Posted by FrackTheNSA on Wed 7th Aug 15:51
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  1. On 6 Aug 2013, Jonestown Borough Council, of Jonestown, Pennsylvania, approved a non-binding resolution, by unanimous vote of all present, to denounce the dragnet style surveillance being conducted by the NSA, and to affirm the citizens Fourth Amendment rights.
  3. Links are provided below to what materials I typed up, and are also pasted here. There will be formatting issues if copy pasting directly from here.
  5. A rundown of what happened:
  7. This whole process took me over a month to accomplish. My town council only meets once a month and that leaves a lot of empty space in between. In July, leading up to the meeting I drafted a resolution; emailed copies to all the council members and the mayor; and brought copies along with me.
  9. A copy of that can be found here:
  11. I delivered a speech (, but the council still seemed caught off guard and did not vote on it that night. I asked for a contact to follow up with on the resolution and emailed that person a couple times.
  13. Leading up to last night the biggest complaint I heard back was that people were not fully aware of the issues or what the impact was. So I wrote a memo detailing some background info ( This memo was written and distributed before information about the XKeystone program came out.
  15. Even then, at the meeting last night I took the floor to answer any questions. A few highlights from that speaking moment include:
  17. Me: I can tell you with 100% assurance based on public statements from NSA officials that everyone in this room is being investigated by the NSA. Because I use encryption. Using encryption makes me a person of interest and a suspected terrorist. The NSA also investigates out to two hoops so anyone I have ever emailed, called on a phone, liked their status, tweeted to them; they are also under investigation, and that includes everyone on this council. But since it's two hoops it also means anyone you, the council, has ever had an interaction with. So now your friends; who never met me or know anything about me; are under investigation all because I take extra steps to ensure and safeguard my privacy. Not because I have anything to hide, but because I value my privacy.
  19. Council Member 1: Why should we vote on this? Won't affirming this just make us a target in their eyes?
  20. Me: If you believe the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, shouldn't you affirm that?
  21. Council Member 1: Of course. All of us here took an oath to defend the Constitution.
  22. Me: Then don't you have a duty to defend that document, regardless of your fear?
  24. Council Member 2: I believe the world is a different place than it was 10 to 15 years ago, and I have fears for the safety of my grand children.
  25. Me: 20 years from now, whether the world is a good place or bad place, my kids will look back and ask me what I did during this time to let the world get to that point. I plan on telling them stories that include this night, and other nights like it.
  27. If people want MS Word files to copy/paste from I can work something out @MahoneyRed. Thanks everyone for the support. This whole thing feels good. It feels really good.
  30. ----------RESOLUTION----------
  31. Jonestown Borough Council
  32. Non-Binding Resolution
  34. Expressing the sense of the Jonestown Borough Council, and the constituents this body represents, in matters relating to the May 2013 revelations of a domestic surveillance program in place and used by the United States Federal Government.
  36. ________________________________________
  40. July 2, 2013
  42. Mr. Mahoney, resident of Jonestown, submitted the following resolution for consideration by
  43. the Council.
  45. ________________________________________
  49. Whereas:        Details were made public about the National Security Agency conducting massive drag-net style surveillance of United States Citizens
  50. Whereas:        The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of The United States of America states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
  51. Whereas:        Publicly available information about the PRISM program, and other methods of domestic surveillance, have shown a complete lack of oversight regarding the issuance of warrants for search and seizure of personal property.
  52. Whereas:        Our duly elected representatives within the Federal Government have taken no steps towards responding to, or questioning the actions of the NSA.
  53. Whereas:        The actions of domestic spying and broad electronic surveillance by the NSA pose a major breach and violation of Fourth Amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution of The United States of America.
  54. Whereas:        The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
  55. Whereas:        The Declaration of Independence also states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”: Now, therefore, be it
  57. Resolved,       That is the sense of this Council that:
  58. 1.      A broad based drag net seizure and storage of every individual citizen’s private electronic data is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of The United States of America.
  59. 2.      Such a violation is intolerable to the people governed by this Council.
  60. 3.      It is the duty and responsibility of our duly elected Federal Representatives to act appropriately on behalf of the people to stop this gross violation of Fourth Amendment rights.
  61. 4.      It is the duty and responsibility of officials within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to deliberate and, if so determined, to echo the people’s desire for an end to domestic spying.
  62. 5.      The people of the Jonestown area are guaranteed to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unwarranted searches and seizures, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.
  63. 6.      In declaring this resolution, this Council affirms the right of the people to alter or abolish a form of government that has become destructive of the people’s certain unalienable rights.
  65. Signed on this day ____________________, Jonestown Borough Council Members and Jonestown Mayor:
  68. ----------INITIAL SPEECH TO COUNCIL----------
  69. Mayor, and members of the Jonestown Borough Council, thank you for giving me time to address you. I am Matthew Mahoney, and I am a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Having served five years on active duty I was deployed once to South East Asia, and also to Iraq in 2003 at the start of the Iraq war.
  71. Recently it has come to the attention of every American citizen that our daily activities are being monitored, and, by all definition, spied upon by the National Security Agency. This activity has left many people angry and frustrated, not only at the direct assault of our Constitutional liberties, but also about a feeling of hopelessness for the average citizen to do anything about it.
  73. People complain to their co-workers and their neighbors. They complain over Facebook and Twitter. But none of this seems to bear any weight.
  75. I come to you tonight with an odd request. I ask that this body take a stance on the issue of domestic spying, and the unconstitutional gathering of information of every American in this country. I propose that you do so through a non-binding resolution. While I am sure most here are aware of what a non-binding resolution is, I would like to officially state for the record that a non-binding resolution is an official statement from a governing body that expresses the intent or will of the people. It does not bear the weight of law, and is often seen as a gesture more than action. But on this issue, and in today's political climate an official statement, even if from the smallest level of government, is something that is needed to truly start a national dialog on the issue.
  77. One small town council adopting a resolution will not evoke a massive change from anyone, but it is the best action possible to open the floodgates of communities taking charge of themselves and asserting their belief in rights and liberties, as guaranteed and safeguarded under the Constitution.
  78. Apathy and indifference will be our greatest enemies in restoring our liberty.
  80. I have taken the liberty of drafting and bringing with me a non-binding resolution on this matter, for the council’s consideration. Thank you, once again, for your time on this matter.
  83. ----------MEMO ABOUT NSA SPYING (PRE X-KEYSTONE)----------
  84. To: Jonestown Borough Council
  85. From: Matthew Mahoney, Resident of Jonestown
  86. RE: Non-Binding Resolution Affirming Fourth Amendment Rights
  87. ________________________________________
  89. Background
  91.         Since 2001 various whistleblowers have stepped forward to make the public aware of a vast dragnet style system of surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).  This program of mass collection of electronic data has recently come to the fore ground of a national conversation on civil liberties and constitutional rights.
  93.         On March 12, 2013 Director of National Intelligence, Eric Clapper was asked during a Congressional hearing, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"  His answer was, “No…not wittingly.” Later, it would become apparent that Clapper had lied, under oath, to Congress.
  95. On June 6, 2013 the public was made aware of PRISM, a program of the NSA that by their own admission collects the “metadata” of nearly all electronic activities of every American. It was revealed the authority for this came from the Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) and the PATRIOT Act. Specifically, the legal authority was decided in secret courts where the public is not privy to any of the proceedings or judgments.
  97. Since the time of the initial June disclosure of NSA activities, it has been made public that the NSA monitors more than just telephone data. They monitor emails, social networks, and have gained “backdoor entry” to online cloud storage systems.
  99. Metadata
  101. The Obama administration and defenders of the NSA programs have stood behind the statement that only metadata is collected, but most Americans do not understand what metadata actually is.
  103. Metadata is, in very base terminology, not the message itself, but everything the message is about. So while the government claims not to be listening to a phone call or reading an email, they have, by way of metadata, knowledge of who sent the message, who it was to, what time is was sent, where it was sent from, by what method is was sent, the location of the sender and the receiver, and a host of other data. This data is actually much more useful at getting the full picture of a person than just the content of an individual message.
  105. So when this application of metadata is used on the average American, the government could care less about the cake recipe being shared over the phone or email, but can use that data to piece together a detailed idea of a person’s life based solely on the analysis of metadata.
  107. While the administration insists that only metadata is collected, it has been known for some time that certain key words, used in emails or over phone messages will trigger NSA systems.  It is important to note keywords are only obtained by listening to or reading the contents of a message, and not through metadata. So, while the administration maintains a stance of gathering metadata, and “no one is listening to your phone calls”, it is clear that every electronic message of every American is, in fact, being read and cataloged.
  109. The deciding factor on this is what is considered “no one”. If it is assumed messages are not monitored, read, or listened to until they are physically seen by a human being, then the statements by various government officials are true. But, however, if it is assumed that a mechanical process of recording and analyzing the contents of a message by computers constitutes reading emails and listening to phone calls then every communication from every American is listened to without a warrant for search and seizure.
  111. FISA Courts
  113. The authority and legal framework for the government to conduct the collection of data on every American came from the secret realm of FISA courts. These courts have proceedings that are distinctly different from the normal American judicial system.
  115. Everything about the proceedings is done in secrecy and behind closed doors. Instead of two parties debating their arguments before the court there is only one, the side of the government. The people have no one within the court system to defend them or speak on their behalf. It is a one sided proceeding where the court has no choice but to side with every request the government makes because it is the only side presented to the court.
  117. The judgments that come out of the court are equally secret. The normal recourse for the people in challenging government decisions is to challenge them in court, but with the decisions sealed under the veil of national security it is impossible to formulate an argument against these spying programs without knowing the legal framework that grants this authority.
  119. In regards to the FISA Courts Senator Ron Wyden said,
  120. “They’re using processes that simply don’t fit the times. When the FISA Act was passed in the [1970s], nobody envisioned, for example, some of the astounding reach that the court has gone to with respect to the Patriot Act and its definition of relevance. The statute talks about relevance, in nowhere does it even suggest that you can collect the phone records of millions and millions of law-abiding Americans.”
  121. Russel Tice, a former NSA analyst has publicly said the FISA court is, “a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp.”  In regards to the number of requests he adds, “They've had tens of thousands of requests and turned down maybe six at most.”
  123. The “rubber stamp” referred to by Tice is the approval from the FISA court which allows the NSA and other US security departments to further investigate a person of interest if they pass the “51% test”, that being a computer system has determined with only 51% assurance that someone is a foreigner. While this would indicate the programs are meant only to target foreigners, this determination is made with the same reliability and probability as flipping a coin. It also fails to address any reason as to why the NSA must first collect the data on every American to make this determination.
  125. The Fourth Amendment
  127. The fourth amendment, as it appears in our Constitution today comes from the use of “writs of assistance” in colonial times. These writs were search warrants that were granted for very broad, general purposes. They would allow agents of the crown to enter a home, search, and seize any property based solely on suspicion.
  129. The historical use of such broad warrants, these writs, indicates they were not used to enforce laws or in the protection of the people. Rather, they were used in the protection of the current power system. Often these searches and seizures were done to confiscate materials that were in objection to the ruling authority, and used to silence critics of the regime in power.
  131. The fourth amendment, being one of the original ten amendments to our Constitution comprising the Bill of Rights, is important in that it was a primary sticking point between Federalists (those that favored a strong centralized government) and Anti-Federalists (those in favor of weaker central government and stronger state’s rights). There was a legitimate concern among the founders that even a democratically elected Republic can fall to the way of tyranny and enslave the people if the rights of the people are not safeguarded.
  133. How the courts have reconciled the NSA programs against the fourth amendment is unknown due to the secrecy of the FISA courts. However, it would certainly appear that the broad sweeping and collection of general data (personal property) is exactly the kind of search and seizure the fourth amendment sought to prevent. The founders may never have actually been able to foresee the internet, but they would have no problem, even in today’s world, arguing what constitutes personal property.
  135. Application of the Spying Programs
  137. The practice of the NSA to collect and analyze data has been ongoing since 2001. In an effort of transparency, and to explain a necessity for the programs, General Keith Alexander, Director NSA, presented to Congress and the public data that indicated “these programs provided the U.S. government with critical leads to help prevent over 50 potential terrorist events in more than 20 countries around the world.”
  139. A closer examination of data, done by Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst, found that forty-two plots had been “mounted” since 2001 by “homegrown jihadists.” Nine of those plots had no involvement by federal agents or the government. Twenty-nine of the remaining 33 plots were “uncovered by traditional law enforcement methods, such as the use of informants, reliance on community tips about suspicious activity and other standard policing practices.”
  141. Some of the most notable instances of domestic terrorism: the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and the Boston Marathon bombings were conducted during the time frame of these spy programs and were not thwarted by any massive surveillance efforts. While some would use this as a point of contention in favor of more spying and surveillance, there is hardly a logical argument that can be made for the need to collect more data when nearly all of it is being collected anyway.
  143. True high level terrorists are acutely aware of eliminating an easily sniffed out online presence and take great steps to ensure their communications are private. While these programs were busily collecting the data of millions of innocent Americans, the communications of Osama Bin Laden were going unnoticed since he knew to use personal couriers to deliver his messages.
  145. The Importance of Local Government
  146. Many people scoff at the idea of local government involving themselves in the politics of a national level issue. The actions of one local government are seemingly powerless to the muscle of a federal government, and there is truth to those statements. But a government of any kind is has only the power the people allow it to have.
  148. As this one small local government debates and considers the issue, so can another. Major news media outlets bring forward “experts” to tell us the general mood of public opinion, and research centers publish studies of random surveys. But by way of local government, through our elected representatives, can we declare an official stance to issues.
  150. When a tragedy occurs, it will not be the federal government that responds to the needs of Jonestown. It will be our neighbors. If some tragedy should befall our town it will not be some federal agency that descends to our streets to aid assist us, it will be us, each other. I, your neighbor, will be the first to offer you a blanket, feed you if you are hungry, and give you shelter if you need it.
  152. Freedom is not free. It is paid for in blood and sacrifice. But what shall we sacrifice to keep the freedom? I have two children of my own who will one day look back and ask me, “Dad, where were you when this happened? What did you do to let it get to this point?” I have every intention of letting my children know that I stood in support of freedom and liberty. That I stood in support of responsibility, accountability, and virtue.
  154. SOURCES:

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