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Don't Let Them Push You Around! Say NO to government conspiracies! Tell the pushy aliens trying to probe your body with strange instruments to TAKE A HIKE! RESIST domestic agencies who think that your freedom and privacy are a thing of the past. FIGHT BACK against the big corporations who make themselves richer by making the rest of us poorer. QUESTION politicians who say that they know what's best for us and that any questions are treasonous. Freedom, and our rights are not negotiable. And if any of them give you any lip, tell them that CONSPIRACY JOURNAL is on to their little game...that'll shut em' up!
This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such chin-scratching stories as:
- Second Mayan Prediction of Apocalypse in 2012 Discovered -
- UFO Occupants: Mirror Reflections? -
- Mystery of Giant-Headed Mummy Found in Peru -
- Grandmother Troubled by 'Groping Ghost' -
AND: 9 Reasons You Should Wear a Tinfoil Hat
~ And Now, On With The Show! ~
THE BOOKS BY PUBLISHER TIM
NOW AVAILABLE AS E BOOKS ON KINDLE AND NOOK -- AND ALSO ARE ACCESSIBLE ON YOUR PC
Looks like everyone will be buying a Kindle from Amazon or a Nook from Barns and Noble this holiday season. And as much as we lament to see the printed book go the way of the Do Do Bird, the positive end of the stick is that the books are way cheaper in electronic format and you can purchased them from Kindle to read on your computer without even buying one of their readers! The books sell for below $10 and both Amazon and Nook have easy access web sites to purchase your books from. Oh and hey, NO WAITING for the post office to deliver what your order -- the books show up on your reader in a minute or two (now that's progress).
ADMIRAL BYRD'S SECRET JOURNEY BEYOND THE POLES by Tim R. Swartz
BIBLE SPELLS: OBTAIN YOUR EVERY DESIRE BY ACTIVATING THE SECRET MEANING OF HUNDREDS OF BIBLICAL VERSES by Wm. Oribello
CURSE OF THE MEN IN BLACK: RETURN OF THE UFO TERRORISTS by T. Beckley
COSMIC TELEPATHY: HOW TO GUIDE TO MENTAL TELEPATHY by Tuella
NOOK (Coming soon)
EXCLUDED BOOKS OF THE BIBLE by Sean Casteel
NOOK (Coming soon)
HEAVEN SENT MONEY SPELLS by Maria D' Andrea
DULCE WARS: UNDERGROUND ALIEN BASES
Check our our complete list of Ebooks available on Amazon Kindle and B/N Nook. HERE
- OH NO, RUN AND HIDE DEPARTMENT -
Second Mayan Prediction of Apocalypse in 2012 Discovered
Carving at Comalcalco ruin 'backs up' first prophecy that world will end on December 21 2012.
They've done their best in the past to downplay theories that the ancient Mayas predicted some sort of apocalypse would occur in 2012.
But archaelogists at Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History have admitted that a second reference to the date exists on a carved fragment.
Most experts had cited only one surviving reference to the date in Mayan glyphs, a stone tablet from the Tortuguero site in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.
The second is an apparent reference at the nearby Comalcalco ruin on the carved or moulded face of a brick. Comalcalco is unusual among Mayan temples in that it was built with bricks.
Arturo Mendez, a spokesman for the institute, said the fragment of inscription had been discovered years ago and has been subject to thorough study. It is not on display and is being kept in storage at the institute.
The 'Comalcalco Brick', as the second fragment is known, has been discussed by experts in some online forums.
Many still doubt that it is a definite reference to December 21, 2012 or December 23, 2012, the dates cited by proponents of the theory as the possible end of the world.
'Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced,' said David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin.
He said the date inscribed on the brick 'is a 'Calendar Round', a combination of a day and month position that will repeat every 52 years'.
The brick date does coincide with the end of the 13th Baktun.
Baktuns were roughly 394-year periods and 13 was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas. The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3114 BC, and the 13th Baktun ends around December 21, 2012.
But the date on the brick could also correspond to similar dates in the past, Mr Stuart said.
'There's no reason it couldn't be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period,' he said.
'In fact, the third glyph on the brick seems to read as the verb huli, which means 'he/she/it arrives'.
'There's no future tense marking (unlike the Tortuguero phrase), which in my mind points more to the Comalcalco date being more historical that prophetic,' Stuart wrote.
Both inscriptions - the Tortuguero tablet and the Comalcalco brick - were probably carved about 1,300 years ago and both are cryptic in some ways.
The Tortuguero inscription describes something that is supposed to occur in 2012 involving Bolon Yokte, a mysterious Mayan god associated with both war and creation.
However, erosion and a crack in the stone make the end of the passage almost illegible, though some read the last eroded glyphs as perhaps saying: 'He will descend from the sky.'
The Comalcalco brick is also odd in that the molded or inscribed faces of the bricks were probably laid facing inward or covered with stucco, suggesting they were not meant to be seen.
The Institute of Anthropology and History has long said rumours of a world-ending or world-changing event in late December 2012 are a Westernised misinterpretation of Mayan calendars.
The institute reiterated that 'western messianic thought has twisted the cosmovision of ancient civilisations like the Maya'.
The institute's experts say the Mayas saw time as a series of cycles that began and ended with regularity, but with nothing apocalyptic at the end of a given cycle.
Given the strength of internet rumours about impending disaster in 2012, the institute is organising a round table of 60 Mayan experts next week at the archaeological site of Palenque, in southern Mexico, to 'dispel some of the doubts about the end of one era and the beginning of another in the Mayan Long Count calendar'.
Source: Daily Mail
- LIFE IS A SOLITARY CELL WHOSE WALLS ARE MIRRORS DEPARTMENT -
UFO Occupants: Mirror Reflections?
By Diane Tessman
The UFO enigma presents us with basic paradoxes and unanswered questions which are at the heart and soul of what it means to be human. To me, that is a slight clue that these alien beings are somehow connected to us humans.
Each species has a unique "hum" of consciousness, thus The Wolf has the wolf hum and The Rabbit has rabbit hum – rabbit consciousness. Wolves, while extremely intelligent, always act along the basic wolf-behavior paradigm.
I think of the wolf hum, for example, as an orb which contains the sum of all The Wolf thinks, feels, acts, and IS.
The human animal has a unique hum; let’s think of it as an orb, too, wherein lies the sum of human consciousness. I hasten to add, I am not a quantum physicist; this "orb" image simply lets me express what is a difficult concept to express!
The human hum seems to have within its frequency, several profound paradoxes which reoccur many times in human history. These challenges within our mass consciousness itself, present our species’ with its largest ethical, spiritual, emotional, and philosophical challenges.
The UFO enigma forces us to deal with all of these conflicting aspects of our human paradigm. For this reason, the search for the UFO answer is already a part of human evolution, and I believe, is pivotal to our future graduation as a species.
Do the aliens know this? Perhaps this is why they are here: To force humans to deal with the challenges of our own human thinking, feeling, and behavior.
Or perhaps the aliens don’t realize their role in human evolution, or do not care, but the fact remains, they are and will play a part in our momentum toward spiritual evolution as a species.
Let me give you a few examples of paradoxes from the reservoir of the human mind and spirit:
Many of us believe in a religion. Many of us believe that the main players in our particular religion, such as Jesus or Mohammed, are the supreme beings of the supreme race (Homo sapiens), and that God created no other species above this supreme race.
However, it is in the human hum to explore, to think freely, to reason logically. It is within the human hum to believe in your own conclusions and struggle to let others know about them.
So, our human inclination to blind religious belief is a paradox to our passion for free thinking and reasoning; the blood runs red in human history not only through religious conflicts but red with the blood of free thinkers as they challenge blind religious belief. This is a human behavioral paradox. No other species is in such conflict within itself.
Enter the UFO occupants: Suddenly "the greatest species on Earth" seems to be but a drop in the cosmic bucket, and probably not a significant drop at that. If our savior is or was human, what happens when aliens arrive? Do we try to make Christians of them? Do we give up on Christianity? Do we try to isolate ourselves from the galaxy, trudging on with our old beliefs? If we isolate ourselves, turning hostile to any alien contact, we have stagnated as a species, right when we had an enormous chance to grow.
So, the aliens are forcing us as a species to re-examine our earthbound religious beliefs as well as forcing us to give new energy and fortitude to our free-thinking, exploration-loving, human hum, because this aspect of human consciousness seems most likely to offer a way to comprehend and deal with the aliens.
