Posts Tagged ‘security’

First Class Security Theater

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

If you live in the United States and you travel by air,  you are familiar with the TSA. Yes, the notorious Transportation Security Administration, renown for hiring sexual deviant employees to molest children  while their easily bypassed, radiation spewing body scanners preferentially select hot women, has reached a whole new level of greasiness.

So what are they up to, you ask? Why, creating a caste system for airport security! Now CEOs, celebrities, politicians and other mucky-mucks won’t have to settle for simple first class seating. Instead, they can also snub their noses at the masses while cruising past screening lines with their first class security clearance. (more…)

Homeland Security’s Analysis of Occupy and Anonymous

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Anonymous & Wikileaks have unveiled yet another tasty morsel from the treasure trove of confidential goodies known as the Global Intelligence Files. This one: a Homeland Security analysis of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, circa Oct 2011.

The 5 page document details the rise and proliferation of the Occupy uprising, noting how the movement “has drawn inspiration from recent protests in Europe and the Middle East, specifically citing the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprising and recent demonstrations in Spain. ”

More telling is a point made in the summary, (more…)

US Gov’t Declares Civil War on Population – Naomi Wolf

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The zeitgeist is up in arms over Naomi Wolf’s latest article claiming the United States Department of Homeland Security – with congressional backing – helped coordinate a nationwide crackdown on the Occupy encampments. While the accusations seem somewhat tenuous, there is at least some corroborating evidence supporting the notion, meaning, in effect, the US Government has begun to openly wage war on their own population.

Naomi Wolf describes her discovery of Occupy’s agenda, something America’s information gathering agencies would have seen coming months ago:

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.

No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors…. In recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth.

It is for these very reasons, argues the author, that Congress is engaging in violent militarized reactions against its own peaceful constituents. This leads Wolf to declare the start of civil war:

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

These Occupy protests do indeed represent a pressing danger to the powers that be. In fact, if the people’s uprising isn’t silenced soon, far too many Americans will realize they are living under a 2 party dictatorship that only serves a corporate sponsored plutocracy. And when that happens, the whole corrupt house of cards will come toppling down, freeing the way for a more just global civilization to emerge.

Or so we can hope.

Take the Money Out of Building Weapons

Friday, September 16th, 2011

In Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain and many other nations, civilians are being violently subjugated by their governments. The western media will sometimes report on these quashed uprisings, but a pressing question usually remains unasked – where do these tyrants get their modern weaponry?

For the most part, the tools of dissident suppression – rifles, tanks, bombs and gunships – aren’t being made domestically. Instead, they’re being imported from any of the world’s international arms dealers, most of whom will transact with anyone that has the cash.

Of course, corner any of the corporations that build these weapons, or any of the politicians who deal with despots, and it is unlikely they will admit any wrongdoings. I mean, come on, who could possibly have conceived that an armor plated vehicle with bulletproof tires and a mounted Gatling gun might be used for human rights violations.

But why would you expect anything other than crooks and cronies running the arms business? When there is billions of dollars changing hands, you just know it’s going to attract all kinds of scumbags.

And that brings us to a simple solution to this problem. In fact, this idea has so much potential that it wouldn’t just prevent the Defense Industry from arming tyrants, it would actually eliminate one of the primary reasons we even have war on earth.

Enough building it up. Here’s the proposal:

A 100% tax on all profits earned from manufacturing the weapons of war.

BLAM! Take that, Military Industrial Complex. You can design and sell all the weapons you want, but don’t expect any more lucrative deals. Now we’ll see if “building democracy”, “fighting terrorists”, and “protecting civilians” is really all that important to the war-mongers when there’s far fewer profits to be made.

Surveillance State Protects the Status Quo

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Monday’s analysis of Glenn Greenwald’s poignant think piece noted how the money-wasting domestic spying and security system we’ve been creating is used not to prevent terrorism, but rather, to stifle dissent and keep protesters under wraps.

Following on that note, today Sarah Jaffe added her voice to the growing list of names – many of whom she quotes in her article – who feel the surveillance state is being used to protect the interests of the ultra-rich.

“As a global protest movement rises and spreads within the US,” writes Jaffe, “expect surveillance tactics honed in the ‘war on terror’ to be used in the defense of wealth.”

Have no doubt – the powers that be are trying to set up some sort of big brother network. Many of the people involved don’t see the real threat it poses. But some of them do, because they plan to use this growing police state to try and stop the great social revolution which has already begun.

