Wonder how US government sanctioned kidnapping and torture of uncharged suspects has affected the American psyche? Here's how.
If you haven't heard about the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, read this. Paying attention now?
Now read the case court documents and marvel at the Obama administration's defense of the act.
Mexican cartels have taken to using homemade ultralights to fly drugs under the radar into the US. And DHS, which fetishizes every known threat to its authority, is fed-up. So fed-up that they are willing to spend $1 million per ultralight in tax dollars to stop them.
The Houston Chronicle has picked up the domestic IED meme. Their new propaganda piece is a rehash of a Daily Beast story we took apart (here). Chronicle reporter Stewart Powell flogs the IEDs-as-emerging-threat bullshit, but he does add the Aurora Colorado shooter, hinting that his booby trapped apartment is evidence of "possible links to domestic or foreign-based terrorism."
Being in Texas, Powell also throws Mexican cartel bombings into the mix. Before a handful of
goat-herders living in caves terrorists were an existential threat to the foundation of the American republic and worldwide FREEDOM, law enforcement called bombs attached to cars car-bombs. Now a military acronym for a tactic used by goat-herders living in mud huts freedom fighters defending their homeland against an invading army terrorists half a world away has transformed car-bombs into IEDs, terrorist weapons, if we are to believe Mr. Powell, coming soon to a Texas near you.
How does a tactic used against the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan become conflated with a domestic terror threat? It turns out the US military cannot coordinate with domestic law enforcement because of a pesky constitutional prohibition called Posse Comitatus. It's nothing really, except a founding principle of our republic - namely that the military is prohibited from domestic police functions.
Our fearless congressional leaders charged with overseeing the national security apparatus think Posse Comitatus a quaint throwback that needs to be repealed. Leading the charge is, of course, the most dangerous man (in a bad way) on Capital Hill, Peter King.
Powell provides not a single piece of evidence to substantiate the claim of IEDs as a "widening threat," and that there is "a gaping hole in our security." Not a single piece of evidence, but plenty of absurd claims by government officials. Nor does he attempt balance in the 'debate.' Powell includes not one dissenting opinion about IEDs as an emerging threat.
Powell includes Texas Homeland Security officials and several members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee who believe local and state police need to be trained by military bomb experts to recognize and deal with IEDs, "Their [military bomb disposal experts] hard-won knowledge should now be shared with American lawmen facing these same deadly threats at home."
Local and state police aren't, and shouldn't be, bomb experts. For that we have... bomb experts. IEDs are not any more a threat now than they were before we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. This is pure propaganda. But stay tuned for more IED hysteria.
It won't be long now until terrorist organizations, drug cartels, intelligence operatives, hitmen/women and yes even psychopaths are able to print out weaponry.
Julio Rausseo went to Chicago's Union Station to catch a train. He noticed the TSA was there setting up a checkpoint. He taped it, and posted it to the web. A week later he's in Union Station having dinner when two Amtrak police confront and attempt to intimidate him over videotaping their security activities.
They tell him several very interesting things. First they accuse him of filming inside a security zone. This is blatantly false. Rausseo is clearly standing among families and other travelers while filming, and one sees, on tape, a police officer cordoning off the secure area. They also tell him the government sent them video of him taping. They accuse him of being a rookie, because an experienced reporter would get permission and a permit from the Authorities before taping. The kick in the balls comes at the end when they alert him that his activities could be seen as terrorism.
First, does TSA go out of its way to hire overweight white men? Does Amtrak go out of its way to hire Constitutional lawyers moonlighting as policemen? The government thinks a dark skinned man videotaping TSA activities is terrorism? Quel surprise. The 'security arrangements' he's accused of revealing are a bunch of overweight TSA people pushing tables and chairs around. When Rausseo informs them he's a journalist, the officers let him know that real experienced journalists do what they're told and no more.
If that weren't enough, Huffington Post did a story on the whole affair, containing no byline. Obviously, this isn't worth a real reporters fingertips being mauled by a computer keyboard. The story's closer, 'Did Rausseo overstep any boundaries, or did Chicago police infringe on his rights? Tell us your thoughts below.' Hard hitting journalism for the new age.
Read this recent story in the LA Times about the bloated, bureaucratic and scientific boondoggle that is the BioWatch program. Now witness the Chief Medical Officer at DHS do the shuck and jive defending the program. This is what $1 billion dollars of federal money gets you in today's climate of national hysteria. DHS is requesting $3-5 billion more to upgrade the program.
A US general, playing a weak hand recently in front of a Congressional subcommittee during closed door testimony on emerging threats to the homeland, bluffed, and the politicians and at least one journalist folded like cheap suits.
Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, in charge of countering the IED threat in war zones, says IEDs are coming to America. That sounds bad. His evidence? According to this Daily Beast story:
Barbero cited the case of an Iraqi named Waad Ramadan Alwan who moved to Kentucky in 2009 after winning a visa as a political refugee. According to a December 16, 2011, plea agreement, Alwan was an Iraqi insurgent working between 2003 and 2006 to plant IEDs on roads traveled by U.S. troops. In 2010, in Bowling Green, Ken., Alwan began to train another man in how to make them, making diagrams of the bombs and giving oral instructions on how to assemble the devices, according to the document.
First, who gave this guy a visa? Here's (yet another) intelligence failure surrounding the Iraq war, but never mind. IEDs were being made in Kentucky by a man who'd previously dedicated himself to blowing up US soldiers? Well not exactly. Actually, what Eli Lake, the 'journalist' doesn't tell you is that Alwan was providing know-how, money and, he hoped, materiel to be sent to the Iraqi opposition fighting the US in his home country. There was never a threat to the homeland from Alwan, his eyes were on his home country. That scoop is courtesy of the plea agreement document Lake cites in his story.
Barbero's other evidence? There is none. But never fear, Lake fills in the gaps for the general, in the form of Faisal Shahzad and Najibullah Zazi.
And what do our courageous politicians have to say about this threat? Dan Lundgren, subcommittee chairman:
The IED is the most deadly form of attack on our troops in the war zone. That has increased over time. Is there any question that those who are dedicated to killing Americans would not exploit vulnerabilities in the United States to use IEDs here?
There are a hundred, several hundred scenarios for terrorist attacks on America just as likely as IEDs on I-95. Hell, give us a
six pack case of beer, a pizza, and an internet connection and the FOG brain trust will design a muffucking apocalypse, using off the shelf stuff easily found in any big box store.
This general is throwing red meat at the Capital Hill poodles for a reason. Sounds like he is setting-up a post-career exit strategy as a domestic expert on the emerging threat, according only to him, and a huge private sector salary to go with it. There's also probably some fancy gadgetry that only he knows about to counter that threat, and odds are he'll end up on that board, bob's your uncle.
Eli Lake, our credulous journalist, writes for Newsweek for chrissakes. This 'story' is more a PR release than any kind of journalism. Not an ounce of skepticism anywhere to be seen. And this is the problem in general with national security reporting. Reporters want access to high level sources, so they don't rock the boat when these sources make self-serving claims they cannot substantiate. And the reporters let it slide. You scratch my back...
But we're reasonable people here in the luxurious FOG headquarters. Our glacier water might be getting warm but we'll give ole Eli the benefit of the doubt on all that mishogos.
What we can't excuse is Lake's dereliction of duty in not mentioning that IEDs are already here, they have been for some time. The story title is 'America's New Bomb Threat.' What Barbero means and what Lake implies but never says, is that the threat isn't really from IEDs, but from dark Middle Eastern bearded men who are religiously angry that their countries are full of US soldiers pissing on their dead, killing their women and children, torturing suspects and making off with their natural resources.
General Barbero, Mr. Lake, we call your bluff at two-and-a-half bearded Muslims and we raise you three white Americans, a millenarian survivalist, a loner genius and a conspiracy patsy. Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski and Terry Nichols - these men have actual American blood on their hands, they each made and deployed IEDs using easily obtained material. Mr. Lake, your story? - hard hitting shit it ain't.
"Five years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to screen 100 percent of maritime cargo heading for the United States no later than July 2012. DHS recently announced that it would miss this deadline. Actually, the problem is worse than simply a delay in meeting the law’s requirements. DHS has utterly failed at the task assigned to it. Most cargo containers proceed on their way to U.S. destinations unscreened." via Early Warning Blog
DHS dared a UT Austin professor to hack a drone. So, using $1000 in parts, he and his students did just that, while DHS officials looked on. The US is set to see an explosion of domestic drone activity, another wise and beneficent government program funded by taxpayer dollars. What could possibly go wrong?
DHS is making Border Patrol officers take hours of computer training courses, because the US public deserves the best trained officers on the beat. Right? A DHS Active Shooter course (take it yourself here) advises BP agents to run away and hide if confronted by an active shooter in a public place. As a last resort, Napolitano advises agents, they should "become aggressive" and "throw things" at the shooter. Good advice from the head of Department of Homeland Security. Here's the Active Shooter pamphlet.
It's not difficult to understand, given its notoriously overstuffed ranks and bloated bureaucracy, how DHS keeps getting it wrong. A new Inspector General report accuses Customs and Border Protection, operating under DHS aegis, of clusterfucking its border drone program. Stripping aside the jargon, the report found that CBP had no action plan in place, that it understood neither the drone's hardware requirements nor the software functionality and that it botched liasion relationships with contractors and allied agencies.
There are currently 64 drone bases scattered throughout mainland US. But if DoD has it's way that number could nearly double. A new report identifies 110 potential new domestic bases for the spy-kill planes.
Deeply flawed but revealing portrait of former constitutional lawyer, Nobel Prize for Peace winning US President, turned to the dark side. A report in the NY Times about the Assassin in Chief. The assassination list includes teenagers, faces without names, names without faces, voices on tapes, all personally picked by Obama for death by drone. Just who is a legitimate target? "All military-age males in a strike zone [are considered] combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent." Kill first then sort it out. Welcome to the US War on Terror.
Perhaps the crack forensic scientists and investigators at the FBI, who so successfully nailed the 2001 anthrax investigation, could provide counsel to the CDC lab in the news for major security protocol breaches.
This training document, since removed according to the Agency, demonstrates the kind of training taxpayers are paying for FBI agents. Agents are told that as intelligence professionals they are expected to go it alone, "We are our own counsel, we normally don't have the freedom to seek advice from outsiders. Issues have to be dealt with personally." Puts this, this and this into perspective.
In January 2012, DoD and NYPD announced a joint project to deploy terahertz technology on the streets of NYC. The technology peers through walls, clothes and the human heart ostensibly to detect handguns. NYPD has promised to use it only in emergencies. FOIA requests with DHS have met with a bureaucratic stone wall. Now EPIC has requested the FOIA ombudsmen look into DHS refusals to hand over the material. Nonetheless, virtual frisking technology is a done deal and has already been deployed. NYPD is using it to replace its controversial 'stop and frisk' policy, and with DHS funding, many other cities are lining up to get in the game.