The Vatican seems to realize that its belief system must be expanded to include the fact that God created galactic beings. To begin to adjust, even the Vatican had to use a bit of human logic and "thinking outside the box." Unheard of for the Vatican!
Looking at the UFO phenomenon specifically, the paradoxes of human behavior are dazzling. How many religious/spiritual cults have been based on UFO occupants? True believers take the human inclination toward blind religious belief and put it all on a space ship.
On the other hand, some "expert scientists" (if there is such a thing as an expert in UFOs), not only dismiss any positive/spiritual contact which another human claims they experienced in their alien encounter, the scientific types can get downright mean in their dismissal. Who put them in charge of the UFO phenomenon?
Recently someone claimed that Billy Meier was the only true UFO contactee and prophet of future events, while calling every one with similar experiences, "charlatans;" paradoxically, many feel that Billy Meier was one of our more embarrassing human hoaxes. His photos have been (nearly?) proven fakes. And yet, I personally would not dismiss his claims entirely, I truly do not know for sure.
Our human inclination to declare one man the savior and the rest of the species as inferior sinners, is hard to evolve beyond.
Paradoxically, our human inclination to proclaim that we are the ultimate scientific expert while no one else knows anything, is also hard to evolve beyond.
The UFO enigma demands that we juggle our human behavior paradoxes as never before. And I feel that ultimately, we must not only juggle them for the galaxy to see, but also get a handle on them and evolve beyond the conflict they constantly create.
I’m not saying to somehow purge our species of its paradoxes, but rather to see them for what they are: We will not be intolerant –today! Embrace tolerance, enlightenment, peaceful co-existence, if not with the aliens, then at least with each other as we grapple with this enormous UFO challenge, with no help from our educational or governmental institutions. Faced with all that we are faced with as 2012 looms, we must stop being the victims of our own human paradoxes – victims of ourselves.
It is and will be so healthy and invigorating to turn upward and outward as one human race! The spirit in the sky is not a deity, it is our human spirit.
But wait, what does this have to do with UFO occupants being reflections of ourselves? If you consider the orb wherein lies the human hum (human mass consciousness), it has something to do with quantum physics, yes? And of course quantum physics means multi-verses and mirror-doubles of each of us, and all that mind-blowing far-out stuff which quantum physics has uncovered as probably true.
However, let’s just consider our own human orb of consciousness: Our human hum is inside our orb, just as The Wolf’s hum is inside The Wolf’s orb. But what is waving, stringing, and warping its way on the OUTSIDE of the human orb? What kind of intelligence is living on the surface of our consciousness orb?
I suppose it is "us," because it is our orb, our consciousness. However, it is us in a totally alien manifestation. This form of us can fly outside Earth’s atmosphere easily, and always has, because it is not stuck within the orb. However, its home is – the surface of the human consciousness orb.
(If it makes more sense to you to put our human world on the surface, and the quantum human world inside the orb, go right ahead).
These "surface" quantum humans may face the same paradoxes we face, such as loving both war and peace, both religion and free thinking. Or they may be our "higher selves" and thus confronting us now so that we, too, can evolve, because UFO beings ARE helping us evolve, either by accident or on purpose.
For all I know, our mirror reflections are just now figuring out we exist, and we are helping them (our quantum selves) to evolve. This gets very confusing! However, it is not out of the realm of current science and UFOs are a really confusing subject too!
Actually, I am one of those people who when faced with the possibility that the aliens are us in some quantum form, becomes contrary and says, "Well, I still think it is simply a nice
Star Trek universe out there with alien life forms from other planets, some good, some bad, with a sprinkling of human time
travelers thrown in. I still embrace Space: The Final Frontier, rather than the final frontier being literally in my head.
I hate to give up on that exciting Galactic Federation out there and decide we are alone in the universe with our insane quantum selves running around the outside of our consciousness orb. We/they fly really well but we/they make little sense.
Two add-ons: Human time travelers, I think of as our great, great…grandchildren, and so they are not the quantum humans who might be our mirror reflections.
And, there may well be actual human time travelers as well as quantum beings from the human consciousness orb, flying around.
Of course, we must not forget those nice simple aliens from far distant planets circling far distant stars.
Yes, the human hum is about to receive a real jolt, and I feel it will be good for us!
