More federal government shenanigans: Trapwire, hollow-point ammo, and more

Have you heard about Trapwire? Do not feel bad if it has escaped your attention. Chances are very good it has not been brought to your attention.

And for good reason.

According to recent reports based on documents provided by Wikileaks the federal government of the United States is installing a massive surveillance system across the country. Using facial recognition software the potential for tracking every person at all times is increasing.

Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it’s the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community.

The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation’s ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented. The details on Abraxas and, to an even greater extent TrapWire, are scarce, however, and not without reason. For a program touted as a tool to thwart terrorism and monitor activity meant to be under wraps, its understandable that Abraxas would want the program’s public presence to be relatively limited. But thanks to last year’s hack of the Strategic Forecasting intelligence agency, or Stratfor, all of that is quickly changing.”

So: those spooky new “circular” dark globe cameras installed in your neighborhood park, town, or city—they aren’t just passively monitoring. They’re plugged into Trapwire and they are potentially monitoring every single person via facial recognition.

In other news the provision 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act is proving worse than many had feared. From the U.K. Guardian, Tangerine Bolen (one of a group suing the U.S. government over the provision in the NDAA), writes:

In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA.

[…]

This past week’s hearing was even more terrifying. Government attorneys again, in this hearing, presented no evidence to support their position and brought forth no witnesses. Most incredibly, Obama’s attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA’s section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest’s injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama’s government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them.

To this, Judge Forrest responded that if the provision had indeed been applied, the United States government would be in contempt of court.

feds order hollow point ammo

Designed to expand upon impact inflicting maximum damage [Image credit]

For those wondering how in the world the feds protect themselves against raging retirees and the citizenry at large a few federal departments seem to be stocking up on hollow-point ammo: 174,000 of .357 rounds to the Social Security Administration, 450 million .40 rounds to the DHS, and 46,000 rounds to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Getting ready to shoot fish in a barrel, I suppose.

Finally, more on the government gathering generic information it might you against you later department, William Binney, since retiring from the NSA, has warned that agency’s data-mining program has become so vast and pervasive it could “create an Orwellian state.” From an interview transcript:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the differences in the [Bush and Obama] administrations?
WILLIAM BINNEY: Actually, I think the surveillance has increased. In fact, I would suggest that they’ve assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about U.S. citizens with other U.S. citizens.
AMY GOODMAN: How many?
WILLIAM BINNEY: Twenty trillion.
AMY GOODMAN: And you’re saying that this surveillance has increased? Not only the—
WILLIAM BINNEY: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: —targeting of whistleblowers, like your colleagues, like people like Tom Drake, who are actually indicted under the Obama administration—
WILLIAM BINNEY: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: —more times—the number of people who have been indicted are more than all presidents combined in the past.
WILLIAM BINNEY: Right. And I think it’s to silence what’s going on. But the point is, the data that’s being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want . . . That, by the way, estimate only was involving phone calls and emails. It didn’t involve any queries on the net or any assembles—other—any financial transactions or credit card stuff, if they’re assembling that. I do not know that, OK.

Feel better now? Happy Friday!

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.