Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Department of Homeland Security

USA attacked by drones: Sooner than expected…

By 2020, it is estimated that as many as 30,000 drones will be used in US domestic airspace

Drones on domestic surveillance duties are already deployed by police and corporations. In time, they will likely be fitted with missiles and weapons, and hovering over US skies

I have a question. What operations are far less complex and cheaper to execute:

1. Sending kamikazes in commercial airplanes, or

2. Dispatching drones fitted with powerful missiles, and controlled from outside US territories, and targeting  sensitive sites like nuclear centers, depots of chemical weapons, depleted uranium bombs, electrical communication centers….

If your answer is that the second option is far easier to plan and execute, then why Obama is intent on giving ideas to these extremist jihadists, by targeting their potential leaders with drones every week, and using double tap tactics to kill the rescue teams?

 published in the guardian.co.uk, on Dec. 21, 2012 under: ”

The coming drone attack on America”

“People often ask me, in terms of my argument about “ten steps” that mark the descent to a police state or closed society, at what stage we are.

With the importation of what will be tens of thousands of drones, by both US military and by commercial interests, into US airspace, with a specific mandate to engage in surveillance and with the capacity for weaponization – which is due to begin in earnest at the start of the new year – it means that the police state is now officially here.

In February of this year, Congress passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, with its provision to deploy fleets of drones domestically. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that this followed a major lobbying effort, “a huge push by […] the defense sector” to promote the use of drones in American skies: 30,000 of them are expected to be in use by 2020, some as small as hummingbirdsmeaning that you won’t necessarily see them, tracking your meeting with your fellow-activists, with your accountant or your congressman, or filming your cruising the bars or your assignation with your lover, as its video-gathering whirs.

Others will be as big as passenger planes. Business-friendly media stress their planned abundant use by corporations: police in Seattle have already deployed them.

An unclassified US air force document reported by CBS (pdf) news expands on this unprecedented and unconstitutional step – one that formally brings the military into the role of controlling domestic populations on US soil, which is the bright line that separates a democracy from a military oligarchy.

(The US constitution allows for the deployment of National Guard units by governors, who are answerable to the people; but this system is intended, as is posse comitatus, to prevent the military from taking action aimed at US citizens domestically.)

The air force document explains that the air force will be overseeing the deployment of its own military surveillance drones within the borders of the US; that it may keep video and other data it collects with these drones for 90 days without a warrant – and will then, retroactively, determine if the material can be retained – which does away for good with the fourth amendment in these cases.

While the drones are not supposed to specifically “conduct non-consensual surveillance on on specifically identified US persons”, according to the document, the wording allows for domestic military surveillance of non-“specifically identified” people (that is, a group of activists or protesters) and it comes with the important caveat, also seemingly wholly unconstitutional, that it may not target individuals “unless expressly approved by the secretary of Defense”.

In other words, the Pentagon can now send a domestic drone to hover outside your apartment window, collecting footage of you and your family, if the secretary of Defense approves it. Or it may track you and your friends and pick up audio of your conversations, on your way to protest or vote or talk to your representative, if you are not “specifically identified”, a determination that is so vague as to be meaningless.

What happens to those images, that audio? “Distribution of domestic imagery” can go to various other government agencies without your consent, and that imagery can, in that case, be distributed to various government agencies; it may also include your most private moments and most personal activities. The authorized “collected information may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent”. Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told CBS:

In some records that were released by the air force recently … under their rules, they are allowed to fly drones in public areas and record information on domestic situations.

This document accompanies a major federal push for drone deployment this year in the United States, accompanied by federal policies to encourage law enforcement agencies to obtain and use them locally, as well as by federal support for their commercial deployment. That is to say: now HSBC, Chase, Halliburton etc can have their very own fleets of domestic surveillance drones. The FAA recently established a more efficient process for local police departments to get permits for their own squadrons of drones.

Given the Department of Homeland Security militarization of police departments, once the circle is completed with San Francisco or New York or Chicago local cops having their own drone fleet – and with Chase, HSBC and other banks having hired local police, as I reported here last week – the meshing of military, domestic law enforcement, and commercial interests is absolute. You don’t need a messy, distressing declaration of martial law.

And drone fleets owned by private corporations means that a first amendment right of assembly is now over: if Occupy is massing outside of a bank, send the drone fleet to surveil, track and harass them. If citizens rally outside the local Capitol? Same thing.

