The Most Revolutionary Act

Diverse Ramblings of an American Refugee

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
New Plymouth, New Zealand
December 02
Retired psychiatrist, activist and author of 2 young adult novels - Battle for Tomorrow and A Rebel Comes of Age - and a free ebook 21st Century Revolution. My 2010 memoir The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee describes the circumstances that led me to leave the US in 2002. More information about my books (and me) at


FEBRUARY 2, 2013 5:47PM

FBI Refuses to Disclose Surveillance Policy

Rate: 7 Flag


In August the American Civil Liberties filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit with the FBI seeking details of its of its surveillance policy — who it spies upon, how, and under what circumstances. The FBI sent back two 50+ page memos in reply, each totally blacked out except for some information on the title page.

The FOI suit came out of the Supreme Court’s January 2012 decision in U.S. v. Jones. Perhaps surprisingly, the normally conservative court held that Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure apply whenever the government secretly attaches a GPS device to a car and tracks its movements.

According to their website, Congress is currently considering an ACLU-supported bill called the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (the GPS Act). It would require law enforcement to get a warrant to access a person’s location information through GPS or cell phone tracking. (You can click here to send a message asking Congress to support the GPS Act.).

Read more about the Supreme Court decision, the ACLU lawsuit and the GPS tracking memos here

Photo credit ACLU

Crossposted at Daily Censored and The Most Revolutionary Act

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The above document will look familiar to activists who have tried to obtain their FBI files.
You know what happens here, right? This duty shifts to DoHS and is sheltered by their inability to be audited as the cry - national security/enemy combatant and the courts hands are tied for 30 years until there is full assurance that no one is being "placed in harm's way" by them hearing the case.

The United Stalinists of America.
Either that or private security contractors - like what happened with a lot of the Occupy activists who were being spied on. Private companies aren't required to keep any records at all.
Allowing the FBI to operate with no civilian oversight is a bad, bad mistake! The UK is is as bad, if not worse with MI-5 and some of their proposals.
[r] Stuart, it is almost funny in its wicked lameness. It's not that we didn't give you the file. We did. It is just 100% redacted.

Don't know if you followed about how Aaron Swartz was demanding FOIA info on Manning. He was so out there in his courage. They both were, Aaron and Bradley. It is heartbreaking the criminal use of the law to silence whistleblowers. This from emptywheel's blog:

"As I mentioned earlier, John Cornyn asked Eric Holder whether Aaron Swartz was prosecuted because of his FOIAs.

"Second, was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act? If so, I recommend that you refer the matter immediately to the Inspector General.

"I have shown earlier how, during the period when the Grand Jury was investigating Swartz, Swartz was FOIAing stuff that the prosecutor seems to have subpoeaned as part of a fishing expedition into Swartz. I have also shown that a FOIA response he got in January 2011 suggests he may have been discussed in a (presumably different) grand jury investigation between October 8 and December 10, 2010. And Jason Leopold has also pointed to some interesting coincidences in Swartz’ FOIAs.

"But there’s a series of FOIAs Swartz submitted that almost certainly pissed off the government: he FOIAed tapes that would have had Bradley Manning, describing in his own words, how he was being treated at Quantico.

"On December 23, 2010, David House blogged about the treatment Bradley Manning was being subjected to at Quantico (which has since been deemed illegal).

"On December 27, Swartz asked for the following in FOIA from the Marine Corps:

"Any records related to Bradley Manning or his confinement in Quantico Brig.

"In particular, please process as quickly as possible a request for the government-curated audio tapes created in Quantico brig visitation room #2 on December 18 and December 19 2010 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm. These tapes may also contain a recording of David M. House; I have permission from David House under the Privacy Act to request these records.


"Of particular interest? The Secret Service didn’t get warrants to investigate Swartz immediately after his initial arrest, in spite of the fact Secret Service Agent Michael Pickett offered to get a warrant on January 7. In fact, Secret Service didn’t get warrants until February 9, over a month after his initial arrest. (Update: See this post for more on the delay.)

"That’s the day Swartz FOIAed the Army Criminal Investigative Service for the tapes on Manning’s treatment.

"More odd still, the Secret Service didn’t immediately use the warrants to obtain the hardware seized in his arrest; the warrant to search his hardware expired and Secret Service eventually got a second one. But Secret Service did search Swartz’ home two days after they got that warrant, on February 11–two days after he asked ACIS for the tape that would have Manning describing how he was being treated.

"Suffice it to say that Swartz was pursuing the same information that got State Department Spokesperson PJ Crowley fired just as USSS intensified its investigation of him.

