Monday, April 25, 2011

Feeling Secure with Homeland Security?

Empire or Republic. How the Empire Destroys its Own People
From Joplin, Missouri to Kabul, Afghanistan
By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, June 5, 2011
On May 29, 2011, President Obama visited Joplin, Missouri , the site of a devastating tornado that killed 140 and pronounced it a terrible “tragedy”. But were the deaths the inevitable result of ‘natural events’ beyond the human intervention?
Coincidentally the same week Afghan President Karzai condemned the killing of a family of 14 by a NATO fighter bomber, running the total to several hundred civilians killed so far this year and thousands over the decade.
The relation between the civilian deaths in Joplin and Afghanistan raises fundamental questions about the priorities, character and direction of the US Empire and the future of the American republic.
Geography of Tornados
Every year at least 20 major violent tornadoes – with winds exceeding 200 mph – hit “tornado alley” and
beyond, including central Texas, northern Iowa, central Kansas, Nebraska, western Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Each and every year at least sixty are killed and several hundred are maimed and injured. This year, through May 2011, over 519 have been killed, 25% of whom were in mobile homes, almost three times as many as those in standard houses.
In other words, these tornado-related deaths are predictable, annual, and region-specific and have a higher
incidence among low income households. Government agencies and academics have compiled data banks and time series information mapping the route, frequency and impact of tornadoes.
Information about the nature of killer tornadoes is plentiful. Nevertheless deaths mount from year to year. Fear and insecurity stalks the region’s most susceptible to the violent whirlwinds, even as the Congress and White House have increased personnel and funding for ‘Homeland Security’ twenty fold over the decade .The current budget is over $180 billion. If we add the deaths caused by other ‘natural’ disasters like the flooding of New Orleans , the numbers of deaths are staggering. What explains this perverse relation between huge public funding for ‘homeland security’ and the increased insecurity of vulnerable Americans in clearly identified danger zones?
The reason is clear: ‘Homeland Security’ (HS) is an Orwellian misnomer. The agency is not concerned with domestic, civilian, American security. HS is part of a military-police response to imagined overseas threats, which have not materialized or at least have not produced deaths comparable to tornadoes and floods in the last 11 years.
HS spends billions and employs thousands to investigate, spy and harass citizens engaged in legal-constitutional activities. HS and the Pentagon spend tens of billions on overseas infrastructures – buildings, bases, camps -and over 900 billion in arms. HS and the Defense Department forcefully intervene militarily throughout the world via overt and clandestine operations.
To be precise HS intervenes offensively overseas, attacking civilian targets, while it fails to engage domestically to protect American civilians who are left defenseless in the face of predictable natural disasters.
HS and the Pentagon’s sustained violent overseas operations are rejected and regarded as a hostile imperial intervention by the civilians in those countries adversely affected. In contrast, defenseless citizens in the US would welcome large-scale intervention in the form of community shelters, which would provide survival, security, life-saving protection and financial aid for rebuilding their lives. Moreover, Pentagon and HS spending on overseas infrastructure, bases and bombs results in deficits, whereas investments in tornado and flood shelters would stimulate jobs, growth and investment in the US .
The current activity of HS destroys lives abroad and neglects survival at home: It has nothing to do with our “homeland” and even less with our “security”. Five percent of HS budget would have prevented many of Joplin ’s ‘tragedy’ (and saved us from Obama’s gaseous oratory!) and the other 400 deaths from this year’s crop of tornadoes.
Systemic Bases of Perpetual Domestic Neglect
Death from ‘natural’ events raises a fundamental POLITICAL question: Why is the budget of Homeland Security and the Pentagon directed overseas, toward destructive, offensive, military activity rather than to domestic, constructive, defensive activity to protect American lives and productive economic activity?
