The Department of Homeland Security is telling Border Patrol agents in Arizona to run away and hide if they encounter a shooter in a public place.
Agents took a FEMA administered course called “IS-907 – Active Shooter: What You Can Do,” a 45-minute computer course telling the employees to either evacuate, hide out, or take action only if they need to.
Border Patrol agents in Arizona are not happy. The members of Tucson Local 2544/National Border Patrol Council think it is downright insulting to tell armed law enforcement agents to do the exact same thing as civilians. Only as a last resort are the agents even allowed to throw objects at the shooter.
“We are then advised to ‘call law enforcement’ and wait for their arrival (presumably, while more innocent victims are slaughtered),” the council writes on its website. “Shooting incidents cited in the course are Columbine, the Giffords shooting and the Virginia Tech shooting.”
The site continues, “Telling law enforcement officers that in all instances they are to run away and hide from some thug while innocent victims are butchered is simply inexcusable and pathetic.”
By Steve Watson & Paul Joseph Watson
A leaked directive issued to the Red Cross indicates that the federal government has prepared plans to evacuate Chicago during the NATO summit.
An email sent to Red Cross volunteers in the Milwaukee area notes that the NATO summit in May could “create unrest or another national security incident.”
“The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago,” the email, which was leaked to CBS News, reads.
A spokesperson for the Red Cross Chapter told CBS “Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service”.
While the Secret Service has not commented on the news, officials at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication have denied having anything to do with the directive.
Two weeks ago residents were startled by urban warfare drills conducted in downtown Chicago on the authority of the OMEC. Huge black hawk helicopters were seen flying low and in between buildings for hours. It now appears that these exercises may be linked to the secret preparations.
In addition, earlier this week a number of Chicago area residents revealed that they have been asked to leave their homes in preparation for major rioting.
The residents received letters from management that read:
“We are STRONGLY recommending that all residents find places to stay during the conference from May 18 through May 21.”
“In the event of a riot or the potential of one near the building, all access doors will be locked including the garage door,” the letter continues. “For everyone’s safety, we will be instructing anyone in the building to stay in his or her unit.”
The fact that, “The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago,” dovetails with reports earlier this year that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) put out a request for contractors to construct temporary emergency camps inside the United States which can be ready for occupancy within a 72 hour time period and used to house emergency responders as well as “displaced citizens.”
The camps are primarily designed to house emergency responders, but will also be utilized to shelter “displaced citizens,” who will be “given the first opportunities for employment within the camp,” according to the solicitation. The camps will be able to service up to 2,000 people at one time.
Scenarios based around displaced citizens were also part of the 2010 Operation Vigilant Guard exercises in Chicago which featured Polish troops training with the Illinois National Guard.
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An internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security document indicates that a controversial program designed to predict whether a person will commit a crime is already being tested on some members of the public voluntarily, CNET has learned.
If this sounds a bit like the Tom Cruise movie called “Minority Report,” or the CBS drama “Person of Interest,” it is. But where “Minority Report” author Philip K. Dick enlisted psychics to predict crimes, DHS is betting on algorithms: it’s building a “prototype screening facility” that it hopes will use factors such as ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to “detect cues indicative of mal-intent.”
The latest developments, which reveal efforts to “collect, process, or retain information on” members of “the public,” came to light through an internal DHS document obtained under open-government laws by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. DHS calls its “pre-crime” system Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST.
“If it were deployed against the public, it would be very problematic,” says Ginger McCall, open government counsel at EPIC, a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C.
It’s unclear why the June 2010 DHS document (PDF) specified that information is currently collected or retained on members of “the public” as part of FAST, and a department representative declined to answer questions that CNET posed two days ago.
Elsewhere in the document, FAST program manager Robert Middleton Jr. refers to a “limited” initial trial using DHS employees as test subjects. Middleton says that FAST “sensors will non-intrusively collect video images, audio recordings, and psychophysiological measurements from the employees,” with a subgroup of employees singled out, with their permission, for more rigorous evaluation.
