Posts Tagged ‘Department of Homeland Security’

Retired Air Force officer exhorts Americans to challenge “Fortress America”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 11:06 am by

Reflecting on his 20 years of military service as a US Air Force officer, and noting the dramatic changes in both law & culture over the past decade, Lt. Colonel (ret.) William J. Astore wrote last week about the acquiescence of Americans to what he describes as “Fortress America.” In Uncle Sam Doesn’t Want You—He Already Has You, Astore exhorts Americans to challenge the national security state in order to preserve basic liberty principles.

Referencing young people who may not recall an era in which privacy was ever respected, he explains:

Many of the college students I’ve taught recently take such a loss of privacy for granted. They have no idea what’s gone missing from their lives and so don’t value what they’ve lost or, if they fret about it at all, console themselves with magical thinking—incantations like “I’ve done nothing wrong, so I’ve got nothing to hide.” They have little sense of how capricious governments can be about the definition of “wrong.”

Astore goes on to note the sycophancy of Hollywood, reflected in movies repeatedly glorifying US intelligence agencies despite their serial crimes, in sharp contrast to the films of the 1970s and 1980s that offered storylines and narratives more reflective of the agencies actual behavior.

He also takes on border security and police militarization:


Fusion centers perpetuate racial profiling

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 8:50 am by

racialprofilingApril 10 saw protests, teach-ins and light brigade actions across the country as part of the national day of action against fusion centers. The Day of Action sparked an internet dialogue about fusion centers that shone much needed light on the centers which can often slip under the radar of the communities they operate in.

Like most threats to civil liberties, fusion centers endanger the constitutional rights guaranteed to all people, however their effect is most pronounced in politically vulnerable communities. These are most often communities of color, those with political beliefs outside the mainstream, or both.


Why fusion centers matter: FAQ

Monday, April 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm by

 Original commentary by Nadia Kayyali published April 7, 2014 on the Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks blog

While Homeland-SecurityNSA surveillance has been front and center in the news recently, fusion centers are a part of the surveillance state that deserve close scrutiny.

Fusion centers are a local arm of the so-called “intelligence community,” the 17 intelligence agencies coordinated by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The government documentation around fusion centers is entirely focused on breaking down barriers between the various government agencies that collect and maintain criminal intelligence information.

Detention mandate keeps immigrants locked up and prison companies rich

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm by

21-immigrants-for-saleEvery single day, 34,000 beds need to be filled by immigrant detainees in the United States, not because there are 34,000 people who legitimately need to be detained, but because Congress mandates it. The immigration “detention bed mandate” comes from Congressional appropriations language referring to the budget for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Essentially, the language specifies how ICE has to use its detention budget, in this case requiring that the funding be used to “maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds.” This requirement is wildly expensive as it costs $120 a day to detain each individual, which comes out to $2 billion a year for the whole system.

Department of Homeland Security funding surveillance on the local level

Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 10:00 am by

All across the country, from Dallas to Las Vegas to Santa Cruz, communities are using funds from the Department of Homeland Security to implement dragnet surveillance on the local level. Federal funding for local surveillance typically buys equipment that allows local police to monitor and store information about all people, not just those suspected of committing a crime.

This could mean installing close-circuit security cameras around the city that record the actions of all passersby or using scanners to photograph the license plates of every car, storing that information indefinitely in a database. In two extreme examples, the city of Berkeley received a $200,000 from DHS to purchase an “Armored Response Counter Attack Truck” and Alameda County in California wanted to use $31,646 of grant funds to buy a drone.


News Digest 08/19/13

Monday, August 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

News Digest 07/23/13

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News Digest 07/16/13

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News Digest 07/15/13

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News Digest 07/12/13

Friday, July 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm by