Diane Feinstein proposes Obsolete measures in gun control Legislation

Her plan includes banning the possession of handguns, shotguns and rifles.

FBI deemed Feinstein’s proposals as ineffective in reducing crime.

By EMILY MILLER | WASHINGTON TIMES | JANUARY 24, 2013

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office confirmed that she will be introducing in the Senate Thursday a new version of the so-called assault weapon ban. A spokesman said the full text will be released at a press conference on Thursday.

The California Democrat intends to expand on the ban that expired in 2004, by including handguns and shotguns, in addition to rifles. She would decrease from two to one the number of cosmetic features on a gun to have it be considered an “assault weapon.” This means that if a gun has just one item like a pistol grip or bayonet lug, then it is illegal. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the same ban in New York last week.

Furthermore, instead of grandfathering in current firearms, she would create a national gun registry for the government to track lawful gun owners. Magazines would again be limited to 10 rounds.

The Clinton-era bill was not renewed by Congress after the Federal Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement agencies reported that it was ineffective in reducing crime.

President Obama said that a top priority is to get “an assault weapons ban that is meaningful” passed this year.

 

A summary of Mrs. Feinstein’s legislation is below. 

Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of: 120 specifically named firearms; certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.

Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by: Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test; eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.

Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by: Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment; exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.

Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include: Background check of owner and any transferee; type and serial number of the firearm; positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint; certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.

Emily Miller is senior editor of the opinion pages for The Washington Times. Her “Emily Gets Her Gun” series on the District’s gun laws won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism. Click here to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

$1 billion face recognition system across America

RUSSIA TODAY | SEPTEMBER 9, 2012

Birthmarks, be damned: the FBI has officially started rolling out a state-of-the-art face recognition project that will assist in their effort to accumulate and archive information about each and every American at a cost of a billion dollars.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reached a milestone in the development of their Next Generation Identification (NGI) program and is now implementing the intelligence database in unidentified locales across the country, New Scientist reports in an article this week. The FBI first outlined the project back in 2005, explaining to the Justice Department in an August 2006 document (.pdf) that their new system will eventually serve as an upgrade to the current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) that keeps track of citizens with criminal records across America .

“The NGI Program is a compilation of initiatives that will either improve or expand existing biometric identification services,” its administrator explained to the Department of Justice at the time, adding that  the project, “will accommodate increased information processing and sharing demands in support of anti-terrorism.”

“The NGI Program Office mission is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation and implementation of advanced technology within the IAFIS environment.”

The agency insists, “As a result of the NGI initiatives, the FBI will be able to provide services to enhance interoperability between stakeholders at all levels of government, including local, state, federal, and international partners.” In doing as such, though, the government is now going ahead with linking a database of images and personally identifiable information of anyone in their records with departments around the world thanks to technology that makes fingerprint tracking seem like kids’ stuff.

According to their 2006 report, the NGI program utilizes “specialized requirements in the Latent Services, Facial Recognition and Multi-modal Biometrics areas” that “will allow the FnewBI to establish a terrorist fingerprint identification system that is compatible with other systems; increase the accessibility and number of the IAFIS terrorist fingerprint records; and provide latent palm print search capabilities.”

Is that just all, though? During a 2010 presentation (.pdf) made by the FBI’s Biometric Center of Intelligence, the agency identified why facial recognition technology needs to be embraced. Specifically, the FBI said that the technology could be used for “Identifying subjects in public datasets,” as well as “conducting automated surveillance at lookout locations” and “tracking subject movements,” meaning NGI is more than just a database of mug shots mixed up with fingerprints — the FBI has admitted that this their intent with the technology surpasses just searching for criminals but includes spectacular surveillance capabilities. Together, it’s a system unheard of outside of science fiction.

New Scientist reports that a 2010 study found technology used by NGI to be accurate in picking out suspects from a pool of 1.6 million mug shots 92 percent of the time. The system was tested on a trial basis in the state of Michigan earlier this year, and has already been cleared for pilot runs in Washington, Florida and North Carolina. Now according to this week’s New Scientist report, the full rollout of the program has begun and the FBI expects its intelligence infrastructure to be in place across the United States by 2014.