E-mail Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane’s web site: www.earthchangepredictions.com
- A GIANT IN THE WOOD-PILE DEPARTMENT -
Mystery of Giant-Headed Mummy Found in Peru
A mysterious mummy with a giant, elongated skull has baffled anthropologists.- NOT TONIGHT I HAVE A HEADACHE DEPARTMENT -
The mummy, with its strangely shaped head - almost as big as its 50cm (20in) body, was one of two sets of remains found in the city of Andahuaylillas in the southern province of Quispicanchi, Peru.
The skeletal sets were discovered by Renato Davila Riquelme, who works for the Privado Ritos Andinos museum in Cusco in south-eastern Peru.
He said that that the eye cavities are far larger than normally seen in humans.
There is a soft spot in the skull - called an open fontanelle - which is a characteristic of children in their first year of life, yet the skull also has two large molars, only found in much older humans.
Davila Riquelme said three anthropologists, from Spain and Russia, arrived at the museum last week to investigate the findings and agreed it was ‘not a human being’ and would conduct further studies.
He added: ‘Although the assessment was superficial, it is obvious that its features do not correspond to any ethnic group in the world.’
The remains of an eyeball in the right socket will help determine its genetic DNA - and clear up the controversy if it is human or not.
The second mummy is incomplete and is only 30cm (12in).
It lacks a face and seems to be wrapped in a layer as a placenta, fetal position.
The remains bear a striking resemblance to the triangular crystal skull in the 2008 Indiana Jones film Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - which turned out to be of alien origin and have supernatural powers.
Stephen Wagner, the editor of paranormal.about.com has listed a number of other strange human skeletons that appear to defy easy explanation.
In 2004, scientists were stunned by the discovery of skeletons of what are thought to be an ancient race of people that stood about 3½ feet tall - about the height of a modern three-year-old. Found on the remote island of Indonesia, these pygmies were named Homo floresiensis and nicknamed "hobbits" because of their small size (their heads were no bigger than a grapefruit). The scientists believe this diminutive race died out about 13,000 years ago, although modern natives reported knowledge of a tiny race of people currently or recently living in isolated areas of the jungle.
These are not the first or only strange skeletons unearthed around the world - including the U.S. Whether you believe humans are the descendents of Adam and Eve, the result of millions of years of evolution or the genetic creations of the Annunaki, there are many puzzling specimens of skeletons, skulls and other human (or human-like) remains that can truly make one wonder about mankind's past.
Here's a bare-bones look at some of the more intriguing cases:
Within an ancient burial mound near the town of Sayre in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, skeletons measuring approximately 7 feet in length were discovered in the 1800s. But the most remarkable feature of these tall skeletons was not their height, but the strange horn-like protrusions above the brow region on their skulls. It was estimated that they were buried around 1200 AD. According to some sources, the skeletons were sent to the American Investigating Museum in Philadelphia, and vanished.
All the Better to Eat You With, My Dear
In 1888, seven skeletons, which had been placed in a sitting position, were uncovered from a burial mound near Clearwater, Minnesota. The highly unusual skulls of these beings had double rows of teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. It was also noted that the foreheads were low and sloping, compared to "normal" human skulls, and had distinctly prominent brows.
The December 17, 1891 issue of the respected journal Nature reported the discovery of a giant man buried 14 feet within the center of one of Ohio's mysterious burial mounds. The enormous man's arms, jaw, arms, chest and stomach were all clad in copper. Wooden antlers, also covered with copper, rested on either side of his head. His mouth was filled with large pearls, and a pearl-studded necklace of bear teeth hung around his neck. Who this man was, or to which race of people he belonged, is unknown.
The Mica Giant
In 1879, a burial mound in Brewersville, Indiana yielded another giant skeleton, according to the November, 1975 edition of The Indianapolis News. This one reached 9 feet 8 inches tall! It wore a necklace of mica stone, and a crude human effigy of clay was found standing at his feet. The giant skeleton was examined by scientists from Indiana and New York, and it remained in the possession of Mr. Robinson, who owned the land on which the mound stood. Unfortunately, the curious bones were washed away in a flood in 1937.
Researcher Robert Connolly photographed this strange elongated skull in 1995. It was found in South America and is estimated to be tens of thousands of years old. Apart from its obvious abnormalities, it also exhibits characteristics of both Neanderthal and human skulls - impossible in itself, according to anthropology texts, since Neanderthals did not exist in South America. Some believe that the unusual shape of the skulls might be the result of a primitive practice known as "skull binding" in which a person's head is tightly bound with cloth or leather straps throughout his lifetime, causing the skull to grow in this dramatic way. The skull-binding theory is contested, however, for this and other cone-shaped skulls, and you can read about them in more detail at Anomalous Skulls.
