Imposter towers discovered near U.S. Army bases
Are strange imposter cell phone towers discovered across the country part of a secret government surveillance program?
Imposter towers discovered near U.S. Army bases
Are strange imposter cell phone towers discovered across the country part of a secret government surveillance program?
Search engine accesses 850 billion records
By Ryan Gallagher25 Aug 2014, 1:09 PM EDT 29
The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.
The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration as key participants.
ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Earlier revelations sourced to the Snowden documents have exposed a multitude of NSA programs for collecting large volumes of communications. The NSA has acknowledged that it shares some of its collected data with domestic agencies like the FBI, but details about the method and scope of its sharing have remained shrouded in secrecy.
ICREACH has been accessible to more than 1,000 analysts at 23 U.S. government agencies that perform intelligence work, according to a 2010 memo. A planning document from 2007 lists the DEA, FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency as core members. Information shared through ICREACH can be used to track people’s movements, map out their networks of associates, help predict future actions, and potentially reveal religious affiliations or political beliefs.
The creation of ICREACH represented a landmark moment in the history of classified U.S. government surveillance, according to the NSA documents.
“The ICREACH team delivered the first-ever wholesale sharing of communications metadata within the U.S. Intelligence Community,” noted a top-secret memo dated December 2007. “This team began over two years ago with a basic concept compelled by the IC’s increasing need for communications metadata and NSA’s ability to collect, process and store vast amounts of communications metadata related to worldwide intelligence targets.”
The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones. Metadata reveals information about a communication—such as the “to” and “from” parts of an email, and the time and date it was sent, or the phone numbers someone called and when they called—but not the content of the message or audio of the call.
ICREACH does not appear to have a direct relationship to the large NSA database, previously reported by The Guardian, that stores information on millions of ordinary Americans’ phone calls under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Unlike the 215 database, which is accessible to a small number of NSA employees and can be searched only in terrorism-related investigations, ICREACH grants access to a vast pool of data that can be mined by analysts from across the intelligence community for “foreign intelligence”—a vague term that is far broader than counterterrorism.
Data available through ICREACH appears to be primarily derived from surveillance of foreigners’ communications, and planning documents show that it draws on a variety of different sources of data maintained by the NSA. Though one 2010 internal paper clearly calls it “the ICREACH database,” a U.S. official familiar with the system disputed that, telling The Intercept that while “it enables the sharing of certain foreign intelligence metadata,” ICREACH is “not a repository [and] does not store events or records.” Instead, it appears to provide analysts with the ability to perform a one-stop search of information from a wide variety of separate databases.
In a statement to The Intercept, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that the system shares data that is swept up by programs authorized under Executive Order 12333, a controversial Reagan-era presidential directive that underpins several NSA bulk surveillance operations that target foreign communications networks. The 12333 surveillance takes place with no court oversight and has received minimal Congressional scrutiny because it is targeted at foreign, not domestic, communication networks. The broad scale of 12333 surveillance means that some Americans’ communications get caught in the dragnet as they transit international cables or satellites—and documents contained in the Snowden archive indicate that ICREACH taps into some of that data.
Legal experts told The Intercept they were shocked to learn about the scale of the ICREACH system and are concerned that law enforcement authorities might use it for domestic investigations that are not related to terrorism.
“To me, this is extremely troublesome,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice. “The myth that metadata is just a bunch of numbers and is not as revealing as actual communications content was exploded long ago—this is a trove of incredibly sensitive information.”
Brian Owsley, a federal magistrate judge between 2005 and 2013, said he was alarmed that traditional law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and the DEA were among those with access to the NSA’s surveillance troves.
“This is not something that I think the government should be doing,” said Owsley, an assistant professor of law at Indiana Tech Law School. “Perhaps if information is useful in a specific case, they can get judicial authority to provide it to another agency. But there shouldn’t be this buddy-buddy system back-and-forth.”
Jeffrey Anchukaitis, an ODNI spokesman, declined to comment on a series of questions from The Intercept about the size and scope of ICREACH, but said that sharing information had become “a pillar of the post-9/11 intelligence community” as part of an effort to prevent valuable intelligence from being “stove-piped in any single office or agency.”
