CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

DHS Directives on Border Searches of Electronic Media

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano recently announced two new directives aimed at improving oversight for searches of computers and electronic decides at U.S. entry ports. This is viewed as an important move to support DHS efforts to “combat transnational crime and terrorism while protecting privacy and civil liberties.”

“The new directives address the circumstances under which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can conduct border searches of electronic media—consistent with the Department’s Constitutional authority to search other sensitive non-electronic materials, such as briefcases, backpacks and notebooks, at U.S. borders.” The CBP directive can be found here, while the ICE directive can be found here. DHS today also released this Privacy Impact Assessment for the new guidelines on border searches of electronic devices in order to enhance public understanding of these new procedures and controls used by DHS.

ACLU demands records of border searches of laptops

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol‘s controversial practice of randomly searching laptops upon U.S. entry quietly began last year but has quickly drawn attention, including a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union for records related to the practice.

With regard to the searches, which don’t require “individualized suspicion” to conduct, the ACLU has asked for “records pertaining to the criteria used for selecting passengers for suspicionless searches, the number of people who have been subject to the searches, the number of devices and documents retained and the reasons for their retention.” The suit was filed in federal court in Manhattan.

Last summer, the practice also drew the attention of a Senate subcommittee which held a hearing where defenders likened it to searching a suitcase. Opponents of the practice – including some reporters — fear the government’s intention may be to collect information about otherwise private matters. Regardless, as the ACLU argues, this practice may compromise individuals’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

Racist Web Posts Traced to Homeland Security

After federal border agents detained several Mexican immigrants in western New York in June, an article about the incident in a local newspaper drew an onslaught of vitriolic postings on its Web site. Some were racist. Others attacked farmers in the region, an apple-growing area east of Rochester, accusing them of harboring illegal workers. Still others made personal attacks about the reporter who wrote the article.

Most of the posts were made anonymously. But in reviewing the logs of its Internet server, the paper, The Wayne County Star in Wolcott, traced three of them to Internet protocol addresses at the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border protection.

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San Bernardino County broadens inmate screening for deportation

Two flat-screen televisions loom large in a small booking office at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Federally trained San Bernardino County sheriff‘s employees use the screens to patch into other jails, some nearly 100 miles away, to identify inmates eligible for deportation.

For the past seven months, the Sheriff’s Department has used the $100,000 video-conferencing system to expand its collaborative program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, established three years ago at West Valley.

Instead of only using eight ICE-trained sheriff’s custody specialists to interview potential criminal illegal immigrants booked into the Rancho Cucamonga jail, the video setup allows the same work to be done at jails in San Bernardino, Barstow, Joshua Tree and Victorville.

“We had the capabilities to go out there before, but we were losing time,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Sarkis Ohannessian, who oversees the 287(g) program, named for a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows local agencies to enforce immigration laws under federal supervision.

“The entire interview is conducted from the screen,” Ohannessian said.

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ACLU seeks data on border laptop searches

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a FOIA request for records on laptops searched by border officials, PC Magazine reported. ACLU says these searching practices raise questions concerning First and Fourth Amendment rights because “they involve highly intrusive governmental probing into a traveler’s most private information.” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to release updated guidelines regarding these border laptop searches in the next few months.

How many laptops have border officials searched at U.S. borders? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wants to know.

The group filed a freedom of information (FOIA) request with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Homeland Security Department requesting any and all records dating back to January 1, 2007.

“Disclosure of the requested information … will further public understanding of the government’s expansive exercise of search authority over all travelers, including U.S. citizens, passing through the country’s international borders,” the letter reads.

More here.

Congressional probe of Riverside Border Patrol office sought

The union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents is calling for a congressional investigation into the agency’s Riverside office.

Lombardo Amaya, president of Local 2554 of the National Border Patrol Council, said he’s frustrated that a Department of Homeland Security investigation of the office has not yielded results and might not be fair.

Homeland Security is investigating allegations that Ramon Chavez, patrol agent in charge of the Riverside office, enacted arrest quotas and punished agents who did not meet the quotas by repeatedly changing their schedules, a violation of agency rules. Border Patrol is part of Homeland Security.

The investigation is being conducted by the inspector general’s office of Homeland Security, which was created as an independent investigatory arm. But Amaya said he wants someone outside Homeland Security to look into the charges.

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Homeland Security to scan fingerprints of travellers exiting the US

The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travelers departing the United States.

From June, US Customs and Border Protection will take a fingerprint scan of international travelers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transportortation Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travelers exiting the United States from Atlanta.

Biometric technology such as fingerprint scans has been used by US Customs and Border Protection for several years to gain a biometric record of non-US citizens entering the United States.

But under the Bush Administration, a plan was formulated to also scan outgoing passengers.

Michael Hardin, a senior policy analyst with the US-Visit Program at the United States Department of Homeland Security told a Biometrics Institute conference today that the DHS will use the data from the trial to “inform us as to where to take [exit screening] next.”

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Canadians Take Notice, the U.S. Is Militarizing the Border

More troops, more searches, more surveillance drones. The U.S. is taking Canadians’ pictures as they cross the border, and their biometrics.

A camera snaps your license plate.

An electronic card reader mounted on a yellow post scans your car for the presence of any radio-frequency ID cards inside. If there is an enhanced driver’s license embedded with biometric information, its unique PIN number is read without you offering it.

The Customs and Border Protection computer connects with your province’s database and in less than a second – .56 to be exact – your personal information is uploaded to a screen in the booth. A second camera snaps the driver’s face.

Welcome to the United States of America.

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Mexican NGOs, Brigadier General, Unite in Letter Against Plan Mexico

May 7, 2009

Yesterday, 72 Mexican civil society organizations and a Brigadier General of the Mexican Army sent the following letter to US Congress demanding that all military aid to Mexico be immediately halted. The letter comes as the US House of Representative is considering more than doubling 2009 funding for the war on drugs in Mexico.

Human rights organizations from Mexico City and 21 of Mexico’s 31 states signed the letter.

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Spying on anti-war protestors: US Army Concept of Operations for Police Intelligence Operations, 4 Mar 2009

Download document here.

Get Them While They’re Young

A new generation of thugs is being trained for post-9/11 law enforcement. From the New York Times:

    The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

    “This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

    The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out “active shooters,” like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.

    “Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,” a Border Patrol agent explained. “I guarantee that he’ll shut up.”

The kids sure seem to have fun while they learn:

    One participant, Felix Arce, 16, said he liked “the discipline of the program,” which was something he said his life was lacking. “I want to be a lawyer, and this teaches you about how crimes are committed,” he said.

    Cathy Noriego, also 16, said she was attracted by the guns. The group uses compressed-air guns — known as airsoft guns, which fire tiny plastic pellets — in the training exercises, and sometimes they shoot real guns on a closed range.

    “I like shooting them,” Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.”

Those running the Explorer programs want kids as young as possible to get hooked:

    The law enforcement posts are restricted to those ages 14 to 21 who have a C average, but there seems to be some wiggle room. “I will take them at 13 and a half,” Deputy Lowenthal said. “I would rather take a kid than possibly lose a kid.”

And people demonize tobacco companies for targeting youngsters?

Ending the Drug War Would End the Violence

The news media are rife with stories about Mexican drug cartels operating throughout the United States and drug-related violence threatening U.S. cities near the border. Americans are becoming reluctant to cross into Mexican towns for fear of getting caught in the crossfire.

Do we need another reason to end the abominable war on “drugs” (a war on people, actually)?

You read that right. The drug trade is violent because the U.S. government persists in trying to eradicate the manufacture, sale, and consumption of certain substances. If there were no drug war, there would be no drug violence. Those who doubt this should ask themselves why violent cartels aren’t fighting over the tobacco and liquor trades.

In America we play a dangerous game. We pretend that if the government outlaws a product — such as heroin or cocaine or marijuana — it vanishes. But we know it’s not true. The product simply goes into the black market, where anyone who wants it can get it. They still can’t keep drugs out of prisons!

The key question is, who provides it? When a product is banned, respectable people tend to stay out of the trade. That leaves it to those who have few scruples — including scruples about the use of violence. Indeed, the black market rewards such people. If a party reneges on a contract for heroin, the other has to take matters into his own hands because he can’t sue. Cutthroats prosper.

So we shouldn’t be surprised when violence erupts between drug gangs and harms innocent people. While each perpetrator of mayhem is responsible for his actions, we must also condemn the entity that created the environment in which violence pays.

That entity is government. As long as it enforces the ban on drugs, there will be violence within the drug trade. And there will be more than that: police brutality, particularly in minority communities; erosion of civil liberties; corruption of the legal system; prisons full of nonviolent drug consumers; development of more-potent substances; and the enticement of youth — the lure of forbidden fruit.

Those are only the domestic effects. By trying to suppress the growing of coca and poppy in foreign countries, the U.S. government makes enemies for America, creates constituencies for terrorist and guerilla movements, and helps to finance their operations.

Nothing good comes from prohibition. Yet the evils of prohibition are blamed on drug consumers and guns!

So why is there a “war on drugs”? It provides a nice living for demagogic politicians, DEA thugs, and all kinds of “drug-abuse experts” who gladly accept taxpayer money for services no one would pay for willingly. There are big bucks in prohibition, compliments of the taxpayers. The only people less eager for an end to it are the cartel bosses, whose profits would evaporate overnight.

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More bilingual deputies in Riverside County, fewer in San Bernardino County

The percentage of sworn deputies who are bilingual has climbed in Riverside County and dropped slightly in San Bernardino County compared to six years ago, according to data from the sheriff’s departments.

In 2003, 1.5 percent of deputies in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department were bilingual. Today that number is 12.5 percent.

In the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deparment, 10.6 percent of deputies were bilingual in 2003. Today it is 8.4 percent.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey, 33 percent of residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties spoke Spanish at home.

Hispanic leaders say it is vital for law enforcement officers to have language skills other than English.

See also:

Hesperia deputies no hablan español

Good ol’ Boys

Supervisors appoint Rod Hoops as sheriff

San Bernardino County supervisor hires controversial activist

Supervisor Josie Gonzales criticizes hiring of immigration activist

This is a hate-free city: Minutemen founder persona non grata

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Arrests of U.S. border agents on the rise

WASHINGTON — A rising number of U.S. border enforcement officers are being arrested on corruption charges as Mexican drug cartels look to bribes as a way to get around tougher enforcement, border officials say.

Investigators arrested 21 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on corruption charges in the fiscal year that ended last September, up from eight in the previous 12 months, according to CBP. This year, 14 have been arrested.

Since 2004, 84 officers have been arrested and 62 were convicted, says James Tomsheck, assistant commissioner for internal affairs at CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. That number represents a small fraction of the more than 52,000 people employed by the agency, which enforces U.S. law along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

Still, the trend is alarming, Tomsheck says. “We’re deeply concerned. The numbers are disturbing.”

Another troubling trend: Mexican syndicates are trying to plant their own people in the agency. Investigators have arrested at least four agents since 2007 who they believe were sent by drug cartels to infiltrate the CBP, Tomsheck says.

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This is a hate-free city: Minutemen founder persona non grata

Monday, April 20 2009 CLAREMONT, California– Despite the right wing’s efforts at deception and obfuscation, pro-immigrant, pro-human rights, anti-racist, and community activists organized strong opposition to the arrival of anti-immigrant extremist Jim Gilchrist to our neighborhood.

A group called the Mountain View Republican Club invited Gilchrist to speak at an upscale Italian restaurant, but once activists informed them who he was, they decided to close down for the day, forcing the Republicans to relocate to a hotel elsewhere in the city at the last minute. Although the police informed some of us that the event had been cancelled, we found out the truth early on.

Activists met at about five in the afternoon on the Pitzer College campus to make signs and plot a new course of action, deciding to carpool and cycle down the street to the hotel.

After brainstorming ideas for placards, we gathered on a lawn across from the tiny room where Gilchrist intended to speak. A respected and well-liked professor stirred the crowd by pointing out the historical significance of the intrusion of a hatemonger into our community on April 20:

“Not only has Gilchrist placed the blame on immigrants for the lack of jobs and human services, he willingly allowed members of the National Alliance, one of the United States’ largest neo-Nazi organizations, to help with his 2005 campaign for the house of representatives here in California.

