Who Do You Trust?

In their annual report, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) examine the policies of major internet companies – including ISPs,email providers,cloud storage providers, location  – based services, blogging platforms, and social networking sites – to assess whether they publicly commit to standing by their users when the government seeks access to user data.  Sadly, it seems like only two companies are on your side.

“We contacted each company to explain our findings and gave them an opportunity to provide evidence of improved policies and practices.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Moe

When you use the Internet,you entrust your conversations, thoughts, experiences, locations, photos,and more to companies like Google, AT&T and Facebook. But what do these companies do when the government demands your private information? Do they stand with you? Do they et you know what’s going on?

Not likely.

For the 2013 report, EFF used the following six criteria to assess company practices and policies:

  1. • Require a warrant for content of communications.
  2. • Tell users about government datar equests.
  3. • Publish transparency reports.
  4. • Publish law enforcement guidelines.
  5. • Fight for users ’privacy rights inc ourts.
  6. • Fight for users’ privacy in the US Congress.

Well, here are the results:

WHO

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images (2)No surprises here, but let’s give Twitter and SonicNet a thumbs up for (at least) trying to protect citizens from the increasing government interfering in out private lives.

Download the full reporet here.

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Totally related:

Join EFF!

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All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2013

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FBI Agents Hit By Coulrophobia

Fear of clowns (coulrophobia) is no laughing matter, at least not for those unfortunate to suffer from it. But when it comes to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – spending 14 months, substantial manpower and a small fortune of taxpayers money –  to investigate a group of musicians dressing up as clowns, only to find that they are just that, musicians dressing up as clowns, it’s time for therapy.

Insane Clown Posse can’t get its music on the radio, but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who call themselves ‘Juggalos’ or ‘Juggalettes,’ and sometimes paint their faces to look like wicked clowns. “

FBI Agent

juggalol

Never mind the guns, or the drugs, there are things that scare the US law enforcement even more; clown makeup. Newly disclosed documents reveal the genesis of one of the strangest tales involving youth culture, drugs,  law enforcement and clown makeup,  one that prompted a 14-month FBI investigation that ultimately proved to be totally  worthless.

This almost unbelievable story began in 2011 when the FBI for some reason listed s group of music fans calling themself “Juggalos”  in its 2011 report on national gang activity.

images (2)According to the Bureau, the “Juggalos” were more than just goofy kids who sprayed themselves with soda at Insane Clown Posse festivals. In the eye of the FBI, they were a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” that’s “forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity.”

For a long time many of the involved musicians and their fans have been wondering how on Earth the experienced investigators at the FBI could come to such a conclusion.

But recently MuckRock, a Massachusetts company that built web tools to help journalists, activists and lawyers file Freedom of Information Act requests, set out to find an answer to the question.

And the records show that the whole thing was triggered by the arrest of two Juggalos by Utah local police for possession of drug in March 2011,  then leading an obviously coulrophobic FBI agent in Salt Lake City to open a sprawling investigation into “the structure, scope and relationships pertaining to the captioned violent street gang.”

The drugs, and the amounts of them, are unspecified in the disclosure. Nor is it clear if individuals wore Juggalo makeup at the time of their arrests, Muck Rock reports.

However, the Salt Lake FBI dude wrote on March 15 2011 to his superior officer  that Juggalo crimes in “several states included drug sales, possession and child endangerment,”which fit a pattern of  crimes typically seen by gangs or gang members.”

And that’s not all:

Murder, Rape and Suicide

images (1)“Insane Clown Posse can’t get its music on the radio,” the agent explained, “but claims to have 1 million devoted fans who call themselves ‘Juggalos’ or ‘Juggalettes,’ and sometimes paint their faces to look like wicked clowns. Some continue the dress by carrying small axes, like the cartoon hatchet man associated with the band.”

Adding that among the “recurrent themes” of the Insane Clown Posse’s music are: “murder, rape and suicide.”

The FBI agent then proposed an investigative plan to use “a variety of lawful methods” to learn more about the gang activities of the Juggalos.

“Investigators must start with and work at length at street-level drug purchases of smaller amounts of drugs, surveillance, gang member debriefs, witness debriefs, confidential human source recruitment, and other traditional or non-sophisticated techniques,” the agent wrote.

Seven months later the investigation was nation wide, with agents trawling the social media for suspicious clowns.

The FBI’s nationwide gang task force warned that, among other fears, “social networking websites are a popular conveyance for Juggalo sub-culture to communicate and expand.”

On May 4, 2012, the Salt Lake City division of the FBI recommended the cases to be closed.

Except for the two clowns busted for drugs, the agency had not been ale to pin as much as a shoplifted can of spray paint on the notorious hip hop fans.

Hard Core Hip Hop

Joseph Bruce (Violent J) and Joseph Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope) met in Oak Park, a suburb on the North border of Detroit, Michigan. Along with Utsler’s brother, John, and friend, Lacy, they wrestled in backyard rings that they had built themselves. They also listened to hip hop music, including 3rd BassBeastie BoysN.W.A and local rappers like Awesome Dre.

images (3)In 1989, Joseph Bruce, as Jagged Joe, Joseph Utsler, as Kangol Joe, and John Utsler, as Master J, released the single titled “Party at the Top of the Hill” under the name of JJ Boys, but the group did not pursue a serious career in music. Poverty and a difficult home life drove Bruce to move in with Rudy “The Rude Boy” Hill in River Rouge, a city near the industrial southwest side of Detroit.

