A 600,000 Cubic Foot Blimp May Be Spying on You
The below piece and photo was cut and pasted from the Activist Post, piece written by Ted Baumann, [source]
In the summer of 1849, Austrian Field Marshall Joseph Radetzky did something no one had done before: He bombed a city from the air.
His target was Venice, then in rebellion against the Habsburg crown. During the siege, he launched a fleet of unmanned linen balloons, carrying bombs made from canister shot and gunpowder, timed to drop over the besieged city.
Radetzky told Emperor Franz Joseph that the effect on the people of Venice was “frightful.” Indeed, Radetzky’s balloons had done little physical damage, but had a substantial effect on the morale of the city’s defenders. As the 19th century wore on, fear of attack by airships became a constant theme in popular literature. By World War I, the mere mention of the word “Zeppelin” was enough to cause panic in the streets of London.
A prevailing theme in the literature of the era and the minds of the people was that these aerial monsters would always be deployed by one’s enemies. So it says a lot about the current atmosphere in the U.S. that the overwhelming public reaction to the deployment of massive Army blimps over Interstate 95 in Maryland has been fear and rejection….
Government Surveillance: From Zeppelin to JLENS
The blimps launched just outside Baltimore in December — known as Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor Systems (JLENS) — are the largest ever sent aloft. At 80 yards long with a total volume of around 600,000 cubic feet, they’re the size of three Goodyear blimps. They will float at 10,000 feet, about one-third as high as an airliner. They’re also expensive. The two prototype airships have cost almost $3 billion so far.
Officially, the blimps will deploy a sophisticated radar system that can spot and track aircraft, missiles, ships or even ground vehicles in a circular area, ranging from New York to North Carolina and from halfway to Bermuda to the Ohio Valley. They are meant to replace the Air Force radar planes currently used for this purpose
But JLENS isn’t technically limited to radar. If equipped with high-resolution cameras, they can see and record everything for miles, in extraordinary detail. In Kabul, for example, residents are used to seeing the U.S. military’s tethered blimp — called the Persistent Ground Surveillance system — hovering above the city, capturing video of daily life below.
Blimps are ideal platforms for mass surveillance. As Ginger McCall, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), says, “There’s something inherently suspect for the public to look up in the sky and see this surveillance device hanging there. It’s the definition of persistent surveillance.” Not only can the blimps potentially see everything you’re doing — they can be seen seeing you. That speaks volumes.
Like Radetzky’s balloons and Count von Zeppelin’s dirigibles, the main effect of the big blimps will be psychological. As Ed Herlik, a former Air Force officer and technology analyst, explains: “If you put a camera in a sky over an area where you expect a lot of unrest, the area will calm down.”
Stay Calm, but Get Ready to Go
Does the U.S. government expect unrest in an area the size of Texas centered on Washington, D.C.? If our rulers are smart, they should.
They incur debt on our behalf at a terrific rate. They use those borrowings to increase their capacity to monitor and control us, and to undertake ruinous foreign wars. They indulge in wholesale corruption, sanitized as “campaign finance.” And they resolutely refuse to listen to the wishes of the majority of Americans, who don’t want any of these things.
As we advise our Freedom Alliance members, you can expect a lower level of public service and amenities in countries that aren’t as rich as the U.S. The upside is that the governments of those countries also can’t afford to spend $3 billion on massive surveillance blimps parked atop their capital cities, even if they wanted to.
From where I stand, our slide towards a corrupt, oligarchic U.S. society, held in check by mass technological surveillance and unaccountable bureaucracy, is well under way. It’s not a theoretical issue anymore — and neither is the need to do something about it.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Begin making steps to establish second residency in another country, and start preparing for a life elsewhere … where there aren’t any blimps hovering overhead.
Ted Baumann is an Offshore and Asset Protection Editor who joined The Sovereign Society in 2013. As an expat who lived in South Africa for 25 years, Ted specializes in asset protection and international migration. He is the editor of Offshore Confidential and Plan B Club. His writing is featured at The Sovereign Investor, where this article first appeared. For more information about how to protect your assets, please visit here
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The below, written by Maira Sutton, was cut and pasted [from here]
Secret TPP Negotiations—And Public Protests—To Be Held in New York City
The next round of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations begins this Monday, January 26, and runs through the following week at the Sheraton New York Time Square Hotel in downtown Manhattan.
As with many previous TPP meetings, the public will be shut out of talks as negotiators convene behind closed doors to decide binding rules that could impact how our lawmakers set digital policy in the decades to come. Big content industry interests have been given privileged access to negotiating texts and have driven the US Trade Representative's mandate when it comes to copyright—which is why the TPP carries extreme copyright measures that ignore users' rights.
Some claim that this could be the final official round of TPP negotiations. The White House and Congressional lawmakers are now hard at work to pass a law to fast track this agreement and other secretive deals through Congress to ratification. Fast Track, also known as trade promotion authority (TPA) would transfer Congress' power over trade policy to the President, by preventing them from debating or modifying the terms of trade deals after international negotiations are finalized. The countries negotiating TPP with the US are willing to give in and agree to bad copyright rules as long as they get the other gains they were promised—things like market access and lowered tariffs so they can sell their products to US consumers. But those other countries will not budge without a guarantee that the overwhelming public opposition to the agreement won't prevent its adoption in the United States. Fast Track offers that guarantee; that's one reason the White House is now desperate to pass it.
Several public interest groups are organizing a protest outside the luxury Sheraton Hotel this Monday, January 26 at noon. Many of those demonstrating will be there to oppose other provisions in the TPP, but we encourage people to be there to represent all the users around the world who will be impacted by this massive agreement's draconian policies.
If you are not in the New York area, take action now by signing this petition to Sen. Ron Wyden, calling on him to stand up for digital rights and oppose any new Fast Track bill. You can also give him your message directly by phoning his office at (202) 224-5244.
If you have already signed the petition, contact your elected representatives and let them know that you want them to oppose Fast Track for TPP and any other secret deals that put users' rights at risk.
For the latest news in digital privacy and civil liberties please visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where this article first appeared