Feds Visit Family Who Googled Backpacks & Pressure Cookers…But the NSA Isn’t Watching You

swat

Be careful what you Google….you never know when it might get you a visit from the  federal anti-terrorism task force, despite the government’s claims that information about average Americans is not being analyzed.

What shows up in your search history?  I just checked mine.

In the past week I  have looked up…

  • Pressure canning recipes
  • Guard llamas
  • Where to buy organic fertilizer
  • Wildfires on the West Coast
  • A new crochet stitch
  • A newly discovered antibiotic that is effective against anthrax
  • Healing time for concussions
  • The favorite color of Louie from One Direction

If you put all these things together, does it put together a picture of a terrorist, bent on destruction, or just a newbie homesteader who is also interested in current events and has a tween daughter?

Well, with the algorithms the government is using, those searches might not look so innocent.

Michelle Catalano and her husband were the targets of a visit by federal officials based on nothing more than their Google history.  While the NSA is fervently denying that they are collecting information on average citizens, an early morning knock on the door of this family’s home says otherwise.

Catalano, a writer, told the story on her blog:

Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history.

Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack. And maybe in another time those two things together would have seemed innocuous, but we are in “these times” now. And in these times, when things like the Boston bombing happen, you spend a lot of time on the internet reading about it and, if you are my exceedingly curious news junkie of a twenty-ear-old son, you click a lot of links when you read the myriad of stories. You might just read a CNN piece about how bomb making instructions are readily available on the internet and you will in all probability, if you are that kid, click the link provided…

…What happened was this: At about 9:00 am, my husband, who happened to be home yesterday, was sitting in the living room with our two dogs when he heard a couple of cars pull up outside. He looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.

Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door….

…“Are you [name redacted]?” one asked while glancing at a clipboard. He affirmed that was indeed him, and was asked if they could come in. Sure, he said.

They asked if they could search the house, though it turned out to be just a cursory search. They walked around the living room, studied the books on the shelf (nope, no bomb making books, no Anarchist Cookbook), looked at all our pictures, glanced into our bedroom, pet our dogs. They asked if they could go in my son’s bedroom but when my husband said my son was sleeping in there, they let it be.

Meanwhile, they were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked.

They searched the backyard. They walked around the garage, as much as one could walk around a garage strewn with yardworking equipment and various junk. They went back in the house and asked more questions.

Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did…

…They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing.

Do you wonder what would have happened to the Catalanos if they’d refused to answer questions, as is their right under the Constitution?  What if they had denied entry when the feds had asked to do a casual inspection of their home, which is also their right?  What if the husband had asked, with his morning cup of coffee in hand, “Do you have a warrant?”  I strongly suspect that if they had chosen to stand up for their rights, the intimidating visit would have gotten a whole lot worse.

When every thing you do is recorded, analyzed, and judged, you are not truly free.  No matter how independent you think you are, someone, somewhere is watching you in a manner so creepy and so intent that no fiction writer has ever captured the full extent of it in even the most gripping spy novel.

Many people are careful, not joining social networks, using proxy servers, and using search engines that are supposed to be private. But with the recent release of information from Edward Snowden, I would be willing to bet that isn’t enough to keep your internet comings and goings out from under the microscope of the NSA.  In fact, those things might make you seem even more suspicious.

These algorithms are designed to “prove” the guilt of anyone that the federal government wants to target.  Back in the 1500s, Cardinal Richelieu knew the truth of this when he said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”

What kind of world do we live in when you are always watched?  When doing things openly makes you a suspect but the pursuit of privacy also makes you a suspect?

Well, don’t worry…they’re doing this for your own good.

Do you feel any safer now?

photo courtesy of AltMedia Daily


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

When Prepping Just Isn’t Enough

cabin in the woods

There’s a sense of urgency in the prepping community lately that is at an all time high. Between the global elite warmongers, the impending financial collapse as the government makes plans to attach pension funds, the new viruses, Monsanto’s GMO seeds running amok and threatening the world’s food supply, and  Big Food’s toxic food-like substances in the grocery stores with no regard for actual nutrition, it is clear that we are going downhill fast. The soothing ”everything-is-just-fine” propaganda is so blatant that even the most die-hard zombie is beginning to see that something is amiss and that a massive change is soon to take place.

