The U.S. military has become expert at controlling urban populations in Iraq – but why is the Department of Homeland Security building similar capabilities here?
Unfortunately, the federal government’s war on freedom is a subject still dominated mostly by conspiracy theorists, end-of-the-worlders, and yes, crackpots who hold highly marginal and dismissible views. Fortunately, some of that is changing with the rise of “smart preppers.”
I think most people concerned about liberty would appreciate an honest, probative look at actual plans and initiatives that federal authorities are now developing in earnest. Not wild conclusions based on dark conspiracy theories that make most rational people roll their eyes. But a careful assessment of what Uncle Sam and his legions of high-tech crony capitalists are actually building and developing.
In this case, what’s on the table for scrutiny is nothing less than the creation of a national population surveillance and control grid.
Mushrooming Government Capabilities to Control Society
This is sadly a subject that is so big, wide, and dynamic that in many cases, even members of Congress do not understand the extent of bureaucratic planning to control our lives. Or that the Department of Homeland Security’s big-picture plans, tactics, and technology are based on population control tactics originally developed and used in Iraq.
For example, airport screening bureaucrats, whose authority Americans are being conditioned to accept without question, are no longer limited to airports. The Transportation Security Administration and many other agencies are expanding airport-screening technologies and systems to cover all forms of ground transportation. Complete with traveler checkpoints and individualized tracking of cars, trains, telephones, and computers.
Understanding what Big Brother has in mind for us all could well matter to you. After all, there are some quite extreme options being offered by rather expensive repatriation services. Their solutions range from renouncing your citizenship, to moving out of the country, to getting a second passport, to simply evacuating your wealth from the jurisdiction of an all-powerful central government that has slipped the leash of the Constitution.
Do We Really Want Population Control Tactics Forged in Iraq Used Here at Home?
Perhaps all these advances in population control learned in Iraq – establishing checkpoints, round-up intelligence collection, and the tracking of individuals’ movements – are appropriate to a military occupation.
But one has to wonder why so many James Bond toys and tactics are being actively evaluated, tested, adapted, and funded for domestic use by the Department of Homeland Security. And distributed to all manner of government agencies, even on a local level, as more and more now have (or are seeking) arrest and detention powers.
Here’s what I believe is driving the process: The Pentagon has nine years of bloody urban warfare under its belt in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they did battle not so much against an organized, uniformed, standing army as in prior conflicts, but against freelance warriors (including women and children) dressed as and living among civilians. In coping with that mess, the U.S. military has worked closely with high-tech private companies to develop advanced surveillance and tracking tactics designed to quell hostile urban and rural areas.
A New Breed of High-Tech Crony Capitalists
Get Rich by Feeding Off Our Freedoms
With the wind-down of the Afghan and Iraq conflicts, these same legions of high-tech companies were at risk of not having a reason to exist, and worse, of losing their biggest source of taxpayer-guaranteed profit. Unfortunately, these are very well connected interests. And like all lobbies, they need a huge new mission to justify their existence and expand.
Enter the Department of Homeland Security – which has put numerous high-tech companies that helped the military set up population control systems in Iraq to work doing the same thing here at home.
Perhaps most disturbingly, DHS is creating an artificial domestic market for all this new technology – aggressively making grants to local law enforcement agencies designed to get them into the domestic intelligence collection business (Fusion Centers) as well as militarize local police departments with the latest shiny new crowd control equipment.
The end result is the birth of an iron triangle of powerful interests that are heavily vested in unprecedented levels of federally directed policing of the general public. Kinda like the ethanol scandal, except in this case we are being robbed of our freedoms, not just our tax dollars.
Crony Capitalist Trade Shows Sell Government Surveillance Technologies
A recent Wall Street Journal story, “High Tech Surveillance Comes to Small Towns,” notes the proliferation of high-tech trade shows that cater to the urgent central planning agenda of the federal government, especially Homeland Security. These citizen-tracking technology expos are attracting numerous small town local police departments – many of which are flush with DHS grant money and a long shopping list for the most advanced and prestigious new military weapons being made available to them.
High-tech companies selling these intrusive surveillance and crowd control technologies do so at secretive conferences that are closed to the media. The Journal reports that small sheriffs’ departments are particularly enthusiastic about the most popular training sessions offered by these trade show organizers, such as “Online Social Media and Internet Investigations” and “Exploiting Computer and Mobile Vulnerabilities for Electronic Surveillance.”
You may have even noticed that many local law enforcement departments around the country are already engaged in major “mission creep” to justify their new surveillance capabilities. They are proactively looking for extremist or criminal activity on Internet trading forums, such as Craigslist.
Lessons from Iraq on Urban Conflict Being Misapplied Domestically
The re-focusing of the “War on Terror’s” highest tech innovations against American citizens is the worst form of crony capitalism. And the most dangerous of all. Because the alliance of high-tech companies working in cahoots with the political class is helping to spawn an advanced national population control grid that Uncle Sam’s armies of stodgy bureaucrats could never have created on their own.
For example, new FOIA documents show TSA is planning a national campaign to expand Mobile Body Scanners to train stations and all forms of ground transportation. Part of a broader TSA program to expand road and highway test checkpoints throughout the country.
The agency’s so-called VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) system is part of a federal program known as “Checkpoint USA,” where federal VIPR teams “screen” travelers.