As one of my readers put it, the scary thing about this new arrangement is deniability: bad things done to citizens by drones can be denied by private interests – “Oh, that must have been an LAPD drone” – and LAPD can insist that it must have been a private industry drone. For where, of course, will be the accountability from citizens buzzed or worse by these things?

Domestic drone use is here, and the meshing has begun: local cops in Grand Forks, North Dakota called in a DHS Predator drone – the same make that has caused hundreds of civilian casualties in Pakistan – over a dispute involving a herd of cattle. The military roll out in process and planned, within the US, is massive: the Christian Science Monitor reports that a total of 110 military sites for drone activity are either built or will be built, in 39 states. That covers America.

We don’t need a military takeover: with these capabilities on US soil and this air force white paper authorization for data collection, the military will be effectively in control of the private lives of American citizens. And these drones are not yet weaponized.

“I don’t think it’s crazy to worry about weaponized drones. There is a real consensus that has emerged against allowing weaponized drones domestically. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has recommended against it,” warns Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the ACLU, noting that there is already political pressure in favor of weaponization:

“At the same time, it is inevitable that we will see [increased] pressure to allow weaponized drones. The way that it will unfold is probably this: somebody will want to put a relatively ‘soft’ nonlethal weapon on a drone for crowd control. And then things will ratchet up from there.”

And the risk of that? The New America Foundation’s report on drone use in Pakistan noted that the Guardian had confirmed 193 children’s deaths from drone attacks in seven years. It noted that for the deaths of ten militants, 1,400 civilians with no involvement in terrorism also died. Not surprisingly, everyone in that region is traumatized: children scream when they hear drones. An NYU and Stanford Law School report notes that drones “terrorize citizens 24 hours a day”.

If US drones may first be weaponized with crowd-control features, not lethal force features, but with no risk to military or to police departments or DHS, the playing field for freedom of assembly is changed forever. So is our private life, as the ACLU’s Stanley explains:

“Our biggest concerns about the deployment of drones domestically is that they will be used to create pervasive surveillance networks. The danger would be that an ordinary individual once they step out of their house will be monitored by a drone everywhere they walk or drive. They may not be aware of it. They might monitored or tracked by some silent invisible drone everywhere they walk or drive.”

“So what? Why should they worry?” I asked.

“Your comings and goings can be very revealing of who you are and what you are doing and reveal very intrusive things about you – what houses of worship you are going to, political meetings, particular doctors, your friends’ and lovers’ houses.”

I mentioned the air force white paper. “Isn’t the military not supposed to be spying on Americans?” I asked.

“Yes, the posse comitatus act passed in the 19th century forbids a military role in law enforcement among Americans.”

What can we do if we want to oppose this? I wondered. According to Stanley, many states are passing legislation banning domestic drone use.

Once again, in the fight to keep America a republic, grassroots activism is pitched in an unequal contest against a militarized federal government.

Note: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/consistent-trend-in-us-drone-strikes-tweeting-reports-very-disturbing/

Part 1. Israel “occupying” USA domestic security agencies? How this Israelification is insidious?

Margaret Flowers posted on Dec. 4, 2011 under “The Israelification of America domestic security”.

This lengthy article describes how the State of Israel and its various lobbies in the USA have infiltrated US domestic security agencies and have taken root through sponsored trips to attending various programs within Israel security agencies and services. 

I had to split the article into two parts after minor rearrangement. 

I didn’t think much comments were necessary and the article could fall within the rubric “NO COMMENT“. 

The first part is on how Israel is breaking up the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Collaboration between US and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Training alongside the US police departments and internal security apparatus at Urban Shield was theYamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations. 

Actually, the Yamam is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and its long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel cooperation unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed.

The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news report that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses.

This insidious “cooperation” has never been the subject of a national discussion.

“The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life.

Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.

Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security and a leading expert on terror and civil liberties, said the Israeli influence on American law enforcement is so extensive it has bled into street-level police conduct.

“After 9/11, we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture. The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? 

Israel’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.

After 9/11 we had to react very quickly, but now we’re in 2011 and we’re not talking about people who want to fly planes into buildings. We’re talking about young American citizens who feel that their birthright has been sold.

If we’re using Israeli style tactics on them and this stuff bleeds into the way we do business at large, were in big trouble.”

Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9,000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA:

“The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey.” Fuentes was part of a sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.