But humanity WILL NOT be so easily enslaved. Resourceful and clever, humans will always find ways to beat the system. The more the ruling powers try to crack down, the more people will be drawn together.

Things might get scary as this global struggle comes to a head. But when all is said and done, a democratic and prosperous world of peace will be in our hands.

Defense Industry is Decade’s Biggest Scam – Greenwald

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Outspoken author Glenn Greenwald put out a provocative piece today called The Decade’s Greatest Scam which outlines the absurdity of spending billions of dollars to fight terrorism – a threat that kills the same number of people who die drowning in a bathtub each year.

Greenwald says these industries are exploiting the people’s irrational fear as a for-profit business:

Exaggerating, manipulating and exploiting the Terrorist threat for profit and power has been the biggest scam of the decade; only Wall Street’s ability to make the Government prop it up and profit from the crisis it created at the expense of everyone else can compete for that title.

Nothing has altered the mindset of the American citizenry more than a decade’s worth of fear-mongering. So compelling is fear-based propaganda, so beholden are our government institutions to these private Security State factions, and so unaccountable is the power bestowed by these programs, that even a full decade after the only Terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, its growth continues more or less unabated.

The author also points out how most of these new security measures will ultimately be used not for protection against terrorism, but rather, as tools used to subdue uprisings and keep the people down:

The Security State has little to do with addressing ostensible Terrorist threats, it has much to do with targeting perceived domestic and political threats, especially threats brought about by social unrest from austerity and the growing wealth gap.

The prime aim of the growing Surveillance State is to impose domestic order, preserve prevailing economic prerogatives and stifle dissent and anticipated unrest.

The Western World has been fighting the war on terror for ten years, costing tremendous amounts of blood and treasure, not to mention liberty and freedom.

And what has been the result? Death and chaos.

If we really want more security in our world, maybe it’s time to try something else besides wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on the tools of war.

How about investing some of these funds into programs that alleviate poverty and strengthen communities? Then we’ll see which method works better to stabilize societies, resolve conflicts and build a peaceful planet.

TSA Bans Toner and Ink Cartridges on Flights

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

So the Transport Security Administration banned Toner and Ink cartridges from permissible cargo for air travel. And if you caught  yesterday’s post about how these acts are mostly security theater, here we have a case and point example of the consistently increasing security powers.

Great, so no more toner on flights. Not like it’s a big deal. But it does make me wonder just how many people are carrying large ink cartridges on flights anyway. Is there an overwhelming number of passengers printing novels on the red-eye to New York?

Must be, because the TSA felt it was necessary to ban them. Of course, it is their job to increase safety. And every new regulation passed gives their organization a bit more control over the population, and who doesn’t love power?

Besides, it isn’t their job to worry about violating liberties or freedom, that is for other outside organizations to fight for, like the Airline Pilots who’ve been boycotting the full body scanners.

At the end of the day, it is really up to each of us to speak out against more authoritarian control. We need to first stand up to the irrational fears within our own heads. Then, we can stand up to the kinds of legislation that seeks to exploit these same fears.

Say NO to more police power and security measures!

Monday, November 8th, 2010

He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither. -Benjamin Franklin

We used to have police officers with radar guns giving out tickets for going too fast. Then photo radar was discretely mounted to parked cars on the side of the road. Next up, red light cameras. Now, since the boxes were already up on the poles, we may as well have the red light cameras give out speeding tickets, too. Pretty soon, every vehicle’s GPS will be tracked, and drivers will be fined for every single infraction:

“Let’s see, Mr Piedlourde, you exceeded the speed limit four times, failed to stop at one stop sign, and didn’t signal while changing lanes. Total cost for your trip to the store: $813.00. Have a great day.”

So much for the open road, and the skies haven’t fared any better.

Thorough pat downs… sure. Take off our shoes… okay. No liquids… fine. X-ray our luggage? Hell… why not just x-ray our bodies to see us naked. Whatever you need to do, oh great and all-seeing security guard, we’ll just switch into sheeple-mode and allow ourselves to be corralled and prodded in order to reach our destinations.

And it’s not just on the streets and in the air… these escalating levels of security and authoritarian control are happening everywhere. While some of these steps may make us feel safer, few, if any, of the new regulations and precautions are actually making us significantly safer. Most of these security measures serve as security theatre, where the price of admission is nothing less than our freedom and civil liberties.