The problem is systemic not due to some personal flaw or political idiosyncrasy of the moment. The structures of the US economy and military institutions are oriented ‘outwardly’ to conquering foreign financial markets and building a military empire. The ideology which informs strategic policymakers is imperial-centered not republican: They do not speak of developing and deepening the economy and security of ‘ middle America ’. Every member of the political and corporate elite talks of ‘world’ or ‘global’ leadership – a thinly veiled euphemism for the drive to sustain world dominance. Within the imperial
framework the entire ‘security’ budget is directed toward maintaining offensive military supremacy. No wonder there is a steep decline in all spheres of domestic security – natural, social, personal, health and employment –a phenomenon that proceeds with little public debate. The only exception is when threats to security impinge most directly and forcefully on a significant sector of the population. For example, witness the storm of protest from those directly affected when the politicians moved to privatize social security and
Nevertheless, the entire political spectrum, the two parties, the Congress and the White House over the past 30 years, have created an artificial consensus in which overseas wars, foreign aid to patrons (Israel) and clients (Pakistan and Egypt) absorbs the greatest percentage of budgetary spending. No political or economic leadership has stepped forward to articulate the obvious connection between global expansion and domestic decay; to forcefully state that the deterioration of the republic is a direct product of the vast resources channeled into military and economic empire building. Who on New York City ’s Wall Street or Washington ’s Pentagon is going to even look at or consider a ‘security plan’ with regard to the geography of catastrophes – tornado alley covering a dozen states and the floods and deaths that overwhelm the lowlands from Montana to Louisiana ?
Listen America
Their message is loud and clear:
Small towns and trailer parks do not count! You have your 2nd amendment (the ‘right to bear arms’), you have your ‘small government’, and you have your flags: ‘Wav ‘em and weep’ as tornadoes blow down your houses and your sons and daughters return wrapped in flags to the Battle Hymn of the Empire!
One might argue that community storm shelters won’t break the Treasury or reverse the empire. More to the point, their absence, from the federal, state and local political agenda, is emblematic of the total subordination of domestic America to imperial Washington . The ‘cost’ of building community shelters at the strip malls and trailer parks in Joplin , Missouri is less than a regional training outpost in Kandahar , Afghanistan . It is not a question of money.
Conquering Afghanistan villages enhances the prestige of the Generals, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and NATO officials. Can saving 145 lives in Joplin , Missouri match that in terms of world politics or the politics of imperial leadership? For Afghanistan , Washington builds a thousand military shelters and bomb proof bunkers .For the Americans living in tornado alley and the flood plains of the Mississippi people must make do.
When you hear the tornado warning, it’s up to you. As a proud, free American you can find a rock to crawl under and say your prayer: the Federal government and Homeland Security have the Endless, World-wide War against Terror to fight and cannot be bothered by a Joplin , Missouri nursing home in the path of a tornado.
We exaggerate: Obama will jet in and speak before the cameras in solemn terms of the ‘tragedy’ and ‘courage’ of the people of Joplin ... But will any local politician stand up and speak truth to power? Most of these deaths and (many more to come) are avoidable; under a democratic American republic, the government ‘intervenes’ to provide protection, health and employment for its people.
In the meantime, as the empire continues to grow it destroys its own people, just like the sow that devours its offspring.
DHS Merges with Pentagon and NSA Under Obama’s Cyber Threat Plan
Kurt Nimmo
May 25, 2011
Obama has proposed legislation that will give the Department of Homeland Security more “autonomy” in its effort to protect civilian computer networks from ostensible cyber attack, according to Information Week.
White House officials testified Monday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about the comprehensive plan presented by the administration two weeks ago to create legislation to protect critical infrastructure and networks. It will merge operations with the Pentagon.
CBS propaganda: Cyber threat will destroy super power status of the U.S.
“One key aspect of the plan is to put the DHS’s mission to protect U.S. federal civilian networks on par with the DOD’s mission to protect U.S. military networks, giving the DHS more autonomy to act against cyberthreats on behalf of the government than before,” writes Elizabeth Montalbano for the technology publication.
DHS has also sought to merge the effort with the NSA and various civilian operations.
Last October, the Obama administration adopted new procedures for using the Defense Department’s vast array of cyberwarfare capabilities in case of an attack on vital computer networks inside the United States, “delicately navigating historic rules that restrict military action on American soil,” according to the New York Times.
According to the Times, a team of military networking experts would be assigned to the operations center at the Homeland Security Department. The new approach will begin with a Department of Homeland Security team deploying to Fort Meade, Maryland, home to both the National Security Agency, which specializes in electronic espionage, and the military’s new Cyber Command.
At the time, government officials said the new rules contain “a rapid response to a cyberthreat while balancing concerns that civil liberties might be at risk should the military take over such domestic operations,” in other words the government announced effort to protect against the hyped threat of cyber terrorism would require a sacrifice of liberty.
The DHS plan announced on Monday will give “the DHS – recognizing our similar role to DOD with regard to federal civilian networks – similar authority with regard to personnel so we can bring them on board rapidly,” Philip R. Reitinger, deputy undersecretary for the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate, told Congress.
The plan also gives DHS “much clearer authority and responsibility to work in a voluntary way” with the private sector, something it already has been doing, Reitinger added.
Alex Jones talks to RT about the Pentagon’s cyber army.
In 2009, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman sidestepped answering if the Pentagon’s cyber command would be capable of offensive operations as well as protecting the Department of Defense. “This command is going to focus on the protection and operation of DoD’s networks,” he said. “This command is going to do what is necessary to be able to do that.”
In 2006, a Pentagon document entitled the Information Operation Roadmap was released to the public after a Freedom of Information Request by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
It states that the Pentagon has developed a “robust offensive suite of capabilities to include full-range electronic and computer network attack… We Must Fight the Net.”
A People’s Approach to National Security
A people's approach to national security recognizes that reality and extends it beyond the airliner, restoring the moral authority of the citizen to police his nation's borders and serve as the first and final line of defense against terror
Daniel Greenfield
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Two recent incidents, a tweeted photo of TSA agents examining a baby and a man shouting pounding on a cockpit door while shouting “Allah Akbar” being subdued by passengers, remind us of the absurd fictions of airline security. The biggest fiction of airline security is that it is secure. The second biggest fiction is that it is even meant to be secure.
The TSA and its naked scanners don’t exist to provide security, but to provide plausible deniability when an attack does happen. It was created to answer the question “Why did you let 9/11 happen”. And the answer is if something happens again, this time we did everything we could short of poking sharp objects into passengers orifices or profiling Muslim as potential terrorists. But the TSA’s breast milk and baby follies are a side effect of a law enforcement culture which is less concerned with public safety, than it is with public order. Where public safety works to identify threats, public order concentrates on enforcing the rules. Public safety looks for the wolf in the fold, public order treats everyone like the wolf.
The TSA represents the universal suspicion approach that gave every government agency its own SWAT team and every turnoff its own drunk driving checkpoint. Its fallacy is to ignore what terrorism is, instead equating any violation of their rules with terrorism, and then treating everyone like a suspected terrorist. It’s the same dumb model applied to urban crime, scaled up to global terrorism. Stomp on the small violations and eventually you work your way up to the big ones. But if the model has some relevance in urban crime, it has none whatsoever in terrorism. Packing a slightly too large container of toothpaste in your carry on has no predictive value for terrorism. Instead a terrorist will carefully plan his attack while following all the written rules.
The dumb urban crime model has been applied to terrorism outside of airports too. Law enforcement agents
work with mosques to stem radicalization. The ‘radicalization’ model of Islamic terrorism derives from the same urban crime model which says that graffiti is a gateway drug to drive by shootings. The model isn’t completely wrong in either case, but it completely misses the larger point. Which is that the gang model only applies to amateur terrorists, most of whom fail on their own anyway. The mosques are happy enough to turn them in, while providing cover for the real players. Professional terrorists following a plan worked out for years ahead of time. And the TSA hasn’t shown any aptitude for catching either terrorist type.
Airport security did not stop a single attack on September 11. And despite the assorted humiliations and rules imposed in the decade since, it has yet to do any better. Time after time again, when the terrorists are challenged, it is by the passengers who rise to do battle with them. It is not governments that stop terrorists, but people who do.
The TSA model of airline security which says that everyone is a suspect, stands in stark contrast to what really works. A people’s approach to airline security. An approach in which the passengers who have the most to lose carry the burden of vigilance. It is the job of airline security to prevent terrorists from bringing on board any force multipliers which would provide them with a decisive advantage. Beyond that it’s the passengers’ turn.
