WATCH: Lifeguards Use Drones To Look For Sharks, Findings Are Chilling

The temperatures are starting to climb, which means people will be frequenting the many beaches that line the United States in an attempt to cool off during the dog days of summer.

There has always been a hidden danger lurking in those warm, salty waters, though. Just below the surface of the water is a predator that has enough power to remind man that he is not at the top of the food chain.

Until recently, there was no convenient way to check the coastal waters for shark activity, other than getting in a small plane or riding a jet-ski.

Now, with new technologies emerging every day, one of the surprising ways technology is helping to detect and locate sharks is with the use of drones.

Lifeguards have reported that this new technology is working really well. Finding one shark, which used to take them two or more hours, now takes about 20 minutes. The drone can go up about 100 feet in the air, and when the lifeguard using the drone sees something suspicious, he can zoom in on the figure to determine what it is, as well as its size.

The findings have been chilling, though. What the lifeguards have been finding is enough to make tourists and locals alike rethink getting in the water.

Chief Joe Bailey, a Seal Beach, Calif., lifeguard, said that within minutes of deploying the new drone, they spotted 10 to 12 sharks in the area. So far, the sharks have been ranging from 5- to 6-feet long. These are considered juvenile sharks, and they are just doing normal shark stuff, like eating bottom fish.

Most of the sharks have been smaller, and most of them have been seen 200 or more feet out in the ocean. However, a young shark was seen in waist-high water at Surfside Beach in California Monday. The drone was responsible for locating it.

The beaches have remained open; however, signs have been posted that there have been shark sightings in the area, and all water lovers should enter at their own risk.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Prisons Without Walls: We’re All Inmates In The American Police State

“It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free—to be under no physical constraint and yet be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national state, or of some private interest within the nation wants him to think, feel and act. . . . To him the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.”—Aldous Huxley, A Brave New World Revisited

Free worlders” is prison slang for those who are not incarcerated behind prison walls. Supposedly, those fortunate souls live in the “free world.” However, appearances can be deceiving.

“As I got closer to retiring from the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” writes former prison employee Marlon Brock, “it began to dawn on me that the security practices we used in the prison system were being implemented outside those walls.” In fact, if Brock is right, then we “free worlders” do live in a prison—albeit, one without visible walls.

In federal prisons, cameras are everywhere in order to maintain “security” and keep track of the prisoners. Likewise, the “free world” is populated with video surveillance and tracking devices. From surveillance cameras in stores and street corners to license plate readers (with the ability to log some 1,800 license plates per hour) on police cars, our movements are being tracked virtually everywhere. With this increasing use of iris scanners and facial recognition software—which drones are equipped with—there would seem to be nowhere to hide.

Detection and confiscation of weapons (or whatever the warden deems “dangerous”) in prison is routine. The inmates must be disarmed. Pat downs, checkpoints, and random searches are second nature in ferreting out contraband.

Sound familiar?

Metal detectors are now in virtually all government buildings. There are the TSA scanning devices and metal detectors we all have to go through in airports. Police road blocks and checkpoints are used to perform warrantless searches for contraband. Those searched at road blocks can be searched for contraband regardless of their objections—just like in prison. And there are federal road blocks on American roads in the southwestern United States. Many of them are permanent and located up to 100 miles from the border.

Stop and frisk searches are taking place daily across the country. Some of them even involve anal and/or vaginal searches. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved strip searches even if you are arrested for a misdemeanor—such as a traffic stop. Just like a prison inmate.

Prison officials open, search, and read every piece of mail sent to inmates. This is true of those who reside outside prison walls, as well. In fact, “the United States Postal Service uses a ‘Mail Isolation Control and Tracking Program’ to create a permanent record of who is corresponding with each other via snail mail.” Believe it or not, each piece of physical mail received by the Postal Service is photographed and stored in a database. Approximately 160 billion pieces of mail sent out by average Americans are recorded each year, and the police and other government agents have access to this information.