Peter Boogaard, the deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, provided a statement to CNET that said:
The department’s Science and Technology Directorate has conducted preliminary research in operational settings to determine the feasibility of using non-invasive physiological and behavioral sensor technology and observational techniques to detect signs of stress, which are often associated with intent to do harm. The FAST program is only in the preliminary stages of research and there are no plans for acquiring or deploying this type of technology at this time.
FAST is designed to track and monitor, among other inputs, body movements, voice pitch changes, prosody changes (alterations in the rhythm and intonation of speech), eye movements, body heat changes, and breathing patterns. Occupation and age are also considered. A government source told CNET that blink rate and pupil variation are measured too.
A field test of FAST has been conducted in at least one undisclosed location in the northeast. “It is not an airport, but it is a large venue that is a suitable substitute for an operational setting,” DHS spokesman John Verrico told Nature.com in May.
Although DHS has publicly suggested that FAST could be used at airport checkpoints–the Transportation Security Administration is part of the department, after all–the government appears to have grander ambitions. One internal DHS document (PDF) also obtained by EPIC through the Freedom of Information Act says a mobile version of FAST “could be used at security checkpoints such as border crossings or at large public events such as sporting events or conventions.”
It also says that the next field trial of FAST will involve members of the public who “have food service experience” and are paid “to work at a one day VIP event.” Most of the document is redacted, but each person is apparently told to act normally or to do something demonstrating “mal-intent,” such as being told to smuggle a recording device into the VIP event. The trick, then, is to see if FAST can detect which is which.
It’s not clear whether these people were informed that they’re participating in a FAST study.
McCall, the EPIC attorney who has been pressing the department to obtain these internal documents, said it’s time for the DHS Privacy Office to review the current state of the FAST project. What appears to be the most recent privacy analysis (PDF) was completed in December 2008 and contemplates using “volunteer participants” who have given their “informed consent.”
“They should do a privacy impact assessment,” McCall said.
DHS is being unusually secretive about FAST. A February 2010 contract (PDF) with Cambridge, Mass.-based Draper Laboratory to build elements of the “pre-crime” system has every dollar figure blacked out (a fleeting reference to an “infrared camera” remained).
Relying on ambiguous biological factors to predict mal-intent is worrisome, says McCall. “Especially if they’re going to be rolling this out at the airport. I don’t know about you, but going to an airport gives me a minor panic attack, wondering if I’m going to get groped by a TSA officer.”
Update 2:12 p.m. PT: A Homeland Security spokesman has just provided this additional statement to CNET: “The FAST program is entirely voluntary and does not store any personally-identifiable information (PII) from participants once the experiment is completed. The system is not designed to capture or store PII. Any information that is gathered is stored under an anonymous identifier and is only available to DHS as aggregated performance data. It is only used for laboratory protocol as we are doing research and development. It is gathered when people sign up as volunteers, not by the FAST system. If it were ever to be deployed, there would be no PII captured from people going through the system.” (The DHS Privacy Office has said that the system does contain personally-identifiable information and that FAST “is a privacy sensitive system.” DHS defines a privacy sensitive system as “any system that collects, uses, disseminates, or maintains” personally-identifiable information.)
(Photo: Jonathan McIntosh / Flickr)
Hundreds of state, local and federal databases clog our nation’s digital infrastructure, collecting, sharing and hoarding inconceivable amounts of information about ordinary people. From DHS to the DOJ to the DOE, from the state and local police all the way up to the military and CIA, our government is increasingly relying on a data-driven model of social control. Below is only a tiny sampling of the many hundreds of government databases containing personally identifiable information about hundreds of millions of people. Many of these databases are exempt from the Privacy Act. Some of them remain so secret we don’t know all of the kinds of data kept and shared, or how many records they contain. For more information about data collection and sharing, visit www.privacySOS.org/data.
In a debate hosted on MSNBC last night, Ron Paul was singled out repeatedly for criticism by NBC anchor Brian Williams for a number of libertarian views of the proper role of government in society. At times, Williams’ objections just seemed petulant – as if TSA agents were the first line of defense against terror, or as if FEMA, which notoriously dropped the ball just a few years ago in response to Hurricane Katrina, could do no wrong. This was not an exception but the rule for Williams’ questioning throughout the evening, so it’s not as if Paul had it any better than the others.
But there’s one area in particular where his line of questioning of Paul, the only physician on the stage, struck me as ignorant and wrongheaded: Williams’ argument on the loving, protecting arms of government around your medicine. Here’s the transcript of the exchange (emphasis mine), and note that Williams asks for 30 more seconds for a “devil’s advocate” response – as if he is one of the candidates debating instead of a neutral moderator:
WILLIAMS: Over to Congressman Paul, you’re known as the absolutist in the bunch, someone who has consistently opposed federal government from having any role — and I think by your definition — that isn’t explicitly laid out in the Constitution. So this makes people curious: Is there a line with you? Where do you draw it? Does this include things like making cars safe, making medicine safe, air traffic control controlling the jets above our heads?
PAUL: I think in theory, if you understood the free market in a free society, you don’t need government to do that. We live in a society where we have been adapted to this, and you can’t just drop it all at once, but you can transition away from it. On regulations, no, I don’t believe in any of these federal regulations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in regulations. The regulation of the marketplace takes care of it. Just think if we had the regulations on the market that dealt with the bankruptcies? They’d have had to go bankrupt. We wouldn’t have been able to bail out the big banks and the big corporations and dump onto poor people. So the market would dictate it. You can’t commit fraud. If you need detailed regulations, you can do it at the state level. But the federal government is not authorized to nitpick every little transaction. The way they use the interstate commerce clause is outrageous, as far as I’m concerned.
WILLIAMS: Well, 30 seconds more for devil’s advocate here, because would you then put it on the drug companies to say, “No, we’re bringing this to market, trust us, it’s a fantastic drug”? All the pilots in the sky, to add to their responsibilities, their own air traffic control, in an organic way?
PAUL: What I said is, theoretically, you could — it could be privatized. But who ends up doing the regulations on the drugs? They do as much harm as good. They don’t take good care of us. Who gets — who gets to write the regulations? The bureaucrats write the regulations, but who writes the laws? The lobbyists have control, so lobbyists from the drug industry has control of writing the regulations, so you turn it over to the bureaucracy. But you would have private institutions that could become credible. And, I mean, do we need the federal government to tell us whether we buy a safe car? I say the consumers of America are smart enough to decide what kind of car they can buy and whether it’s safe or not, and they don’t need the federal government hounding them and putting so much regulations on that our car industry has gone overseas.
In this line of argument, it’s stunning how ignorant Williams is of the bureaucratic reality we face with drug policy decisions within the Food and Drug Administration. The exorbitant cost of research and development for new drugs is driven largely by the demands of the FDA, which requires rafts of testing and retesting. These policies delay lifesaving treatments for Americans who desperately want them, often for reasons and side effects which threaten only a miniscule portion of the population. As Robert Goldberg pointed out in a recent piece:
Though new and faster methods to determine a technology’s safety and effectiveness exist, Obama’s FDA still demands evidence collected with science and statistical methods developed in the 19th century. To be sure, in the last two years new medicines for AIDS, cancer, lupus and hepatitis have been developed.
Yet, these products should have been available sooner if not for FDA nitpicking. And now that they are finally approved, patients are finding it next to impossible to access several new drugs and genetic tests that would transform the quality of life and extend survival for such illnesses as lupus, prostate cancer, and organ transplantation.
Provenge, the first cancer vaccine, stalled at the FDA for years. Once approved, it faced 18 months of additional delay while the Obama administration figured out whether to pay for it. The gauntlet cancer patients face with Provenge is being extended to everyone waiting for a medical breakthrough under Obamacare. Before a medical innovation can be used or paid for, the government will now demand additional research demonstrating that a new product will be more effective and cheaper than existing technologies. Since most new products come from small start-ups with limited cash, such a requirement means life-saving innovations will not be available at all.
This is why Heartland supports the Free to Choose Medicine project, which will allow for more drugs to be available, faster, and at lower cost. This model would deploy consumer choice and empower those who in consultation with their doctor decide to bypass the old FDA model.
Free to Choose Medicine would employ a dual track: on one track, a newly introduced drug goes through the lengthy clinical trials and testing necessary to achieve the FDA’s endorsement. But instead of that being the only option, an alternative would be created: on this track, patients could with their doctor’s counsel choose to contract with drug developers for access to the drug prior to approval.
The drug will need to have passed the midpoint of Phase II testing, so we’d already have knowledge to make an informed decision on the risk and effectiveness of it. The upshot: patients, many of whom are in desperate need of new treatments, could gain quicker access to new drugs by a pace measured in years, not months. For those facing life threatening illnesses and pain, this would eliminate the bureaucratic barriers to them receiving the treatment they want and need. No one should face death because bureaucracy moves too slowly. And in advancing the argument that government is a problem, not a solution, for medicine, Paul is entirely right.
http://RTR.org | In this report Gary Franchi delivers the breaking story about FEMA doing a Katrina repeat by blocking volunteers and letting towns burn. He also looks at the new Ron Paul Campaign ad, tracks down some explosives that DHS lost and looks at a sterilized grade school curriculum for students in the UK leaving out an important perspective on the events of September 11th. In our Deeper Look segment Gary goes over the history of FEMA’s blunders and how Congressman Paul and Former FEMA Director Michael Brown feel about the agency.
Support the September 19th Revolution PAC Superbomb for Ron Paul at http://RevolutionPAC.com/superbomb
The moment Hurricane Irene was sweeping through New York, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul was calling for additional spending cuts before funding disaster relief.
The Texas congressman doubled down comments he made Friday that the nation was better off in the 1900s, before the existence of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Congressman, you would really at this point, do away with FEMA and all the things it’s doing to help hundreds of thousands of people along the East Coast?” Fox News Chris Wallace asked Paul.
“Have you ever read the reports that came out of New Orleans [after Hurricane Katrina]?” Paul laughed. “It’s a system of bureaucratic central economic planning, which is a policy that is deeply flawed.”
“So, no. You don’t get rid of something like that in one day… I propose we save a billion dollars from overseas war mongering, bring half of that home, put it against the deficit and yes, tide people over until we come to our senses and realize that FEMA has been around since 1978. It has one of the worst reputations for a bureaucracy ever.”
“I assume if the Obama administration comes and asks for a emergency funding bill for FEMA, you’re a definite no?” Wallace pressed.
“Where would the money come from?” Paul said, again laughing. “We don’t have any money… I would consider what I just said. I have precise beliefs in what we should do and I want to transition out of dependency on the federal governent.”
“But I would say, ‘Yes, Obama you want a billion dollars? Quit that war in Libya that is undeclared and unconstitutional. Bring those troops home, save two billion dollars. Put a billion against the deficit and tide our people over.’”
He continued: “We’ve conditioned our people that FEMA will take care of us and everything will be OK. But you try to make these programs work the best you can. You can’t just keep saying, ‘Oh, they need money.’ We’re out of money. The country is bankrupt.”
Watch this video from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Aug. 28, 2011.
As Hurricane Irene barrels along the U.S. East Coast, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said the nation would be much better off without the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I live on the Gulf Coast. We put up with hurricanes all the time,” the GOP presidential candidate told CNN after a New Hampshire campaign event Friday. “There’s no magic about FEMA. More and more people are starting to recognize that.”
Paul has long been a critic of the agency, which he calls a “great contributor to deficit financing.”
With more than 7,600 employees, FEMA falls under the Department of Homeland Security and coordinates response efforts when disasters strike.
Citing the Galveston hurricane in 1900 that obliterated much of the Texas coast, the libertarian-leaning congressman said Americans were able to rebuild their cities and put up a seawall without the federal government’s help.
“FEMA is not a good friend of most people in Texas,” Paul said. “All they do is come in and tell you what to do and can’t do. You can’t get in your houses. And they hinder the local people, and they hinder volunteers from going in.”
After Hurricane Ike demolished parts of the Texas coast in 2008, Paul voted against a bill that would funnel billions in aid to the area, which covers his congressional district.
FEMA has since pumped more than $3 billion in federal funds into the state.
The agency received wide criticism in 2005 for failing to respond in a timely, organized manner to the vast destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.