Using ICREACH to query the surveillance data, “analysts can develop vital intelligence leads without requiring access to raw intelligence collected by other IC [Intelligence Community] agencies,” Anchukaitis said. “In the case of NSA, access to raw signals intelligence is strictly limited to those with the training and authority to handle it appropriately. The highest priority of the intelligence community is to work within the constraints of law to collect, analyze and understand information related to potential threats to our national security.”
The mastermind behind ICREACH was recently retired NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander, who outlined his vision for the system in a classified 2006 letter to the then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. The search tool, Alexander wrote, would “allow unprecedented volumes of communications metadata to be shared and analyzed,” opening up a “vast, rich source of information” for other agencies to exploit. By late 2007 the NSA reported to its employees that the system had gone live as a pilot program.
The NSA described ICREACH as a “one-stop shopping tool” for analyzing communications. The system would enable at least a 12-fold increase in the volume of metadata being shared between intelligence community agencies, the documents stated. Using ICREACH, the NSA planned to boost the amount of communications “events” it shared with other U.S. government agencies from 50 billion to more than 850 billion, bolstering an older top-secret data sharing system named CRISSCROSS/PROTON, which was launched in the 1990s and managed by the CIA.
To allow government agents to sift through the masses of records on ICREACH, engineers designed a simple “Google-like” search interface. This enabled analysts to run searches against particular “selectors” associated with a person of interest—such as an email address or phone number—and receive a page of results displaying, for instance, a list of phone calls made and received by a suspect over a month-long period. The documents suggest these results can be used reveal the “social network” of the person of interest—in other words, those that they communicate with, such as friends, family, and other associates.
The purpose of ICREACH, projected initially to cost between $2.5 million and $4.5 million per year, was to allow government agents to comb through the NSA’s metadata troves to identify new leads for investigations, to predict potential future threats against the U.S., and to keep tabs on what the NSA calls “worldwide intelligence targets.”
However, the documents make clear that it is not only data about foreigners’ communications that are available on the system. Alexander’s memo states that “many millions of…minimized communications metadata records” would be available through ICREACH, a reference to the process of “minimization,” whereby identifying information—such as part of a phone number or email address—is removed so it is not visible to the analyst. NSA documents define minimization as “specific procedures to minimize the acquisition and retention [of] information concerning unconsenting U.S. persons”—making it a near certainty that ICREACH gives analysts access to millions of records about Americans. The “minimized” information can still be retained under NSA rules for up to five years and “unmasked” at any point during that period if it is ever deemed necessary for an investigation.
The Brennan Center’s Goitein said it appeared that with ICREACH, the government “drove a truck” through loopholes that allowed it to circumvent restrictions on retaining data about Americans. This raises a variety of legal and constitutional issues, according to Goitein, particularly if the data can be easily searched on a large scale by agencies like the FBI and DEA for their domestic investigations.
“The idea with minimization is that the government is basically supposed to pretend this information doesn’t exist, unless it falls under certain narrow categories,” Goitein said. “But functionally speaking, what we’re seeing here is that minimization means, ‘we’ll hold on to the data as long as we want to, and if we see anything that interests us then we can use it.’”
A key question, according to several experts consulted by The Intercept, is whether the FBI, DEA or other domestic agencies have used their access to ICREACH to secretly trigger investigations of Americans through a controversial process known as “parallel construction.”
Parallel construction involves law enforcement agents using information gleaned from covert surveillance, but later covering up their use of that data by creating a new evidence trail that excludes it. This hides the true origin of the investigation from defense lawyers and, on occasion, prosecutors and judges—which means the legality of the evidence that triggered the investigation cannot be challenged in court.
In practice, this could mean that a DEA agent identifies an individual he believes is involved in drug trafficking in the United States on the basis of information stored on ICREACH. The agent begins an investigation but pretends, in his records of the investigation, that the original tip did not come from the secret trove. Last year, Reuters first reported details of parallel construction based on NSA data, linking the practice to a unit known as the Special Operations Division, which Reuters said distributes tips from NSA intercepts and a DEA database known as DICE.
Tampa attorney James Felman, chair of the American Bar Association’s criminal justice section, told The Intercept that parallel construction is a “tremendously problematic” tactic because law enforcement agencies “must be honest with courts about where they are getting their information.” The ICREACH revelations, he said, “raise the question of whether parallel construction is present in more cases than we had thought. And if that’s true, it is deeply disturbing and disappointing.”
Anchukaitis, the ODNI spokesman, declined to say whether ICREACH has been used to aid domestic investigations, and he would not name all of the agencies with access to the data. “Access to information-sharing tools is restricted to users conducting foreign intelligence analysis who have the appropriate training to handle the data,” he said.
CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, 2001.
CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, 2001.
The roots of ICREACH can be traced back more than two decades.
In the early 1990s, the CIA and the DEA embarked on a secret initiative called Project CRISSCROSS. The agencies built a database system to analyze phone billing records and phone directories, in order to identify links between intelligence targets and other persons of interest. At first, CRISSCROSS was used in Latin America and was “extremely successful” at identifying narcotics-related suspects. It stored only five kinds of metadata on phone calls: date, time, duration, called number, and calling number, according to an NSA memo.
The program rapidly grew in size and scope. By 1999, the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI had gained access to CRISSCROSS and were contributing information to it. As CRISSCROSS continued to expand, it was supplemented with a system called PROTON that enabled analysts to store and examine additional types of data. These included unique codes used to identify individual cellphones, location data, text messages, passport and flight records, visa application information, as well as excerpts culled from CIA intelligence reports.
An NSA memo noted that PROTON could identify people based on whether they behaved in a “similar manner to a specific target.” The memo also said the system “identifies correspondents in common with two or more targets, identifies potential new phone numbers when a target switches phones, and identifies networks of organizations based on communications within the group.” In July 2006, the NSA estimated that it was storing 149 billion phone records on PROTON.
According to the NSA documents, PROTON was used to track down “High Value Individuals” in the United States and Iraq, investigate front companies, and discover information about foreign government operatives. CRISSCROSS enabled major narcotics arrests and was integral to the CIA’s rendition program during the Bush Administration, which involved abducting terror suspects and flying them to secret “black site” prisons where they were brutally interrogated and sometimes tortured. One NSA document on the system, dated from July 2005, noted that the use of communications metadata “has been a contribution to virtually every successful rendition of suspects and often, the deciding factor.”
However, the NSA came to view CRISSCROSS/PROTON as insufficient, in part due to the aging standard of its technology. The intelligence community was sensitive to criticism that it had failed to share information that could potentially have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks, and it had been strongly criticized for intelligence failures before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. For the NSA, it was time to build a new and more advanced system to radically increase metadata sharing.
A New Standard
In 2006, NSA director Alexander drafted his secret proposal to then-Director of National Intelligence Negroponte.
Alexander laid out his vision for what he described as a “communications metadata coalition” that would be led by the NSA. His idea was to build a sophisticated new tool that would grant other federal agencies access to “more than 50 existing NSA/CSS metadata fields contained in trillions of records” and handle “many millions” of new minimized records every day—indicating that a large number of Americans’ communications would be included.
The NSA’s contributions to the ICREACH system, Alexander wrote, “would dwarf the volume of NSA’s present contributions to PROTON, as well as the input of all other [intelligence community] contributors.”
Alexander explained in the memo that NSA was already collecting “vast amounts of communications metadata” and was preparing to share some of it on a system called GLOBALREACH with its counterparts in the so-called Five Eyes surveillance alliance: the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
ICREACH, he proposed, could be designed like GLOBALREACH and accessible only to U.S. agencies in the intelligence community, or IC.
A top-secret PowerPoint presentation from May 2007 illustrated how ICREACH would work—revealing its “Google-like” search interface and showing how the NSA planned to link it to the DEA, DIA, CIA, and the FBI. Each agency would access and input data through a secret data “broker”—a sort of digital letterbox—linked to the central NSA system. ICREACH, according to the presentation, would also receive metadata from the Five Eyes allies.
The aim was not necessarily for ICREACH to completely replace CRISSCROSS/PROTON, but rather to complement it. The NSA planned to use the new system to perform more advanced kinds of surveillance—such as “pattern of life analysis,” which involves monitoring who individuals communicate with and the places they visit over a period of several months, in order to observe their habits and predict future behavior.
The NSA agreed to train other U.S. government agencies to use ICREACH. Intelligence analysts could be “certified” for access to the massive database if they required access in support of a given mission, worked as an analyst within the U.S. intelligence community, and had top-secret security clearance. (According to the latest government figures, there are more than 1.2 million government employees and contractors with top-secret clearance.)
In November 2006, according to the documents, the Director of National Intelligence approved the proposal. ICREACH was rolled out as a test program by late 2007. It’s not clear when it became fully operational, but a September 2010 NSA memo referred to it as the primary tool for sharing data in the intelligence community. “ICREACH has been identified by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the U.S. Intelligence Community’s standard architecture for sharing communications metadata,” the memo states, adding that it provides “telephony metadata events” from the NSA and its Five Eyes partners “to over 1000 analysts across 23 U.S. Intelligence Community agencies.” It does not name all of the 23 agencies, however.
The limitations placed on analysts authorized to sift through the vast data troves are not outlined in the Snowden files, with only scant references to oversight mechanisms. According to the documents, searches performed by analysts are subject to auditing by the agencies for which they work. The documents also say the NSA would conduct random audits of the system to check for any government agents abusing their access to the data. The Intercept asked the NSA and the ODNI whether any analysts had been found to have conducted improper searches, but the agencies declined to comment.
While the NSA initially estimated making upwards of 850 billion records available on ICREACH, the documents indicate that target could have been surpassed, and that the number of personnel accessing the system may have increased since the 2010 reference to more than 1,000 analysts. The intelligence community’s top-secret “Black Budget” for 2013, also obtained by Snowden, shows that the NSA recently sought new funding to upgrade ICREACH to “provide IC analysts with access to a wider set of shareable data.”
In December last year, a surveillance review group appointed by President Obama recommended that as a general rule “the government should not be permitted to collect and store all mass, undigested, non-public personal information about individuals to enable future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes.” It also recommended that any information about United States persons should be “purged upon detection unless it either has foreign intelligence value or is necessary to prevent serious harm to others.”
Peter Swire, one of the five members of the review panel, told The Intercept he could not comment on whether the group was briefed on specific programs such as ICREACH, but noted that the review group raised concerns that “the need to share had gone too far among multiple agencies.”
Feds claim it’s a “state-sponsored attack”
By STEPHEN BRAUN
WASHINGTON (AP) — The internal records of as many as 25,000 Homeland Security Department employees were exposed during a recent computer break-in at a federal contractor that handles security clearances, an agency official said Friday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of an incident that is under active federal criminal investigation, said the number of victims could be greater. The department was informing employees whose files were exposed in the hacking against contractor USIS and warning them to monitor their financial accounts.
Earlier this month, USIS acknowledged the break-in, saying its internal cybersecurity team had detected what appeared to be an intrusion with “all the markings of a state-sponsored attack.” Neither USIS nor government officials have speculated on the identity of the foreign government. A USIS spokeswoman reached Friday declined to comment on the DHS notifications.
USIS, once known as U.S. Investigations Services, has been under fire in Congress in recent months for its performance in conducting background checks on National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden and on Aaron Alexis, a military contractor employee who killed 12 people during shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington in September 2013.
Private contractors perform background checks on more than two-thirds of the 4.9 million government workers with security clearances, and USIS handles nearly half of that number. Many of those investigations are performed under contracts with the Office of Personnel Management, and the Homeland Security and Defense departments.
The Justice Department filed a civil complaint in January against USIS alleging that the firm defrauded the government by submitting at least 665,000 security clearance investigations that had not been properly completed and then tried to cover up its actions. USIS replied in a statement at the time that the allegations dealt with a small group of employees and that the company had appointed a new leadership team and enhanced oversight and was cooperating with the Justice probe.
It’s not immediately clear when the hacking took place, but DHS notified all its employees internally on Aug. 6.
At that point, DHS issued “stop-work orders” preventing further information flows to USIS until the agency was confident the company could safeguard its records. At the same time, OPM temporarily halted all USIS background check fieldwork “out of an abundance of caution,” spokeswoman Jackie Koszczuk said.
Officials would not say whether workers from other government agencies were at risk. DHS will provide workers affected by the intrusion with credit monitoring. The risk to as many as 25,000 DHS workers was first reported Friday by Reuters.