After September 11, everyone knows what the stakes are. There are no more illusions about being taken hostage. Or about obedience equating to survival. But the government’s approach to airline security still uses the obedience-is-survival model. Comply with the authorities and we’ll protect you. But everyone knows the authorities can’t protect them. Only the people can protect themselves. The TSA attempts to maintain order by imposing absolute control over the environment. But control is an illusion. Every security system has its flaws and given time, those weak points will be found and exploited. You can look through people’s clothes, but you can’t look into their hearts.
The first and final layer of defense is still the people
The first and final layer of defense is still the people. That was true 10 years ago and it’s still true today. But it’s an obvious fact that the authorities have done their best to obscure and deny. As flawed as the official model of national security is, it’s the only one that they will admit even exists. And that’s the model that has brought us terrorists flying easily from Saudi Arabia to America, gallivanting through the White House, and lecturing law enforcement agencies on terrorism. The more the government strives for absolute control of the situation, the worse it becomes.
When passengers or pilots get nervous about someone, instead of listening to their worries, they’re accused
of racism. But when the TSA’s regs decide that babies present a clear and active danger, then no one is allowed to question that. And that is the difference between a people’s model of airline security and the same broken dumb model. The people’s model tries to sense threats, the TSA model treats everything as a threat, and is accordingly unable to identify individual threats.
The bureaucratic model has been the biggest obstacle to America’s adaptation to new wars. WW2 and Vietnam were both deadly examples of first class men bogged down by a system that didn’t know how to use them. By the time the adjustment was made from the wars of the last generation, far too many good men were dead. And the same thing is happening all over again. We are adapting very slowly to a new kind of war. And the domestic portion of the conflict is a schizophrenic mess. A stepchild of the struggle against urban blight and drugs.
The government is at least as paranoid about vigilantism as it is about terrorism
The government is at least as paranoid about vigilantism as it is about terrorism. Perhaps even more so. But then institutions always fear an usurpation of their authority, more than outright failure. A terrorist attack would mean lives lost, but a power shift would have much more disturbing implications for a system that has never let go of its progressive faith in big government. Whether it’s terrorists on planes or illegal aliens sneaking in across the Mexican border, the authorities promise that they are on it, but their enforcement mechanisms disregard the problem, while their political mouthpieces attack those who point this out.
Airline terrorism is a direct attack on the most sophisticated section of the global transportation system. It’s why Israel made airline security such a top priority. To lose the air route, is to be cut off. The United States focused just as obsessively on airline security, but without admitting that the problem was not slightly larger tubes of toothpaste, but terrorists of a particular ideology and from a particular part of the world. The Israeli model is imperfect, but it does address the actual threat. The TSA model doesn’t address the threat, but a random grab bag of techniques. But both models have their limitations. In the age of crowdsourcing, the best form of airline security is other passengers.
Governments oppose empowering the public to resist terrorism, because they fear losing control
Governments oppose empowering the public to resist terrorism, because they fear losing control. The rise of a United States government that is less representative and more bureaucratic, not accidentally, but as an outgrowth of a progressive ideology that treats government as a science, rather than a consensus, has also meant the rise of institutions jealous of their authority. Restoring power to the people is anathema to their ideology and their job security. It is easier to create another useless agency, than it is to turn to the people for help.
But the law enforcement model of universal suspicious is a fundamentally corrosive one. It does not coexist well with a society of equals. If it stretches on beyond the duration of an emergency, either the people become sheep or anti-government movements begin to take off. Usually a little of both. This is a phenomenon that terrorists understand and count on. Terrorist attacks consciously pit the people against the government. Bombs and atrocities are levers probing for a weak spot so that either the government or the people will agree to concessions.
The trap is a difficult one to overcome. Every country that faces terrorism has gotten caught up in it. But few countries have a culture that can allow the people to control their own destiny. And yet that culture has been sidelined more and more since September 11. But even before that as well. The urban model of law enforcement went national long before then. Universal suspicion and escalation had become the dominant modes. Compliance was dictated as the only proper response. Sit, wait and follow instructions. But on the modern airliner, the people are taking back the responsibility for their own security. No one calls it vigilantism. No one wants to. That’s a dangerous word. But the meaning of vigilante is one who stands watch.
In an age of terror, it is the people who stand watch and the authorities who watch dumbly. A people’s approach to national security recognizes that reality and extends it beyond the airliner, restoring the moral authority of the citizen to police his nation’s borders and serve as the first and final line of defense against terror.