Prison officials also monitor outgoing phone calls made by inmates. This is similar to what the NSA, the telecommunication corporations, and various government agencies do continually to American citizens. The NSA also downloads our text messages, emails, Facebook posts, and so on while watching everything we do.

Then there are the crowd control tactics: helmets, face shields, batons, knee guards, tear gas, wedge formations, half steps, full steps, pinning tactics, armored vehicles, and assault weapons. Most of these phrases are associated with prison crowd control because they were perfected by prisons.

Finally, when a prison has its daily operations disturbed, often times it results in a lockdown. What we saw with the “free world” lockdowns following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the melees in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, mirror a federal prison lockdown.

These are just some of the similarities between the worlds inhabited by locked-up inmates and those of us who roam about in the so-called “free world.”

Is there any real difference?

To those of us who see the prison that’s being erected around us, it’s a bit easier to realize what’s coming up ahead–and it’s not pretty. However, and this must be emphasized, what most Americans perceive as life in the United States of America is a far cry from reality. Real agendas and real power are always hidden.

As Author Frantz Fanon notes: “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

This state of denial and rejection of reality is the essential plot of John Carpenter’s 1988 film They Live, where a group of down-and-out homeless men discover that people have been, in effect, so hypnotized by media distractions that they do not see their prison environment and the real nature of those who control them—that is, an oligarchic elite.

Caught up in subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform,” among others, beamed out of television and various electronic devices, billboards, and the like, people are unaware of the elite controlling their lives. As such, they exist, as media analyst Marshall McLuhan once wrote, in “prisons without walls.” And of course, any resistance is met with police aggression.

A key moment in the film occurs when John Nada, a homeless drifter, notices something strange about people hanging about a church near the homeless settlement where he lives. Nada decides to investigate. Entering the church, he sees graffiti on a door: They live, We sleep. Nada overhears two men, obviously resisters, talking about “robbing banks” and “manufacturing Hoffman lenses until we’re blue in the face.” Moments later, one of the resisters catches Nada fumbling in the church and tells him “it’s the revolution.” When Nada nervously backs off, the resister assures him: “You’ll be back.”

Rummaging through a box, Nada discovers a handful of cheap-looking sunglasses, referred to earlier as Hoffman lenses. Grabbing a pair and exiting the church, he starts walking down a busy urban street.

Sliding the sunglasses on his face, Nada is shocked to see a society bombarded and controlled on every side by subliminal messages beamed at them from every direction. Billboards are transformed into authoritative messages: a bikini-clad woman in one ad is replaced with the words “MARRY AND REPRODUCE.” Magazine racks scream “CONSUME” and “OBEY.” A wad of dollar bills in a vendor’s hand proclaims: “THIS IS YOUR GOD.”

What’s even more disturbing than the hidden messages, however, are the ghoulish-looking creatures—the elite—who appear human until viewed through the lens of truth.

This is the subtle message of They Live, an apt analogy of our own distorted vision of life in the American police state. These things are in plain sight; but from the time we are born until the time we die, we are indoctrinated into believing that those who rule us do it for our good. The truth, far different, is that those who rule us don’t really see us as human beings with dignity and worth. They see us as if “we’re livestock.”

It’s only once Nada’s eyes have been opened that he is able to see the truth: “Maybe they’ve always been with us,” he says. “Maybe they love it—seeing us hate each other, watching us kill each other, feeding on our own cold f**in’ hearts.” Nada, disillusioned and fed up with the lies and distortions, is finally ready to fight back. “I got news for them. Gonna be hell to pay. Cause I ain’t daddy’s little boy no more.”

What about you?

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the warning signs have been cautioning us for decades. Oblivious to what lies ahead, most have ignored the obvious. We’ve been manipulated into believing that if we continue to consume, obey, and have faith, things will work out. But that’s never been true of emerging regimes. And by the time we feel the hammer coming down upon us, it will be too late.

As Rod Serling warned:

All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard, into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance. Then we become the grave diggers.

The message: stay alert.

Take the warning signs seriously. And take action because the paths to destruction are well disguised by those in control.

This is the lesson of history.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

WATCH This Homeless Guy Drop Some Serious Truth Bombs Society Needs To Hear

“It’s humanity, so many people, what have they been through that makes them so terrified of relationships and people that they just don’t want nothing to do with nobody, It’s sad,” said a homeless man outside an Austin, Texas, gas station.

The man, who goes by the name of Obediah, was interviewed by filmmaker Tyler Mann, also a Texas native. The interview started with casual conversation; however, what the homeless man had to say was so insightful and thought-provoking that Mann felt his story and ideas needed to be heard.

Obediah has had run-ins with the law and, as a result, has felonies on his record. According to the homeless man, he tried to get work and even a home. He claimed that no one would help him because he has a record. He decided to live on the streets with a tent and his guitar. He claims he wants to make people happy and make a difference with his music. He stated: “If I can make a difference in one person’s life, that’s all that matters.”

In the interview with Obediah, Mann got the opportunity to listen to insights from the homeless man that were thought-provoking and surprising. In addition to talking about how he liked to play music for people, Obediah also spoke very frankly about how he felt Facebook and social media has almost crippled people’s ability to have real and meaningful relationships. Not understanding why people are so afraid to engage in dialogue with others, Obediah said: “People don’t want relationships no more. They are so into their Internet and their Facebook…Internet is becoming their idol, man. People don’t want relationships.”

Ironically, the same Internet that Obediah feels is causing people to become disengaged is also helping to get him off the street. After the interview with Obediah, Mann set up a GoFundMe account for Obediah. The original donation benchmark was $5,000. As of today, it has exceeded its goal and is at $5,095. Several people have offered Obediah a job, and he was even offered a recording contract.

Do you think that Obediah has a point about the internet discouraging real relationships? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Free Speech, Facebook, And The NSA: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy.”—Writers Against Mass Surveillance

THE GOOD NEWS: Americans have a right to freely express themselves on the Internet, including making threatening—even violent—statements on Facebook, provided that they don’t intend to actually inflict harm.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Elonis v. United States threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who was charged with making unlawful threats (it was never proven that he intended to threaten anyone) and sentenced to 44 months in jail after he posted allusions to popular rap lyrics and comedy routines on his Facebook page. It’s a ruling that has First Amendment implications for where the government can draw the line when it comes to provocative and controversial speech that is protected and permissible versus speech that could be interpreted as connoting a criminal intent.

That same day, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the legal justification allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to carry out warrantless surveillance on Americans, officially expired. Over the course of nearly a decade, if not more, the NSA had covertly spied on millions of Americans, many of whom were guilty of nothing more than using a telephone, and stored their records in government databases. For those who have been fighting the uphill battle against the NSA’s domestic spying program, it was a small but symbolic victory.

THE BAD NEWS: Congress’ legislative “fix,” intended to mollify critics of the NSA, will ensure that the agency is not in any way hindered in its ability to keep spying on Americans’ communications.

The USA FREEDOM Act could do more damage than good by creating a false impression that Congress has taken steps to prevent the government from spying on the telephone calls of citizens, while in fact ensuring the NSA’s ability to continue invading the privacy and security of Americans.

For instance, the USA FREEDOM Act not only reauthorizes Section 215 of the Patriot Act for a period of time, but it also delegates to telecommunications companies the responsibility of carrying out phone surveillance on American citizens.

AND NOW FOR THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY NEWS: Nothing is going to change.

As journalist Conor Friedersdorf warns, “Americans concerned by mass surveillance and the national security state’s combination of power and secrecy should keep worrying.”

In other words, telephone surveillance by the NSA is the least of our worries.

Even with restrictions on its ability to collect mass quantities of telephone metadata, the government and its various spy agencies, from the NSA to the FBI, can still employ an endless number of methods for carrying out warrantless surveillance on Americans, all of which are far more invasive than the bulk collection program.

As I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. Just recently, for example, it was revealed that the FBI has been employing a small fleet of low-flying planes to carry out video and cell phone surveillance over American cities.

Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power.

And of course that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine. Indeed, Facebook, Amazon, and Google are among the government’s closest competitors when it comes to carrying out surveillance on Americans, monitoring the content of your emails, tracking your purchases, and exploiting your social media posts.

“Few consumers understand what data are being shared, with whom, or how the information is being used,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Most Americans emit a stream of personal digital exhaust — what they search for, what they buy, who they communicate with, where they are — that is captured and exploited in a largely unregulated fashion.”

It’s not just what we say, where we go, and what we buy that is being tracked. We’re being surveilled right down to our genes, thanks to a potent combination of hardware, software, and data collection that scans our biometrics—our faces, irises, voices, genetics, even our gait—runs them through computer programs that can break the data down into unique “identifiers,” and then offers them up to the government and its corporate allies for their respective uses.

All of those internet-connected gadgets we just have to have (Forbes refers to them as “(data) pipelines to our intimate bodily processes”)—the smart watches that can monitor our blood pressure and the smart phones that let us pay for purchases with our fingerprints and iris scans—are setting us up for a brave new world where there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

For instance, imagine what the NSA could do (and is likely already doing) with voiceprint technology, which has been likened to a fingerprint. Described as “the next frontline in the battle against overweening public surveillance,” the collection of voiceprints is a booming industry for governments and businesses alike. As The Guardian reports, “voice biometrics could be used to pinpoint the location of individuals. There is already discussion about placing voice sensors in public spaces, and [Lee Tien, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation] said that multiple sensors could be triangulated to identify individuals and specify their location within very small areas.”

Suddenly, the NSA’s telephone metadata program seems like child’s play compared to what’s coming down the pike.

That, of course, is the point.

Whatever recent victories we’ve enjoyed—the Second Circuit ruling declaring the NSA’s metadata program to be illegal, Congress’ inability to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act, even the Supreme Court’s recognition that free speech on the internet may be protected—amount to little in the face of the government’s willful disregard of every constitutional safeguard put in place to protect us from abusive, intrusive government agencies out to control the populace.

Already the American people are starting to lose interest in the spectacle of Congress wrangling, debating and, negotiating over the NSA and the Patriot Act.

Already the media outlets are being seduced by other, more titillating news: ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy announcement, and the new Fifty Shades of Grey book told from Christian’s perspective.

What remains to be seen is whether, when all is said and done, the powers-that-be succeed in distracting us from the fact that the government’s unauthorized and unwarranted surveillance powers go far beyond anything thus far debated by Congress or the courts.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Watch: How An iPhone Just Saved This Man’s Life Might Make You Want To Own One

A man in England survived a gunshot wound at close range thanks to his iPhone.

Ryan Duggan, 19, was found guilty last week of attempted murder for a shooting that took place in October 2014 in Cheshire County, England.

The incident happened around 8:30 p.m. when the victim, Daniel Kennedy, 25, came home to discover the water had been turned off in his apartment. He noticed a group of people lingering outside and suspected they had something to do with it.

He went to talk to them and an argument ensued. Duggan took off running and Kennedy chased him down a footpath.

Duggan suddenly turned, pulled out a sawed-off shotgun, and fired it into Kennedy’s chest at short range.

Image Credit: Cheshire Police

Ryan Duggan, Image Credit: Cheshire Police

The force of the blast knocked Kennedy off his feet and caused serious injury to his abdomen area. Duggan took off running, while Kennedy was able to get up and make it back towards his apartment. He was taken to an area hospital and treated for his injuries.

The police conducted a detailed investigation of the crime scene and discovered Kennedy’s mangled iPhone.

Detective Gary McIntyre, who led the investigation, said in a press release, “Fortunately, the victim’s mobile phone took the brunt of the shot and, as a result of this, he survived. This is remarkable – had that phone not been in his pocket at that time he would undoubtedly have died.”

The crime scene investigation also netted the shotgun Duggan used and two other mobile phones which were linked to the shooter and led to his arrest last November.

Kennedy, who is the father of two children, has made good progress on the road to recovery from his injuries; and iPhone owners have discovered yet another application for the versatile mobile device.

h/t: Fox News

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth