Archive for the ‘monoculture’ Category

real ID implementation begins

March 4, 2008

An AP story found on fox news: If the states do not seek an extention by March 31, their residents will be subjected to secondary screening by security workers before boarding any domestic flight beginning May 11.

here is the full story:

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security officials are pushing recalcitrant states to adopt stricter driver’s license standards to end a standoff that could disrupt domestic air travel.

States have less than a month to send a letter to the Homeland Security Department seeking an extension to comply with the Real ID law passed following the 2001 terror attacks. Some states have resisted, saying it is costly, impractical and an invasion of privacy.

Four states — Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina — have yet to seek an extension.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argues that the law fixes a critical gap in security identified by the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks: the ease of obtaining government-issued ID. It will also hinder would-be con artists and illegal immigrants, he said.

Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses would have several layers of new security features to prevent forgery. They would also be issued after a number of ID checks, including verification of birth certificates, Social Security numbers and immigration status. Officials acknowledge it will take years to phase in all the different security measures.

To bring the states in line, Chertoff warned that any state that does not seek an extension by the end of March will find that, come May, their residents will not be able to use their licenses to board domestic flights.

Chertoff’s assistant secretary, Stewart Baker, sent letters to several governors Monday reminding them of the looming deadline, and urging the holdouts to seek an extension.

In recent years, 17 states passed legislation or resolutions opposing Real ID, but now only a handful appear willing to challenge the government publicly.

Officials in Maine and Montana insisted Monday they would not seek an extension. A spokesman for South Carolina’s governor said he was still considering it. New Hampshire

passed a law last year prohibiting the state from participating in the Real ID program, and Gov. John Lynch wrote Chertoff last week asking him not to impose the requirements on New Hampshire citizens.

A fifth state, Delaware, has sent a letter asking for an extension, but DHS officials are still weighing whether the wording of the letter legally adds up to an extension request.

If the states do not seek an extention by March 31, their residents will be subjected to secondary screening by security workers before boarding any domestic flight beginning May 11.

“We’re not going to buckle under here,” said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. “My guess is the people of Montana would be proud to walk through that line.”

Schweitzer called the Real ID proposal a bureaucratic boondoggle that will cost his state a fortune and give a false sense of security without actually making ID more reliable. He has sought to rally opposition to Real ID, but the vast majority of states have decided not to test whether Washington is bluffing.

As the high-stakes game of chicken continues, federal authorities are not publicly saying whether seeking an extension actually counts as complying with the law. In his recent letters, Baker said only that the 45 states that have sought extensions are “on track toward improved security.”

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W.T.F! – INFRAGARD

February 9, 2008

This is pretty creepy. It pretty much matches up with the step toward a fascist police state, as characterized by Naomi Wolf, in which a privileged citizen militia is created. And once again, the same as the extraordinary rendition program, it was started during the Clinton administration and then greatly expanded by Bush after 911.

The full article just came out at The Progressive website and is important to read. Here are some of the creepy excerpts:

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.

“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.

One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, “Partnership for Protection.” On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.

This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.

“The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,” he says. “From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.” These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out.
But that’s not all.

“Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,” he says.

I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. “I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,” he adds. “I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.”

Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. “I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere,” Schneck says.

The FBI adamantly denies it, also. “That’s ridiculous,” says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. “If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that’s what you want to print, fine.”

But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower’s account, and another would not deny it.

Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function—including engaging in lethal force—that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform….

do something local, do something real

January 25, 2008

Grace Lee Boggs on Bill Moyers:

interviewed on DemocracyNow:

the zeitgeist

January 25, 2008

Documentary on artist Brian Alfred:

video by Brian Alfred:

Conspiracy

Over the Horizon Radar

crowd control

January 10, 2008

from Democracy Now headlines:

Report: Blackwater Dropped Toxin on Crowded Checkpoint

The private military firm Blackwater Worldwide is facing new allegations of unlawful activity in Iraq, this time for dropping a heavily-restricted riot-control gas on a crowded Baghdad checkpoint in May 2005. According to the New York Times, the release of the CS gas by a Blackwater helicopter and armored vehicle temporarily blinded drivers, pedestrians and at least ten American soldiers. Blackwater is already under scrutiny for a mass shooting in Baghdad that killed seventeen Iraqis last September. Military witnesses say Blackwater personnel appeared to release the gas as a way to clear a traffic jam that was blocking their route. The gas is only authorized for use in dangerous situations. Its effects include burning and watering eyes, skin irritation, coughing and breathing difficulties, nausea and vomiting. Blackwater says it reported the incident to the U.S. Embassy and that the case was investigated. But U.S. officials could not confirm that an investigation occurred.