Near Coshocton, Ohio in 1837, several fully developed adult skeletons were found buried in tiny wooden coffins. Why tiny coffins? Because these adult skeletons were only 3 to 4½ feet tall. No artifacts were found with the remains that might give clues as to who these small people were, but there were so many of them that researchers believed they could have been the residents of a small city.
Pedro Mountain Mummy
"Pedro," as he has been nicknamed, is one of the most famous enigmatic human remains ever found. He was discovered by gold prospectors in 1932 when they were dynamiting through the canyons of the Pedro Mountains, which rise about 60 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming. There he was, sitting cross-legged on a ledge with his hands resting serenely in his lap. (See photo.) He was completely mummified. What's astonishing, however, is that this middle-aged-looking man appeared to be only 14 inches tall! But it might not have been an adult at all. Although the mummy has been lost, X-rays survive and one modern analysis concluded that Pedro was actually an infant, or even a fetus, that might have been afflicted with the disease anencephaly.
In 1911, miners were digging out layers of guano from a cave located about 22 miles southwest of Lovelock, Nevada when they happened upon the mummified remains of an individual who must have stood 6½ feet tall when alive. A tall Native American, perhaps? Probably not, since the mummy was still crowned with "distinctly red" hair. Amazingly, the ancient legends of the local Paiute Indians described a race of red-haired giants - called Si-te-cahs - who were the enemies of many Indian tribes of the region.
The Starchild Skull
Lloyd Pye, author of Everything You Know Is Wrong, has taken it upon himself to discover the identity of an unusual skull he has dubbed "The Starchild Skull." The skull, which was found in a mine shaft near Chihuahua, Mexico around 1930, is unusually wide at the back and exhibits larger than normal eye sockets. Although he says the origin of the skull is uncertain, Pye speculates on whether or not it could be of alien origin - or at least belonging to a human-alien hybrid. While some contend that the skull was merely that of a deformed human child, Pye wanted definitive proof and so, in late 1999, subjected the skull to DNA testing. The results of the test indicated that the skull was from a human being, but Pye points out that the lab could not extract sufficient strands of DNA to make a definitive conclusion, and therefore the question still remains open.
Robert Connolly has photographed a similar, more complete skulls. (See photos.) In most respects it appears to be that of a human, except that it has an extraordinarily large cranium and eye sockets. The eye sockets are about 15 percent larger than a modern human's. The age and date of the skull are unknown. Similar skulls appear in photos by Karen Scheidt of remains found in a Mexican cave. Could they all be genetic mutations, some unknown species of creature or something not of this world?
Source: Daily Mail
Grandmother Troubled by 'Groping Ghost'
Doris Birch is having trouble getting a good night's sleep, but she doesn't need Ambien, she needs a ghost buster.
For the last four months, Birch, a 73-year-old grandmother living in the British town of Herne Bay, is reportedly being kept up nights by a ghost who keeps groping her when she is trying to rest.
"It's like an octopus," she told ThisIsKent.co.uk.. "It started four months ago. I was lying in bed when I felt this creepy pair of hands. I kicked frantically and it went away. Next time it came I hurled the duvet on to the floor!"
But the ghost keeps coming back and Birch has resorted to drastic measures to deal with the inappropiately amorous entity.
"I've tried sleeping without the duvet, but it started shaking my mattress," she reportedly said. "I even threw the mattress off the bed and bought a new one but it has made no difference. I told my 16-year-old granddaughter and she was gobsmacked. She said I must be joking."
Besides the terror of being mysteriously molested, the former nursing assistant fears that coming forward with her story might make people think she is unable to tend to herself.
Paranormal researcher and Huffington Post blogger Alexandra Holzer says it's hard to tell what is inspiring the spooky sexual assault without a full a proper investigation with a trained trans-medium and researcher as well as an examination of the history of Birch's home.
"However, based on her story and experience she seems like she has a rude, sexually inclined 'visitor' who in life may have acted this way with the woman," she told HuffPost Weird News. "Having said that, it isn't so much a 'poltergeist' entity as much as a 'devilish' sort of 'character' having their 'way' with granny. They don't care what age she would be as a female is a female to a pervert in life and in death."