Devout Muslims at Homeland Security?
Homeland Security Advisory Council
Sandy Williams
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Henry Lamb
Friday, October 8, 2010
Why are Muslims chosen to fill important positions in Homeland Security? Arif Alikhan is the Assistant
Secretary for Policy Development and DHS, and Kareem Shora is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (Read his blog:
No doubt, this is Obama’s way of showing the world that America harbors no ill-will against and is not afraid of Muslims. Not all Americans are comfortable with Obama’s embrace of the religion that continues to pump out people hell-bent on killing Americans.
Homeland Security Advisory Council
Thomas S. Foley was a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, is an executive committee member for the Trilateral Commission (think tank), a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), and a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP.
Note: Lee H. Hamilton is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), and was the co-chair for the Iraq Study Group.
Vernon E. Jordan Jr. was a member of the Iraq Study Group, an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), Valerie B. Jarrett’s great uncle, of counsel at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP was the lobby firm for Bain Capital.
Mitt Romney is the co-founder of Bain Capital, and was a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Klaus Kleinfeld is a trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), a member of the Trilateral Commission (think tank), the chairman of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Martin S. Feldstein is a director at the Trilateral Commission (think tank), was a director at the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
James A. Johnson is a member of the Trilateral Commission (think tank), a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), a member of the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Jessica Tuchman Mathews is a member of the Trilateral Commission (think tank), a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (think tank), a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), was an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Ed Griffin’s interview with Norman Dodd in 1982
(The investigation into the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace uncovered the plans for population control by involving the United States in war)
James F. Collins is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (think tank), an honorary director, director at the U.S.-Russia Business Council, and was a senior advisor at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP.
Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr. is an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and an honorary life director at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
William M. Daley is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s brother, the chief of staff for the Barack Obama administration, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), a director at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and was a director at the Boeing Company.
Richard D. Stephens is an SVP for the Boeing Company, a director at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Michelle Obama is a director at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, married to Barack Obama, a friend of Valerie B. Jarrett, was a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP, and Mayor Richard M. Daley’s staffer.
Barack Obama is married to Michelle Obama, and was an intern at Sidley Austin LLP.
R. Eden Martin is counsel at Sidley Austin LLP, and the president of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Richard M. Daley is William M. Daley’s brother, a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago (IL) mayor, Michelle Obama was his staffer, and Valerie B. Jarrett was his deputy chief of staff.
Valerie B. Jarrett was Mayor Richard M. Daley’s deputy chief of staff, is a friend of Michelle Obama, a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the senior adviser for the Barack Obama administration, and
her great uncle is Vernon E. Jordan Jr.
Rahm I. Emanuel is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, was the White House chief of staff for the Barack Obama administration, and Ari Emanuel is his brother.
Commercial Club of Chicago, Members Directory
Ari Emanuel is Rahm I. Emanuel’s brother, and the co-CEO & director for William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
Condoleezza Rice is a client of the William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, a trustee at the Aspen Institute (think tank), a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank), an overseer at the International Rescue Committee, and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
William H. Webster is a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank), and the chair for the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Henry A. Kissinger was a lifetime trustee at the Aspen Institute (think tank), is a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank), an overseer at the International Rescue Committee, a trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (think tank), a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank) and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
James R. Schlesinger is a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank), a trustee at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies (think tank), and the vice chair for the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Madeleine K. Albright is a trustee at the Aspen Institute (think tank), a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank), an overseer at the International Rescue Committee, a director at the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), a director at the National Democratic Institute (think tank), and was the chairman for the National Democratic Institute (think tank).
Tom Daschle is a director at the National Democratic Institute (think tank), was the co-founder & advisory board member for the Bipartisan Policy Center, and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Norman R. Augustine is a director at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
James D. Wolfensohn is a director at the National Democratic Institute (think tank), an overseer at the International Rescue Committee, an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), was the president of the World Bank, and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Christopher J. Dodd is a senior advisory committee member at the National Democratic Institute (think tank), and his wife is Jackie Clegg Dodd.
Jackie Clegg Dodd is married to Christopher J. Dodd, and was the vice chairman & first VP for the
Export-Import Bank of the US.
