(LifeSiteNews) — In a shocking report published by The Intercept on June 17, details have emerged of a U.S. national security surveillance strategy to covertly track, locate and identify anyone expressing dissent or even dissatisfaction with the actions of the U.S. military and its leadership.
The measures, undertaken by the Army Protective Services Battalion, fall under their remit of safeguarding top generals from “assassination, kidnapping, injury or embarrassment.”
According to Trending Politics:
That definition has in recent years been applied to criticism online, opening the army’s vast resources to sleuthing on anyone it deems to have made ‘direct, indirect, and veiled’ threats and or expressed ‘negative sentiment’ of its leadership, according to government procurement records from September 2022.
The use of these enhanced surveillance techniques extend beyond major social media platforms. As The Intercept says:
The document cites access to Twitter’s ‘firehose,’ which would grant the Army the ability to search public tweets and Twitter users without restriction, as well as analysis of 4chan, Reddit, YouTube, and Vkontakte, a Facebook knockoff popular in Russia. Internet chat platforms like Discord and Telegram will also be scoured for the purpose of ‘identifying counterterrorism and counter-extremism and radicalization,’ though it’s unclear what exactly those terms mean here.
This new measure far exceeds the capability of established surveillance tools such as that provided by private company Dataminr, permitting the inclusion of both public and non-public information.
These sources of information include ‘signal-rich discussions from illicit threat-actor communities and access to around-the-clock conversations within threat-actor channels,’ public research, CCTV feeds, radio stations, news outlets, personal records, hacked information, webcams, and – perhaps most invasive – cellular location data.
Details of this startling development in the abolition of privacy were discovered in a redacted U.S. government contract, whose details can be viewed here.
It also reveals how the U.S. Army would seek to disguise its online presence through impersonation and deception to remain undetected.
The contract says the Army would use ‘misattribution’: deceiving others about who is actually behind the keyboard. The document says the Army would accomplish this through falsifying web browser information and by relaying Army internet traffic through servers located in foreign cities, obscuring its stateside origin.
Taken together, the technology would allow for the anonymous pinpoint tracking in real time of anyone in the world.
This is simply another extension of an already vast national security state surveillance operation on the citizens of the formerly free world. A declassified report to the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines revealed the reach of the secret security state’s efforts to monitor the actions of private citizens worldwide – through the use of PAI or publicly available information.
The Intercept also shows a report which reveals the activity of the FBI as agent provocateurs in so-called extremist conversations online. Using a paid-for service called ‘Flashpoint,’ they impersonate ‘extremists’ in order to gather data – presumably on themselves.
‘In relation to extremist forums, Flashpoint has maintained misattributable personas for years on these platforms,’ the FBI memo says. ‘Through these personas, Flashpoint has captured and scraped the contents of these forums.’ The memo noted that the FBI ‘does not want to advertise they are seeking this type of data collection.’
It has long been maintained that many so-called extremists are in fact federal agents. In a report on The Proud Boys, The New York Times remarked on the “unusual number of agents that the FBI had in or near the group.”
Later in the same piece, the complexities arising from the sheer number of federal informers and agents in both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers is made clear.
This debacle helps to explain why the U.S. Army wants to keep itself hidden online, and in the real world – as it advertises for help to further destroy the privacy and security of private citizens.
According to the Protective Services Battalion document, the Army also does not want to advertise its interest in broad data collection. The redacted copy of the contract document, while public, is marked as CUI, for ‘Controlled Unclassified Information,’ and FEDCON, meant for federal employees and contractors only.
In a further quote from The Intercept, Ilia Siatitsa, program director at Privacy International, said in summary.
However, expressing ‘positive or negative sentiment towards a senior high-risk individual’ cannot be deemed sufficient grounds for government agencies to conduct surveillance operations, even going as far as ‘pinpointing exact locations’ of individuals. The ability to express opinions, criticize, make assumptions, or form value judgments – especially regarding public officials – is a quintessential part of democratic society.
What kind of “democracy” creates consequences such as these for the expression of an opinion online? This is not merely a matter of the extension of surveillance, but of the dangerous misuse of private data by anyone willing to pay for access to it. Siatitsa warns, with considerable understatement:
The systematic collection, storage, and analysis of information posted online by law enforcement and governmental agencies constitutes a serious interference with the right to respect for private life.
The legitimacy of the liberal democracies is considerably undermined by measures such as these, which effectively designate their own citizens as the enemy. The “crime” here is disagreement, which is weaponized across the West in increasingly illiberal “hate speech” laws.
In the name of personal liberty, I respectfully ask you share the following image as widely as possible.