Many of us have stocked our homes to the rafters with beans, rice, bullets, and band-aids.  Each trip to the store adds more to our stockpiles as we try to get what we need before time runs out.  Newbie preppers are feeling even more frantic, wondering how to prepare when each week it takes more money to put less in the grocery cart. (If you’re new to preparedness, here’s a little primer with some great links.)

With the situation looking more grim by the day, it is very clear that stockpiling is not enough.  No matter how many cans of green beans you have stored away, one day they will run out.  We have become so dependent on the “buy it as you need it” lifestyle that despite our food storage, there are still gaps that must be filled.

And the only way to fill these gaps is through that which is a step beyond prepping….self sufficiency.

Self sufficiency is  defined as the ability to provide for oneself without the help of others.  No amount of stockpiling gives you true self sufficiency.  It is a combination of skills, supplies, attitudes and habits that mean the difference between a person with a great pantry and a true survivor.

Self-sufficiency is for…

  • The day the grocery stores close their doors or become so expensive that people cannot afford to shop
  • The day that the FEMA Camp gates open in only one direction
  • The day that the banks go on an indefinite holiday, after draining depositor savings accounts and pension funds
  • The day that electricity and heat on demand become so expensive that only the wealthy can afford them
  • The day that medical care no longer exists for the average person, or is directed by government death panels
  • The day that a natural disaster or false flag locks down the country and completely, irrevocably changes our way of life

The list could go on and on.  These things are hurtling towards us and we must be ready.  Self sufficiency, unlike prepping, doesn’t cost a lot of money – it’s about planning and acquiring basic skills and tools.  It is about putting your plan into practice before you have no other option but to do so.

What would you do if you could never go to a store again? If you could never have utilities provided by a supplier again?  What if you were truly on your own, forever?

For some situations, prepping just isn’t enough.  If you don’t have plans for the following, you cannot consider yourself to be truly prepared.

Water

Clean drinking water is one of the most important requirements for survival.  Now is the time to figure out how you will get water if your stored water runs out.  Some ideas might be:

  • Rain barrels (which are beginning to be illegal in some states)
  • Less obvious water collection containers like pools and ponds (don’t forget the roof if you live in an apartment building
  • Water purification methods
  • Locate nearby lakes, rivers and streams
  • Wells (including non-electric pumps)

Food production

Many people believe that they will just be able to stick some seeds in the ground and feed their families year round.  It isn’t that easy. You can only learn the foibles of your bit of ground through trial and error.  It takes a lot more veggies than most people think to feed a family for a year.  Anything from a blight to bad weather to a horde of hungry bunnies can wipe out all of your hard work and leave you without a bite to store away. Look into some of these methods:

  •  Gardening in your backyard or on a balcony
  • An aquaponics or hydroponics system
  • Raising chickens and other micro-livestock
  • Sprouting
  • Hunting and foraging (a nice supplement to your diet but a risky plan for long term survival when everyone else has the same idea)
  • Full-scale farming
  • Rooftop gardening
  • Greenhouses and cold-frames

Food preservation

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a place where we can grow food outdoors all year long.  For the rest of us, food preservation is a lifeline in the winter.  A few basic supplies and tools are needed.  Just like food production, it’s important to practices food preservation and work out the kinks now, while you still have moderately affordable groceries as a back up.  As well, this allows you to rely on healthy, non-GMO foods instead of the inexpensive, highly processed garbage at the stores.  Learn the following skills:

  • Canning
  • Freezing
  • Dehydrating/drying
  • Pickling
  • Fermentation
  • Salting and curing
  • Root cellaring

Reduce dependence on utilities

Whether you live in the country or in a high-rise apartment, you need to take steps to reduce your dependence on electricity at the flip of a switch, water from the tap, heat from the thermostat, and cooking at the turn of a dial.  As the divide between the rich and the poor widen, there could one day be a choice between food and electricity.   Your priorities are:

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Heat
  • Electrical power
  • Lights
  • Refrigeration or other method of safe food storage
  • Cooking methods

Every situation is unique so start now to amass the necessary tools to meet your needs should the lights go out on a long term basis.