Take a Look at Just Some of the New Toys in Big Brother’s Tool Box
Here is a rundown of a few of the other James Bond toys and tactics being pushed by federal bureaucrats:
Car makers are being “encouraged” to install black-box tracking systems in all new cars.
Some $31 billion has been spent since 2003 to create “mini-CIA” domestic “Fusion Centers” – where local police monitor the political activities of private citizens, then send that data to Washington. Considering that “constitutionalist” and “patriots” are identified in federal documents as possible terror threats who should be watched, these fusion centers are a genuine cause for concern.
Major grants are going to local police departments for license plate readers to track autos (and by extension, their operators) automatically.
Thuggish tactics… FDA unleashes undercover operations to bring off-the-grid rural farming communities such as the Amish to heel – under the pretense of curbing raw milk sales across state lines.
New portable facial-analysis lie detectors – some units are based on thermal imaging technology – are being developed for wider use as in a national checkpoint system.
Feds are pushing so-called “smart meters” to replace traditional electric meters to monitor, analyze, and yes, control how families use power. Ideal for electricity rationing scenarios and monitoring power usage levels that exceed some bureaucrat’s notion of how much we should be allowed to use.
A new suitcase-sized cellphone crashing device is being perfected for distribution to local law enforcement – the system can shut down protestors’ phones and disable cell cameras.
Local police departments are now getting the Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower (MUST) – an armored surveillance command post designed to cope with hostile urban crowds.
Notably, the Homeland Security Department is rolling out freedom-threatening technologies and initiatives for deployment nationwide, including:
Grants to local governments for “FBI Mobile,” a portable biometric data collection system first deployed by the military to create IDs for urban-war-zone residents.
Covert naked-body scanners for checking out the general public on U.S. streets, a product being developed by Rapiscan Systems.
A fleet of roving backscatter scanning vans for expansion to all forms of ground travel.
Military-developed, next-generation Taser systems capable of stunning and incapacitating large numbers of protesters.
Active Denial System (ADS) “Pain Ray” for use here at home.
Shockwave Area Denial System, which can taser citizens within 100-meter ranges.
Laser Blinding Dazzler system, which causes temporary blindness in protestors.
Mass-deployed sedatives to incapacitate crowds.
Screaming Microwave system and ear-splitting noise machines for crowd control throughout the U.S.
Of course, it makes perfect sense that Washington’s central planners would look to one of the few remaining functional sectors of government that still has some credibility – the U.S. military. That said, why do U.S. civil authorities need draconian infrastructure here in the continental U.S.? After all, while our country is quite argumentative, it has traditionally been a model of domestic tranquility, save for such epic social upheaval during the Civil War and 1968.
Troubling New Controls the Government Is Developing
The now infamous Internet “off-switch, for example, is embodied in a popular piece of legislation that formalizes parallel regulatory efforts, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act.” Speaking for so many in the political class was Senator Joseph Lieberman, who longingly asked: “China can shut down the Internet, why can’t we?”
Then we have the federal government’s regulatory initiatives to create an “identity ecosystem” in which each Internet user would be assigned a central file number by the innocuous sounding Commerce Department. (Far less fuss from many civil libertarians when told government-issued Internet identities are only being established to enhance web commerce by making security more reliable.)
In effect, the government would be granted new power to certify anyone who uses the Internet. Or not certify them – as though they are on a no-fly list.
Backdoor Restrictions on Second Amendment Rights
Firearms sales have been booming as we all know. Federal attempts at direct gun control and confiscation have been defeated time and time again. So now the gun grabbers rationalize that the Second Amendment does nothing to protect your right to buy ammo.
Federal regulators have been very busy making ammunition harder to get and more expensive. The Ammunition Accountability Act, now under consideration in 18 states as part of a broader federally driven regulatory effort, would make all ammunition traceable – an attempt by the political class to limit what they see as the threat posed by private firearms.
Put another way, the government is angling to regulate the ammunition market, and you know what that means. So if you have a gun, you may want to buy an ammo reload kit while you still can. Off the grid ammo? That’s what we have come to!
Two Curious Developments Which Should Concern Us All
I should add that there have been two recent key developments of great concern. The first is a recent FBI press conference. Agent Casey Carty, an FBI supervisory special agent, postulated in February that anti-government activists opposed to taxes and regulations pose a growing threat to local law enforcement officers in the United States.
Reuters quoted the FBI as saying that local police departments are inundating the agency for special tactics training on dealing with the so-called ”sovereign citizen” movement.
Of course, Reuters also noted the miniscule number of actual attacks by “sovereign citizen” adherents. It’s made many observers wonder why our government has suddenly chosen to define opponents of taxes and regulations as extremists. (Actually, there is a bit of a disturbing trend over the past few years in which high government officials and many agencies have issued documents essentially branding people who believe in limited government as dangerous extremists).
Yet Another Very Recent Power-Grab!
Then we have passage of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which has a sneaky provision. It subjects U.S. citizens directly to military arrest and detention. Elements are systematically being put into place to create a national population surveillance and control grid with the potential for instant activation. It could go into full effect in any national emergency.
The still incomplete national grid system is far more complicated than the few points I brought out in this story. But, suffice it to say, we are reaching a point soon where we will be only one emergency, one “triggering event” away from seeing what happens when the whole apparatus is activated for the first time.