As travelers board planes this holiday, please be aware of 12 actual banned items from the Transportation Security Administration…
Prior to the Iraq war, most people wouldn’t have heard of the private military companies (PMCs) that provide their services to the USA. Then came the the headlines, thick and fast, as the heavy involvement of PMCs such as Blackwater led to controversy.
Excerpts, The Kernel – “The number of contractors used is staggering. In 2010 there were 94,413 contractors in Afghanistan, compared with 91,600 US troops.
Most PMCs provide logistical support, but one stands out above all others: Blackwater. Described by some as a “private army”, they differ from modern day military units such as the British Army’s Brigade of Gurkhas and the French Foreign Legion, in that they are an autonomous company providing military services. Mercenaries in everything but name. Blackwater in particular stands out for their boots-on-the ground provision of “security guards” who look, smell and operate like any other combat soldier.
Blackwater, now called Academi, became known for a string of controversial incidents involving its personnel. Now that Middle Eastern occupations are winding down and court cases have been settled, Blackwater has managed to slip under the radar again. But it still exists, albeit with a new name, and is as influential as ever.
In the sixteen years of its existence, Blackwater has changed the face of modern warfare. How did they do it, what are they doing now and what does their continued existence mean for the future?
In explaining his vision for Blackwater, its founder Erik Prince famously stated:
Blackwater started out by offering training services to the military and landed a major contract to train Navy personnel following the 2000 bombing of USS Cole of the coast of Yemen.
With their reputation established, Blackwater began to hoover up government contracts as the War on Terror progressed. At first they provided security to secret CIA bases, then they became the default private security force for the raft of diplomats and State Department employees who found themselves involved in occupied Iraq. Blackwater proudly remind people that “not one State Department employee was killed while we were protecting them”. No officials may have been killed but a number of innocent Iraqis did, at the barrel of Blackwater guns.
The US military has long had a reputation for financial ineptitude when it come to hardware acquisition. It’s a reputation that has persisted with their procurement of contract services. At the height of the Iraq war, sergeants in the military were getting paid one-sixth of their counterparts from Blackwater. This problem of capitalism colliding with patriotism was so serious that Defense Secretary Robert Gates considered asking US troops to sign a non-compete clause…
…The largest incident branded on Blackwater’s reputation is what has become known as The Blackwater Baghdad shootings. On September sixteenth 2007, Blackwater military contractors shot and killed seventeen Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad…
Blackwater has become a destination of choice for ex-public servants looking for a cushy retirement, resulting in the company having even stronger ties to the centres of American power post-Iraq than pre-Iraq. The board of directors now includes Bobby Ray Inman, the former head of the National Security Agency and Jack Quinn, the former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton.
Lessons have learned by both the Government and private companies from their flirtation over the last couple of decades and the legacy will have repercussions on future conflicts. The Government has found a way to patch up their military personnel shortcomings with off-the-shelf and adaptable solutions: no need for the tedium of training youngsters and paying out pension plans.
By buying up experienced Army personnel, Blackwater have made themselves indispensable as a training institution for America’s elite troops. And next time the US goes gung-ho into another country? The contractors will be ready. Academi have developed and manufactured their own infantry mobility vehicle called The Grizzly APC. They were too late to the military hardware party this time around but they have all the pieces in place to take an even greater role in the USA’s next major conflict.” Full Article on The Kernel
Interesting…make of it what you will…
US ARMY – WASHINGTON (Sept. 30, 2013) “Emergency vehicles and first responders are once again in action in the National Capital Region and will be thru Oct. 3.
They are participating in “Capital Shield 2014.”
CS 14 is a joint training exercise in the NCR that is hosted by the Joint Force Headquarters – National Capital Region. It brings federal, state, local and municipal agencies together to realistically test inter-agency operability during a crisis impacting the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland. It also trains and prepares the Department of Defense to provide defense support to civil authorities and employ appropriate force protection measures as requested.
“Because we are all regional partners it’s nice to be able to pick up the Phone and KNOW the other person on the end of the line when you are in need of some help,” said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Paul Ruwe. “It’s a lesson learned from 9/11. We had good regional contact with the FBI Washington office, and that really helped after the attack on the Pentagon.”
Ruwe is the Incident commander at the Lorton Training site, Lorton Va., and said the training site will be very busy over the next few days.
More than 38 participating agencies from DOD and Capital region response agencies will perform mock mass casualty rescues, Defense Support to civil agency technical rescues and law enforcement tactical responses. The goal of the exercise is to ensure government agencies at every level are prepared to coordinate action to protect the public in the event of an actual disaster in the National Capital Region.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Please visit the Capital Shield 2014 website at http://www.mdwhome.mdw.army.mil/capital-shield.”;
Original Source: End The Fed
“Are we living in a time of inverted totalitarianism? Pulitzer prize-winning author Chris Hedges tells me we are in this first episode of the Moment of Clarity Show…”Published on Sep 26, 2013
PakAlert Press – “If you haven’t been in a bubble cut off from all forms of media lately, it would be impossible to have missed all of the warnings being issued about the impending loss of our electrical grid.
