April 18, 2012
By James Smith
The Federal Government has a hunger for tax money, resources, and ammunition. We reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), led by Janet Napolitano, awarded munitions manufacturer a five year contract for 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, two years after awarding Winchester munitions a five year contract for 200 million rounds .40 caliber ammunition.
This last Friday, DHS officials have put a bid out for even more ammunition, this time for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
The FLETC is headquartered at Glynco, Ga., near the port city of Brunswick, halfway between Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla. and operates two other residential training sites in Artesia, N.M., and Charleston, S.C. However, The FLETC has oversight and program management responsibilities at the International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana, and Bangkok, Thailand. The FLETC also supports training at other ILEAs in Hungary and El Salvador.
The ammunition requested will be sent to the Artesia site.
According to the Combined Synopsis/Solicitation, the following ammunition is to be delivered by the middle of May:
March 13, 2012
By Ethan A. Huff
“Remember when universities where a place of free speech and expression – a place where you were allowed to voice your concerns over injustices? Not anymore.” –KTRN
The total government control and surveillance nightmare portrayed in the book 1984 has all but fully arrived in the United States as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now implementing its abhorrent spying and recruitment programs at American institutions of higher learning. Kurt Nimmo at PrisonPlanet.com explains how DHS ringleader Janet Napolitano recently established a new Homeland Security Advisory Council composed of 19 university and college presidents, all of whom will be tasked with helping to integrate education and the goals of “national security” into a single entity.
As originally reported in The Kaimin, the independent student newspaper of the University of Montana (UM), UM President Royce Engstrom, for instance, is among the 19 college and university heads who have been chosen by Napolitano to lead this new committee. And one of the specific goals of this committee is to “advise the department on a wide range of issues from how the DHS can better recruit from campuses to emergency preparedness” (http://www.montanakaimin.com).
Published in the Federal Register under Docket No. DHS-2011-0121, the official announcement about the new council goes into further detail about its purpose, explaining that the council will “provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary (Napolitano) and senior leadership on matters relating to student and recent graduate recruitment; international students; academic research; campus and community resiliency; security and preparedness; and faculty exchanges” (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-01/html/2012-4897.htm).
Though Napolitano denies that such measures are a federal government ploy to monitor and spy on students and faculty, this description of what the committee is all about appears to imply just that. Similar to its If You See Something, Say Something snitch network (http://www.infowars.com) and its Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams (http://www.naturalnews.com/033961_TSA_security_checkpoints.html), this new academic recruitment and spying effort represents just one more nail in the coffin of liberty.
February 8, 2012
By Paul Joseph Watson
As part of its effort to encourage business owners to spy on their customers, the FBI has labeled the bulk purchase of food as a potential indication of terrorist activity, despite the fact that FEMA itself last year purchased $1 billion dollars worth of storable food.
A flyer aimed at Military Surplus stores produced under the auspices of the FBI’s Communities Against Terrorism project, encourages owners to report people who “make bulk purchases of items to include….meals ready to eat”.
According to the flyer, the FBI advises store owners to demand ID’s from all new customers, as well as asking them questions about their purchase and being aware of “suspicious statements”.
The flyer also characterizes paying with cash or “demanding identity privacy” as an indication of terrorism.
The characterization by the feds of those who choose to protect themselves against rising food prices or a potential interruption in the food supply by purchasing storable food as potential terrorists is not only chilling – it is also completely hypocritical.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) itself ordered $1 billion dollars worth of dehydrated food in just one instance last year, purchasing a total of 420 million meals.
Are we to follow the FBI’s advice and treat this as a suspicious activity? Should FEMA be reported to other law enforcement agencies as a potential terrorist threat?
Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security is also busy stockpiling storable food and seed varieties in underground bunkers as part of preparations for domestic emergencies. Under its Resolve to be Ready program, the DHS even encouraged Americans to store food as part of a “basic emergency supply kit”.
Should we all be reporting Janet Napolitano to the See Something, Say Something hotline as a potential Al-Qaeda radical?
