible grounds a military intelligence agency would have for seeking access to such a trove. This interpretation is furthered by a chart in the N.S.A. report referring to how the same hacker also attempted spear-phishing campaigns targeting other email addresses, including those registered with, a Russian company.

These shortcomings, rather than a concerted coverup, may account for why the report was not publicized or acted upon by the N.S.A. The Intercept, however, bombastically dubbed the document “the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.”


When asked by journalist Aaron Maté in a September 2018 interview about “the possibility that the significance of this document has been inflated,” Jim Risen, senior national security correspondent at The Intercept and director of First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund (which supported Winner’s legal defense) was at a total loss.

Audibly flustered and irritated by this repeated line of questioning, Risen then terminated the interview abruptly when Maté sought to probe him over “criticism” of how The Intercept handled the document, which all but ensured Winner’s identification and imprisonment.

Now departed co-founder of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald rightly branded Winner’s exposure “deeply embarrassing,” claiming it resulted from “speed and recklessness.” A New York Times post-mortem of the debacle confirmed the two reporters who took the lead on the story, Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito – whose sloppiness and dishonesty landed C.I.A. whistleblower John Kiriakou in jail in 2012 for disclosing secrets about the Agency’s torture program – were “pushed to rush the story to publication.”

It would be entirely unsurprising if this pressure emanated from Betsy Reed, then editor-in-chief of The Intercept, a committed RussiaGate advocate who in 2018 slammed left-wing skeptics of the narrative as “pale imitations” of Glenn Greenwald, lacking his “intelligence [and] nuance.” When former FBI director Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation conclusively found no indication of a secret relationship between Trump and the Kremlin the next year, she claimed the failed probe, in fact, identified “plenty” of “soft loose” collusion.

The outlet’s haste to publicize the leaked N.S.A. report meant in-house digital security specialists at The Intercept were not consulted, leading Cole and Esposito to make a number of shocking blunders in attempting to verify the document pre-publication. First, they contacted a U.S. government contractor via unsecured text message, informing them they had received a printed copy of the document in the mail, postmarked Augusta, Georgia, where Winner then lived. This contractor subsequently informed the N.S.A.

Then, The Intercept approached the N.S.A. directly with a copy of the report. As Winner’s arrest warrant attests, examination of the material showed pages within it were creased, “suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space.”

While all color printers embed borderline invisible patterns on each page, allowing for individual devices to be identified via serial number, the N.S.A. simply checked which of its staffers had printed the document. Six had, and Winner was among them. Further checks of the sextet’s desk computers showed she, and only she had used hers to contact The Intercept.

The outlet’s failure to undertake even the most basic measures to protect their source terminally damaged its reputation and remains a stain upon it and its senior staff to this day. Nonetheless, there has never been any acknowledgment of how inept and incautious Winner’s own actions were.

Even if The Intercept had not readily handed over distinguishing clues to the N.S.A, her highly self-incriminating use of a work computer to email the outlet, along with identifying the specific area where she resided, were in themselves smoking guns that almost inevitably would have led to her exposure.


Winner has always claimed she acted alone, and there is no reason to doubt that she felt it was her patriotic duty to release the document. But her clumsiness, naivety and incompetence suggest she may well be easily manipulable, and a great many individuals and organizations had an interest in the dud intelligence report’s release. Foremost among them, elements of the C.I.A. loyal to John Brennan, Agency director between 2013 and January 2017.

Two weeks before Donald Trump took office, Brennan presented an Intelligence Community Assessment (I.C.A.) on “Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.” It declared American spooks had “high confidence” that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election to help the upstart outsider seize power. While the document contained nothing to substantiate that charge, its dubious assertions were eagerly seized upon by the media.

It was not revealed until four years later that this “confidence” wasn’t shared by the U.S. intelligence community. Instead, Brennan personally authored the report’s incendiary conclusions, then selected a clique of his own confidantes to sign off on them. This subterfuge irked many analysts within and without the C.I.A. who assessed Russia, in fact, favored a Hillary Clinton victory, given Trump was an unpredictable “wild card” calling for much-increased U.S. military spending.

“Brennan took a thesis and decided he was going to ignore dissenting data and exaggerate the importance of that conclusion, even though they said it didn’t have any real substance behind it,” stated a senior U.S. intelligence official.

The only trace of dissent to be found in the I.C.A. is a reference to the N.S.A. not sharing the “confidence” of the C.I.A. in its findings. While wholly overlooked at the time, this deviation was massively consequential, given the N.S.A. closely monitors the communications of Russian officials. Its operatives would therefore be well-placed to know if high-level figures in Moscow had discussed plans to assist Trump’s campaign or even viewed him positively.

Brennan fudged the I.C.A. findings to keep the F.B.I. Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation alive. Launched by the Bureau in 2016, it found no evidence Trump or members of his campaign were conspiring with Moscow. The N.S.A. publicly breaking ranks would have inevitably been poorly received by Brennan and his allies in Langley, given it undermined their malign objectives.

As such, it is an obvious question whether Winner’s leak – in addition to furthering the RussiaGate fiction and damaging Trump – also served to discredit the N.S.A. by creating the illusion it had been asleep at the wheel over Kremlin meddling, if not actively suppressing evidence of this activity from the public.

Winner need not have been a willing or conscious collaborator in this scenario; the introduction of the report she leaked notes opaquely that information about the purported G.R.U. hacking effort became available in April 2017. The nature of this information and its source is unstated; could it have been the C.I.A. or operatives thereof?


Winner was convicted in August 2018 and jailed for 63 months, the longest sentence ever imposed for the unauthorized release of classified information to the media in U.S. history. Her appallingly harsh sentence was accordingly framed as politically motivated, yet further proof then-President Donald Trump had been compromised by and/or owed his upset election victory to the Kremlin and was desperate for this to be swept under the rug.

Released in June 2021, Winner remains under probation until November 2024, is not allowed to leave southern Texas, has to obey a strict curfew, and must report any interaction with the media in advance, a shocking coda to her time behind bars. Still, while allegedly facing imprisonment for discussing the document she leaked publicly, a documentary on her case is in production, and she has conducted multiple interviews with both mainstream and independent journalists.

In Winner’s most prominent media appearance to date, in July 2022, CBS aired a highly sympathetic, lengthy sit-down discussion with her, likely watched by millions. Apparently unconcerned about legal ramifications, she made a number of bold claims and statements throughout, at total odds with comments at her sentencing, when she told the judge, “my actions were a cruel betrayal of my nation’s trust in me.”

For its part, CBS rather unbelievably declared, based on the word of “two former officials,” that her leak “helped secure the 2018 midterm election,” as it revealed the “top secret emails” used by the hackers. Quite what threat those addresses could have posed, or why they would continue to be used a year-and-a-half after the report became publicly available, is not clear.

The program’s framing of Winner, in her own words, “exposing a White House coverup” as “the public was being lied to” was even more curious. A clip of Trump being interviewed by John Dickerson – “typical of the time,” according to CBS – was inserted, in which the President stated, “if you don’t catch a hacker in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking.”

“I’ll go along with Russia, could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups,” he added before a CBS narrator stated dramatically, “but it was Russia, and the NSA knew it,” as Winner “had seen proof in a top-secret report on an in-house newsfeed.” The program then cut back to the former N.S.A. analyst: “I just kept thinking, ‘My God, somebody needs to step forward and put this right. Somebody.’”

In that clip, Trump was, in fact, discussing which party was responsible for purported cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee servers (D.N.C.), not the spear-phishing attack on election officials detailed in the leaked N.S.A. report. This dishonest sleight of hand by the program’s producers is nonetheless illuminating, for it highlights another potential utility of that report’s leak from the perspective of the C.I.A. – obfuscating its own role in the hack-and-leak of Democratic Party emails.

That the D.N.C. servers were hacked by Russian intelligence is widely accepted, a conclusion based primarily on the findings of D.N.C. contractor CrowdStrike. Yet, when grilled under oath by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the matter in December 2017, the company’s chief, Shawn Henry, revealed he, in fact, possessed no “concrete evidence” the files were “actually exfiltrated” by anyone – dynamite testimony that was hidden from public view for over two years.

CrowdStrike’s case for Russian culpability was predicated on a number of seemingly injudicious errors on the part of the hackers, such as their computer username referencing the founder of the Soviet Union’s secret police, Russian text in their malware’s source code, and ham-fisted attempts to use the Romanian language. However, WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 disclosures show the CIA’s “Marble Framework” deliberately inserts these apparent failings precisely into a cyberattack’s digital footprint to falsely attribute its own hacking to other countries.

