I think this is a particularly good day to look back to, say, April of 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano presiding, put out a nine-page report in which the DHS pointed out that veterans were being recruited by rightwing terrorist groups around the country. (This was about when people started noticing that the real crazy had come out of the jar when this particular president had been sworn in.) Oh, the fuss that this raised.
John Boehner said of Napolitano that he wanted an “explanation for why she has abandoned using the term ‘terrorist’ to describe those, such as al Qaeda, who are plotting overseas to kill innocent Americans, while her own Department is using the same term to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation.”
Professional rage puppet Michelle Malkin wrote: Moreover, the report relies on the work of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center to stir anxiety over “disgruntled military veterans” - a citation which gives us valuable insight into how DHS will define “hate-oriented” groups. The SPLC, you see, has designated the venerable American Legion a “hate group” for its stance on immigration enforcement. The report offers zero data, but states with an almost resentful attitude toward protected free speech: “Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.”
Well, if ol’ Frazier Glenn Miller had had his way, Malkin wouldn’t have had to worry about the left-leaning SPLC any more.
Since it seems to be getting more and more difficult by the day to find objective, well-researched information, this is part of my ongoing effort to locate & share resources I feel might be of interest to LGF readers.1
I stumbled upon this quarterly journal, Global Security Studies (GSS), after following a footnote link in Wikipedia this morning
From their “About GSS” page:
Global Security Studies (GSS) publishes high-quality, academic and scholarly research, as well as professional articles in all areas of global security studies including in such areas as international and national security, military and defense, intelligence, human security, corporate and law enforcement, environmental, food and health security, and homeland security and defense. All articles submitted to and published in Global Security Studies (GSS) undergo a rigorous, peer-reviewed process. […]
More: Global Security Studies
There are currently a total of 16 issues of the journal available for download in the archives, starting with the first issue in the Spring of 2010 and ending with the most recent, the Winter of 2014. Each issue is split up into papers, of which there are 94 (I know this because I downloaded them all).
The papers cover everything from Latin America to the IRA, the Balkans, Africa & the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia, and the radicalization of youth in North America & Western Europe. Before deciding to post this Page, I skimmed through several of the papers and all seemed to present their subjects in a way that was engaging, not overly dry or academic.
Reference works are provided in the endnotes of each paper. Additionally, according to the Instructions for Authors page, “All manuscripts will be reviewed by three members of the Editorial Board or qualified outside reviewers.”
Here’s a list of the papers in the current issue, Vol 5, Issue 1, Winter 2014:
- The Emergence of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Effectiveness of the US Counterterrorism Efforts
- Cyber-Security: The Threat of the Internet
- Syria, Iran, and Hizballah: A Strategic Alliance
- The Legality behind Targeted Killings and the Use of Drones in the War on Terror
- The Impact of CIA Drone Strikes and the Shifting Paradigm of U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy
- Radicalization of Youth as a Growing Concern for Counter-Terrorism Policy
Um, how is it copyright violation is a Homeland Security matter? Talk about mission creep! Next question-Why were the glasses yanked off his face? How does that help anything? And why was looking the the memory of the device not the very first thing to do? If that were me I’d be refusing to answer any and all questions until that happened. I’d demand a lawyer for any and all questioning. And my last stop might be at an ACLU office & a few media outlets.
A patron of an AMC theater in Columbus, Ohio, was detained this past Saturday for wearing Google Glass while watching a movie, according to a report from The Gadgeteer. The Glass-wearer, who wishes to remain anonymous, was pulled out of the theater mid-Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and questioned for an hour by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents.
POLICE TICKET GOOGLE GLASS-WEARING DRIVER FOR WATCHING “TV” IN CAR
Did I break the law, officer, or did I just blow your mind?
The man had recently had prescription lenses fit to his Google Glass and wore them in to see the movie. According to his testimony published at The Gadgeteer, an agent approached him an hour in, “yank[ed] the Google Glass” off his face and commanded the man to follow him. Outside the theater were 5 to 10 cops and mall security personnel.
