Posts Tagged ‘global control’

The Kassandra Project

Global Research, August 29, 2008
Antifascist Calling… – 2008-08-28

You’ve heard of the FBI’s “Quantico Circuit” and were outraged by illegal warrantless wiretapping by Bushist minions. To no avail, you flooded Congress with emails and phone calls, angered by the bipartisan “FISA Amendments Act of 2008” and the swell party thrown by AT&T for “Blue Dog” Democrats in Denver this week for the convention.

But just in time for a new administration (and the bundles of cash always at the ready for the expanding homeland security market), comes a complete “surveillance in a box” system called the Intelligence Platform!

According to New Scientist, German electronics giant Siemens has developed software allegedly capable of integrating

…tasks typically done by separate surveillance teams or machines, pooling data from sources such as telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records. It then sorts through this mountain of information using software that Siemens dubs “intelligence modules”. (Laura Margottini, “Surveillance Made Easy,” New Scientist, 23 August 2008)

New Scientist reports that the firm has sold the system to some 60 countries in Europe and Asia. Which countries? Well, Siemens won’t say.

However, privacy and human rights advocates say the system bears a remarkable resemblance to China’s “Golden Shield,” a massive surveillance network that integrates huge information databases, internet and email monitoring, speech and facial recognition platforms in combination with CCTV monitoring.

Designed specifically for “fusion centers” or their European/Asian equivalents, the Intelligence Platform promises to provide “real-time” high-tech tools to foil terrorist plots before they’re hatched (or keep tabs on antiwar/antiglobalization activists).

The latest item in the emerging “intelligent” software niche market, Intelligence Platform has been “trained” on a large number of sample documents to zero in on names, phone numbers or places from generic text. “This means it can spot names or numbers that crop up alongside anyone already of interest to the authorities, and then catalogue any documents that contain such associates,” New Scientist avers.

In the UK, the Home Office announced it plans to provide law enforcement, local councils and other public agencies access to the details of text messages, emails and internet browsing. This follows close on the heels of an announcement last May that New Labour was considering building a massive centralized database “as a tool to help the security services tackle crime and terrorism.” According to The Guardian,

Local councils, health authorities and hundreds of other public bodies are to be given the power to access details of everyone’s personal text, emails and internet use under Home Office proposals published yesterday.

Ministers want to make it mandatory for telephone and internet companies to keep details of all personal internet traffic for at least 12 months so it can be accessed for investigations into crime or other threats to public safety. …

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats last night branded the measure a “snooper’s charter”. (Alan Travis, “‘Snooper’s charter’ to check texts and email,” The Guardian, Wednesday, August 13, 2008)

A blurb posted on Siemens’ website claims that the “challenge” is “to foster the well-being of law-abiding citizens” and therefore, “authorized groups need to have direct access to communications between suspects, whether it is individuals, groups or organizations. Only then can they take appropriate action, detect, prevent and anticipate crimes and guarantee peace and security.”

In other words, if you’ve got nothing to hide “trust us:” the shopworn mantra of securocrats everywhere. And in today’s climate, this is an especially burdensome challenge for state security and corporate spies who demand “highly-sophisticated, multi-level voice and data recordings” in order to destroy our rights while transforming our respective societies into Orwellian police states. New Scientist reports,

Once a person is being monitored, pattern-recognition software first identifies their typical behaviour, such as repeated calls to certain numbers over a period of a few months. The software can then identify any deviations from the norm and flag up unusual activities, such as transactions with a foreign bank, or contact with someone who is also under surveillance, so that analysts can take a closer look.

But if the experience of U.S. Fusion Centers are any indication of the accuracy of the Siemens system, false positives will be endemic while thousands, if not millions, of perfectly innocent individuals are forever ensnared in the state’s data driftnet. According to the American Civil Liberties Union,

The Justice Department’s 2006 Guidelines envision fusion centers doing more than simply sharing legitimately acquired law enforcement information across different branches of our burgeoning security establishment. The Guidelines encourage compiling data “from nontraditional sources, such as public safety entities and private sector organizations” and fusing it with federal intelligence “to anticipate, identify, prevent, and/or monitor criminal and terrorist activity.” This strongly implies the use of statistical dragnets that have come to be called data-mining. The inevitable result of a data-mining approach to fusion centers will be:

Many innocent individuals will be flagged, scrutinized, investigated, placed on watch lists, interrogated or arrested, and possibly suffer irreparable harm to their reputation, all because of a hidden machinery of data brokers, information aggregators and computer algorithms.