The Agency would have had good reason for falsely attributing the emails’ source. For one, at this time, the C.I.A. was tearing its proverbial hair out attempting to link WikiLeaks – the organization that published them – and its founder Julian Assange with a foreign actor, preferably Russia, to secure legal justification for engaging in hostile counterintelligence operations against the organization and its members.

By framing the emails as Russian-hacked, media and public attention were also diverted from the communications’ contents, which revealed corruption by the Clinton Foundation and meddling in the Democratic Party primaries to prevent Bernie Sanders from securing the Presidential nomination. Meanwhile, concerns about whether D.N.C. staffer Seth Rich’s still-unsolved July 2016 murder was in any way related to his potential role in leaking the material were very effectively silenced.

The fate of Assange (and perhaps Rich, too) is a palpable demonstration of what can so often befall those who publish damaging information powerful people and organizations do not want in the public domain. Winner’s veneration by the U.S. liberal establishment, and post-release promotion by the mainstream media, should, at the very least, raise serious questions about who or what ultimately benefited from her well-meaning, personally destructive actions.

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist and MintPresss News contributor exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. His work has previously appeared in The Cradle, Declassified UK, and Grayzone. Follow him on Twitter @KitKlarenberg.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Davos’ Damndest Delusion: FBI As Good Guys?

By Jim Bovard | The Libertarian Institute | January 24, 2023

You can judge an audience by how much bullshit they accept from the podium. By that standard, the World Economic Forum attendees in Davos, Switzerland last week were either depraved or craven. Why else would FBI chief Christopher Wray not get hooted down for portraying his agency as “good guys?”

Why was the FBI boss even making an appearance at a conference chockful of political weasels, billionaires, and depraved activists like former Vice President Al Gore? Actually, Wray was part of a panel on national security that included luminaries such as Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko, who could have offered insights from her government’s perpetual failed war against pervasive corruption. Wray boasted that “the level of collaboration between the private sector and the government, especially the FBI has, I think, made significant strides.”

A month before Wray’s appearance, Americans learned that “collaboration” meant the FBI massively censoring Twitter in recent years. As journalist Matt Taibbi revealed, “As the election approached in 2020, the FBI overwhelmed Twitter with requests, sending spreadsheets with hundreds of accounts.” The official browbeating continued until very recently. In an internal email from November 5, 2022, the FBI’s National Election Command Post sent the FBI San Francisco field office (which dealt directly with Twitter) “a long list of accounts that ‘may warrant additional action’” — i.e., suppression. The FBI pressured Twitter to torpedo parody accounts that only idiots or federal agents would not recognize as humor. Taibbi wrote, “The master-canine quality of the FBI’s relationship to Twitter comes through in this November 2022 email, in which ‘FBI San Francisco is notifying you’ it wants action on four accounts.”

The FBI condemned the TwitterFiles as “conspiracy theorists… feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.” But Taibbi and his colleagues didn’t fabricate the emails the FBI sent to Twitter.

On that Davos panel last week, Wray dramatically placed both hands on his chest and declared, “The good guys are constrained by the rule of law and international norms. The bad guys aren’t.” But that self-evident truth is tricky to reconcile with the history of FBI surveillance crime sprees.

In October 2001, the Patriot Act gave the FBI a green light to cannibalize the nation’s email with its Carnivore email wiretapping system. Carnivore was contained in a black box that the FBI compelled Internet service providers to attach to their operating system. Though Carnivore might be authorized for a single person, Carnivore could automatically impound the email of all the customers using that service. The ACLU’s Barry Steinhardt observed, “Carnivore is roughly equivalent to a wiretap capable of accessing the contents of the conversations of all of the phone company’s customers, with the ‘assurance’ that the FBI will record only conversations of the specified target.”

The Patriot Act authorized life sentences in prison for computer hackers who maliciously spread viruses but federal agents were exempt from the law. The FBI created a special program to send emails to individuals to infect their computers with malware that enabled keystroke monitoring and automatic detection of all passwords. Norton, McAfee, and other computer security firms secretly agreed to leave a backdoor for the FBI to exploit with no warning to computer users. James Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology observed, “In order for the government to seize your diary or read your letters, they have to knock on your door with a search warrant. But [FBI malware] would allow them to seize these without notice.” The FBI also developed malware permitting it to covertly turn on a computer’s camcorder “without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording,” as The Washington Post reported in 2013.