John D. Macomber was the chairman & president of the Export-Import Bank of the US, and is a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank).
William H. Draper III was a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank), and the chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the US.
James H. Lambright was the chairman & president for the Export-Import Bank of the US, a VP at Credit Suisse First Boston, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), and the interim chief investment officer for the 2008-2010 financial bailout.
Richard C. Holbrooke was the vice chairman for Credit Suisse First Boston, a director at the Atlantic Council of the United States (think tank), a director at the Council on Foreign Relations (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Chessboard Series: War on the Southern Border
Threat level of Mexico and the Southern Border
Paul E. Vallely
Thursday, April 21, 2011
We have raised the threat level of Mexico and the Southern Border. The threat from our Southern Border is greater now than the Middle East (except for Iran and proxies) and Afghanistan/Pakistan conflict. The inactions by our government are treasonous. Our leadership in Washington, DC continues on a rudderless course when it comes to National Security especially along our Southern Border. We need leaders now that understand the current threat and vulnerabilities.
For the third time in only a few months, a current federal report exposed how the U.S. government prioritizes environmental preservation over national security by keeping Border Patrol agents out of wildlife refuges that are heavily transited by
Mexican drug and human smugglers.
“For years, Border Patrol agents have been prohibited by the Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service from actively patrolling such areas because it threatens natural resources,” Tom Fitton, president of the public-interest watchdog Judicial Watch, following the release of the GAO report in the past week.
“Motorized vehicles, road construction and the installation of surveillance structures required to adequately secure the vast areas are forbidden because it could endanger the environment and its wildlife. In the meantime, Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers regularly use the sprawling, unmanned and federally protected land to enter the U.S. The areas have become the path of choice for illicit operations that endanger American lives and, ironically, cause severe environmental damage,” said Fitton.
The Law Enforcement Examiner obtained copies of the original reports—GAO-11-38 and GAO-11-117—and discovered that environmental concerns took precedence over law enforcement and public safety concerns.
According to the GAO report, 40 percent of Southwest border lands are managed by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, and coordination and cooperation between Border Patrol and land management
agencies is critical to ensure national security.
The Government Accountability office summarized its findings from two previous reports regarding the U.S.-Mexico border in the fall of 2010. The first report, GAO-11-38, focused on the key land management laws that Border Patrol must comply with and how these laws affect the agency’s operations. The second report, GAO-11-177, focused on the extent to which Border Patrol and land management agencies’ law enforcement units share threat information and communications.
When operating on federal lands, Border Patrol must comply with the requirements of several federal land management laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Wilderness Act, and Endangered Species Act. Border Patrol agents must obtain permission or a permit from federal land management agencies before agents can undertake operations, such as maintaining roads and installing surveillance equipment, on federal lands.
To fulfill these requirements, Border Patrol generally coordinates with land management agencies through
national and local interagency agreements. The most comprehensive agreement is a 2006 memorandum of understanding between the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, and the Interior that is intended to guide Border Patrol activities on federal lands. Border Patrol’s access to some federal lands along the southwestern border has been limited because of certain land management laws, according to 17 of 26 patrol agents-in-charge that GAO analysts interviewed.
For example, these patrol agents-in-charge reported that implementation of these laws had resulted in delays and restrictions in their patrolling and monitoring operations. Specifically, 14 patrol agents-in-charge reported that they had been unable to obtain a permit or permission to access certain areas in a timely manner because of the time it takes for land managers to conduct required environmental and historic property assessments. The 2006 memorandum of understanding directs the agencies to cooperate and complete, in an expedited manner, all compliance required by applicable federal laws, but such cooperation has not always occurred.
For example, when Border Patrol requested permission to move surveillance equipment, it took the land manager more than 4 months to conduct the required historic property assessment and grant permission, but by then illegal traffic had shifted to other areas.
Despite two congressional reports documenting the obstacles Border Patrol officers face in these dangerous areas, little has been done to remedy the situation and improve security. An overwhelming majority of Border Patrol agents told congressional investigators that “land management laws” continue to limit their access to
federal lands along the treacherous southwestern border.
Information sharing and communication among the agencies have increased in recent years, but critical gaps remain in implementing interagency agreements. Agencies established forums and liaisons to exchange information; however, in the Tucson sector, agencies did not coordinate to ensure that federal land law enforcement officials had access to threat information and compatible secure radio communications for daily operations.