Law enforcement agencies will waste time and resources investing in high-tech computer boondoggles that leave them chasing false leads–while real threats go unaddressed and limited resources are sucked away from the basic, old-fashioned legwork that is the only way genuine terror plots have ever been foiled. (Michael German and Jay Staley, “What’s Wrong with Fusion Centers,” American Civil Liberties, December 2007)

But perhaps “high-tech computer boondoggles” are precisely the point!

After all, the Boeing Company and their sidekicks at SRI International (which describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit research institute”) were recently criticized by a House Science and Technology Subcommittee for “irregularities” in the government’s Railhead program, a suite of software “upgrades” to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), “a vast database of names that feeds the nation’s terrorist watch list,” the Associated Press reported.

Railhead was touted as a “fix” for a system built by Lockheed Martin in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. According to congressional investigators, the system provides data to all federal terrorist watch lists, including the “no-fly” list run by the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration and the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, a national clearinghouse for federal, state and local fusion centers.

According to the House committee the program is months behind schedule, millions over budget and “would actually be less capable than the U.S. government terrorist tracking system it is meant to replace.” Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported,

When tested, the new system failed to find matches for terrorist-suspect names that were spelled slightly different from the name entered into the system, a common challenge when translating names from Arabic to English. It also could not perform basic searches of multiple words connected with terms such as “and” and “or.” (Siobhan Gorman, “Flaws Found in Watch List for Terrorists, The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008)

Leaving aside the racist presuppositions of the Journal, to wit, that Arab = terrorist (no small matter when dealing with nativist yahoos here in the “homeland” or elswehere), as Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) said in a statement, “the program appears to be on the brink of collapse after an estimated half-billion dollars in taxpayer funding has been spent on it.” According to the committee,

The Railhead program had been undergoing an internal technical implosion for more than one year. But public statements and sworn public testimony to Congress from senior officials within the NCTC [National Counterterrorist Center] and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) never revealed the mounting technical troubles, poor contractor management or lax government oversight that appears to have been endemic throughout the program and has led to Railhead’s colossal failure. Astoundingly, the Director of NCTC and the Director of National Intelligence have both specifically pointed to TIDE and NCTC Online as hallmarks of the government’s information sharing accomplishments. (“Technical Flaws Hinder Terrorist Watch List; Congress Calls for Investigation,” Committee on Science and Technology, Press Release, August 21, 2008)

In a technical sense, the NCTC and the ODNI may be correct in touting TIDE and NCTC Online as “hallmarks of the government’s information sharing accomplishments,” if by “sharing accomplishments” they meant handing over unlimited bundles of taxpayer’s hard-earned cash to enterprising contractors!

Gorman reports that in “recent weeks, the government has fired most of the 862 private contractors from dozens of companies working on the Railhead project, and only a skeleton crew remains.” Boeing and SRI’s response? According to the Journal, “calls to officials of Boeing and SRI were not immediately returned.”

I bet they weren’t! Especially since the committee said “Railhead insiders” allege that the government paid Boeing some $200 million to retrofit the company’s Herndon, Virginia office with security upgrades so that top secret software work could be performed there. The government then leased the same office space from Boeing. How’s that for hitting the old corporate “sweet spot.”

None of this of course, should surprise anyone, least of all defense lobby dollar-addicted members of Congress who, like Captain Renault in Casablanca are “shocked, shocked” to find their corporate “partners” have failed to deliver–again.

According to Washington Technology’s list of “2008 Top 100 Government Prime Contractors,” Boeing clocked-in at No. 2 with $9,706,621,413 in taxpayer handouts. No slouches themselves, Siemens placed No. 79 with some $186,292,146 in prime government contracts across an array of defense and civilian agencies. With Railhead’s imminent demise, perhaps the German electronics giant has a future in the U.S. “homeland security” market with its Intelligent Platform?

Then again, perhaps not. Computer security expert Bruce Schneier told New Scientist, “‘currently there are no good patterns available to recognise terrorists,’ he says, and questions whether Siemens has got around this.” But since the business of government is business, maybe they do after all.

Meanwhile, the PRISE consortium of security technology and human rights experts funded by the European Union, called “for a moratorium on the development of fusion technologies, referring explicitly to the Siemens Intelligence Platform,” Margottini reported.

According to New Scientist, PRISE analysts told the EU, “The efficiency and reliability of such tools is as yet unknown. More surveillance does not necessarily lead to a higher level of societal security. Hence there must be a thorough examination of whether the resulting massive constraints on human rights are proportionate and justified.”