A cybersecurity expert, Rick Dakin, said the possibility that other federal departments could be affected depends on whether the DHS records were “segmented,” or walled off, from other federal agencies’ files inside USIS.
“The big question is what degree of segmentation was already in place so that other agencies weren’t equally compromised,” said Dakin, chief executive of Coalfire, a major Colorado-based IT audit and compliance firm.
In an announcement Friday, DHS warned that more than 1,000 U.S. retailers that their cash register computers could be infected with malicious software allowing hackers to steal customer financial data. Officials urged businesses of all sizes to scan their point-of-sale systems for software known as “Backoff.”
Germany’s foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped at least one telephone conversation of US Secretary of State John Kerry and spied on NATO ally Turkey since 2009, Der Spiegel newspaper revealed on Saturday.
Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) picked up the phone call “by accident” in 2013, the weekly newspaper reported in a pre-publication citing unnamed sources. Kerry was discussing the Middle East tensions between Israelis, Palestinians and Arab states in a satellite link, according to Der Spiegel.
The new revelation comes after German media – Daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR – reported on Friday that BND intercepted at least one phone call made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The date of the call was not given and the media said that it was also picked up “by accident”.
The German media retrieved the information of the hacking from documents that were passed to the CIA by one of its moles inside the BND.
On Saturday Der Spiegel reported that Clinton’s call recorded was intercepted in 2012. Clinton was in talks with former UN chief Kofi Annan, who had just returned from negotiations in Syria and wanted to brief the former Secretary of State.
The NDR added on Friday that Clinton wasn’t the only one spied on as “apparently, phone calls by US politicians and from other friendly nations have been repeatedly recorded and submitted to the respective BND President as instructed”.
“The fact that the recording wasn’t deleted immediately was called ‘idiocy’ by a member of the government in Berlin,” NDR reported.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
In another leak, Der Spiegel also learned that BND has been spying on its NATO ally Turkey since 2009. No further details on the scale of surveillance were given. Sources confirmed the wiretapping to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, saying that it was essential for national security as there are many Turkish people living in Germany.
The government in Ankara says it intends to carefully investigate the Der Spiegel report.
“I am of the opinion that this needs to be taken seriously… Definitely, our government and foreign ministry will carry out the necessary research about the allegations in the magazine,” Mehmet Ali Sahin, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse.
According to Der Spiegel, the German government reviews its espionage program every four years but did not modify its priorities after the NSA scandal that deeply strained US-German relations last year.
The full version of the report will be published by Der Spiegel on Sunday.
In October, US whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information that Washington had conducted intensive spying operations including tapping phones of at least 35 heads of state, including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel called US President Barack Obama over the issue, saying that if the revelations were proven to be true it would be “completely unacceptable” and represent a “grave breach of trust,” Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said at the time.
The issue was brought up again in July when two US agents were unmasked, suspected of acting as double agents within the state security apparatus, and passing secrets to US intelligence contacts. In response to the espionage scandal Germany promptly expelled the Berlin CIA chief.
The new reports may escalate the growing political tension between the two states, key partners in the NATO military alliance.
Last month in an interview to German broadcaster ZDF Germany’s Chancellor said that Washington and Berlin have different perceptions of the role of the intelligence service.
“For me it is a sign that we have fundamentally different conceptions of the work of the intelligence services.”
“I can’t say in advance if [the measures we took] will have an effect, of course I hope something will change. But the important thing is to show how we view things… and it is not a co-operative partnership when such things take place.”
An elite team of US government hackers left Syria without internet, when they tried to hack one of the cores routers but instead crashed it, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said.
The three-day nationwide internet blackout in war-torn Syria in November 2012, which was blamed on either the government or the rebels, depending on who you listened to, was actually the doing of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO), a group of hackers in the employment of the US National Security Agency.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told the story to Wired magazine as it was preparing its cover story on MonsterMind, a US software designed to detect cyber-attacks and hit back in response.
NSA bot MonsterMind can wage cyberwar on its own – Snowden
According to his account, TAO attempted to remotely install malware in one of the core routers at a major Syrian internet service provider. The NSA launched the operation to snoop on virtually all internet traffic from Syria.