Then, if and when the shit hits the fan (as it inevitably will) and another traffic accident happens or terrorists strike, what do we do? Do we recognize the futility in attempting to eliminate all risk from life? No, we mindlessly allow our civil liberties to be eroded as we cave to what are predominantly irrational fears.

Well, the time has come to say “Enough!”. We need to define a balance between freedom and security. No more additional precautions. To hell with more police powers. Let’s draw a line in the sand- and it needs to be behind where we are now because we’ve already let it go too far!

If we don’t stand up to authoritarianism, if we keep succumbing to fear and continue to enable a system that holds an ever tightening grip over our lives, soon enough the biggest threat will no longer be speeders or airplane bombers. If this keeps up, the greatest risk to our lives will be the very system we’ve created to protect us.

World Peace is Coming! – The Snowball Effect

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Did you know that the world today is the most peaceful it has ever been in modern human history?  Well, despite what those who profit from fear may want us to believe, its true… we are indeed living in a time of peace.  The world has been getting more and more peaceful every day for quite some time.

A comprehensive study by the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia found that “the number of armed conflicts has declined by more than 40 percent since 1992”.  This same study also shows how, after five decades of inexorable increase, “the number of genocides and violent conflicts dropped rapidly in the wake of the cold war”. As well “wars are not only less frequent today, they are also far less deadly.”

We are truly fortunate to be part of this generation.  Not only are we becoming more peaceful, we are also becoming more prosperous.  Up until the 1800′s, the vast majority of us lived in moderate to extreme poverty, and our average life expectancy was 30 years.  Now, just 200 years later, only 20 percent of us live in extreme poverty, and the average life expectancy in our world is 70 years.

It is no coincidence that we have more peace and more prosperity, for the two walk hand in hand.  As we eliminate poverty from our world, we will be removing a root grievance that leads many people to take up arms – meaning a world without extreme poverty is a world much closer to having a lasting peace.

The phenomenon responsible for such vast improvements over the past two centuries is something we like to call the Snowball Effect, and it refers to how, much like a snowball rolling down a snowy hill, the movement towards a better world has been gaining speed and size with every step.

The Snowball Effect

As we can see in the graphic, gains in any of these key factors leads to a better world, which in turn, makes it easier for us to achieve gains in all the other factors.

To see a real world example of the snowball effect in action, we can look at a case involving a Kenyan farmer named John. John’s life changed when he was introduced to an ingenious device called the MoneyMakerPlus. The MoneyMakerplus is a low-cost, manually powered water pump, designed by a Nairobi based non profit group called KickStart.

John’s land used to be sparse and dry, for he relied on a bucket to water his crop. Now, thanks to his affordable water pump, he sees a seven fold increase in his crop yield. 45,000 others have bought a MoneyMakerPlus, and many, like John, have seem dramatic improvements to their farms.

In this example, we can see many of the factors of the snowball effect at play. The group who designed the pump – KickStart – are people helping to improve the world. The MoneyMakerPlus is the fruit of some advanced engineering, which comes thanks to improved education.  The result is cheaper, better technology.  This technology, in turn, improves agricultural yields.

Thanks to the surplus crops, farmers like John can now afford a better education for their children and an improved quality of life. For those who’ve been given a way out of the trap of extreme poverty, we can see a real surge of hope and optimism.  The same holds true for the people working to improve the world – they get to see that their efforts really can work.

While John and the MoneyMakerPlus may highlight how the snowball effect works, it certainly is not an isolated case.  Everywhere around the world, every single one of us have been gaining access to better tools, new resources, more information… all of which will give us the power to become more productive.  We will get more out of our days and more from our labor.

To those of us who already live in a developed nation, this might not be an overwhelming improvement, but to the 20 percent of the human race – the 1.4 Billion people who still live in extreme poverty – the snowball effect will show dramatic improvements to their quality of life.  It will mean they are no longer starving to death, or getting sick from easily preventable diseases, and to them, this will be life-changing.

And for everyone on earth, the snowball effect will mean that we get to enjoy living in a world that is consistently improving.  Eventually, thanks to our cyclically improving world, we will reach the point to where we’ve eradicated extreme poverty, eliminated institutionalized war, and ushered in a new age of equality, peace and prosperity.

With each passing day, our world improves faster than the day before.  A better world is coming… believe it.