The Patriot Act made it far easier for FBI agents to snatch personal data via National Security Letters (NSLs). These subpoenas compel individuals, businesses, and other institutions to surrender confidential or proprietary information that the FBI claims is related to a national security investigation. NSLs enable the FBI to seize records that reveal “where a person makes and spends money, with whom he lives and lived before, how much he gambles, what he buys online, what he pawns and borrows, where he travels, how he invests, what he searches for and reads on the Web, and who telephones or e-mails him at home and at work,” The Washington Post noted in 2005.

The number of NSLs increased by a hundredfold after 9/11. There is no judicial oversight of this power, and each FBI field office is entitled to dictate its own NSLs. Almost every NSL was accompanied by a gag order: Anyone who discloses that their data had been raided by the FBI could be sent to prison for five years.

By 2006, the FBI was issuing 50,000 NSLs a year. A single NSL can lasso thousands of people’s records, including all the clients of public libraries or book store customers. In 2007, an Inspector General report revealed that more than 10,000 NSLs  may have violated federal law. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), declared that the IG report “confirms the American people’s worst fears about the Patriot Act.” Rather than arresting FBI agents who brazenly broke the law, FBI chief Robert Mueller created a new FBI Office of Integrity and Compliance.

But the FBI was just getting warmed up. In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to outlaw political spying (such as the FBI had committed) on American citizens. FISA created a secret court to oversee federal surveillance of suspected foreign agents within the U.S., permitting a much more lenient standard for wiretaps than the Constitution permitted for American citizens.

FISA warrants authorize the FBI to “conduct, simultaneous telephone, microphone, cell phone, e-mail and computer surveillance of the U.S. person target’s home, workplace and vehicles. Similar breadth is accorded the FBI in physical searches of the target’s residence, office, vehicles, computer, safe deposit box and U.S. mails,” a court decision noted. People surveilled under FISA orders rarely learn the feds have been intruding unless they are arrested as a result. And the FISA court rubberstamps 99.9% of all FBI search warrant requests.

The FISA court “created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans,” The New York Times reported in 2013 after Edward Snowden leaked court decisions. The court rubber-stamped FBI requests that bizarrely claimed that the telephone records of all Americans were “relevant” to a terrorism investigation under the Patriot Act, thereby enabling N.S.A. data seizures later denounced by a federal judge as “almost Orwellian.” In 2017, a FISA court decision included a 10-page litany of FBI violations, which “ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight.”

After the 2016 election, FBI officials devoted themselves to crippling Trump’s presidency with fabricated evidence on Russia collusion. Kevin Clinesmith, a top FBI lawyer, was convicted for falsifying evidence to secure a FISA warrant to unjustifiably target Trump campaign officials. A 2019 Inspector General report concluded that FBI officials made 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in its application to the FISA court to spy on former Trump advisor Carter Page. The FBI withheld details from the court that would have crippled the credibility of the warrant request.

In 2021, a FISA court report revealed that the FBI has conducted warrantless searches of a massive data trove compiled by the National Security Agency for “public corruption and bribery,” “health care fraud,” and other targets — including people who notified the FBI of crimes and even repairmen entering FBI offices. Even people who volunteered for the FBI “Citizens Academy” program were illegally tracked by the FBI. In 2019, an FBI agent conducted an unjustified database search “using the identifiers of about 16,000 people, even though only seven of them had connections to an investigation,” The New York Times reported. In 2021, the FBI carried out more than 3 million warrantless searches on U.S. persons, according to data revealed in early 2022.

Maybe FBI boss Wray believes that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable warrantless searches doesn’t apply to “good guys.” The audience in Switzerland might have cheered him for making that assertion. Has the World Economic Forum ever seen a government surveillance scheme that it didn’t like?

Instead of swallowing Wray’s piffle, Americans should heed former FBI chief James Comey. In 2015, Comey told a congressional committee: “You should not trust me…because you cannot trust people with power.” President Trump followed that advice and fired Comey two years later. But Comey’s point remains a better lodestar for judging the FBI than the hokum currently prevailing in the mainstream media, on Capitol Hill, or at scheming Swiss confabs.

Jim Bovard is the author of Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and 7 other books. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and other publications. His articles have been publicly denounced by the chief of the FBI, the Postmaster General, the Secretary of HUD, and the heads of the DEA, FEMA, and EEOC and numerous federal agencies.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

An Extraordinary Unsolved Murder in Washington D.C.

In the matter of SETH RICH, the FBI asks for 66 years to release his laptop contents Nov 5 DNC Staffer Seth Rich, murdered on July 10, 2016

By John Leake | Courageous Discourse | November 5, 2022

“A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.” —James Madison

As an investigative author I’ve often dealt with the extreme frustration of making federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and state Open Records Act requests. So often, it seems that federal and state agencies don’t want to release the information, delay in responding, and then cite multiple exceptions to the law in order to justify keeping the information secret.

I therefore felt sympathy for my fellow Texan, Brian Huddleston, when I saw the recent Epoch Times report that his FOIA request for the information found on Seth Rich’s laptop is being thwarted by the FBI, which asked the judge who ruled in Huddleston’s favor to grant the Bureau 66 years to fulfill the request.

Readers of this Substack may find the FBI’s request reminiscent of the FDA’s request for 55 years to release COVID-19 vaccine data. Given the unfortunate reality of human mortality, one wonders what public interest will be served 55 or 66 years from now, apart from satisfying the curiosity of historians who aren’t yet born.

The murder of Seth Rich—in the middle of one of the most brutal presidential election years in history—has always struck me as an example of the authorities NOT investigating a matter of public interest. The mainstream media and half the country were so blinded by partisan passions that they couldn’t see the grounds for suspecting that the young man’s murder was politically motivated. Just a few hours after the incident occurred—before there was any time to perform an investigation—the Metropolitan Police Department announced that the murder appeared to be a “botched robbery.”

Since Seth Rich was murdered on July 10, 2016—12 days before Wikileaks published embarrassing DNC e-mails—there has been much speculation that he could have been the source because he was upset about how the DNC had treated Bernie Sanders. A good investigator wouldn’t speculate about the crime, but he would certainly notice that, statistically speaking, the murder is extraordinary.

Seth Rich was shot in the back near his apartment building, and though he was carrying a valuable watch, wallet, and cell phone, these were not taken by the assailant. Perhaps it was a botched robbery, as the Metropolitan Police Department quickly announced, but shooting a guy in the back without taking his valuables is not typical of armed robbery. Other robberies in the same neighborhood around the same time followed the conventional pattern of the assailant threatening the victim and demanding his or her valuables instead of opening fire on the victim.

In the year 2016, there were 135 homicides in Washington D.C., which has a resident population of 672,000, which comes to approximately one murder per 5000 residents— a dramatic decline from the city’s murder rate in the early nineties. Incidentally, the Metropolitan Police conducted an analysis of homicide for the years 1998-2000—after homicide rates had dropped significantly—and concluded that the primary motives were

1) Argument/conflict

2). Drug related

3). Revenge/retaliation

4). Robbery

5). Gang related.

During this period, homicides were not equally distributed throughout the city, but were concentrated in particular neighborhoods. 92% of the victims were African Americans 3.2% were Hispanic and 3.2% were white. Though one must consider the possibility that homicide trends in DC have changed since 2000 (apart from merely decreasing in numbers) it’s notable that, of the currently unsolved homicides in Washington DC in the year 2016, Seth Rich is the only white victim in a city that is now 44% white.

Julian Assange has always insisted the DNC e-mails were leaked and not hacked. Former NSA technical director William Binney has also insisted that if the DNC e-mails were hacked, it would be child’s play for the NSA to establish the precise routing of the hack, which indicates that the e-mails were more likely leaked by an insider.

Regarding motive, a good investigator would consider the hypothesis that Seth Rich was murdered NOT in retaliation, but to eliminate him as a witness that the DNC e-mails were leaked by an insider and not hacked by Russians. Almost immediately after the embarrassing e-mails were published, the DNC vehemently proclaimed it was Russian hackers who were responsible, though no evidence has been presented to support this accusation.

Regarding the assailant: A good investigator would consider the hypothesis that he was contracted to murder Rich but knew nothing about his target or the motive for killing him. This hypothesis is consistent with Rich being murdered as he approached the entrance to his home—that is, the contract killer was provided only with the address and a photograph of his target.

Another notable aspect of this crime has been the extremely emotional tone of press reporting from the same reporters who so passionately embraced the Russian meddling story. The mere suggestion that Seth Rich’s murder was politically motivated prompted these same people to angrily denounce this (perfectly reasonable hypothesis) as “wild, right wing conspiracy theory” and to demand that reporters cease and desist from exploring this hypothesis.

And yet, given that the crime remains unsolved, why not explore this hypothesis?

November 6, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , | 13 Comments