November 3, 2011
By Barbara De Lollis
Starting today, the welcome screens on 1.2 million hotel television sets in Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday Inn and other hotels in the USA will show a short public service announcement from DHS. The 15-second spot encourages viewers to be vigilant and call law enforcement if they witness something suspicious during their travels.
During the PSA, which starts with a woman exiting a yellow taxi in front of a train station, a narrator says, “Maybe you see something suspicious. Can you be sure? If you see something, say something to authorities.”
The PSA, which will be interspersed with other messages on the welcome screen, will be the same in all 5,400 hotels that LodgeNet serves. It ends by telling viewers to contact “local authorities.”
HOTEL CHECK-IN: A road warrior’s guide to the lodging landscape
ON TWITTER: Follow Hotel Check-In’s BarbDeLollis
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says that reaching the “millions of guests that stay at hotels and motels each year is a significant step in engaging the full range of partners in our Homeland Security efforts.”
The federal government gained access to hotel TV sets by forming a partnership with the hotel industry’s largest association — the American Hotel & Lodging Association — which connected DHS with LodgeNet, the industry’s largest TV-content provider.
By entering hotels at a time when the hospitality industry is on the rebound, the government has the power to tap a growing, captive audience. Recent research from LodgeNet says 98% of hotel guests turn on their hotel TV, and the average guest keeps it on for more than three hours per day.
August 22nd, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Elise Foley
The Obama administration announced on Thursday it will do a case-by-case review of deportations, allowing many undocumented immigrants without criminal records to stay in the United States indefinitely and apply for work permits.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will send a letter on Thursday to Senate members who had asked for details on how the agency would prioritize its immigration enforcement. The policy change is meant as a framework to help prevent non-priority undocumented immigrants from “clogging the system,” senior administration officials said on a conference call with reporters Thursday.
First, the agency will look at its pending immigration cases and close the low-priority cases, so immigration courts can focus on the most serious ones, administration officials said. The low-priority cases can be reopened if circumstances require. Next, guidance will be given to immigration enforcement agents to help them better detect serious criminals and other high-priority undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants whose cases are closed will be allowed to apply for work permits, but will not be given them automatically, officials said.
The move was perhaps meant to combat harsh criticism from Latino groups and immigration reform advocates, who have rebuked President Obama for continuing to deport undocumented people at record rates, while at the same time insisting he supports immigration reform.
Although the Obama administration has repeatedly said its deportation policies focus on the “worst of the worst,” immigrant rights groups say enforcement agents still net a large number of non-criminal undocumented people.
The administration had earlier attempted to defend its record on Tuesday, with a blog post meant to “set the record straight” on the Secure Communities enforcement program.
Cecilia Munoz, White House director of Intergovernmental Affairs, wrote that more than half of all removals are of people with criminal records. Among non-criminals, most of those removed were apprehended crossing the border, had recently arrived in the United States or had been previously deported, she wrote.
“Those statistics matter,” Munoz wrote. “While we have more work to do, the statistics demonstrate that the strategy DHS put in place is working.”
The administration earlier tried to clarify its immigration enforcement policies in a June memo, which specifically recommended prosecutorial discretion. That memo cited the possibility of considering whether a person under removal proceedings would otherwise be eligible for the DREAM Act, an un-passed bill that would allow some undocumented young people to gain legal status in exchange for two years of college or military service.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the key supporters of the DREAM Act, applauded the administration’s decision Thursday.
“The Obama Administration has made the right decision in changing the way they handle deportations of DREAM Act students,” Durbin said. “These students are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and, maybe, senators, who will make America stronger. We need to be doing all we can to keep these talented, dedicated, American students here, not wasting increasingly precious resources sending them away to countries they barely remember.
Durbin pledged to “closely monitor DHS” to ensure the new policy would be implemented.
But increased discretion on the part of administration prosecutors may not be enough to please advocacy groups, many of which argue the administration should abolish certain enforcement programs altogether.
“In order to fulfill its promises, the administration must end policies like Secure Communities that result in the criminalization of innocent immigrants who are Americans in Waiting like those who came before them,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, in an email statement. “The administration has pursued policies that are sowing fear and devastation among immigrant communities, and it must reverse course to stop the Arizonification of the country,” he added, referencing Arizona’s strict immigration enforcement policies.
June 28th, 2011
By: Ethan A. Huff
Remember when Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed back in 2010 that the US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) naked body scanners had been proven safe by research conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)? A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request recently brought to light internal emails that were sent by NIST to DHS that basically decry Napolitano’s false assertion that NIST had verified the safety of the naked body scanners.
Amid the string of emails discussing the matter, an undisclosed sender explains that NIST was “a little concerned” over Napolitano’s public reassurances that TSA’s naked body scanners are safe. After all, NIST does not test products, and it never tested the naked body scanners in the first place. Napolitano apparently took the individual machine dose measurements that NIST had gathered and twisted them to say what she wanted them to say, which was that the machines are safe.
You can view a partially-censored copy of that email exchange here: http://epic.org/privacy/backscatter/USAToday.pdf
Worse, NIST had actually warned DHS and TSA that the machines were not necessarily safe, and that airport screening agents should avoid standing next to them because of the harmful radiation they emit. It is unclear whether or not this warning was ever taken seriously by TSA officials.
Napolitano also falsely claimed that research conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory confirms the safety of naked body scanners, even though the research actually suggests the opposite. Dr. Michael Love from the school publicly stated that the machines are going to give people skin cancer, and the specific findings of the report indicate that “radiation zones” around the machines emit enough radiation to exceed the “General Public Dose Limit.”
One thing is for sure, though. Many current and former TSA agents who have developed cancers are now speaking out against the machines, as they believe repeated and continual exposure to them is responsible for their conditions. Many TSA agents have repeatedly requested that they be given dosimeters to wear that will warn them of dangerous radiation exposure — but TSA higher-ups have never followed through in addressing their concerns, despite empty promises that they would.
December 28th, 2010
By: Roger Simon
On the day after Christmas, readers of The Washington Post were given a real treat: pictures of naked men.
The men in the pictures were fully clothed, but they were naked nonetheless, because the pictures came from airport full-body scanners.
The machines provided graphic pictures of the male anatomy. True, they were no more graphic than Michelangelo’s David or Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (that’s the naked guy with his arms and legs stuck out), but both of those were depictions, not actual people trying to heft their wheelie bags on the conveyor belt, take off their shoes and jackets, remove their laptops, take out their baggies full of fluids no more than 3 ounces in size, take the metal out of their pockets and somehow get through security before their planes take off.
According to the Post, by New Year’s Day, there will be 500 such machines in use nationwide and 1,000 by the end of 2011, or roughly one machine for every two security lanes in every airport in the land.
If the machines offend your sense of modesty or decency for yourself or your children, then you can request a pat-down where your naughty bits may be touched by a Transportation Security Administration screener rather than projected on a video screen.
Officials say 98 percent of people go through the machines rather than request a pat-down, which is not surprising: First, who likes to be touched by a stranger? And second, going through the machines is faster, and flying has becomes such a cumbersome and aggravating experience that most people will do anything to get it over with.
(There is a company called Flying Pasties, which claims to have a product that you slip inside your clothing to screen your private parts. “It’s simply not against the law to keep your private parts private,” the company says.)
Some parties are suing the government over the new machines, claiming an unreasonable invasion of privacy, while others claim the machines expose people to too much radiation, which the government denies.
Most people, however, accept it as just another agony associated with flying (along with fees to check baggage and crowded luggage bins).
And, after all, the machines are worth it because they detect explosives.
Except they don’t. As it turns out, the machines don’t detect explosives at all. They detect images on your body that shouldn’t belong on your body.
“It’s not an explosive detector; it’s an anomaly detector,” Clark Ervin, who runs the Homeland Security Program at the Aspen Institute, told the Post. “Someone has to notice that there’s something out of order.”
Which means those security employees who stare at the screens have to be sharp enough and well-trained enough to detect things that are abnormal. (And some experts think that if the explosives are flat and pancake-shaped and taped to your stomach, they could not be detected anyway, because the picture would look too normal.)
The machines cost $130,000 to $170,000 each, and by 2014, the federal government will have spent $234 million to $300 million for them.
Which would be a bargain if they actually did something besides embarrass people. In May, a TSA screener at Miami International Airport who went through a full-body screening as part of his training was arrested for beating a co-worker with a police baton after co-workers made fun of the size of his private parts.
The solution for passengers? Get used to it.
Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, was interviewed Sunday by CNN’s Candy Crowley, and Napolitano said nothing was going to change “for the foreseeable future.”
“You know, we’re always looking to improve systems and so forth,” Napolitano said. “But the new technology, the pat-downs, is just objectively safer for our traveling public.”
But Crowley decided to screen and pat down that assertion.
Citing an ABC report, Crowley said, “There are some major airports who had a 70 percent failure rate at detecting guns, knives, bombs, that they got through in your tests…. So how good can it be when you have major airports with a 70 percent fail rate?”
Napolitano dismissed those results as old and questionable and said, “Let’s set those aside.” One of the real successes of the machines and procedures, Napolitano said, is that they discourage terrorists from even trying to get on planes.
In other words, the machines keep us safe even if they don’t work at all.
“What we know is that you can’t measure [how] the devices … are deterring [terrorists] from going on a plane,” Napolitano said.
“Just people who just are discouraged, thinking they’d be found out,” said Crowley.
“Exactly,” said Napolitano.
In which case, we do not need machines that cost upward of $130,000 each.
All we need are archways made out of $30 or $40 worth of sheet metal that are labeled: “Official Destructo Machine — If You Are a Terrorist, This Machine Will Not Only Zap You, but Put a Picture of Your Private Parts on YouTube.”
That ought to do it.
November 17th, 2010
By: Declan McCullagh
Two months ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the federal stimulus legislation would pay for the purchase of hundreds of controversial full-body scanners.
“Through the Recovery Act, we are able to continue our accelerated deployment of enhanced technology as part of our layered approach to security at airports nationwide,” Napolitano said at the time.
The number of scanners has roughly doubled since Napolitano’s announcement and they are now found in 68 U.S. airports, and the Transportation Security Administration says the controversial devices have proven to be a success.
“We have received minimal complaints,” a TSA spokeswoman told CNET yesterday. She said that the agency, part of DHS, keeps track of air traveler complaints and has not seen a significant rise.
A growing number of airline passengers, labor unions, and advocacy groups, however, say the new procedures–a choice of full-body scans or what the TSA delicately calls “enhanced pat-downs”–go too far. (They were implemented without much fanfare in late October, amid lingering questions (PDF) about whether travelers are always offered a choice of manual screening.)
Unions representing U.S. Airways pilots, American Airlines pilots, and some flight attendants are advising their members to skip the full-body scans, even if it means that their genitals are touched. Air travelers are speaking out online, with a woman saying in a YouTube video her breasts were “twisted,” and ExpressJet pilot Michael Roberts emerging as an instant hero after he rejected both the body scanning and “enhanced pat-downs” options and was unceremoniously ejected from the security line from Memphis International Airport.
One lawsuit has been filed and at least two more are being contemplated. There are snarky suggestions for what TSA actually stands for, attempts at grope-induced erotic fiction, and now even a movie.
These privacy concerns, and in a few cases even outright rebellion, come as an estimated 24 million travelers are expected to fly during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday season. One Web site, OptOutDay.com, is recommending what might be called strict civil obedience: it suggests that all air travelers on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving, choose “to opt-out of the naked body scanner machines” that amount to “virtual strip searches.”