A few of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security.

Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel, sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.

What were the immediate benefits?

PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.

Margaret Flowers wrote:

“the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.

At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured.

According to Police Magazine, (a law enforcement trade publication):  “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”

Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals.

While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing and all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.

Having been schooled in Israeli tactics, and perfected during a 63-year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous Palestinian population, local US police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities.

Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people.

The process of Israel’s insidious meddling in US domestic security began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for “advice and training”.

America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. Police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.

US Capitol Police Chief  Terrance W. Gainer said:

“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism...” 

Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, said: 

“No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.”

Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel: “One would say it is the front line. We’re in a global war.”

Note: You may read the follow-up post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/part-2-israel-occupy-usa-domestic-security-agencies-how-insiduous-is-this-invasion/

Cloudier than ever: Intelligence agencies in the USA. Part 2

In the previous post I described the various intelligence services clouding decision-making and becoming worse in efficiency since the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

Additional 263 new secret service agencies were created since 2002 to the over one thousand services in existence, not counting the 2,000 private secret organizations supporting the intelligence endeavors.

It turned out that no coordination was instituted, which was the purpose of creating the 263 new agencies:  multiplied redundancy, confusion, rivalry among the agencies, and the siphoning of over 400 additional billions from 2002 to 2009 were the end results, so far.

The Congress still add 20 billion dollars each year for this behemoth of labyrinthine structure.  Cloudiness in responsibilities, unidentified delimitation in authority among the agencies, redundancy in gathering intelligence, and the impossible task of analyzing trillion of pieces of information are the norm.

The Washington Post undertook an investigation into the US intelligence agencies that lasted two years.  Twenty journalists were mobilized along with Dana Priest, twice awarded the Pulitzer on her investigative reporting in the secret prisons of the CIA and in the military hospital of Walter Reed where most of the injured soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are receiving below standard health treatment.

The other renown journalist is William Arkin who served in the military intelligence for four years and is currently working with NGO, Human Rights Watch, and Greenpeace.

The ex-director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, declared: “We thought that if it was worth undertaking it then, it must be worth overdoing it.

The Pentagon Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) increased from 7,500 employees to over 16,500 since 2002.  The budget of the National Security Agency (NSA) doubled.  The number of special units in the FBI jumped from 35 to 106 units.

Robert Gates, Defense minister who administer two third of all the secret agencies declared: “Things have developed so strangely that it is a real challenge to having any kind of idea of how security is functioning. Isn’t this formidable machine just too big for our needs?

Two of the highest officials of the “Super-Users” of the Pentagon’s programs admitted: “I cannot live long enough to nail down what’s going on.”

On his first briefing, one of the highest official was introduced into a tiny room to visualize the maze of a Powerpoint structure of the various agencies; he was not permitted to take notes.  General John Vines said: “The complexity of the (intelligence) system defies any description.”  CIA director, Leon Panetta is terribly worried: “The expenses are so huge that we will end up hitting a wall.”

In most agencies there is at least a room, some of them 4 times the size of a football field, called “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF)” that only top security people work in; they are the lowest paid and most valued employees: the “Analysts“.

The analysts are recruited from universities as they graduate; they have poor general knowledge, lack language proficiency in more than one, and are supposed to analyzing important intelligence pieces of people, culture, and languages they are not familiar with.

There are special officers in charge of the famous “Special Access Program (SAP)”.  James Clapper declared: “Maybe God can dispose of an overall visibility on the collection of the SAP.”  It is a recurring behavior for high officials using secret intelligence pieces to sidetrack rival officials. For example, an officer is ordered not to divulge certain intelligence to his superior, a 4-stars General.

A few of the created agencies are described.

1. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) started its activities in january 2003 and is directed by the minister of internal security. Originally, this agency was to coordinate and develop a global national strategy to combatting “terrorism”.

2. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) was created in 2004 with mission of figuring out how to putting order among the 16 agencies specially designed to intelligence gathering (good luck).  Congress didn’t vote on attaching any judiciary or budget to the ODNI.  Consequently, he cannot have any power on the other secret agencies that he was meant to control.  Before Negroponte assumed his activities, the ministry of Defense transferred billions of dollars from one budget into another and the CIA increased the level of security access to preventing this agency from accessing “sensitive” intelligence. When the ODNI started its activities in the spring of 2005, it had 11 employees. A year later, this agency occupied two floors of a building.  By 2008, it settled on the humongous Headquarter of Liberty Crossing.