Holzer says it is possble that the ghostly groper knew Birch in life, but, sadly, just as a zebra can't change its stripe, "people remain similar to what they were on earth as they do if becoming a ghost."
Paranormal journalist and Huffington Post blogger Alejandro Rojas says stories of people, especially women, being touched are fairly common as are tales of blankets being ripped off a bed. He suggests that a look at the home's recent history might explain why the grabby ghost suddenly appeared four months ago.
"Sometimes when there's construction or a major change, that's when the ghost appears," he told HuffPost Weird News. "That's one theory."
Birch's local paper, the Herne Bay Times, has offered to pay for husband-and-wife ghost-hunters Ray and Beryl Herne to send the poltergeists packing.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that the Canterbury City Council's Head of Housing will meet with her to discuss her concerns "even though we have received no similar reports from [other] residents."
Rojas thinks doing a ritual could be good even though there is no proven scientific method for ridding a house of spirits.
"It might ease the woman's mind and make her feel that something is being done," he told the paper.
Source: Huffington Post
9 Reasons You Should Wear a Tinfoil Hat
There’s plenty of reason to be concerned Big Brother is watching.
We’re paranoid not because we have grandiose notions of our self-importance, but because the facts speak for themselves.
Here’s our short list of nine reasons that Wired readers ought to wear tinfoil hats, or at least, fight for their rights and consider ways to protect themselves with encryption and defensive digital technologies.
We know the list is incomplete, so if you have better reasons that we list here, put them in the comments and we’ll make a list based off them.
Until then, remember: Don’t suspect a friend; report him.
1. Warrantless Wiretapping
The government refuses to acknowledge whether the National Security Agency is secretly siphoning the nation’s electronic communications to the National Security Agency without warrants, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation alleges. The lawsuit was based on evidence provided by a former AT&T technician Mark Klein that showed that AT&T had installed a secret spying room in an internet hub in San Francisco. The spying got so bad that Attorney General Ashcroft threatened to resign over it.
When a federal judge said a lawsuit on that issue could go forward, Congress passed legislation stopping the case in its tracks. Two American lawyers for an Islamic charity did, however, prevail in their suit that they were wiretapped without warrants, but the Administration is appealing. Much of the program was legalized in 2008 by the FISA Amendments Act.
The FBI has also built a nationwide computer system called the Digital Collection System, connected by fiber optic cables, to collect and analyze wiretaps of all types, including ones used in ultra-secret terrorism investigations.
2. Warrantless GPS Tracking
The Obama administration claims Americans have no right to privacy in their public movements. The issue surfaced this month in a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court to determine if law enforcement agents should be required to obtain a probable-cause warrant in order to place a GPS tracking device on a citizen’s car. The government admitted to the Supreme Court that it thinks it would have the power to track the justices’ cars without a warrant.
The invasive technology allows police, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies to engage in covert round-the-clock surveillance over an extended period of time, collecting vast amounts of information about anyone who drives the vehicle that is being tracked. The Justice Department has said that law enforcement agents employ GPS as a crime-fighting tool with “great frequency,” and GPS retailers have told Wired that they’ve sold thousands of the devices to the feds.
3. Tracking Devices in Your Pocket
That mobile phone in your pocket chronicles almost everything. Once-secret software developed by a private company pretty much chronicles all you do on your smartphone and sends it to the carriers. The carriers themselves keep a wealth of information, such as text messages, call-location data, and PINs — though none of them disclose to their customers what data they store or how long they keep the data.
Law enforcement can get at much of that historical data — and often get real-time tracking information without proving probable cause to a judge.
4. Fake Cell Phone Towers
You make a call on your cellphone thinking the only thing standing between you and the recipient of your call is your carrier’s cellphone tower. In fact, that tower your phone is connecting to just might be a boobytrap set up by law enforcement to ensnare your phone signals and maybe even the content of your calls.
So-called stingrays are one of the new high-tech tools that authorities are using to track and identify you. The devices, about the size of a suitcase, spoof a legitimate cellphone tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower.
The government maintains that the stingrays don’t violate Fourth Amendment rights, since Americans don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy for data sent from their mobile phones and other wireless devices to a cell tower. While the technology sounds ultra-new, the feds have had this in their arsenal for at least 15 years, and used a stingray to bust the notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick in 1995.
5. The Border Exception
The Fourth Amendment doesn’t exist along the U.S. border. You know that if you’re a close supporter of WikiLeaks or a friend of alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning. You’re no doubt very familiar with the U.S. government’s laptop border search policy, which allows Customs and Border Protection agents to seize and search a laptop belonging to anyone crossing a border into the U.S.
Agents can search through files on a traveler’s laptop, phone or other mobile device, read e-mail or view digital snapshots to uncover incriminating evidence, and they don’t need any reason to do so.
The government argues, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court agrees that searching through a person’s laptop for copyright violations is no different than looking through their suitcase for cocaine — and thus fits squarely with what is known as the ‘border exception’ to the Fourth Amendment. That means a border agent doesn’t need reasonable suspicion, probable cause or even a hunch to open your laptop, seize it and make copies of your data.
At least three supporters of WikiLeaks, including security researcher Jacob Appelbaum. have been subject to the policy and had devices seized and searched as they re-entered the U.S. from foreign trips. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seem to particularly like searching Appeblaum’s devices and questioning him, despite the fact that Wikileaks has never been charged with a crime in the U.S..
6. The “6 Months and It’s the Government’s” Rule
If you’re already not wanting a dose of Prozac, consider that the law allows the government to obtain Americans’ e-mails, without a warrant, if it’s stored on some other company’s servers for more than six months. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, adopted in 1986, turned 25 this year. When written, the law assumed e-mails left on a server for that long were abandoned.
In the age of Gmail, that’s simply ridiculous. A proposal to demand a court warrant for any and all e-mail never got a Senate hearing and was opposed by the Obama administration.
7. The Patriot Act
No paranoia list would be complete without including the Patriot Act, the now 10-year-old law adopted in the wake of September 11. The act, which has remained largely the same since former president George W. Bush signed the legislation six weeks after 9/11, gives the government, among other things, the power to acquire phone, banking and other records via the power of a so-called “national security letter,” which does not require a court warrant.
National security letters, perhaps the most invasive facet of the law, are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, financial institutions and others to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, bank records and arguably websites you have visited.
The FBI need merely assert, in writing, that the information is “relevant” to an ongoing terrorism or national security investigation. Nearly everyone who gets a national security letter is prohibited from even disclosing that they’ve received one. More than 200,000 letters have been issued by the FBI, despite a series of stinging reports from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, who found FBI agents weren’t just routinely sloppy; they also violated the law.
Moreover, a decade after Bush’s signature, information is sketchy about how the law is being used in practice. For instance, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) claims the government applies a far broader, and classified, legal interpretation of the Patriot Act’s power to let the government seize most anything it deems relevant to an investigation (Section 215).
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” the Senate Intelligence Committee member said in a recent interview with Wired. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”
8. Government Malware
It’s little known, but governments have their own malware/spyware that it deploys against suspected lawbreakers. The FBI’s version, the last time we checked, was called CIPAV. Once an FBI agent convinced a target to install it (by clicking an e-mail attachment or link on the web), the spyware reports back everything that computer does online.
German states recently came under fire for misusing a similar program that reportedly could turn on a computer’s camera and take screenshots. And a recent Wall Street Journal story catalogs a surveillance software company which trumpeted its ability to infect users via a fake iTunes update. The company sells its wares to governments around the world.
9. Known Unknowns
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took an unfair amount of abuse for his deployment of the phrase “known unknowns.” And it’s these known unknowns that might be the most disturbing part of the list. For instance, does the government think the Patriot Act allows it to force Google to turn over information about anyone who has searched for certain keywords using orders that come with a gag order? Is the NSA sucking up everything we say on our phones and that we do online, under the theory it pushed in a court case that it’s not a search until a human actually looks at the data? How often do police investigating a crime ask wireless providers to give them a list of all the people whose phones were in use in the area when they think a crime was committed? What kind of sweeping surveillance orders have been issued under the 1998 law that Congress passed to legalize much of the warrantless wiretapping of Americans? And finally, how long is the government storing all this data, and how can we be sure that our future governments won’t start using this data to target Americans based on activities protected by the First Amendment?
And no — a tinfoil hat won’t help you at all.
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