But here in the United States concern over trivial things such as “massive constraints on human rights,” unlike state attacks against the “quaint” rights of the average citizen are, like the impeachment of a regime studded with war criminals, most definitely “off the table.”

While the Democrats celebrate Barack Obama’s coronation in Denver this week and the Republicans are poised to do the same for John McCain in the Twin Cities rest assured, administrations may change, but the corporate grift is eternal.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

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The Kassandra Project

Global Research, June 11, 2008

The latest Big Brother police state measure emanating from the Bush administration, with virtually no press coverage, is NSPD 59 (HSPD 24) entitled Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security [Complete text of NSPD 59 (HSPD 24) in Annex below]

NSPD is directed against US citizens.

It is adopted without public debate or Congressional approval. Its relevant procedures have far-reaching implications.

NSPD 59 goes far beyond the issue of biometric identification, it recommends the collection and storage of “associated biographic” information, meaning information on the private lives of US citizens, in minute detail, all of which will be “accomplished within the law”:

“The contextual data that accompanies biometric data includes information on date and place of birth, citizenship, current address and address history, current employment and employment history, current phone numbers and phone number history, use of government services and tax filings. Other contextual data may include bank account and credit card histories, plus criminal database records on a local, state and federal level. The database also could include legal judgments or other public records documenting involvement in legal disputes, child custody records and marriage or divorce records.”(See Jerome Corsi, June 2008)

The directive uses 9/11 as an all encompassing justification to wage a witch hunt against dissenting citizens, establishing at the same time an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across the land.

It also calls for the integration of various data banks as well as inter-agency cooperation in the sharing of information, with a view to eventually centralizing the information on American citizens.

In a carefully worded text, NSPD 59 “establishes a framework” to enable the Federal government and its various police and intelligence agencies to: “use mutually compatible methods and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information of individuals in a lawful and appropriate manner, while respecting their information privacy and other legal rights under United States law.”

The Directive recommends: “actions and associated timelines for enhancing the existing terrorist-oriented identification and screening processes by expanding the use of biometrics”.

“Other Categories of Individuals”

The stated intent of NSPD 59 is to protect America from terrorists, but in fact the terms of reference include any person who is deemed to pose a threat to the Homeland. The government requires the ability:

“to positively identify those individuals who may do harm to Americans and the Nation… Since September 11, 2001, agencies have made considerable progress in securing the Nation through the integration, maintenance, and sharing of information used to identify persons who may pose a threat to national security.

The Directive is not limited to KSTs, which in Homeland Security jargon stands for “Known and Suspected Terrorists”:

“The executive branch has developed an integrated screening capability to protect the Nation against “known and suspected terrorists” (KSTs). The executive branch shall build upon this success, in accordance with this directive, by enhancing its capability to collect, store, use, analyze, and share biometrics to identify and screen KSTs and other persons who may pose a threat to national security.

The executive branch recognizes the need for a layered approach to identification and screening of individuals, as no single mechanism is sufficient. For example, while existing name-based screening procedures are beneficial, application of biometric technologies, where appropriate, improve the executive branch’s ability to identify and screen for persons who may pose a national security threat. To be most effective, national security identification and screening systems will require timely access to the most accurate and most complete biometric, biographic, and related data that are, or can be, made available throughout the executive branch.”

NSPD 59 calls for extending the definition of terrorists to include other categories of individuals “who may pose a threat to national security”.

In this regard, it is worth noting that in the 2005 TOPOFF (Top officials) anti-terror drills, two other categories of individuals were identified as potential threats: “Radical groups” and “disgruntled employees”, suggesting than any form of dissent directed against Big Brother will be categorized as a threat to America.

In a previous 2004 report of the Homeland Security Council entitled Planning Scenarios, the enemy was referred to as the Universal Adversary (UA).

The Universal Adversary was identified in the scenarios as an abstract entity used for the purposes of simulation. Yet upon more careful examination, this Universal Adversary was by no means illusory. It included the following categories of potential “conspirators”:

“foreign [Islamic] terrorists” ,

“domestic radical groups”, [antiwar and civil rights groups]

“state sponsored adversaries” [“rogue states”, “unstable nations”]

“disgruntled employees” [labor and union activists].

According to the DHS Planning Scenarios Report :

“Because the attacks could be caused by foreign terrorists; domestic radical groups; state sponsored adversaries; or in some cases, disgruntled employees, the perpetrator has been named, the Universal Adversary (UA). The focus of the scenarios is on response capabilities and needs, not threat-based prevention activities.” (See Planning Scenarios )

Under NSPD 59, biometrics and associated biographical information will be used to control all forms of social dissent.

Domestic radical groups and labor activists envisaged in various counter terrorism exercises, constitute in the eyes of the Bush administration, a threat to the established economic and political order.

In the text of NSPD 59, these other categories of people have been conveniently lumped together with the KSTs (“known and suspected terrorists”), confirming that the so-called anti-terror laws together with the Big Brother law enforcement apparatus and its associated data banks of biometric and biographic information on US citizens are intended to be used against all potential domestic “adversaries” including those who oppose the US led war in the Middle East and the derogation of the Rule of Law in America.

It is worth noting that NSPD 59 was issued on June 5, 2008, 4 days prior to the publication of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment of President George W. Bush by the House of Representatives. Article XXIII of the Articles Impeachment underscore how in derogation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from intervening in civilian law enforcement, President Bush:

“a) has used military forces for law enforcement purposes on U.S. border patrol;

b) has established a program to use military personnel for surveillance and information on criminal activities;

c) is using military espionage equipment to collect intelligence information for law enforcement use on civilians within the United States”

In Article XXIV the president is accused on Spying on American Ctizens without a court-Ordered Warrant , In Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment.


ANNEX

Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security [Complete text of NSPD 59 (HSPD 24) in Annex below]


National Security Presidential Directive and Homeland Security Presidential Directive

NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD — 59
HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD — 24

SUBJECT: Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security

Purpose

This directive establishes a framework to ensure that Federal executive departments and agencies (agencies) use mutually compatible methods and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information of individuals in a lawful and appropriate manner, while respecting their information privacy and other legal rights under United States law.

Scope

(1) The executive branch has developed an integrated screening capability to protect the Nation against “known and suspected terrorists” (KSTs). The executive branch shall build upon this success, in accordance with this directive, by enhancing its capability to collect, store, use, analyze, and share biometrics to identify and screen KSTs and other persons who may pose a threat to national security.

(2) Existing law determines under what circumstances an individual’s biometric and biographic information can be collected. This directive requires agencies to use, in a more coordinated and efficient manner, all biometric information associated with persons who may pose a threat to national security, consistent with applicable law, including those laws relating to privacy and confidentiality of personal data.

(3) This directive provides a Federal framework for applying existing and emerging biometric technologies to the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of data in identification and screening processes employed by agencies to enhance national security, consistent with applicable law, including information privacy and other legal rights under United States law.

(4) The executive branch recognizes the need for a layered approach to identification and screening of individuals, as no single mechanism is sufficient. For example, while existing name-based screening procedures are beneficial, application of biometric technologies, where appropriate, improve the executive branch’s ability to identify and screen for persons who may pose a national security threat. To be most effective, national security identification and screening systems will require timely access to the most accurate and most complete biometric, biographic, and related data that are, or can be, made available throughout the executive branch.

(5) This directive does not impose requirements on State, local, or tribal authorities or on the private sector. It does not provide new authority to agencies for collection, retention, or dissemination of information or for identification and screening activities.

Definitions

(6) In this directive:

(a) “Biometrics” refers to the measurable biological (anatomical and physiological) and behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition; examples include fingerprint, face, and iris recognition; and

(b) “Interoperability” refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.

Background

(7) The ability to positively identify those individuals who may do harm to Americans and the Nation is crucial to protecting the Nation. Since September 11, 2001, agencies have made considerable progress in securing the Nation through the integration, maintenance, and sharing of information used to identify persons who may pose a threat to national security.

(8) Many agencies already collect biographic and biometric information in their identification and screening processes. With improvements in biometric technologies, and in light of its demonstrated value as a tool to protect national security, it is important to ensure agencies use compatible
methods and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric information.

(9) Building upon existing investments in fingerprint recognition and other biometric modalities, agencies are currently strengthening their biometric collection, storage, and matching capabilities as technologies advance and offer new opportunities to meet evolving threats to further enhance national security.

