Brazil President Dilma Rousseff Condemns US Mass Spying before UN General Assembly

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff started the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly with fireworks Tuesday, using her first speaking position among national government leaders to condemn US government spying on the people of her nation and of many other nations. Rousseff explained in the English written version of her speech:

We face, Mr. President, a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.

We expressed to the Government of the United States our disapproval, and demanded explanations, apologies and guarantees that such procedures will never be repeated.

Friendly governments and societies that seek to consolidate a truly strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Ron Paul Speech is LPAC Highlight

The Ron Paul Institute capped off the Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) with a reception Saturday evening attended by many conference participants who had earlier visited the RPI outreach booth. The highlight of the conference was RPI Founder and CEO Ron Paul’s speech. Watch the speech here. Immediately preceding Dr. Paul’s speech, RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams and RPI contributor Adam Dick participated in a panel discussion reflecting on Paul’s time in the US House of Representatives. McAdams and Dick worked twelve and ten years respectively in Dr. Paul’s House office.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Did Sen. Reid Let Slip Secret Plan to Use Navy Yard Killings as Excuse for New Medical Privacy Violations?

There is reason for concern that the US Congress and the National Rifle Association may soon  work together to use the Washington, DC Navy Yard killings earlier this week as an excuse to expand a US government database of all Americans’ private medical information.

The day after the Navy Yard killings, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was talking about bringing expanded gun transfer background checks to a vote in the Senate. Bloomberg reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he’ll schedule another vote to expand firearms background checks “as quickly as we can” when enough members support the bill. Reid said at the moment, the Senate lacks enough votes to pass the legislation.

The Bloomberg article then proceeds to discount the possibility of such legislation advancing, saying gun control legislation failed to pass in the Senate earlier this year and quoting one gun control writer who absolutely rejects the possibility:

“The chance of any movement on this issue now is zero,” said Robert Spitzer, author of four books on the history of gun control. “That wind blew itself out politically.”

But, an alternative, secret plan appears to be in the works. Roll Call reports:

The Nevada Democrat [Reid] said he might be willing to move a mental-illness gun bill without a background check expansion, but that comment was quickly walked back by an aide who sent around guidance that Reid does not, in fact, intend to pass a mental-illness gun bill without expanded background checks.

Reid’s public comments seem to have gotten ahead of the public relations plan for a mental health database focused bill.

Reid will likely find it a much easier path pursuing gun control legislation focused on mental health instead of a broad gun control expansion such as was considered during the abandoned floor debate on the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act (S.649) in April.

A starting point may be the NICS Reporting Improvements Act (S.480), which was introduced in March by four Republican and Democrat senators — Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas). As these four senators make clear in their press release announcing the introduction of the legislation, the legislation is intended to prevent more people from being able to posses guns by expanding the mental health database used in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

US Attack on Syria Would Be Cash Cow for Military Contractors

US military contractors are ready to rake in hundred of millions of dollars from missile sales alone if the US launches a “limited” attack on Syria. Ray Downs describes the details in Vice:

Even as diplomats work on a last-ditch effort to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international authorities, the US gearing up to do what it does best: bomb a distant country. At this moment, six American warships are sitting in the Mediterranean, loaded with hundreds of missiles waiting to attack Syria should they get the order. If the complex, involved effort to get Bashar al-Assad to give up his chemical weapons fails and Barack Obama gives the go-ahead for a “limited” strike against his regime, those ships will let fly with hundreds of missiles—and that means the Pentagon will have to replace those weapons by purchasing them from defense contractors like Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. How much is that going to cost?

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

US Customs and Border Protection Rolls Out Unconstitutional Searches Far from Borders

US Customs and Border Protection appears to be engaged in the dragnet detaining of general aviation pilots and searching of private airplanes around the country. Expect this program to quickly expand if immigration legislation that increases border-industrial complex funding and manpower becomes law.

As exposed this week in the Toledo Blade, at least 42 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have informed the association that CBP has searched their private airplanes without reasonable suspicion the airplanes were involved in any criminal activity, much less the probable cause and warrant required by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. CBP’s new activities also seem to be unrelated to the agency’s customs and border protection responsibilities given that AOPA notes many of the planes searched never flew near a US border.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

NH City Council Approves Acquiring Tank Despite Public Opposition

The Concord, New Hampshire city council voted tonight to acquire a Lenco BearCat G3 tank. The acquisition passed by a vote of 11 to 4 despite  hundreds of people coming to the city council meeting last month in opposition. Public pressure had also caused the Concord police chief to back off his ludicrous claim that he needed the tank to fend off a terrorism threat posed by the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Surveillance State: We Are One Step Away from Glass Houses

In Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian novel We, the people of One State live in transparent apartments with curtains required to be open nearly all the time so police and informants may view the residents’ every action. Listening to George Washington University Law School Professor Jeffrey Rosen’s interview last week on The Take Away, it becomes disturbingly clear that Americans are one step away from this level of government snooping on our activities. Rosen details how police can use facial recognition software combined with abundant cameras to track and catalog our activities. As Rosen explains, the snooping is not limited to attempting to catch suspected criminals. Rather, police may use the technology to follow the daily activities of any person whose photo is contained in vast photo databases, such as anyone with a driver license.

The US government is working with states to expand quickly the use of facial recognition surveillance. Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned last year:

Recently-released documents show that the FBI has been working since late 2011 with four states—Michigan, Hawaii, Maryland, and possibly Oregon—to ramp up the Next Generation Identification (NGI) Facial Recognition Program. When the program is fully deployed in 2014, the FBI expects its facial recognition database will contain at least 12 million “searchable frontal photos.”

The database will quickly grow much larger. Lynch explains that agreements between the FBI and states in the pilot program allow the states to add just about anyone’s photo to the database, including data dumps of driver license photos.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

RPI Board Members Speak Out Against US Attack on Syria

RPI Advisory Board Members Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich are speaking out in opposition to a US military attack on Syria.

US Rep. Duncan, in a television interview in his home state of Tennessee, engages the issue with clear, straightforward comments as he often engages legislation on the House of Representatives floor. Among other comments in the short interview, Duncan notes that “We don’t need to be getting involved in a civil war in Syria. We don’t have a vital national interest over there,” and “We seemingly are almost in a state of permanent war, and I don’t believe that our people want us to be in a state of permanent war, and I don’t believe we can afford it.”

The Hill quotes former US Rep. Kucinich as asking, “So what, we’re about to become Al Qaeda’s air force now?” Kucinich also joins the questioning of justifying US military action on the Syrian government’s alleged chemical weapons use:

“This is being used as a pretext,” [Kucinich] said. “The verdict is in before the facts have been gathered. What does that tell you?”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

NYPD Muslim Surveillance and Mosque Infiltration Exposed

On the heels of a court deciding the New York City police department’s stop-and-frisk program violates constitutional search and seizure limitations, the Associated Press reports the NYPD has for years engaged in the infiltration of mosques and and the large-scale, dragnet surveillance of Muslims. It appears this Muslim surveillance program, like the stop-and-frisk program, does not require a credible determination of probable cause that the people targeted are engaged in unlawful activities. The AP story begins with the following revelation of the scope of the surveillance program:

The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

For the Back to School List—Military Recruiter Opt Out Form

While shopping for pens, notebooks, or a backpack, don’t forget to consider adding one more item to your back to school list—a military recruiter opt out form. All government school systems and most private schools that receive education funding from the United Stated government are required to provide to military recruiters high school students’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers, plus any additional information about the students provided to colleges or prospective employers. The only way to prevent the sharing of this information is for a student or parent to opt out of the disclosure.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.