"While I don’t think Swartz’ pursuit of details on Manning’s treatment would be the only reason they would deal with him so harshly, the Obama Administration clearly was dealing harshly with those who were critical of the treatment of Manning."

end of quote

It is horrifying the perversion of the law by those who are willing to intimidate to such a mighty extent, to drive people to suicide, to cover up and lock them up and throw away the key to protect their own worthless behinds!!!!! 1984 we have arrived.

best, libby
Really now Dr. what did you expect? Special Agent Will to crawl out from underneath your bed and ask you for donuts and coffee?
I agree totally, Zuma. Thanks for the link, Libby. It sure looks to me like the indictment was payback for his FOIA requests on Manning. I wasn't aware of this before.

Well, Jack, funny you should ask that, but my 7 year old daughter did befriend several of the guys who were monitoring me in 1987-1988. There was this one really Asperigerish guy who would frequently stop and talk to us when we were in the front yard. After my daughter made him some Halloween decorations, they moved him and we never saw him again.
why should it be otherwise? when you go to buy a car, do you hand over to the salesman all of your money, and whisper "whatever car you think i deserve?"

when you vote for a politician, you are handing over all of your power to decide. while the ballot is in your hand, you are a citizen, the rest of the time you are a beggar.

the point of democracy is, you never relinquish your citizenship, you remain an equal arbiter of social activities. why any human being would submit to the rule of another, willingly, is a question i had a long time in understanding. choosing a politician to rule your society would be insanity if the voters were competent, but when you are raised in submission to a guild of thieves, you learn to praise moderation in their theft.
Stuart, your answer to Jack ... sounds like your own version of "The Lives of Others". Would love to read more in a blog! best, libby
"It would require law enforcement to get a warrant to access a person’s location information through GPS or cell phone tracking."

At present what is the legal situation in the US?

Can the police use cell phone tracking to check a person's location if that person is a suspected criminal?
Hannu, at the moment the police, FBI, Homeland Security, etc. can track anyone's cellphone they want without a warrant. That's what we're trying to change. We want to make them get a warrant from a judge (by convincing the judge that the person is a suspected criminal). The way the Constitution is currently interpreted, law enforcement can only legally violate the 4th amendment if someone is actually committing a crime when the police confront them.

Libby, you are quite sweet, but I can count the people on OS who care about this stuff without using my toes. All the stuff they did to me and my African American friends in the 1980s is perfectly legal under the Patriot Act and the NDAA. The only difference now is they do it to white people who challenge the status quo. As far as I can see, the majority of Americans have no problems living under a fascist police state so long as they can still get laid.
"at the moment the police, FBI, Homeland Security, etc. can track anyone's cellphone they want without a warrant. That's what we're trying to change. We want to make them get a warrant from a judge (by convincing the judge that the person is a suspected criminal)."

The thing is that it wouldn't change it much if they needed to get a warrant from a judge?

Because, then it would be the case that they would get the warrant almost automatically? Or are judges there somehow more reliable there than police forces?

We have got here (in Finland) the system that police forces require a permission from a judge to access a person’s location information through GPS or cell phone tracking. But the general opinion is that it is just an announcement by the police to the court judge to get the permission...

Here normal polices working on the street or in the traffic are not corrupt in the sense that you cannot pay them directly to avoid the ticket for speeding, but the system itself might be corrupt anyway in that sense that 'different kinds' of people are treated different ways here, too.

Finland used to be earlier a really homogenous country, almost all the people able to speak same languages (Finnish and Swedish) and looking really similar.

Class differences between 'working class' and 'bourgeois' have been recently disappearing (while they have been quite big earlier), because people don't know any more, which class they belong to. Minorities have been small.

But the change that people moved to live in small towns from the countryside has been very rapid and nowadays people don't know each others any more so well. And police forces don't know them.

Finland has always been quite violent and nowadays crimes are becoming even more cruel. 'International terrorism' has been earlier rare, because police forces knew all the people well in a small country. Nowadays they don't know them any more and the things are changing.

I think that here police is unnecessarily listening many people's telephone calls and checking many person’s location information through GPS or cell phone tracking, because they are often suspecting them to do something, which they are not doing.

As far as I know the police will get the permission to check a person’s location information by cell phone tracking, if they tell the judge that they suspect the person doing drug business or something related. In reality they of course are often suspecting something else.

Of course 'international terrorism' is here, too. Finland used to be an important location during the cold war and the cold war is here again. In Syria Russians and Americans are against each others and the conflict could easily expand.

Americans are interested in using Finland's area in the case they would need more locations for their missiles and planes. And actually they are just now installing their missiles in Finland; they just sold new advanced 'from air to land missiles' to Finland. Finland is now ruled by the main right wing conservative party and seemingly considered to be a reliable partner for NATO.