The situation is so dire that a group of lawmakers have introduced legislation to prohibit any federal agency—especially the Department of the Interior—from using environmental regulations to hinder the Border Patrol from securing the area. The measure would essentially ensure that Border Patrol, not federal land managers, have operational control of the nation’s borders. ...previously reported by Jim Kouri in the Examiner.
It is now time to enforce the rule-of-law and the protection of Americans and our country. No more
excuses…no more delays…no more politics. no more kowtowing to special interest groups, or claims by open-border believers. The fact is, the Citizens of the USA are in daily danger and are being killed because the border and interior states of Mexico are controlled by thugs, savvy drug cartel leaders, terrorists and who knows what or who else! Once again, the entire area is festooned with upheaval, violence, and lawlessness as it was in 1846.
If our Federal Government will not execute an operational plan to secure our southern borders then the States and all Americans must demand it. However, let me provide an executable plan of operations for the Federal Government (Department of Defense) to undertake with resolve and commitment to protect and secure the American people and our border.
The problems on and across our southern borders of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are in the news every day. We have a war of gigantic proportions…illegal invasions, jihadists, treacherous drug cartels, gangs, human trafficking, drugs (is there not a war on drugs???), smuggling, kidnappings, and corruption of officials on both sides of the borders. Now if I were the Commander-in-Chief, I would be on a war-footing and I would have my military commanders planning and executing a strategy that will defeat swiftly and decisively these cancerous enemies and bring the border under control.
The plan is basic and advanced unconventional/conventional war planning using Joint Strike Force Operations (The Lily Pad Strategy developed by MG Paul Vallely). This combines the best use of our Forces that will encompass intelligence, targeting, structural organization of our forces to accomplish the mission, base operations, offensive and defensive operations. First, organize three (3) Border Task Force Groups (BTFGs) and position them in three operational bases, one in Texas, one to be in Arizona and one in Southern California. We have existing bases (lily pads) in those states that can be utilized. There is no requirement to create any new bases. I will not name these existing bases because of operational security but Department of Defense can easily figure this out! The BTFGs will be organized based on joint task forces of Special Ops and conventional forces, Army, Air Force and Navy. Selected units and personal will be relocated and moved to these designated bases. I would also declare with Mexico, a 20 mile “No Go” zone on the Mexican side of the border. Any group or persons occupying this zone engaging in criminal or illegal activities against Mexico or the United States will be engaged and neutralized on site. Our message to Mexico: “We do it, you do it or we do it together”! The same message that we should have been delivered to Pakistan years ago.
There will be approximately 5,000 warriors assigned to each BTFG. The organization will be commanded by a Two Star “Warrior” and each of the three BTFGs will be commanded by a Brigadier General. The mission for the Command will be to target and conduct offensive and defensive operations on the Mexican side of the border. National Guard, Border Patrol, DEA, and local sheriffs units will conduct border security operations on the United States side of the border. This initiative does not violate any existing Posse Comitatus laws and is supported by many active and retires border Sheriffs and Border Patrol Agents.
The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, with the intention (in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807) of substantially limiting the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services (today the Army, Navy, Air Force, and State National Guard forces when such are called into federal service) from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property (states and their counties and municipal divisions) within the United States. The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Coast Guard is exempt from the Act.
The National Guard is and will be the asset of the State Governors to be used as required to augment the
Active Force BTFGs operations on the US side of the border. Remove Homeland Security Department from this action completely.
The concerns and anxiety of Americans, particularly in the Border States have grown significantly in the past twelve months. Changes in law enforcement operations have forced coyotes and cartels of drugs and illegals into ever more isolated areas, increasing the number of deaths and the level of violence to a point where even the most vigilant law enforcement officials are in harm’s way.
The political ferment over the Southern Border has never been greater. 78 percent of Americans think and know that the government is inept in controlling the flow along and through our borders. Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Global jihad are major threats as they eye the southern border as a path of least resistance to strike inside the United States. Do not overlook the union of Chavez of Venezuela and Ahmadinejad of Iran and their intentions.
America…We must act NOW for the welfare and security of our precious nation.