Sunday, October 9, 2011

USA: The invisible surveillance state

Since its inception in response to the September 11thattacks, the behemoth bureaucracy known as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has grown into an organization that is nothing short of nightmarish.

The DHS boasts 216,000 employees (as of 2010), a $98.8 billion budget in the 2011 fiscal year, and child agencies that include: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Coast Guard (USCG), United States Secret Service (USSS), and the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD).

The DHS has been behind countless highly controversial policies and incidents including (but definitely not limited to):

1. Fusion Centers which spy on American citizens without probable cause.

2. The infamous “MIAC report”, actually entitled “The Modern Militia Movement”, released by the Missouri Information Analysis Center which labeled supporters of candidates like Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr as possibly dangerous militia members.

Others who were targeted in the report included individuals associated with the Constitution Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarianism; people in possession of the film America: Freedom to Fascism (which you can watch for free here on End the Lie); people in possession of the Gadsden Flag, also known as the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag; anti-abortion activists; and so-called conspiracy theorists.

3. The 2009 Virginia terrorism threat assessment published by the Virginia Fusion Center which focused on historically black colleges as potential hubs for terror-related activity and also labeled hacktivism a form of terrorism.

4. The TSA’s grope-down procedure which has been used toharass people with the mental capacity of a 2-year-old, along with 95-year-old women with terminal cancer and young children, all without any probable cause whatsoever.

5. Absurdly costly, ineffective and dangerous naked body scanners.

6. Secretly using portable naked body scanners against Americans.

7. Nazi Germany-style roadside checkpoints, again in direct violation of the 4th Amendment to theConstitution.

8. Disinformation campaigns including the non-existent threat of terrorists carrying surgically implanted bombs.

9. “Customs and Border Protection does undertake [opening mail] when it is determined to be necessary”, including personal correspondence, without probable cause or any reason at all. In other words, you are a prisoner of America. And just like in a prison, your mail coming from outside the prison is subject to search whenever it is deemed necessary.

And so many more that I would be forced to devote the entire article to it if I hoped to get even remotely close to covering them all. However, all of these pale in comparison to what the Department of Homeland Security and child agencies have in store. This grim future is one in which you are guilty until proven innocent and discriminated against for facial expressions.

You could even be tracked and monitored by drones in the sky which can create “threat assessments” with the data gathered, which can then be used to further make you guilty until proven innocent. No, this is not the movie Minority Report. Unfortunately, this is fact, not fiction.

This is the Department of Homeland Security’s Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST. This program collects and stores “physiological and behavioral signals” for analysis, which are then used to determine if an individual could possibly commit a crime in the future or if they harbor malicious intent.

Like the rest of the DHS programs, this requires no probable cause, let alone suspicion of criminal activity.

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