(10) This directive is designed to (a) help ensure a common recognition of the value of using biometrics in identification and screening programs and (b) help achieve objectives described in the following: Executive Order 12881 (Establishment of the National Science and Technology Council); Homeland Security Presidential Directive‑6 (HSPD‑6) (Integration and Use of Screening Information to Protect Against Terrorism); Executive Order 13354 (National Counterterrorism Center); Homeland Security Presidential Directive‑11 (HSPD‑11) (Comprehensive Terrorist Related Screening Procedures); Executive Order 13388 (Further Strengthening the Sharing of Terrorism Information to Protect Americans); National Security Presidential Directive‑46/Homeland Security Presidential Directive‑15 (NSPD-46/HSPD-15) (U.S. Policy and Strategy in the War on Terror); 2005 Information Sharing Guidelines; 2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism; 2006 National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel; 2007 National Strategy for Homeland Security; 2007 National Strategy for Information Sharing; and 2008 United States Intelligence Community Information Sharing Strategy.

Policy

(11) Through integrated processes and interoperable systems, agencies shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, make available to other agencies all biometric and associated biographic and contextual information associated with persons for whom there is an articulable and reasonable basis for suspicion that they pose a threat to national security.

(12) All agencies shall execute this directive in a lawful and appropriate manner, respecting the information privacy and other legal rights of individuals under United States law, maintaining data integrity and security, and protecting intelligence sources, methods, activities, and sensitive law enforcement information.

Policy Coordination

(13) The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, shall be responsible for interagency policy coordination on all aspects of this directive.

Roles and Responsibilities

(14) Agencies shall undertake the roles and responsibilities herein to the fullest extent permitted by law, consistent with the policy of this directive, including appropriate safeguards for information privacy and other legal rights, and in consultation with State, local, and tribal authorities, where appropriate.

(15) The Attorney General shall:

(a) Provide legal policy guidance, in coordination with the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), regarding the lawful collection, use, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information to enhance national security; and

(b) In coordination with the DNI, ensure that policies and procedures for the consolidated terrorist watchlist maximize the use of all biometric identifiers.

(16) Each of the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the DNI, and the heads of other appropriate agencies, shall:

(a) Develop and implement mutually compatible guidelines for each respective agency for the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information, to the fullest extent practicable, lawful, and necessary to protect national security;

(b) Maintain and enhance interoperability among agency biometric and associated biographic systems, by utilizing common information technology and data standards, protocols, and interfaces;

(c) Ensure compliance with laws, policies, and procedures respecting information privacy, other legal rights, and information security;

(d) Establish objectives, priorities, and guidance to ensure timely and effective tasking, collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information among authorized agencies;

(e) Program for and budget sufficient resources to support the development, operation, maintenance, and upgrade of biometric capabilities consistent with this directive and with such instructions as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may provide; and

(f) Ensure that biometric and associated biographic and contextual information on KSTs is provided to the National Counterterrorism Center and, as appropriate, to the Terrorist Screening Center.

(17) The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the DNI, shall coordinate the sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information with foreign partners in accordance with applicable law, including international obligations undertaken by the United States.

(18) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), shall coordinate executive branch biometric science and technology policy, including biometric standards and necessary research, development, and conformance testing programs. Recommended executive branch biometric standards are contained in the Registry of United States Government

Recommended Biometric Standards and shall be updated via the NSTC Subcommittee on Biometrics and Identity Management.

Implementation

(19) Within 90 days of the date of this directive, the Attorney General, in coordination with the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, the DNI, and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, shall, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, submit for the President’s approval an action plan to implement this directive. The action plan shall do the following:

(a) Recommend actions and associated timelines for enhancing the existing terrorist-oriented identification and screening processes by expanding the use of biometrics;

(b) Consistent with applicable law, (i) recommend categories of individuals in addition to KSTs who may pose a threat to national security, and (ii) set forth cost-effective actions and associated timelines for expanding the collection and use of biometrics to identify and screen for such individuals; and

(c) Identify business processes, technological capabilities, legal authorities, and research and development efforts needed to implement this directive.

(20) Within 1 year of the date of this directive, the Attorney General, in coordination with the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, the DNI, and the heads of other appropriate agencies, shall submit to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, a report on the implementation of this directive and the associated action plan, proposing any necessary additional steps for carrying out the policy of this directive. Agencies shall provide support for, and promptly respond to, requests made by the Attorney General in furtherance of this report. The Attorney General will thereafter report to the President on the implementation of this directive as the Attorney General deems necessary or when directed by the President.

General Provisions

(21) This directive:

(a) shall be implemented consistent with applicable law, including international obligations undertaken by the United States, and the authorities of agencies, or heads of such agencies, vested by law;

(b) shall not be construed to alter, amend, or revoke any other NSPD or HSPD in effect on the effective date of this directive;

(c) is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable by law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

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