See also;

Making Babies for the Führer

Supervisor Josie Gonzales criticizes hiring of immigration activist

San Bernardino County supervisor hires controversial activist

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GAO Report on DEA’s Post-9/11 Drug Control Responsibilities

Drug Control: Better Coordination With the Department of Homeland Security and an Updated Accountability Framework Can Further Enhance DEA’s Efforts to Meet Post-9/11 Responsibilities

“Given the global context of the war on drugs-coupled with growing recognition since September 11, 2001 (9/11), of the nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism-the mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and efforts to forge effective interagency partnerships and coordination are increasingly important. the Government Accountability Office was asked to examine, in the context of the post-9/11 environment, DEA’s priorities, interagency partnerships and coordination mechanisms, and strategic plan and performance measures. GAO reviewed DEA policy, planning, and budget documents and visited 7 of DEA’s 21 domestic field offices and 3 of its 7 regional offices abroad-sites selected to reflect diverse drug-trafficking threats, among other factors. GAO also contacted other relevant federal agencies-including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-and various state and local partner agencies.

GAO recommends that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security take actions to enhance the effectiveness of interagency partnerships involving DEA, ICE, and CBP and the multiagency Special Operations Division and the OCDETF Fusion Center. DOJ agreed. DHS responded that discussions with DOJ are ongoing. DHS neither explicitly agreed nor disagreed with GAO’s recommendations but suggested revisions to the wording, which GAO did not make.”

Young preacher tasered, beaten at Arizona traffic stop for refusing to submit to warrantless search

March crash of unmanned spy plane under Air Force investigation

Air Force investigators are probing the crash of an unmanned MQ-9 Reaper spy plane assigned to Creech Air Force Base that went down March 20 during a training mission over Fort Irwin, Calif., an Air Combat Command spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

“It did crash. Until the investigation is closed there’s not much we can say,” said the spokeswoman, Capt. Jennifer Ferrau, at command headquarters in Langley Air Force Base, Va.

She said a preliminary cause of the crash and a damage estimate were unavailable Tuesday.

See also: No one claiming crashed drone in the desert

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DHS Releases New Immigration Statistics for 2008

Naturalizations in the United States: 2008

U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2008

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics has just released these two statistical reports which provide information on U.S. legal permanent residents and naturalizations for the year 2008. These reports are part of an ongoing series of annually reported data which the Office of Immigration Statistics provides. All reports are available on their website.

Why Secretly Funded DEA Surveillance Planes Aren’t Flying

WASHINGTON — The first sign of trouble with the Drug Enforcement Administration‘s new surveillance planes surfaced almost immediately.  On the way from the manufacturer to the agency’s aviation headquarters, one of them veered off a runway during a fuel stop.

The malfunction last spring was only the beginning.  A month later, the windshield unlatched in mid-flight and smashed into the engine.  Then, in a third incident on the same plane, a connection between the propeller and the engine came loose and forced an emergency landing.

In January, after less than 10 months of operation, the cascade of mechanical problems forced the DEA to ground the planes.

The planes recently were scheduled to be “cannibalized” so the DEA could sell the parts and recover as much of its money as possible.

The story behind why the DEA sought out the three planes, only to become the second federal agency to give them up, illustrates the pitfalls of “black,” or classified, budgeting in which Congress approves tens of billions of dollars for intelligence agencies outside the public’s view.

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DEA’s Operation Xcellerator is Another Justice Department Dog and Pony Show

Despite the  “Largest and Hardest Hitting Operation to Ever Target” the Sinaloa Cartel, the DEA is Merely Treading Water in the War on Drugs

On February 25, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) held a press conference celebrating the culmination of Operation Xcellerator, which it says resulted in the arrests of 755 Sinaloa Cartel members in the United States and Mexico.  Law enforcement agencies arrested the last 52 suspects the day of the press conference, which the DoJ  held on the same day the House of Representatives voted on 2009 funding for Plan Mexico.  Plan Mexico, also known as the Merida Initiative, is the US government’s estimated $1.6 billion military and law enforcement aid package to support the Mexican government’s increasingly violent war on drugs.

With Plan Mexico, the United States government wedded itself to Mexican president Felipe Calderon‘s stated strategy of attacking the big drug trafficking organizations in Mexico head-on.  Calderon didn’t invent this strategy; it is the same strategy the United States and Colombia used in Colombia under Plan Colombia.

