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Posts Tagged ‘DHS’

9/11 Senate Hearing: No Mention of Radical Islam, Climate Change Is Major Threat

Posted by M. C. on September 10, 2019

The PC UK ignored things also…and for a long time.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/09/09/9-11-senate-hearing-no-radical-islam-threat-is-climate-change/#

by Robert Kraychik

No mention of radical Islam was made by any senators during Monday’s Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing — uniquely held at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, NY — days before the 18th anniversary of the Islamic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Post-9/11 domestic instances of Islamic terrorism were also ignored, including but not limited to the attacks in Chattanooga, Fort Hood, Orlando, and San Bernardino. The only references to ideological dimensions of Islamic terrorism were made by former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who referred to “jihadi terrorists” in three instances.

Chertoff was joined by Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson, two former directors of the Department of Homeland Security in testifying before the committee, professedly on matters of national security.

“Climate change poses an existential threat” to America and Earth, declared Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He linked “climate change” to 9/11 in his opening remarks, calling on DHS to prioritize halting the ostensible phenomenon:…

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Sarah Champion distances herself from Sun article on ...

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Now It’s Official: US Visa Can Be Denied If You (Or Even Your Friends) Are Critical of American Policies — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on September 6, 2019

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/09/05/now-official-us-visa-denied-if-you-or-your-friends-critical-american-policies/

Philip Giraldi

 

There have been several interesting developments in the United States government’s war on free speech and privacy. First of all, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), which is responsible for actual entry of travelers into the country, has now declared that it can legally access phones and computers at ports of entry to determine if there is any subversive content which might impact on national security. “Subversive content” is, of course, subjective, but those seeking entry can be turned back based on how a border control agent perceives what he is perusing on electronic media.

Unfortunately, the intrusive nature of the procedure is completely legal, particularly as it applies to foreign visitors, and is not likely to be overturned in court in spite of the Fourth Amendment’s constitutional guarantee that individuals should “…be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Someone at a port of entry is not legally inside the United States until he or she has been officially admitted. And if that someone is a foreigner, he or she has no right by virtue of citizenship even to enter the country until entry has been permitted by an authorized US Customs and Border Protection official. And that official can demand to see anything that might contribute to the decision whether or not to let the person enter.

And there’s more to it than just that. Following the Israeli model for blocking entry of anyone who can even be broadly construed as supporting a boycott, the United States now also believes it should deny admittance to anyone who is critical of US government policy, which is a reversal of previous policy that considered political opinions to be off-limits for visa denial. DHS, acting in response to pressure from the White House, now believes it can adequately determine hostile intent from the totality of what appears on one’s phone or laptop, even if the material in question was clearly not put on the device by the owner. In other words, if a traveler has an email sent to him or her by someone else that complains about behavior by the United States government, he or she is responsible for that content.

One interesting aspect of the new policy is that it undercuts the traditional authority of US Embassies and Consulates overseas to issue visas to foreigners. The State Department visa process is rigorous and can include employment and real property verification, criminal record checks, social media reviews and Google-type searches. If there is any doubt about the visa applicant, entry into the US is denied. With the new DHS measures in place, this thoroughly vetted system is now sometimes being overruled by a subjective judgment made by someone who is not necessarily familiar with the traveler’s country or even regarding the threat level that being a citizen of that country actually represents…

Ajjawi was questioned by one immigration officer who asked him repeatedly about his religion before requiring him to turn over his laptop and cell phone. Some hours later, the questioning continued about Ajjawi’s friends and associates, particularly those on social media. At no point was Ajjawi accused of having himself written anything that was critical of the United States and the interrogation rather centered on the views expressed by his friends.

The decision to ban Ajjawi produced such an uproar worldwide that it was reversed a week later, apparently as a result of extreme pressure exerted by Harvard University. Nevertheless, the decisions to deny entry are often arbitrary or even based on bad information, but the traveler normally has no practical recourse to reverse the process….

It is believed that many of the arbitrary “enforcements” by the CBP are carried out by the little-known Tactical Response Team (TRT) that targets certain travelers that fit a profile. DHS officials confirmed in September 2017 that 1,400 visa holders had been denied entry due to TRT follow-up inspections. And there are also reports of harassment of American citizens by possible TRT officials. A friend of mine was returning from Portugal to a New York Area airport when he was literally pulled from the queue as he was departing the plane. A Customs agent at the jetway was repeatedly calling out his birth date and then also added his name. He was removed from the line and taken to an interrogation room where he was asked to identify himself and then queried regarding his pilot’s license. He was then allowed to proceed with no other questions, suggesting that it was all harassment of a citizen base on profiling pure and simple…

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What DHS does during Steady State | Homeland Security

DHS – A typical government cluster

 

 

 

 

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DHS plan for face scanning at airports sparks alarm

Posted by M. C. on April 24, 2019

Like telecommunication, the plan is to have a dossier on everyone.

Of course it will be always accurate, always private, never any mistakes. You can bet your life on that.

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/440323-dhs-plan-for-face-scanning-at-airports-sparks-alarm

Lawmakers and civil liberties advocates are calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to halt plans to begin using facial recognition technology on nearly all departing air passengers within the next four years.

The agency’s plan has reignited the fight over the sensitive technology. Critics say facial recognition technology is not ready for large-scale deployment and that DHS has failed to establish specific rules to prevent abuses and policies for handling the collected data.

“The Department of Homeland Security is plowing ahead with its program to scan travelers’ faces, and it’s doing so in absence of adequate safeguards against privacy invasions, data breaches, and racial bias,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement to The Hill. “Homeland Security should change course and stop its deployment of facial recognition technology until it meets that standard.”

Markey and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have raised these concerns with DHS over the past year, releasing statements and sending letters to the agency urging it to halt the program until it puts specific safeguards in place. So far, according to Markey’s office, the department has ignored their warnings.

DHS has been implementing its “biometric exit” program, which photographs some visitors when they are departing the U.S., for years, expanding to 15 major airports with plans to reach five more. President Trump in 2017 signed an executive order speeding up the rollout of the face-scanning technology, and Congress in 2016 authorized up to $1 billion over the next 10 years to implement the program.

The stated purpose of the program is to identify non-U.S. citizens who have overstayed their visas, but it captures the faces of U.S. citizens as well. The agency says it has successfully identified 7,000 people at major U.S. airports who have overstayed their visas.

The DHS report published last week, which was provided to the House and Senate judiciary committees, is the latest sign that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — DHS’s largest federal law enforcement agency — is fast-tracking the implementation of the program at the country’s largest airports.

That has privacy advocates in an uproar…

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facial

 

 

 

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DHS wants to ramp up use of facial recognition at airports from just 15 to almost all in 4 years | Daily Mail Online

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2019

According to the DHS, the technology is not only scalable, but also extremely accurate.

That makes me feel better. From ACLU about Amazon’s scanning technology misidentifying members of congress.From ACLU about Amazon’s scanning technology misidentifying members of congress.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6937737/DHS-wants-ramp-use-facial-recognition-airports-just-15-4-years.html

By James Pero For Dailymail.com

 

  • Facial recognition software could soon be standard in airports across the U.S.
  • The tool would be used to track people coming in and out of the country
  • Photos of passengers would be run against a database of visas and passports 
  • DHS’ interest in facial recognition comes amidst rising human rights concern

Despite concerns over facial recognition’s impact on civil liberties, public agencies have continued to apply the tool liberally across the U.S. with one of the biggest deployments coming to an airport near you.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that it plans to expand its application of facial recognition to 97 percent of all passengers departing the U.S. by 2023, according to the Verge.

By comparison, facial recognition technology is deployed in just 15 airports, according to figures recorded at the end of 2018.

In what is being referred to as ‘biometric exit,’ the agency plans to use facial recognition to more thoroughly track passengers entering and leaving the country.

The system functions by taking a picture of passengers before they depart and then cross-referencing the image with a database containing photos of passports and visas.

According to the DHS, the technology is not only scalable, but also extremely accurate.

In its current iteration, a summary states that the technology has scanned more than 2 million passengers with a near-perfect match rate of 98 percent.

In its limited deployment, the DHS says that it has helped to identify 7,000 passenger overstays since being introduced in 2017 as well as six passengers attempting to use identification not belonging to them…

Among the most unlikely voices of caution against the widespread deployment of facial recognition has been Microsoft — one of the biggest and most sophisticated purveyors of facial recognition software.

This month the company announced that it denied lending its software to an unnamed California law enforcement agency who planned to use the tool to scan the faces of people the agency pulled over, so that it could be checked against a database.

The reason behind the decision, according to Microsoft President, Brad Smith, is that the company felt the software — artificial intelligence systems that use machine learning to improve its capabilities — would disproportionately affect people of color and women…

One of the most vocal critics, the ACLU, has argued that scanning someone’s face skirts laws involving probable cause and could be used for mass government surveillance…

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TSA

Your Alternative to Facial Recognition

 

 

 

 

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More Ammo for the Department of Homeland Security

Posted by M. C. on February 16, 2019

If private clubs of American weekend target shooters were doing this, there would be prime time TV news stories for a week. There would be Congressional hearings. But when the DHS does it, no one notices, except for right-wing blog editors.

If the DHS is wise in laying up weapons, then who else is laying up weapons? Why?

https://www.garynorth.com/public/19173.cfm

Gary North

The DHS is at it again. It is stockpiling more ammunition. A lot of ammunition. This is from Infowars:

On July 5, the Department of Homeland Security announced on the FedBizOpps.gov website that it plans to buy thirty-six Colt LE901 rifle systems. The latest DHS purchase follows a solicitation issued on July 13 for the purchase of .223 Caliber Remington Enhanced Performance Ammunition in excess of $500,000. The Colt assault weapons are designed to accept the .223 ammunition. . . .In April, we reported on the DHS awarding contracts to a munitions company for 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point ammunition. Prior to this, the feds awarded Winchester a five-year contract for 200 million rounds .40 caliber ammunition.

The question comes to mind: who are the prospective targets? Terrorists? Armed bands of terrorists? From where?

The DHS is also buying bullet-proof guard booths. Lots and lots of guard booths. At last count, 9,300 of them. It plans to buy more.

Who will be shooting at them? Why?…

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Are You a Woman Traveling Alone? Marriott Might Be Watching You.

Posted by M. C. on February 5, 2019

Under pressure from the federal government and driven by persistent myths about the nature and prevalence of sex trafficking, hotel chains like Marriott have become the new frontiers of the surveillance state. Like the indiscriminate spying campaigns that grew out of the 9/11 attacks, it’s an effort based on panic, profiling, and stereotypes, and it is nearly certain to ensnare more innocents than it helps…

https://reason.com/archives/2019/02/05/hotel-surveillance-state-sex-trafficking

When a tweet accused Marriott Hotels of “working with the feds and keeping [an] eye on any women who are traveling alone,” training staff to “spot an escort,” and “not allowing some women [to] drink at the bar alone,” Marriott’s official account proudly confirmed the observation: “You are correct. Marriott employees all over the world are being trained to help spot sex trafficking at our hotels.”…

But the deserved dustup points to a much bigger issue than unusually watchful hotel staff. It’s part of a Homeland Security-backed coalition using human-trafficking myths and War on Terror tactics to encourage citizen spying and the development of new digital surveillance tools.

However well-intentioned, the surveillance tactics that have been adopted by hotel chains are part of a disturbing partnership between hospitality businesses, federal law enforcement, and rent-seeking nonprofits that increasingly seeks to track the movements and whereabouts of people, especially women, all over the country. Under pressure from the federal government and driven by persistent myths about the nature and prevalence of sex trafficking, hotel chains like Marriott have become the new frontiers of the surveillance state. Like the indiscriminate spying campaigns that grew out of the 9/11 attacks, it’s an effort based on panic, profiling, and stereotypes, and it is nearly certain to ensnare more innocents than it helps… Read the rest of this entry »

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On Board the USS Detention – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on December 21, 2018

Approximately 400-foot vessels, they are known as National Security Cutters and have been refashioned not as hospital ships but as prison ships.

https://original.antiwar.com/karen_greenberg/2018/12/20/on-board-the-uss-detention/

Originally posted at TomDispatch.

I grew up in New London, Connecticut, watching many a military ship float by my window. New London was home to the Coast Guard Academy and sat across the river from a U.S. Navy submarine base. Uniformed guardsmen, sailors in training, and sub crews leaving port would regularly wave to my friends and me from the decks of their ships. It never occurred to me that, 50 years later, such ships would come to my attention again, this time because of the confusing messages they’re sending overseas, a reflection of the conflicting images embedded in Washington’s latest version of diplomacy and foreign policy.

We still want populations around the world to admire, appreciate, and respect this country as a democracy and a powerful protector. Some ships are used to make exactly that point. And yet, in the twenty-first-century version of war American-style, other ships have become the very image and essence of hardship and harm in ways that violate the most basic tenets of democracy and justice.

This mixed message is anything but new to American foreign policy. In 2003, seven months after the invasion of Iraq, Margaret Tutwiler, incoming undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, was assigned to deal with the sort of worries then being raised by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN). He chaired the Foreign Relations Committee and so oversaw Tutwiler’s confirmation hearing, describing himself as “deeply concerned” and “anxious” about the country’s deteriorating image abroad.

“Americans are troubled,” he explained, “by examples of virulent anti-American hatred in the Islamic world and are frustrated by public opinion in allied countries that seems increasingly ready to question American motives or blame American actions for a host of problems.” Tutwiler responded with intrepid optimism. She understood the uphill battle she faced, she assured him, one that required “maintaining and in some respects regaining respect and understanding” for the U.S. around the globe. And she promised to do what she could “to contribute to the overall effort of trying to prevent any further deterioration in our nation’s image.”

Five months later, Congressman José Serrano (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, would suggest just how implausible was Tutwiler’s task of convincing allies and enemies alike of the good intentions of the United States, in Iraq in particular. Though respectful of the idea of public diplomacy, he expressed extreme doubt about the possibility of applying it successfully in that war-torn land then occupied by the U.S. military. As he put it, he was cognizant of just “how difficult it has become for us on the one hand to try to change the image of who we are; and, on the other hand, you know, invade and occupy an Arab country.” Then he added, in a bow of empathy for Tutwiler, “I just wonder how my job would be if I had to tell people that I am a good guy, while, on the other hand, I hit them over the head with a hammer.”…

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How the government uses its giant facial recognition database | Sovereign Man

Posted by M. C. on November 2, 2018

Delta Airlines has even started testing a new program that scans your face prior to boarding your flight and matches it against this government database.

JetBlue has a similar program, and claims that “The customers are really delighted by it. . . they think it’s cool and they’re having fun.”

https://www.sovereignman.com/trends/how-the-government-uses-its-giant-facial-recognition-database-24263/

Simon Black

In July 1996, flight TWA 800 exploded in mid-air, 12 minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport in New York. All 230 passengers on board were killed.

It would be four years before an investigation concluded the likely cause of the explosion was a short circuit in the plane’s fuel tank.

But at the time, President Clinton felt the overwhelming need to do something.

People suspected terrorism. So Clinton issued new airport security rules.

From then on, identification was required to board an airplane.

Before that, you just needed a ticket.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, airport security escalated.

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) were born.

Screening procedures intensified. Agents could now feel you up and down. Then came naked body scanners and the Real ID requirement.

Real ID standards were part of the post-9/11 security hysteria. But they are just now coming into full effect.

The federal guidelines require states to issue IDs that meet certain federal standards, or else the ID cannot be used for flying.

One of these standards is that the photo on the ID has to work with facial recognition systems.

CBP (Customs and Border Protection) has now completed a pilot program for using biometric data for boarding flights exiting the country. Biometric data includes unique identity markers like fingerprints, iris scans, and facial recognition.

The DHS audited the pilot program, and found that it was a success. They caught 1,300 people who had overstayed their visas.

Wait, what? I thought this was supposed to be about national security?

But that’s not what you get from the propaganda piece on the CBP’s websiteRead the rest of this entry »

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How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on August 29, 2018

Ken Menzel, the legal adviser to the Illinois secretary of state, confirmed what Ozment had testified. “Hackers have been trying constantly to get into it since 2006,” Menzel said, adding that they had been probing every other official Illinois database with such personal data for vulnerabilities as well. “Every governmental database—driver’s licenses, health care, you name it—has people trying to get into it,” 

The FIB, DHS, your government lies to you again.

You need a program to identify the hackers. There are more hackers than baseball teams have legs. How many legs are wearing Russian boots?

https://original.antiwar.com/porter/2018/08/28/how-the-department-of-homeland-security-created-a-deceptive-tale-of-russia-hacking-us-voter-sites/

by 

The narrative of Russian intelligence attacking state and local election boards and threatening the integrity of U.S. elections has achieved near-universal acceptance by media and political elites. And now it has been accepted by theTrump administration’s intelligence chief, Dan Coats, as well.

But the real story behind that narrative, recounted here for the first time, reveals that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created and nurtured an account that was grossly and deliberately deceptive.

DHS compiled an intelligence report suggesting hackers linked to the Russian government could have targeted voter-related websites in many states and then leaked a sensational story of Russian attacks on those sites without the qualifications that would have revealed a different story. When state election officials began asking questions, they discovered that the DHS claims were false and, in at least one case, laughable… Read the rest of this entry »

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Gun Owners Should Fear the Deep State – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2018

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/08/james-bovard/gun-owners-should-fear-the-deep-state/

By 

Unfortunately, the deep state could increasingly focus on gun owners in the coming years. The number of Americans who are violating firearm laws and regulations is increasing by tens or hundreds of thousands almost every year. This is not the result of a violent crime wave, but because politicians are continually criminalizing the possession of items that were previously legally owned.

Five years ago, the Connecticut legislature decreed that all owners of so-called “assault weapons” (which included any semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip) must register their firearms. Perhaps as few as 15 percent of gun owners bothered to comply with the new law—meaning that Connecticut had up to 100,000 “criminals” living within its border. A 2016 Albany Times Union editorial lamented that 96 percent of roughly 1 million New Yorkers who owned so-called “assault weapons” failed to comply with registration requirements. California gun bans have been met with similar, massive non-compliance. Undeterred, local governments have begun jumping on the bandwagon. Deerfield, Ill., recently decreed a $1,000-a-day penalty on anyone who fails to surrender or disable their semi-automatic firearms with cosmetic features that frighten politicians and editorial writers… Read the rest of this entry »

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