Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

Brandon Raub, the 26-year-old Marine and Iraq war veteran who is currently being indefinitely detained because of inflammatory posts made on his Facebook page, faces yet another hurdle following a psychiatric “evaluation” on Monday.

Raub is being held against his will and without charges at John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital in Hopewell, Virginia, following an arrest (though some have challenged the technical accuracy of this word) by numerous FBI agents and the Chesterfield County Police Department on the 16th of August.

He was lead away in handcuffs without being read his rights, and it was only following his detainment that his mother received a call from FBI Agent Sherry Grainger, who informed her of the following:

“We have taken your son. He has been arrested by the Chesterfield County Police Dept because he assaulted an officer and resisted arrest. He has been arrested and taken to the Chesterfield Police Department.”

As was reported previously, the CCPD initially told  a different story, claiming that the arrest was spearheaded by the FBI, with Chesterfield officers only assisting the agents involved. Additionally, CCPD claims that Raub has not been charged with either resisting arrest or assaulting an officer, directly contradicting the claims of Agent Grainger.

Some have observed that one of the more disturbing aspects of this case is that neither the FBI, nor the CCPD, nor the Secret Service which assisted with Raub’s initial interview after he was taken into custody, seem to want to take responsibility for his detention. The Richmond spokesperson for the FBI stated unequivically:

“When we left we had not arrested him, we had not placed our hands on him, we did not detain him and we did not charge him.”

Brian Leary, Secret Service representative, released the following statement:

“The Secret Service assisted the FBI with the interview. He was not arrested by the Secret Service. The Secret Service will continue to monitor the situation. We have no further comment at this time.”

And the CCPD also effectively washed their hands of the matter, writing that:

“Raub was evaluated by a Chesterfield mental health official, who determined that he should be held under a temporary [detention] order and transported to John Randolph Medical Center for additional evaluation.

Raub was not arrested and he faces no criminal charges in Chesterfield.”

On Monday, Raub was forced to undergo a psychological “evaluation” at the psychiatric hospital where he is currently being held. According to his mother, the evaluation “was 15 minutes long, and basically the evaluator said that he was not ready to go back into society and he needed additional psychiatric treatment.” The evaluation resulted in Raub being sentenced to a minimum of 30 days in the mental hospital, despite the fact that no charges have been brought against him.

According to Russia Today, the government is utilizing state legislation (Virginia State Code §37.2-808) which states that authorities may indefinitely detain a person without charges in a mental institution upon obtaining a recommendation from a medic.

The Rutherford Insitute, a civil rights watchdog group, has begun to assemble a defense on behalf of Raub. A statement posted on their website from the executive director of the Institute, John Whitehead, reads as follows:

“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights [to freedom of speech], but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon.”

Rutherford Institute lawyers decried the government’s decision to hold Raub without charges for the next month, saying that “government officials again pointed to Raub’s Facebook posts as the sole reason for their concern and for his continued incarceration.”

Raub himself, during a telephone interview with the Times-Dispatch, had the following to say:

“I really love America, and I think that idea that you can be detained and sent somewhere without due process and a lawyer … is crazy.”

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protecting Act, or CISPA, has been passed by the House of Representatives, with a vote of 248-162.

The bill, which would allow private companies to share confidential, personal information about their customers with government agencies, ostensibly to guarantee network security, has drawn fire from numerous civil liberties groups.

Aaron Schwartz, an activist who advocates internet freedom, describes the bill as “like a Patriot Act for the Internet. It sort of lets the government run roughshod over privacy protections and share personal data about you, take it from Facebook and Internet providers and use it without the normal privacy protections that are in the law.”

The bill has been supported by corporate giants like Facebook and Google, both of which have been accused of working hand in hand with government intelligence agencies.

According to Schwartz: “Big corporations are supporting the bill, especially big corporations that make money off of violating people’s privacy. So it’s not a big surprise they’re in favor. But we’re seeing that the same way grassroots efforts were able to stop SOPA…And now, even the White House is coming out against this bill with strong language, much stronger than they used against SOPA.”

But the Obama administration’s sole objection to the bill seems to be that it doesn’t go far enough in coercing online entities to cooperate with the government. According to a CBS News report, the White House believes that “the bill fails to protect privacy and gives a pass to companies that do not secure networks critical to the nation’s security.”

In other words, whereas CISPA allows corporations to share previously confidential information with the government, the Obama administration would prefer legislation that forces companies to divulge personal information about their customers upon demand.