Since the strategy in Mexico has not decreased the levels of illicit drug flows into the United States, and because it has not decreased drug-related violence (drug-related murders more than doubled in Mexico last year), pressure is on both the Mexican and US governments to prove some quantifiable successes in the war on drugs.  They’re doing this by making (or creating) high-profile arrests of suspected members of Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations (DTOs).

Se also:

Anti-Drug War Marchers block Mexico-US border

At least our Mexican neighbors are still standing up for their freedom (and ours)

100 years of government abuse, corruption and lies

Academics and the Chihuahua Government Say Decriminalizing Drugs is a Subject That Can’t be Avoided

EZLN Criticizes the Drug War

Report Review: New Federal Drug Threat Assessment Finds Prohibition Greatest Drug-Related Menace

Lourdes Cárdenas: Drug War Threatens Mexican Democracy

Mexico More Dangerous Than Iraq, Due to Drug War

US Police Train Mexican Police to Torture

US Releases $90 million in Plan Mexico Military Hardware

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Thousands march against Arpaio in Phoenix

Thousands of opponents of Sheriff Joe Arpaio‘s illegal-immigration policies held their “March to Stop the Hate” in downtown Phoenix on Saturday..

As of 1:30 p.m., the speeches were still being made at the march’s destination, the federal building. According to initial reports, the march was peaceful, with no major incidents as of early Saturday afternoon.

Crowd estimates from organizers and law enforcement were not immediately available, but at least one estimate put it at about 3,000.

See also:

Sheriff Arpaio ordered to pay more attorney fees in Arizona case

Finally, the Law Goes After Joe Arpaio — the Most Abusive Sheriff In America

Arpaio’s Jail Staff Cost Ambrett Spencer Her Baby, and She’s Not the Only One

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Ex-agent: Probe of head of Riverside office widens

Already under investigation for allegedly punishing agents who did not meet arrest quotas, the head of Riverside’s U.S. Border Patrol office is now being probed for other alleged offenses, according to a former agent and the union representing Riverside agents.

Ramon Chavez, patrol agent in charge of the Riverside office, declined to comment.

The office of inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security is conducting the quota investigation. Homeland Security spokesman Michael Keegan declined to say whether the probe goes beyond the quota allegations.

Agents in the Riverside office say Chavez repeatedly changed their schedules as punishment for not meeting quotas, a violation of agency rules.

See also: Former Border Patrol agent describes ‘quota pressure’

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Finally, the Law Goes After Joe Arpaio — the Most Abusive Sheriff In America

WASHINGTON – House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), and Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) called on Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to investigate allegations of misconduct by Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Arpaio has repeatedly demonstrated disregard for the rights of Hispanics in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Under the guise of immigration enforcement, his staff has conducted raids in residential neighborhoods in a manner condemned by the community as racial profiling. On February 4, 2009, Arpaio invited the media to view the transfer of immigrant detainees to a segregated area of his “tent city” jail, subjecting the detainees to public display and “ritual humiliation.” Persistent actions such as these have resulted in numerous lawsuits; while Arpaio spends time and energy on publicity and his reality television show, “Smile… You’re Under Arrest!”, Maricopa County has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.

The text of the attached letter is linked here.

See also;  Arpaio’s Jail Staff Cost Ambrett Spencer Her Baby, and She’s Not the Only One

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Canada Recalls Database of Citizens’ Personal Info Over Concerns of Abuse by US

The Canadian government is repatriating a database of personal information about British Columbia citizens after warnings the U.S. government might misuse it.

The information on several hundred Canadians was provided to U.S. Customs and Border Protection last year as part of a project to issue enhanced driver’s licenses instead of passports to streamline land border crossings.

The pilot project is the first step in a Canada-wide program in which personal information on hundreds of thousands of Canadians could have been handed over to the U.S. agency.

Instead, the Canada Border Services Agency has bowed to pressure from privacy advocates and is recalling the database, and Canadian officials say the U.S. border agency has promised to erase its records.

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Hey Kids, Wanna Play Security Checkpoint: The Terrifying Marketing Of Police State Normalacy To Children

When I flew home from Washington, DC after a business trip last week, the TSA agent asked to test my laptop.  I politely asked what they were testing for.  It was just routine she told me.  And she’s right, it has become routine, a much too routine standard operating procedure designed to make us believe that the usurping of our privacy and human rights is normal and necessary if we are to be secure and free.

The obvious irony  is that we are not secure and  free if government agents have a right to violate our privacy and deny our rights without cause.  I considered protesting but I figured that the best outcome of that would be missing my flight, the worst case  being detained incommunicado in an undisclosed location.  The likelihood of a plausible explanation for this sudden interest in my laptop was undoubtedly nil. In other words, whatcha gonna do and TSA knows that.

My youngest son barely has a memory of when you could get on a plane without having to take off your shoes first.  He was in 4th grade on Sept. 11, 2001 and within  days his school was decked out in American flags and “I Support President Bush” signs appeared everywhere.  For him this is normal, the way things are supposed to be.  And that is no accident.

What is particularly disturbing about the normalizing of this notion that it is unpatriotic to question measures that supposedly defend us from acts of terror is the use of entertainment to hawk the message. In addition to the  Disney-owned ABC’s Homeland Security reality show, there is now a Homeland Security television channel on the internet that bills itself as,

(T)he world’s first online, on-demand television network dedicated to homeland security and global development. HSTV is a 24/7 interactive television channel dedicated to producing broadcast-quality video programs on all aspects of homeland security and the role of global development in fighting terrorism.

HSTV is also dedicated to facilitating rapid awareness of new technologies and services, and assisting in the transfer of those technology solutions to the government and critical infrastructure marketplace.

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Former Border Patrol agent describes ‘quota pressure’

MURRIETA, Calif. — A former Border Patrol officer said Thursday that constant demands to meet monthly arrest quotas led agents in the Inland Empire to cruise streets, bus stops and even medical clinics looking for illegal immigrants.

“We had to make eight apprehensions a day and if we didn’t meet that goal we were pressured to get more the next day,” said Tony Plattel, who was fired last month for driving what he said were six dehydrated illegal immigrants back to headquarters despite orders to wait until his van was full. “I interfered with the quota, that’s why I was fired,” he said.

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(Riverside) Justice for Annette García: Community responds to police murder of activist mother

RIVERSIDE, California – January 29, 2009 The Brown Berets of Aztlán led a march from the César Chávez Community Center at the Bobby Bonds Park to the Riverside Sheriff’s Department, where they held a candlelight vigil and demonstration.

They convoked the assembly to build momentum for the movement for justice for Annette García, a Perris resident, Brown Beret member, and mother of six, who was shot in the back on January 23 by a Riverside sheriff’s deputy.

The Brown Berets were joined by mourners, anti-police brutality activists, community members, and immigrant rights activists, many of also protested today’s simultaneous immigration raids in many communities across the Inland Empire.

See also:

cbs2.com – Brown Berets De Aztlan Hold Protest Over Shooting

Brown Berets de Aztlan are recruiting and forming new chapters

Brown Berets de Aztlan protest the police murder of one of their own

ALIPAC – Brown Berets De Aztlan Hold Protest Over Shooting

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I am a Terrorist

See also:

Domestic Militarization Comes to San Bernardino County

Patriot Act – The War on Civil Liberties

The Second Amendment Versus The Police State?

Veterans for Peace (VFP) Opposes Combat Brigade’s Permanent U.S. Assignment

Assignment America: Keep juries dumb

Excellent Article on the Corrupt Prison-Industrial Complex

Court Rules Patriot Act’s “National Security Letter” Gag Provisions Unconstitutional

SoCal Martial Law Alerts’ Checkpoint Response Team

How you became the enemy

ACLU Challenges Border Patrol’s Searches

SEATTLE — The note from U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan to the U.S. Border Patrol was short and to the point: Stop sending petty marijuana cases to his office.”

It is our long-standing policy to use limited federal resources to pursue the sophisticated criminal organizations who smuggle millions of dollars of drugs, guns and other contraband across our borders,” Sullivan wrote in November.

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Prohibition and the Rise of Crime

On January 17, 1920, The 18th Amendment went into effect and what is known as Prohibition became reality. What did not become reality were the predictions of the benefits it would have vis-a-vis Organized Crime.

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Feds: Boston border official Lorraine Henderson hired illegals

A U.S. border official whose job it is to keep illegal aliens out of New England was busted yesterday for knowingly employing three Brazilian housekeepers who snuck into the United States unlawfully, federal prosecutors charged.

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