Personal defense

This is the sticking point for many people. But if you can’t defend your supplies, your home, and your garden, you don’t really have them at all – you are just using them until someone better armed or tougher comes and takes these things away from you.  Look at Argentina’s economic collapse as an example of what could happen – violent crime there increased by 35% in one year.  One study went so far as to call property crime a tool of redistribution: ”Overall, these results suggest that property crime has been used as a redistributive tool for the poorest to compensate for their impoverishment during the last decade and in particular during the ultimate crisis in Argentina.

Some solutions for personal defense:

  • Arm yourself and learn to use your weapon of choice
  • Stock up on ammo while it is still available
  • Have secondary methods of defense in which you are proficient
  • Learn basic hand-to-hand self-defense skills

Home security

Not only should you be prepared to defend your home, but you should try to avoid the fight in the first place by securing your property.

  • Make your property less accessible by fencing it
  • Install heavy doors in reinforced frames
  • Install sturdy brackets to hold a bar in place on either side of the doors
  • Growing thorny inhospitable plants under windows and on fences
  • Place alarms on windows and doors
  • Install security cameras (even if they are fake and just have a blinking light)
  • Keep a low profile – if no one else has lights or power, cover your windows thoroughly so that they cannot see that you have them
  • Don’t be ostentatious – keep your property looking similar to everyone else’s in your neighborhood
  • Keep all windows and doors securely locked
  • Consider the potential necessity of standing  watch in shifts if the situation has thoroughly devolved

Change your perspective on finances

Devastating financial changes are coming to a location near you.  Wouldn’t you prefer to make the cuts now and adjust accordingly, instead of having them forced upon you through evictions, foreclosures, repossessions, and other painful methods? Making some difficult changes now can provide a stable standard of living in a world that is going downhill at breakneck speed. By decreasing your monthly output, you can hang on to necessities.

  • Redefine what necessities mean to you
  • Get your money out of the banks
  • Convert fiat currency to tangibles like seeds, ammo, food, medical supplies, real estate, and  precious metals
  • Don’t be in debt
  • Reduce your monthly expenditures to the bare minimum
  • Spend more time at home 
  • Learn to enjoy productive hobbies
  • Prepare for a potential barter-based economy – what skills do you have that could be traded for essential goods and services?

The economic collapse is not some far-fetched, end-of-the-world fantasy. It is the reality that is occurring all around us, incrementally.  The collapse that has been occurring since 2008 has been one of 1000 small cuts as income goes down and expenses go up.

No matter how much food you buy, it may not be enough to get you through these difficult times.  You must learn to be self-sufficient in order to remain free from the control of those who would offer you sustenance and shelter in return for your fealty.

Instead of a huge, life-changing calamity, consider that it may be the culmination of many small events, rising prices and lower incomes, and the deliberate erosion of our self-sufficiency by those who would control us that cause TEOTWAWKI. (The End Of The World As We Know It).

The lists above aren’t comprehensive – they are  jumping off points to apply to your own situations.  Wherever you are planted, you need to come to grips with the fact that the world as we know it is undergoing massive changes.  Figure out now how to make the best of it and not only survive with your family, but thrive.

Ask the people in Greece whether they regret not having stocked up on food supplies when those items were abundantly available.  Ask the people in Argentina whether they feel the need to be armed against roving gangs and home invaders.

Hunger, cold, crime and fear are the daily realities in many countries that once enjoyed a similar standard of living to that of the average North American.  Our debt-based standard of living is unsustainable, and you must be able to connect these trends with what is happening in your own country in order to see the need for preparation.

Today, you still have stores at every corner, reliable utilities, and social safety nets in place.  These may soon become a thing of the past and if you wait before preparing, your window of opportunity may slam shut.