Legislation of that sort is already being prepared in the Senate, under Joe Lieberman (I-CT)and Susan Collins (R-ME), which would empower the White House to actively “determine security standards for companies with networks deemed critical to the nation’s cyber security.”

SOPA and ACTA, the government’s previous attempt at policing the internet, were shelved on January 20th of this year. And CISPA is even worse, according to Schwartz:

“…because it does allow the government to shut down websites for ‘national security’ reasons. It does have all the censorship problems the previous bill did. But it also goes much further and allows them to spy on people using the Internet, to get their personal data and e-mails. It’s an incredibly broad and dangerous bill.”

And SOPA was shut down in large part because of fierce corporate opposition. Wikipedia, Google and a host of other online companies loudly opposed both bills, which subsequently goaded the American people into action.

Not so with CISPA. One wonders if public opinion alone, unsupported by corporate money and lobbyists, will be enough to turn the tide and defeat this Orwellian piece of legislation.

by Ian Driscoll

Google’s roots in the American intelligence community run deep.

On Tuesday, March 13th, Regina Dugan, who spent the last two and a half years as the first female director of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), took a position as a senior executive at Google, the world’s foremost search engine.

For those who are unaware, DARPA is responsible for some of the most advanced, invasive, and often downright frightening military technologies the world has ever known. Here’s a short list:

As the article in the Los Angeles Times points out, Dugan is not the first DARPA/Google crossover employee. Vinton Cerf, who worked as a program director for DARPA in the early 80s, has been employed at Google with the job title of “Chief Internet Evangelist” since September of 2005.

But Dugan and Cerf only represent the tip of iceberg when it comes to Google’s connection to U.S. intelligence agencies.

In January 2010, Google was the victim of a highly sophisticated cyber attack, resulting in Google turning to the NSA (National Security Agency) for technical assistance. Thus began a working relationship between the world’s largest search engine and the world’s largest surveillance organization.

Marc Rotenburg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) remarked at the time that “Google and N.S.A. are entering into a secret agreement that could impact the privacy of millions of users of Google’s products and services around the world.”

EPIC has since filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, asking for the release of communications between the two entities. The NSA has refused to comply, citing national security concerns and stating that the “NSA is not able to comment on specific relationships we may or may not have with U.S. companies.”

Google was also contracted to provide the search technology and servers which makes up “Intellipedia”, a massive, incredibly secure database through which over 100,000 United States spies and intelligence professionals from 16 government agencies share information. And the NSA has purchased numerous servers from Google, utilizing their search technology to analyze and organize massive amounts of secure data all over the world.

Then there’s Google Earth, which was originally developed by a company called Keyhole Incorporated, acquired by Google in 2004. Keyhole was in turn funded by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, charged with “building a bridge between the Agency and a new set of technology innovators.” According to CIA Director George Tenet: “The In-Q-Tel alliance has put the Agency back at the leading edge of technology, a frontier we never should have retreated from in the first place.”

There’s been at least one significant In-Q-Tel/Google crossover as well. In 2004 (the same year Google bought Keyhole), Rob Painter became “Senior Federal Manager” at Google after several years of directly reporting to the CIA in his capacity as Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel.

And one former CIA agent and Marine Corps veteran, Robert Steele, is on the record stating that Google is “in bed with the CIA.”

Steele alleges that Google was actually started with seed money that the company received from the Central Intelligence Agency back in its fledgling days. Steele elaborates:

“I think Google took money from the CIA when it was poor and it was starting up and unfortunately our system right now floods money into spying and other illegal and largely unethical activities, and it doesn’t fund what I call the open source world. They’ve been together for quite awhile.”

Steele went on to condemn the relationship, and went so far as to name Google’s CIA contact within the Agency:

“I think that Google has made a very important strategic mistake in dealing with the secret elements of the U.S. government – that is a huge mistake and I’m hoping they’ll work their way out of it and basically cut that relationship off.”

“Let me say very explicitly – their contact at the CIA is named Dr. Rick Steinheiser, he’s in the Office of Research and Development.”

Meanwhile, their seems to be increasing interest in monitoring and controlling the free flow of information on the part of the world’s elite. At the 2011 Bilderberg conference (a well-protected gathering of some the world’s most influential people from the realm of politics, entertainment, banking and private business), the list of attendees included the “who’s who” of social media, e-commerce and technology. In attendance:

The co-founder of Facebook; the executive chairman of Google; the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn; the founder and CEO of Amazon.com; the commander of the American military’s “cyber command” (or USCYBERCOM); Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer; and others.