STOP THE CIA

January 10, 2008

The real name of the War On Terror is the War On Democracy. This documentary by John Pilger is very important for understanding the current situation not only in Latin America, but also here in the U.S. and also the Middle East, and also all of Africa and the rest of the world…  How many times have neocon pundits claimed “What Iraq needs is a Pinochet?” How long until they make the claim that what the United States needs is a Pinochet as well?

“change”

January 6, 2008

After the Iowa Caucuses all of the candidates were using the same buzzwords in their speaches. Especially “change”. Even Huckabee was coopting the populist rhetoric. But will they walk the walk as well as talk the talk? A look at the policy advisors the major candidates have working for them suggests no. It’s the same old corporate line wrapped up in a rebranded package. For example, one of Obama’s main advisors is Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is the guy who in the late 90s wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard which laid out the plan for US imperial domination of the Middle East. When Obama talks about getting out of Iraq, he isn’t talking about getting out of corporate imperialism and making reparations for the US’ major war crimes. All he is saying is that we made the wrong move on the chessboard and should actually be focusing our brutality more on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Democracy Now has a good report on who the major candidates are hiring on for their policy advisors.

Meet the Press has an interview with Obama in which he discusses Iraq/Afghanistan.

headlines

January 6, 2008

from Democracy Now:

Giuliani Backer Calls For Extermination of Muslims

A leader of the group New Hampshire Veterans for Rudy has resigned from the Giuliani campaign after he called for the extermination of Muslims. John Deady made the comment in a videotaped interview with the Guardian newspaper.

John Deady, co-chair of state Veterans for Rudy: “He’s got I believe the knowledge and the judgment to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims, and make no mistake about it, this hasn’t happened for a thousand years. These people are very dedicated and they’re also very very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or in other words get rid of them.”

ABC & Fox Bar Six Presidential Candidates From NH Debate

In other campaign news, ABC and Fox have decided to bar six Democratic and Republican candidates from debates this weekend in New Hampshire. Democrats Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel won”t be allowed to participate in ABC’s Democratic debate on Saturday. Republicans Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter are being excluded from a debate hosted by Fox on Sunday.

Report: U.S. Has Become “Endemic Surveillance Society”

A new report by Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center has ranked the United States in the worst possible category for privacy protections. The United States is listed along with nations including China, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia as having an “endemic surveillance society.” According to the authors of the report, the United States is the worst ranking country in the democratic world.

Navy Attorney Resigns To Protest U.S. Torture Policies

A Naval lieutenant commander and member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps has resigned his post to protest the government’s use of torture in interrogations. Andrew Williams was a legal officer and defense counsel in the U.S. Navy, where he both prosecuted and defended people in military courts. In a letter to the editor published in his local newspaper in Washington State, Williams likened the use of waterboarding by the United States to practices used by the Spanish Inquisition, Nazi Germany and the Khmer Rouge. Williams wrote “we were [once] far different from the Soviet Union and its gulags, the Vietcong with their torture camps and a society of surveillance and informers like Nazi Germany. We were part of the shining light on the hill who didn’t do those things. Sadly, no more.”

Bush Issues Signing Statement After Signing Sudan Divestment Act

President Bush has signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act—the legislation allows state and local governments to cut investment ties with companies doing business in Sudan. But President Bush also issued a signing statement in which he said he was reserving the authority to overrule state and local divestment decisions if they conflicted with foreign policy.

FBI planned mass arrests in 1950

December 23, 2007

Lists compiled over a number of years, individuals labeled as “possible threat to national security”.  Habeas Corpus was suspended with the Military Commissions Act in 2006. Mass detention centers are now under construction. Could this happen now?

from the BBC:

Former FBI director J Edgar Hoover had a plan to arrest 12,000 Americans he deemed a possible threat to national security, declassified papers reveal.

The FBI chief sent his proposal to US President Harry Truman just after the start of the Korean War in 1950, The New York Times newspaper reports.

He asked the president to declare the mass arrest necessary to counter “treason, espionage and sabotage”.

There is no evidence any part of the plan was ever approved.

Mr Hoover wanted the president to suspend the centuries-old legal right of habeas corpus, which protects individuals against unlawful arrest.

The FBI director planned to detain the suspects – whose list of names he had been compiling for years – in US military and federal prisons.

“The index now contains approximately 12,000 individuals, of which approximately 97% are citizens of the United States,” wrote Mr Hoover, in the now declassified document.

The New York Times gave no details about the identities of those targeted.

The US Department of State declassified the plan, along with other Cold War-era documents from 1950-55 this week.

america’s next top republican

December 20, 2007