In a secretly unannounced move, President Barack Obama signed an executive order giving the Department of Homeland Security the ability to shut down all of the United States’ communications systems upon his request.
Barack Obama laid out a statement he titled “Assignment of National Security Emergency Preparedness Communications Function”. No doubt a very confusing title. The reasoning behind his issuing of this executive order, is that he feels the government may one day need to access all of our telephones, computers, cable communications, etc., in the name of national security.
Why bother? The media is already indistinguishable from the government!
On the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services there is a list of rights belonging to all Americans. Chief among them: Freedom to express yourself. Abdiwali Warsame must have taken them literally. Two days after he became a U.S. citizen, he created a rollicking news and opinion website covering his native Somalia. It became popular with many Somalis and Somali-Americans, but also attracted attention from other quarters. As Craig Whitlock recently revealed in the Washington Post, Warsame was, according to public records and interviews, soon “caught up in a shadowy Defense Department counterpropaganda operation.”
Warsame’s website became a clearinghouse for articles from various points of view (including his own fundamentalist Muslim beliefs), but with emphasis on strong opposition to U.S.-backed military interventions in Somalia, and the contention that al-Shabab militants are freedom fighters, not terrorists. This, in turn, attracted the attention of the U.S.-based Navanti Group, which was “working as a subcontractor for the Special Operations Command to help conduct ‘information operations to engage local populations and counter nefarious influences’ in Africa and Europe.” As part of a sophisticated military effort aimed at manipulating news stories and social media around the world, Navanti compiled a dossier on Warsame, even though the military is legally barred from carrying out psychological operations at home. (Navanti claimed it believed Warsame was based overseas; Whitlock’s reporting indicates otherwise.) The military contractor eventually sent a copy of its files to the FBI, whose agents soon showed up on Warsame’s doorstep.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website says Americans are bound by “the shared values of freedom [and] liberty” and that “naturalized citizens are… an important part of our democracy.” Today, this rings about as true as a thump on the side of an empty dumpster. Abdiwali Warsame is just one of millions of people — Americans and foreigners — who have found themselves monitored in some way by the U.S. military over the years.
No one knows this long history of shadowy military surveillance better than TomDispatch regular Alfred McCoy, author of Policing America’s Empire, among other works. For decades, McCoy has been shedding light on some of the darkest aspects of government malfeasance from drug trafficking to spying to torture. Today, he offers a chilling tour of military surveillance efforts from the turn of the twentieth century to a near future even more dystopian than our present — a world in which we’re all liable to end up like Abdiwali Warsame. Nick Turse …
As the world reacts to the Trayvon Martin case, including prominent rappers calling out the media over its race baiting, reports detail around 160,000 Russian troops were called to ‘combat readiness’ following an Israeli strike on Russian-made missiles in Syria….
Now enter new reports surfacing from the Russian Defense Ministry on orders of Vladimir Putin that the largest military ‘state of full combat readiness’ drill is taking place with around 160,000 troops ordered to report from all corners of the military. Specifically, the translated reports detail how Putin is calling together not just Armed Forces of Russia troops, but all forms of long-range aircraft, 70 naval ships, bomber and fighter aircraft, and so on.