Normally, that kind of public outcry might be enough to spur TSA to back down–after all, in 2004 it relaxed its metal detector procedures to allow passengers a second try, and a year later it relaxed its rules to allow scissors in carry-on bags. Plus, the U.S. House of Representatives (but not the Senate) approved a bill saying that “whole-body imaging technology may not be used as the sole or primary method of screening a passenger.”
But with a lame duck Congress not even in session until next week, no hearings on full-body scanners currently scheduled, and renewed concerns about explosives in printer cartridges, an immediate reversal seems unlikely.
Instead, TSA is defending its practice. “TSA constantly evaluates and updates screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats, and we have done so several times already this year,” a spokeswoman said. “As such, TSA has implemented an enhanced pat-down at security checkpoints as one of our many layers of security to keep the traveling public safe.”
“Administrator John Pistole is committed to intelligence-driven security measures, including advanced imaging technology and the pat-down procedure and ordered a review of certain policies shortly after taking office to reinforce TSA’s risk-based approach to security,” TSA said. “We look forward to further discussion with pilots on these important issues.”
TSA’s official blogger, who uses the apparent pseudonym Blogger Bob, went so far as to say this week that: “There is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe.”
Another possible catalyst for an eventual change in screening procedures is a lawsuit that the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit advocacy group, filed against the TSA and Homeland Security last week.
“The agency went off the rails in the spring of 2009 when it decided on its own authority to make body scanners the primary screening technique in the United States,” says Marc Rotenberg, EPIC’s executive director. “We think there had to be a public rulemaking. We think the conduct implicates freedom of religion. We think it implicates the Privacy Act.”
EPIC’s lawsuit is ambitious. It says that TSA should have conducted a formal, 90-day public rulemaking to “fully evaluate all privacy, security, and health risks” and wants the D.C. Circuit to require the agency to conduct one. In addition, making full-body scanners the primary method of screening violates the Fourth Amendment, the suit says, because the scans are “far more invasive than necessary.”
In September, the D.C. Circuit shot down EPIC’s initial request for an emergency halt, saying the standards for a preliminary injunction against TSA were not met. Rotenberg remains optimistic, saying “these are obligations that are written into federal law” that TSA must follow. (This time, EPIC is not asking for an emergency injunction.)
The ACLU says it’s also weighing a lawsuit but has not filed one so far.
TSA has “always done pat-downs,” but until recently they haven’t been so aggressive, says Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel at the ACLU in Washington, D.C. “The pat-downs never used to go up a woman’s skirt.”
“It’s become troubling,” Calabrese says. “You’ve got these controversial naked strip search machines that they’re rolling out at airports across America. And if you choose not to go through the naked strip search machine, you’re subject to this (level of intrusive physical contact). It seems punitive. It seems designed to drive you to the naked strip search machine.”
September 30, 2010
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will urge 90 nations to heighten their aviation security measures today to include screening devices that could prevent terrorist from bringing plastic- or powder-based explosives onto the plane, according to USA Today.
Citing the inability of metal detectors to recognize unconventional explosives, Napolitano will emphasize the need to use advanced innovations such as body scanners to step up security processes at a Montreal meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
“We need to move to the next stage of screening,” Napolitano told USA Today, adding that terrorists “have kind of figured out the magnetometer business.”
ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin told the newspaper that his organization – a United Nations arm responsible for determining international aviation standards – considered the matter “of the utmost significance.”
The hope is that improved security measures would prevent scenarios such as the December 2009 incident in which suspected terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab smuggled powder explosives aboard an international flight by hiding them in his underwear.
Similar attempts have been made repeatedly with plastic: In 2004, Chechen rebels blew up two commercial airlines using explosives made of the material, and in 2001, al-Qaeda member Richard Reid ignited plastic explosives he had hidden in his shoes aboard a flight from Paris to Miami, though fellow passengers were successful in stopping him.
Benjamin said that under the terms of the ICAO’s heightened measures, airline passengers will be patted down or checked with a body scanner for non-metallic weapons.