Feeling a sense of home and belonging, Bruce formed a gang called Inner City Posse, which was composed of Joseph Utsler, Rudy Hill, other friends of Bruce, and a number of other connections he had made in Southwest Detroit. Bruce was jailed for ninety days in 1989–1990 for death threats, robbery, and violating probation;  this experience convinced him to reduce his involvement in gang life. Bruce began his professional wrestling career after getting out of jail, and it was at his first show that he met Rob Van Dam and Sabu, two other first-timers with whom he became very good friends. During this time Bruce brought Utsler backstage with him, and all four became close friends.

Bruce became frustrated with the backstage politics of the wrestling business and began searching for another career. Back on the streets, Bruce, Utsler and Utsler’s brother, John performed hip hop music at local night clubs, using the stage names Violent J, 2 Dope, and John Kickjazz, under the name of their gang, Inner City Posse.

Seeing a need for a manager, Bruce’s brother Robert recommended his friend and record store owner Alex Abbiss, who established the Psychopathic Records record label with the group in 1991. Later that year the group released the self-produced EP entitled Dog Beats.

After the change in musical style, the group decided it needed a new name. Utsler suggested keeping the “I.C.P.” initials to inform the community that Inner City Posse was not defunct.

Several names were considered before Bruce recalled his dream of a clown running around in Delray, which became the inspiration for the group’s new name: Insane Clown Posse.

The group decided they would all don face paint due to the success of their former clown-painted hype man. Upon returning home that night, Bruce says he had a dream in which “spirits in a traveling carnivalappeared to him” – an image that would become the basis for the Dark Carnival mythology detailed in the group’s Joker’s Cards series.

Why?

images (4)

But one question still remain: Why have the FBI suddenly and collectively developed this rather severe case of coulrophobic disorder?

My guess is it has something to do with the Anonymous…

Related by the econoTwist’s:

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All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2013

US Journalist: FBI Creates Fake Terrorist Plots

I haven’t given totally up on journalism, just yet, and once in a while I discover something that looks very much like the real thing. Last week On the Media published a new book called “Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War On Terrorism,” based on the work of investigative reporting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Trevor Aaronson. According to the book, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have built a net work of 15 000 informants and infiltrators in Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots. FBI has used phony terrorist plots to justify spending $3 billion every year on counterterrorism, the book says.

“This is investigative reporting at its best. This is a story that the major media has been afraid to look at, much less commit the resources to report it out.”

Lowell Bergman

TerrorFactory_sm

“The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terror shows how the FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the bureau can then claim victory in the war on terror,” the publisher, On the Media, writes in a presentation.

The book is an outgrowth of Trevor Aaronson’s work as an investigative reporting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, which culminated in an award-winning cover story in Mother Jonesmagazine, On the Media continues.

The Terror Factory reveals shocking information about the criminals, conmen and liars the FBI uses as paid informants, as well as documents the extreme methods the FBI uses to ensnare Muslims in phony terrorist plots—which are in reality conceived and financed by the FBI.

The book offers detail into how the FBI has transformed from a reactive law enforcement agency to a proactive counterterrorism organization – including the full story of an accused murderer who became one of the FBI’s most prolific terrorism informants – and how the FBI has used phony terrorist plots to justify spending $3 billion every year on counterterrorism.

Sounds like another conspiracy-inspired, fictionalized and sensationalized marketing attempt?

Well, take a look at some of the reviews:

“This is investigative reporting at its best. This is a story that the major media has been afraid to look at, much less commit the resources to report it out. Now Trevor Aaronson has done it. For the first time a documented investigation into the domestic terrorism program is available to the general public. And the story this dogged reporter tells has been garnering growing attention. Is it possible that we have in fact created the very threat we fear? Are we in danger of destroying the fabric of our freedom in our panic to preserve it? Read Aaronson’s groundbreaking report and make up your own mind.”

(Lowell Bergman, Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor of Investigative Reporting)

“This is the kind of journalism that should prompt Congressional hearings. The Terror Factory offers a rare combination of meticulous data-driven reporting with personal narratives about the lives ruined – and careers made – by the FBI’s rampant use of informants. Aaronson is an expert guide through a hidden counter-terrorism network of con men, and through the changes in technology and the FBI itself that paved the way for this new era of law enforcement. The Terror Factory is a damning exposé of how the government’s front line against terrorism has become a network of snitches at the end of their ropes, and FBI agents desperate to thwart a terrorist plot even if it means creating one.”

(Will Potter, Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege)

“A disturbing window into America’s war on terror. In story after story, Aaronson reveals in detail how the FBI and its informants are creating crime rather than solving it. This is an important piece of journalism.”

(Alexandra Natapoff, author of Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice)

Kinda blending, wouldn’t you say?

I probably would have dismissed this as a too-good-too-be-true case…if it was not for one thing:

There’s more.

More documentation

Here at econoTwist’s, several strange anti-terror operation have been noticed. Incidents where the circumstances have been somewhat weird.

Remember these stories?

And this seems to have become a hot topic on other websites, too.

Techdirt.com has posted the following stories lately:

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Perhaps there is something to Trevor Aaronson’s book, after all…

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All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2013