But instead of infecting the router the hackers ‘bricked’ it, effectively cutting the country from the web. Snowden called it an ‘oh shit’ moment for TAO, who tried to remotely repair the router hoping to cover up their tracks. They tensely joked that if they could “always point the finger at Israel,” if they got caught.
Luckily for them, the Syrian authorities were apparently too busy getting the country back online to get to the bottom of the incident. Damascus blamed ‘terrorists’ for the blackout while the rebels (and Washington) said the government had done it to hamper their communications.
Syria experienced two major internet blackouts since it went into turmoil in 2011, the second one reported in May 2013.
The Daily Caller’s Alphabet of Racism is still going strong. Here are eight things beginning with the letter ‘L’ you should know are racist.
Los Angeles police dogs are racist, reported The Independent, after a 2013 report found that since 2004, the number of minority individuals bitten by police dogs had dramatically increased. And in the first six months of 2013, ”every single victim of a bite by a LASD dog was African-American or Latino,” the piece read.
Sarah Palin was blasted by PoliticusUSA when she used the word lackadaisical to describe President Obama’s tendency to lead from behind. “That’s a bit of that lackadaisical eh you know, don’t have to take responsibility,” she said on Fox News last year in reference to the president’s handling of the Edward Snowden debacle. PoliticusUSA called her comments an “ugly racist rant,” because in the 1937 book Class and Caste in a Southern Town a racist person used the term lackadaisical to describe “Negro work habits.”
The film “Lucy” is racist, a Huffington Post writer explained in a rant about women and Hollywood, because it suggests that the most evolved human being is a white woman. “See, I just can’t get right with that,” Olivia Cole wrote, and added, “How is it that in a film whose premise rests on the idea of reimagining the past, present and future, we still end up with a blonde white woman with flashing blue eyes as the stand-in for what personifies evolution and supremely fulfilled human potential?” The answer, of course, is racism.
Singer Lorde is racist, according to the blog Feministing, which points to the lyrics of her hit single “Royals” as evidence. Here are the lyrics at issue:
But every song’s like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom.
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room,
We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams.
But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece.
The song is deeply racist, according to Feministing, because “we all know who she’s thinking about” when she mentions gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs. “So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers?” the writer asks, “Why not take to task the bankers and old-money folks who actually have a hand in perpetuating and increasing wealth inequality? I’m gonna take a guess: racism.”
In addition to pretty much every other Disney movie, “Lady and the Tramp” is likely racist. As Buzzfeed reported, the film’s villains are two Siamese cats with “stereotypical Asian speech and slanted eyes.”
The “Lord of the Rings” franchise is racist, the Chicago Tribune reports. Although the piece acknowledges author (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)J.R.R. Tolkien himself probably meant no offense, it says the representation of race in the films is problematic, because, as usual, Caucasian men are the “good guys” and other races are the “bad guys.” For example, the piece mentions Aragorn’s warning to King Theoden that Saruman is out to “destroy the world of men.” A more accurate statement, the piece says, would have been “the forces of evil have assembled an army ‘to destroy the world of civilized white men.”
In a segment of “PoliticsNation” last year, host Touré informed MSNBC’s small audience that the term “lazy” is one of those racist code words conservatives use to attack President Obama. He and Al Sharpton were discussing a portion of Fox News President Roger Ailes’ biography, in which he suggests Obama is lazy. ”[Roger Ailes is] one of the most powerful voices in the country, and he’s attacking President Obama,” Sharpton complained. Touré then explained why it’s not OK to use the term in reference to black people: “This sort of ‘lazy’ term is something we heard flung at us as black people going back to slavery,” he said, “which, of course, you know, we perceive them as being guilty of not wanting to work. Of course they didn’t want to work. They were slaves.”
“Law and Order” is racist, because it suggested justice should be color-blind, according to the socialist, feminist, anti-racism website Solidarity. In one episode, three black kids steal a baseball bat from three white kids. When the mother of two of the white kids urges them to get their bat back, the white kids pick a fight with the black kids, whose father ends up shooting and killing one of the white kids. In an apparently racist decision that “floored” Solidarity, the court decides the mother and father are both guilty. “Real inequalities of wealth and social power — of race and class — disappear before ‘blind justice’ that sees not black and white, not workers and professionals, but “citizens” who appear as equals in ‘the eyes of the law,’” the piece explains.