The man was taken to a room for questioning and said the agent told him he “[had] been caught illegally taping a movie.” During the questioning, the man repeatedly invited the agents to connect to his Glass’ USB port to demonstrate that there was no content on the device but photos of his dog and wife.
After an hour of pumping the man for personal information and the circumstances of his Glass ownership, the agents connected to his Glass and smartphone with a computer and browsed their contents. Satisfied that the devices contained no illegal recordings, the agents sent the man on his way with two free movie passes.
Alan Keyes wants Americans to embrace “synoptic thinking.” Synoptic means “seeing apparently distinct things or events as they relate to one another to form, on the whole, a coherent plan, pattern or design.” So he lists a bunch of points that he labels “data” and tries to draw a connection. I’m sure you’ll be shocked at the connections he draws.
Data: Obama issues orders to allow open homosexuality in the military.
Nope. False. Obama did not issue an order to do this, Congress passed a law that did this.
Data: An anti-Christian extremist, who decries Christian military personnel who share their faith as “enemies of the Constitution,” “virulently homophobic” and “human monsters,” meets Obama-appointed Pentagon officials. The Pentagon thereafter issues “a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith.”
Also false and debunked repeatedly.
Data: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says he believes open purchase orders from the Department of Homeland Security to buy over 1 billion rounds of ammunition are part of an “intentional” effort by the Obama administration to “dry up the market” for gun-owning citizens.
Data: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin believes the federal government is “stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.”
Keyes looked up the definition of synoptic; he clearly needs to look up data too. These are not “data” they are idiotic conspiracy theories that have been disproved even by the NRA, for crying out loud.
Two people seen in a photo with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in New York’s famed Times Square are being held by authorities on administrative immigration violations, Fox News has confirmed.
The two men were identified to Fox News as Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both citizens of Kazakhstan. They can be seen standing next to Tsarnaev in a photo believed to have been taken in April 2012 in Times Square, which authorities suspect was another of the bombers’ intended targets.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were arrested April 20 — five days after the attack at the marathon — at the Hidden Brook apartments by the FBI and Homeland Security in New Bedford Mass., and they are being detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement at the Suffolk County House of Corrections in Boston because of problems relating to their student visas, sources told Fox News.
By making his wild allegations, Beck was asking listeners to ignore the fact that law enforcement officials had previously, and repeatedly, denied earlier right-wing media claims that the Saudi student had been taken into “custody,” or was in any way responsible for the blast.
Indeed, officials at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security both soundly denied the story, explaining that there were two different Saudi nationals: one recovering in a Boston hospital who had witnessed and been injured in the explosions but was not a suspect, and another in ICE custody who was unrelated to the bombing investigation. Beck responded by calling for President Obama to be impeached for what he considered the sprawling government cover-up that now surrounded the student, Saudi Arabia and Al Qaeda.
So yeah, it was that kind of week for the right-wing media. It was a debacle.
In the same week that Pulitzer prizes were announced honoring the finest in American journalism, many in the far-right media worked to set news standards in mindless, awful behavior in the wake of the Boston attack.
Faced with covering the most important American terror news story in a decade, too many players opted to just make stuff up. Prompting witch hunts, they cast innocents as would-be killers and then couldn’t be bothered with apologies.
It was a memorable week in which the conservative media’s highest profile newspaper, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, seemed committed to getting as many stories wrong about the Boston attack as possible.
It started right on schedule early Saturday morning. The second guessing and the criticism over the choices made by local, state, and federal law enforcement Friday morning regarding the pursuit of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Should the city of Boston and many of its western suburbs have been locked down for the entirety of a working day?
The carping is taking two forms, the first emerging from the conspiracy wings of both right and left. It was a demonstration by (pick one) Homeland Security, the Obama administration, the military, or just “them” to prove they could easily shut down a major American city and/or make the “sheeple” follow any order that entity might chose to give. That one is easily dismissed although the rest of us are likely to spend too much time trying to do instead of merely rolling our eyes and saying, “There you go again.”
The second will undoubtedly take hold and do a lot to undermine the gratitude and good will we saw demonstrated on the streets of Watertown and Boston after it was all over. Was the lockdown overkill, a terrible misuse of resources, an abuse of power?
