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News Link • Surveillance


•, by Tom Burghardt

From driftnet surveillance to data mining and link analysis, the secret state has weaponized our data, "criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial," as Cryptohippie famously warned.

No longer the exclusive domain of intelligence agencies, a highly-profitable Surveillance-Industrial Complex emerged in the 1980s with the deployment of the NSA-GCHQ ECHELON intercept system. As investigate journalist Nicky Hager revealed in CovertAction Quarterly back in 1996:

The ECHELON system is not designed to eavesdrop on a particular individual's e-mail or fax link. Rather, the system works by indiscriminately intercepting very large quantities of communications and using computers to identify and extract messages of interest from the mass of unwanted ones.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ross Wolf
Entered on:


U.S. Government wants the power without a warrant, to introduce as evidence in criminal prosecutions and government civil trials, any phone call record, email or Internet activity. Alarmingly, that would open the door for Police to take out of context any innocent—hastily written email, fax or phone call record to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, fines and or civil asset forfeiture of their property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture: Government civil asset forfeiture requires only a civil preponderance of evidence for police to forfeit property, little more than hearsay.

If the Justice Department has its way, any information the FBI derives from (no warrant) acquisition of Web Server Records: User Internet Activity, emails; and phone records can be used by the FBI for (fishing expeditions) to issue subpoenas in hopes of finding evidence to prosecute Citizens for any alleged crime or violation—circumventing the Fourth Amendment. Consider: neither Congress nor the courts—determined what NSA electronic surveillance, perhaps illegal under Bush II, could be used by police or introduced into court by government to prosecute U.S. Citizens criminally or civilly. If U.S. Justice Department is permitted (No-warrant) surveillance of all electronic communications, it is problematic state and local law enforcement agencies and private government contractors will want access to prior Bush II /NSA and other government (retained electronic records) of Internet activity; emails and phone call information to secure evidence to arrest Americans and or civilly forfeit their homes, businesses and other assets under Title 18USC and other laws. Of obvious concern, what happens to fair justice in America if police become dependent on “Asset Forfeiture” to help pay their salaries and budget operating costs?

The “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” (effectively eliminated) the “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the statute now runs five years (from the date police allege they learned) an asset became subject to forfeiture. It is foreseeable should (no warrant electronic surveillance) be approved police will relentlessly sift through Citizen and businesses’ (government stored Internet data) not limited to emails and phone communications to discover alleged crimes or civil violations. A corrupt/despot U.S. Government may too easily use no-warrant-(seized emails, Internet data and phone call information) to blackmail Americans, corporations and others in the same manner Hitler utilized his passed police state laws to extort members of parliament, corporations and the wealthy to support passage of Hitler’s dictatorship legislation, e.g. the 1933 Discriminatory Decrees that suspended the Constitutional Freedoms of German Citizens. A Nazi Government threat of Civil Asset Forfeiture of an individual or corporation’s assets was usually sufficient to ensure Nazi support.

Under U.S. federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. Most U.S. Citizens, property and business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any fresh denial of guilt made to government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do the crime” may “involuntarily waive” a defendant’s right to assert in their defense—the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” past for prosecution; any fresh denial of guilt even 30 years after a crime was committed may allow Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence; including information discovered during a Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceeding to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason many innocent Americans, property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property and businesses against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture.

Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan V. United States. N0.96-1579. U.S. See paragraph (6) at:


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