I’m not suggesting that you stop prepping – your stockpile is vital insurance that can help to  cushion you when things go downhill. But along with your food storage and your rocket stoves and your medical supplies, begin creating a self-sufficient lifestyle that will carry you far beyond what mere prepping ever could.

depression garden

Please feel free to share this information in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Larwyn’s Linx: Where Was Obama on Night of Benghazi Attack? WH Isn’t Saying

Send us tips! Bloggers: install a Larwyn’s Linx widget. Get real-time news, 24/7, at BadBlue.

Nation

Where Was Obama on Night of Benghazi Attack? WH Isn’t Saying: CNS
If the target fits, wear it: TL in Exile
Death from Above: Your Advance Information Sheet: American Digest

Dr. Ben Carson’s getting buzz: Ace
The Hunt for a leftist killer: GSL
Random Thoughts: Sowell

Dr. Carson’s Refreshing Jolt of Good Societal Medicine: DLim
McConnell: No Tax Hikes to Replace Sequester: Lane
Support for Dorner is Troubling: Prager

Economy

The Texas Growth Machine: City Journal
Jim McDermott avoids answering question about Obamacare premiums: Scoop
How Long Does it Take to Get a Building Permit?: Ace

Scandal Central

MUST WATCH – An ominous warning from Canada: Scoop
REPORT: Nominee to Lead CIA Lied Under Oath: WS
Here’s How Obama Is Using Executive Orders to Bypass Congress: Blaze

Climate & Energy

Mann, Gore, Smog, and the big lie: Watts
Washington Post Chief Meteorologist: Bill Nye Is a Weather Idiot: Lid
Can Leak Detection End the Pipeline Impasse? Interview with Adrian Banica: OilPrice

Media

Dr. Ben Carson on Cavuto doesn’t pull punches when asked about Obama and his policies: Scoop
Abortion Loving Touré Welcomed at Catholic St. Louis University: CI
Flashback: AP Protects Obama While Attacking Conservative Film: AIM

Hunted by Drones, Chris Dorner Taunts Police by Posting Pics on Facebook: Reaganite
Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith Discovers Reality: ‘Obama Prepares To Screw His (Young) Base’: NB
Razing Ratzinger: Media Won’t be Sad to See Benedict Go: MRC

The Blaze: Rise of the Next Conservative Media Giant?: Last
Media Whistle Past Menendez Prostitution Scandal: NB
Kerry Took More Security on Trip to Arlington, Va., Than State Dept. Posted in Benghazi: CNS

World

Four more reasons to deny John Brennan as CIA chief: Creeping
‘Iran is preparing for Assad’s fall, building militias in Syria’: Hayom
Tragic… Navy SEAL Who Killed Bin Laden Is Jobless, Broke & Without Security: GWP

Obama aims to shrink US nuclear arsenal: DC
The next Director of the CIA calls Jerusalem… “Al Quds”: Glick
The Man Who Shot Bin Laden Breaks His Silence: Atlantic

Sci-Tech (courtesy BadBlue.com/Tech)

The 10 weirdest, wildest, most shocking security exploits ever: PC World
Why US Internet Access Is Slow and Expensive: Gizmodo
Password Cracking AES-256 DMGs and Epic Self-Pwnage: Whitehat

Cornucopia

Pope Names for Democrats: Looking Spoon
Your Government Loves You. To Death.: MOTUS
Obama Signs Executive Order Moving Center to the Left: Cube

Image: Razing Ratzinger: Media Won’t be Sad to See Benedict Go
Today’s Larwyn’s Linx sponsored by: Stand and Fight

QOTD: “You should view these politicians with the deepest contempt you can possibly imagine. What they are doing to this country, what they are doing to our finances – there is not a criminal in any federal prison, state prison, city or county jail, with respect to financial crimes of any sort who collectively could have done the kind of damage that Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and YES, willing, timid, gutless Republicans have done to this country! To your future, to your children and your grandchildren! What they are doing is with malice and with forethought….

What the hell does the Democrat party stand for today? The destruction of America? And what the hell does the Republican party stand for today? To sit there with their thumbs in their mouths while it’s going on?

Any politician with an ounce of common sense should be getting on any soap box imaginable and screaming from the top of their lungs that these policies are destroying America!” —Mark Levin

Doug Ross @ Journal