Let me ask a question of my own. Would you be asking this if the two men and/or any accomplices had salted the streets of Boston or Cambridge or the subways that link so much of the area with more of those pressure cooker bombs. Would you be asking it if Tsarnaev had ultimately made his way to New York City or your own downtown?
Special election is bringing them out of the woodwork.
Yesterday I got a robocall promoting Xanthi Gionis, a candidate for CA’s 40th state senate district in the special election this week, and so decided to check her out. Though the call boasted that she was the only candidate with an “A rating by the NRA,” Gionis’s story was much worse than I expected. This Tea Party affiliate:
-has recently been accused of fraud for running a diploma-mill fake university ripping off third-world students,
-has had her “Aristotle University” shut down by the state,
-is under investigation by Homeland Security,
-has had at least one ex-teacher go on-camera to say Gionis borrowed money for the campaign (for my robocall?) and won’t pay it back,
-threatened her students with deportation if they didn’t pay their tuition on time,
-is running around saying all of the above are “personal attacks” likes she’s the victim, and
-couldn’t even get the endorsement of the Republican party this time; she’s running as an independent.
It’s really hard to watch the plaintive testimony of one of her students, who came all the way from Ghana and lost his life savings, without thinking that Xanthi Gionis is a major-league scumbag; hopefully she’ll soon be a convicted felon and/or the target of a major lawsuit, too; I can’t see any way that charges won’t be brought against her or that her ex-students don’t have an open-and-shut case. Her website falsely claimed the school was accredited, it showed a large modern building as the “university” when in fact the whole school was a one-room office, the instruction was often limited to sitting around and watching videos, and now it’s been shut down for not even having a license.
Public affairs officers in Southern Arizona and along the Southwest border received an unusual directive from a regional spokesman on Feb. 1.
“All,” William Brooks addressed them, “We will no longer provide interviews, ride-alongs, visits etc. about the border, the state of the border and what have you.
“Should you get a request, inform the reporter that you will see what you can do and get back to them. Then send it to me.”
If that sounds like an instruction for these agency spokesmen not to do their jobs, you shouldn’t be surprised. The U.S. Border Patrol and other agencies of the Department of Homeland Security have worked steadily over recent years to centralize their image control and deflect scrutiny.
This has happened at the same time the Border Patrol has grown to become the largest law-enforcement agency in Southern Arizona by far, numbering 4,300 agents. The upshot: It’s harder and harder for the public to know how this omnipresent force is using its taxpayer funding and its police authority.
In email exchanges over weeks, [Customs and Border Protection regional spokesman William Brooks] said the Border Patrol’s use-of-force policy is not publicly available - even though other police agencies post such policies on the Internet - and denied a request to know what discipline, if any, several agents had received as a result of specific shootings.
Revealing a misunderstanding of the difference between government employees and workers for private companies, he wrote in a Nov. 30 email to me, “I would expect your personnel records are private as well, no?”
Given all this, it wasn’t surprising how the agency responded when I sent them the Feb. 1 email, which was passed on to me, and asked for an explanation. Brooks’ emailed response was one sentence: “Who sent you a copy of the email?”
I asked our local congressmen, Ron Barber and Raúl Grijalva, if they wanted to comment on the issue. Grijalva responded and pointed out what may be a key explanation.
“Sometimes I think the effort on the border happened so fast that the processes never caught up with it,” he said. “If we’re going to have a security effort of this magnitude, then there should be a corresponding attention to transparency and access.”
“Should” isn’t enough. In a democracy like ours, in a region where we encounter Homeland Security agents daily, transparency is a must.
Read the whole column, and see a copy of Brooks’s email, here: Tim Steller: Border Patrol Tries to Control Image
No doubt one of the cases the Border Patrol doesn’t want to talk about is this one: US Border Patrol Agents Shot Mexican Teen 7 Times From Behind. But there are many others. Last December, Tim Steller wrote a blog post about abuses by the Border Patrol.
Grijalva is right, there should be transparency. And Steller is right, there must be transparency.