3. National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was created in August 2004 and depending on the Bureau of ODNI.

4. US Secret Services (USSS) depends on the minister of internal security with two main missions: fighting financial frauds and assuring the security of the President and the high dignitaries.

The USA has 860,000 people carrying top-secret clarification to access secret service agencies.

The US has 1,271 secret agencies and about 2,000 private societies working on secret programs for gathering and analyzing pieces of intelligence.

The bouquet that clouds everything are the 50,000 published reports per year, on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis by the various secret agencies.  How many top people in the hierarchy should be hired to exhaust reading all these “serious” reports?

Obviously, redundancy is the norm in these reports and the interesting information are mostly ignored by boredom, exhaustion, and self-sufficiency.

Secrets are not sacrosanct.  We prefer to keep them; that is true”; a sentence from John Le Carre in “A little town in Germany”

“Secrets are not sacrosanct.  We prefer to keep them; that is true”; a sentence from John Le Carre in “A little town in Germany”

The Washington Post undertook an investigation into the US intelligence agencies that lasted two years.  Twenty journalists were mobilized along with Dana Priest, twice awarded the Pulitzer on her investigative reporting in the secret prisons of the CIA and in the military hospital of Walter Reed where most of the injured soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are receiving below standard health treatment.  The other renown journalist is William Arkin who served in the military intelligence for four years and is currently working with NGO, Human Rights Watch, and Greenpeace.

After the 9/11 attack on the twin Towers and the Pentagon, Bush Jr. Administration decided to coordinate the functioning of the semi-autonomous agencies.  It turned out that no coordination was instituted but 263 new agencies were created to multiply redundancy, confusion, rivalry among the agencies, and the siphoning of over 400 additional billions from 2002 to 2009.  The Congress still add 20 billion dollars each year for this behemoth of labyrinthine structure.  Cloudiness in responsibilities, limits in any agency authority, and redundancy in gathering intelligence and analyzing trillion of pieces of information are the norm.

The ex-director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, declared: “We thought that if it was worth undertaking it then, it must be worth overdoing it.”  The Pentagon Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) increased from 7,500 employees to over 16,500 since 2002.  The budget of the National Security Agency (NSA) doubled.  The number of special units in the FBI jumped from 35 to 106 units.

First,  a few data before we embark on this interesting story.  The USA has 860,000 people carrying top-secret clarification to access secret service agencies.  The US has 1,271 secret agencies and about 2,000 private societies working on secret programs for gathering and analyzing pieces of intelligence.  The bouquet that clouds everything are the 50,000 published reports per year, on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis by the various secret agencies.  How many top people in the hierarchy should be hired to exhaust reading all these “serious” reports?  Obviously, redundancy is the norm in these reports and the interesting information are mostly ignored by boredom, exhaustion, and self-sufficiency.

Second, a few information on the various agencies to set the background for the reported story.  You might think that you heard about the CIA and FBI and I will not bother you about further nasty details on both of these huge agencies.  Suffice to know that the FBI was created in 1908 and is part of the Justice department.  The CIA was created in 1947 and depends of No ministry (strange, isn’t it?)  Do you know that the Department of Defense manages two third of the secret agencies?  For example, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.  Let us focus on the newly created agencies.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) started its activities in january 2003 and is directed by the minister of internal security. Originally, this agency was to coordinate and develop a global national strategy to combatting “terrorism”.

Office of the Director of national Intelligence (ODNI) was created in 2004 with mission of figuring out how to putting order among the 16 agencies specially designed to intelligence gathering (good luck).  Congress didn’t vote on attaching any judiciary or budget to the ODNI.  Consequently, he cannot have any power on the other secret agencies that he was meant to control.  Before Negroponte assumed his activities, the ministry of Defense transferred billions of dollars from one budget into another and the CIA increased the level of security access to preventing this agency from accessing “sensitive” intelligence. When the ODNI started its activities in the spring of 2005, it had 11 employees. A year later, this agency occupied two floors of a building.  By 2008, it settled on the humongous Headquarter of Liberty Crossing.

National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was created in August 2004 and depending on the Bureau of ODNI.

US Secret Services (USSS) depends on the minister of internal security with two main missions: fighting financial frauds and assuring the security of the President and the high dignitaries.

(to be continued)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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