In 2008, the FBI announced that it awarded Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, one of the Defense Department’s most favored contractors, with the authorization to design, develop, test and deploy the NGI System. Thomas E. Bush III, the former FBI agent who helped develop the NGI’s system requirements, tells NextGov.com, “The idea was to be able to plug and play with these identifiers and biometrics.” With those items being collected without much oversight being admitted, though, putting the personal facts pertaining to millions of Americans into the hands of some playful Pentagon staffers only begins to open up civil liberties issues.

Jim Harper, director of information policy at the Cato Institute, adds to NextGov that investigators pair facial recognition technology with publically available social networks in order to build bigger profiles. Facial recognition “is more accurate with a Google or a Facebook, because they will have anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen pictures of an individual, whereas I imagine the FBI has one or two mug shots,” he says. When these files are then fed to law enforcement agencies on local, federal and international levels, intelligence databases that include everything from close-ups of eyeballs and irises to online interests could be shared among offices.

The FBI expects the NGI system to include as many as 14 million photographs by the time the project is in full swing in only two years, but the pace of technology and the new connections constantly created by law enforcement agencies could allow for a database that dwarfs that estimate. As RT reported earlier this week, the city of Los Angeles now considers photography in public space “suspicious,” and authorizes LAPD officers to file reports if they have reason to believe a suspect is up to no good. Those reports, which may not necessarily involve any arrests, crimes, charges or even interviews with the suspect, can then be filed, analyzed, stored and shared with federal and local agencies connected across the country to massive data fusion centers. Similarly, live video transmissions from thousands of surveillance cameras across the country are believed to be sent to the same fusion centers as part of TrapWire, a global eye-in-the-sky endeavor that RT first exposed earlier this year.

“Facial recognition creates acute privacy concerns that fingerprints do not,” US Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) told the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law earlier this year. “Once someone has your faceprint, they can get your name, they can find your social networking account and they can find and track you in the street, in the stores you visit, the government buildings you enter, and the photos your friends post online.”

In his own testimony, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Alessandro Acquisti said to Sen. Franken, “the convergence of face recognition, online social networks and data mining has made it possible to use publicly available data and inexpensive technologies to produce sensitive inferences merely starting from an anonymous face.”

“Face recognition, like other information technologies, can be source of both benefits and costs to society and its individual members,” Prof. Acquisti added. “However, the combination of face recognition, social networks data and data mining can significant undermine our current notions and expectations of privacy and anonymity.”

With the latest report suggesting the NGI program is now a reality in America, though, it might be too late to try and keep the FBI from interfering with seemingly every aspect of life in the US, both private and public. As of July 18, 2012, the FBI reports, “The NGI program … is on scope, on schedule, on cost, and 60 percent deployed.”

Skype to give more user information to police

By CRAIG TIMBERG | WASHINGTON POST | JULY 26, 2012

Skype, the online phone service long favored by political dissidents, criminals and others eager to communicate beyond the reach of governments, has expanded its cooperation with law enforcement authorities to make online chats and other user information available to police, said industry and government officials familiar with the changes.

Surveillance of the audio and video feeds remains impractical — even when courts issue warrants, say industry officials with direct knowledge of the matter. But that barrier could eventually vanish as Skype becomes one of the world’s most popular forms of telecommunication.

The changes to online chats, which are written messages conveyed almost instantaneously between users, result in part from technical upgrades to Skype that were instituted to address outages and other stability issues since Microsoft bought the company last year. Officials of the United States and other countries have long pushed to expand their access to newer forms of communications to resolve an issue that the FBI calls the “going dark” problem.

Microsoft has approached the issue with “tremendous sensitivity and a canny awareness of what the issues would be,” said an industry official familiar with Microsoft’s plans, who like several people interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly. The company has “a long track record of working successfully with law enforcement here and internationally,” he added.

The changes, which give the authorities access to addresses and credit card numbers, have drawn quiet applause in law enforcement circles but hostility from many activists and analysts.

Authorities had for years complained that Skype’s encryption and other features made tracking drug lords, pedophiles and terrorists more difficult. Jihadis recommended the service on online forums. Police listening to traditional wiretaps occasionally would hear wary suspects say to one another, “Hey, let’s talk on Skype.”

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Fear Narrative Heightened Weeks Before Olympics

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JULY 5, 2012

The prospect of a terror attack before or during the London 2012 Olympic games have been raised today as British police stopped and held a bus that traveled from Birmingham to London due to a report that suspicious behavior had been observed in the bus. Police closed both directions of highway M6 motorway and illegally searched all passengers, reported CNN International.

Soon after police checked the bus and its passengers, fears of a supposed terror threat was dismissed. This event is an example of how heightened the fear narrative is despite the fact that most of the supposed potential terror threats are nothing else than wild guesses by civilians, passengers on a bus or a train moving in or out of the the British capital, where the Olympic games will be held this summer.

In another event that has not been confirmed to be related to the bus incident, police arrested six people in a London apartment, who were held as suspects of terror. Although the identities of the supposed suspects were not revealed and it’s not clear whether the operation that led to the capture of the six people has concluded, police have said that such arrests are not related to measures to keep the city of London safe in anticipation to the Olympic games. An muslim activist confirmed that all of the arrested were British-muslim.

While no one was directly labeled as a suspect of strange behavior, much less arrested or charged with a crime in the bus incident, police took the liberty of searching through people’s possessions, in an attempt to show that security previous to the London games is aware even of the least important detail in order to prevent what authorities security experts and some authorities say could be an imminent terror attack on London, without showing any proof of it.

“We are assisting police with their inquiries into an allegation made against a passenger,” the spokeswoman said as the dramatic incident unfolded. “Importantly, we are not treating this as a counterterrorism incident,” Staffordshire police said in a statement. “Given the nature of the report we responded swiftly and proportionately, treating the information as credible and extremely (serious). Our utmost priority was the safety and security of those people on the coach and those traveling on the motorway,” it said.

In the case of the apartment searches, a neighbor of one of the raided apartments told AP that police entered a property located near Abbey Road, just a mile away from the Olympic Park. “Five loud bangs in quick succession were head as police destroyed the front door to let themselves in. “One young man taken on foot to a waiting ambulance.” said John Smallshaw, who lives across the street. None of the police actions that occurred Thursday rendered anything worthwhile to be reported on as the main stream media concludes that the operations were preventive, isolated incidents.

The Terror that is being let loose

While police in London and in cities around the capital parade their preparedness to keep people safe during the Olympic games, statements from a more reliable source is alerting of possible staged terror events in London during the Olympic games. “A number of preliminary indications point to the possibility of a staged false flag event being carried out at this year’s London 2012 Olympics,” says Patrick Henningsen whose media outlet, Infowars.com received testimony this week of the potential for a false-flag terror event in London this summer.

Film producer Ben Fellows, who had kept his real identity secret up until this point, revealed that G4S, a private security firm operating in London and that is supposed to help guarantee security during the games. Fellows first appeared on the Lou Collins Radio Show where he said that the current geopolitical environment lends itself to the execution of another false-flag event in London, just as it happened back on July 7, 2005. Mr. Fellows, who up until last week was know as Lee Hazeldean, infiltrated G4S in order to learn how the security firm worked and prepared to provide security for the Olympics.

From his work at G4S, Mr. Fellows found out about an existent plan to evacuate London that ran parallel to what he said were poor security preparations to prevent a possible terror attack in case someone or some group were actually preparing one. Ben Fellows is a film and television producer, and has worked with people like Stanley Kubric, the re-known film producer. According to him, the operations of G4S were a complete disaster, with telephone operators not knowing what they had to do or what to say, the use of metal detectors that failed to find metallic objects when they were tested, and personnel saying that they would turn off the metal detectors at peak times during the Olympics.

“They told us about the evacuation of London, and that if this were to happen, we would be responsible for looking after the public,” added Fellows during a radio interview. Fellows also spoke about the purchase of 200,000 casket linings, that are used to fit coffins in cases of mass death. “That to me got me thinking, why would you have that?” Mr. Fellows then contacted a man named Andy Davis from channel 4, who after having a talk with him said a report regarding G4S preparations and shortcomings before the Olympic games would be negative news and that they were not interested. Davis later said publicly that he did not know Fellows, despite the fact that he had met him months before their meeting.

Days after Ben Fellows went public on national radio in the UK and in the US, reports began to pop out about possible security problems just weeks before the opening of the Olympics in London. During one of his training sessions at G4S, Ben Fellows heard a trainer say that London would go through a defining moment in its history and that G4S and its personnel would be involved in the developments of such event.

Whether the small suspicious events or the defining event mentioned by Ben Fellows will actually translate into a terror attack is unclear at this point, but the fact that it’s been revealed that preparations are being made to participate in a significant, earth shaking event could help avoid such outcome. The only tangible result of the heightened terror threat alerts, including Thursday’s arrests and the detention and search of a bus on highway M6 is that British authorities are taking advantage of such events to justify the installation of a totalitarian style security grid which will not go away after the Olympic games are over.

In London, police and other law enforcement agencies are carrying out an unlawful power grab that includes the use of techniques such as behavioral profiling, under which anyone is a suspect if a police officer thinks he is, and nothing else. London has been surrounded by a missile shield system that is aimed at detecting and destroying a missile, should one be launched against the city during the games. Proof that there is the potential for such an event to occur is zero. London and most of the western world has been converted into a test field for psychological warfare in the wake of the 9/11 and 7/7 false-flag terror attacks that were used by governments to turn cities into prison grids.

London alone is today a militarized zone that is not only baseless but also exaggerated. Both British and foreign military men are distributed over London and locations around the city without a single valid justification. Foreign law enforcement includes 500 FBI agents as well as members of the  CIA, the secret service and MI6.

FBI Techniques Revealed: “Agents can Bend and suspend the Law”

RUSSIA TODAY | APRIL 6, 2012

While the FBI insists they are acting to defend the US from potential terrorist attacks, a former informant says it treats an entire religious group as suspicious. He told RT about some of the bureau’s ethically murky practices.

RT:Back in 2006 you became Farouk al-Aziz, a French-Syrian in search of his Islamic roots. Tell us how did that happen?

CM: I was successful as an informant from 2003 to early 2006 working on money-for-hire operations, bank robberies, infiltrating white supremacist groups. And one day as I was speaking to my handler, her name was Tracy Hanlon. I said I am interested in infiltrating mosques. And she said “Oh my Gosh! That would be amazing. You would be gold!” They needed a specific kind of man, who can adapt and blend into the Muslim community to learn the language, learn the religion and use the religion and the culture against the Muslim community.

The FBI supplied me with sophisticated surveillance devices. They were called key fobs. It is like a car remote control. I had maybe five or six of them. They are always charged and I left them around the mosques where I would frequently pray. I had one in my pocket the entire time, always on and I had other key fobs just laying around in certain places where the they wanted me to target – the Imams’ offices, certain board members’ offices, certain worshippers’ cars, in their homes. So those devices were pretty much used on daily basis.

RT:Did you use any information that you acquired to create other informants?

CM: Yes. That was part of my role on Operation Flex. For example, in my conversations, or in their private conversations, certain things would come up. Like if a Muslim man was married and he had a girlfriend, a mistress, the FBI would use that information to blackmail that individual to become an informant. Or someone, perhaps, had a different sexual orientation. Or a certain youth had recreational drug use or desire to use certain narcotics. The FBI would use this information to blackmail them to become an informant.

RT: At that time did you think that what you were doing was wrong?

CM: Yes, I did. But I had been paid a lot of money at that time and I was assured by my handlers that the information that I was gathering and the method that I was using to gather it was far more important than the violation of anyone’s rights. So I continued. My handler Kevin Armstrong had serious concerns about the method which I was tasked to use to gather information, but he was overruled by the operational leader Paul Allen to keep me using entrapment types of methods to gather information.

RT:Some believe that entrapment is a necessary evil and it is a part of a price to be paid for national security. Do you agree with that?

CM: No, I don’t agree. In retrospect, especially, because again I used those tactics on a daily basis for over a year. And the reason why I disagree is because entrapment methods never stop. It always grows. There are no boundaries for it. If I can seek out an individual and get them coerced in some way to do something they normally would not do, that behavior from the informant only grows into more violation, more severe violations of the civil rights of Americans. So I think entrapment alone must be stopped.

RT:How widespread was entrapment among law enforcement agencies in the US?

CM: I worked with several federal agencies and several local police departments as an informant. And on each and every operation and case I worked on, a large degree of entrapment is the principal method. That is not justice. And I believe the FBI must rethink their policies and procedures. I believe that entrapment creates enemies.

RT:Does the US entrap people abroad too?

CM: Abroad? Yes. Operation Flex began in the United States, but it expanded beyond the borders of America. There were people in Afghanistan and a certain few in Iraq, a few in Yemen, who were entrapped. But that entrapment method was used to blackmail them to become informants not lead to arrests. It was to blackmail them. Usually when federal authorities, the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration], ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives], FBI want you, they would arrange some type of operation where they lure you in an entrapment manner where you may be innocent of this particular crime but they will use that arrest to pressure you to plead guilty on other arrests.

RT:Are other minority communities in America targeted as intensively as Muslims?

CM: No, I think the Muslims today are what the African-Americans were in 1950s, 60s and 70s. The order of today where the FBI needs an enemy, they found it in Islam. And I think unfortunately, a religious war, yes, but they would never say that because they can’t. It’s a violation of one’s constitutional rights, but that’s exactly what it is, the war on terror is a war on Islam.

The FBI has completed a six month-long review of materials and methods used to train counterterrorism agents.

­‘Yes’ to suspending law, ‘no’ to handshakes with Asians

­“Under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others,” one FBI PowerPoint presentation bluntly stated. The circumstances under which the FBI could get the carte blanche to violate one of the pillars of American society were not stated.

The files also contain samples of offensive stereotypes in training documents. One of the documents, titled “Establishing Relations” instructs trainees: “Never attempt to shake hands with an Asian. Never stare at an Asian. Never try to speak to an Arab female prior to approaching the Arab male first.”

Another document, called “Control and Temper” contrasted the supposedly stoic Western mind to that of the “Arab world.” In the Arab world, “outburst and loss of control [is] expected,” the document states. In another bullet point, these outbursts are also called “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”

Of the 160,000 pages and slides used by the FBI, 876 pages and 392 presentations were deemed inappropriate and offensive. However, the FBI did not publish its results and did it take any disciplinary measures against those responsible for the shoddy material. Nor did it order the agents exposed to the material to be retrained.

­Senator leaks files to the web

­The shocking instructions have been made public with the help of Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the FBI. He shared a letter he sent to FBI Director Robert Mueller with the Danger Room blog on Wired.com. The letter gave just a taste of the kind of information FBI agents were exposed to.

Senator Durbin was astonished by the publications.

I cannot imagine that was actually said,” Durbin stated. “It creates a license for activity that could on its face be illegal, and certainly inconsistent with our values.”

He also chided the FBI for failing to take appropriate measures to mitigate the effects of using such obnoxious material.

“If the FBI does not identify agents who received inaccurate information and take steps to retrain them, there is a real risk that agents will be operating on false assumptions about Arab Americans and American Muslims,” he wrote to FBI chief Mueller. “This could harm counterterrorism efforts by leading FBI agents to target individuals based on their religion or ethnicity, rather than suspicion of wrongdoing.”

The recent revelations are not the first in the series of shocking FBI agent-training instructions. Last year a leak to the web featured a chart, supposedly used by the FBI for training, that taught agents that the more “devout” a Muslim was, the more likely he was to be “violent.” In another instance, an FBI lecturer was featured in a video repeatedly telling the audience that America should be focusing its effort on fighting Islam and not individual militant groups, which he compared to the teeth of a shark, the shark being the Islamic world. He also compared the religion to the Death Star in Star Wars, saying the effort had to be directed at finding Islam’s weak spot.