This isn’t just coming from so-called “gloom and doom” sites or from alternative media. Major mainstream media sources such as ABC News,the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CBS News have all issued the alerts. Unfortunately, the hordes seem to be brushing these warnings off as something that cannot happen, because the reality is too unpleasant to even contemplate. Many seem to think that they are far better to stick their heads in the sand and be assured it can never happen than to prepare ahead of time.
In case you’ve missed it, here are some of the warnings over the past few months that most people are ignoring.
When Janet Napolitano stepped down from her role as head of the DHS she released an open letter to her successor. One chilling tidbit she passed on was this-
The outgoing Homeland Security Secretary has a warning for her successor: A massive and “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, and a natural disaster — the likes of which the nation has never seen — is also likely on its way. (source)
Read more on Napolitano’s warning HERE.
But there’s more. Big Sis isn’t the only one warning us about the possibility of a grid-down scenario.
Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan has co-authored a book about the topic with David Hagberg – his novel Gridlock is a fictional account of a very real threat.
“Our power system is very vulnerable. You could see a shutdown by hackers in cyber terror. You could see it shutdown for days, weeks or months, crippling this country and causing enormous havoc.” (source) Continue reading
StormCloudsGathering – “The powers that be shredded the constitution and took you into a series of wars that have left countless civilians dead based on this event. You owe it to your children and grand children to take another look at it…”
Not new by any means…but still as relevant today as it was when it was released…
– Robert Wadman, emeritus Weber State University criminal justice professor-
Excerpt, Standard Examiner – “Law enforcement officials agree: Police execute a “door kick” somewhere in Weber County, on average, once every week.
The forced entries range from a welfare check, when neighbors become concerned as newspapers pile up on someone’s porch and the family car is parked in the driveway.
At the other end of the spectrum are the full-on, SWAT-style raids with helmeted officers battering down a door unannounced, such as the Sept. 16, 2010, entry that left the suspect, Todd Blair, fatally shot.
Officials point to the frequency of door kicks, in police parlance, that occur without publicity or complaint as proof they’re benign — only a small percentage go awry. They steadfastly maintain they are crucial, the swift deployment necessary for officer safety and to keep suspects from destroying evidence.
But there are critics concerned about the increase in the commando-style entries, also known as a breach.
The American Civil Liberties Union recently announced a nationwide investigation of the “militarization” of police departments, simultaneously filing 255 public records requests in 24 states on March 6.
Among 18 Utah agencies whose records were requested are the Ogden, Roy and Brigham City police departments and the Weber and Cache county sheriff’s offices.
The agencies have been asked to provide data on SWAT team deployments and injuries during the deployments, weaponry used, and the level of funding for armament and equipment from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
The ACLU decried militarization as an erosion “of civil liberties encouraging increasingly aggressive policing.”
In the wake of high-profile, lethal-force incidents involving officers, police brass and prosecutors have defended the strong-arm tactics as necessary in an increasingly violent world.
“Officers plan for the worst and hope for the best,” said Ogden Police Lt. Will Cragun. “It’s easy to second-guess after the fact, but you need to get down in the dirt with us to know what’s going on.”
Officials typically point to recent mass shootings around the country as a constant reminder to officers to be on their guard.
Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham noted the Columbine High School shootings of 1999, where 12 students and a teacher were killed and 21 injured, moved him to make his department the first in the state to put A-4 automatic rifles in the trunks of all patrol cars.
“I will always err on the side of getting my officers home at the end of their shift,” he said.
In an earlier news story about the ACLU records request, Weber County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Klint Anderson said the problem is “the militarization of our criminals.”
Anderson said law enforcement is seeing “criminals who have military experience and military training.”
“They are better armed, better trained and more dangerous than before.”
Jim Retallick, veteran Ogden public defender, and other defense attorneys argue there are other ways to serve search warrants than the military-style door kicks.
“Hell yes, it’s getting dangerous,” Retallick said. “For seven people to get shot over marijuana is ridiculous.”
He is referring to the Jan. 4, 2012, forced-entry raid on the Ogden home of Matthew David Stewart. Six officers were shot, one fatally. Stewart was also wounded, hospitalized and jailed and now awaits trial, facing the death penalty…” Full Article Here
***Warning: Video Contains Graphic & Heartbreaking Footage***
How nice to get a full video demonstration of the newly retrofitted ‘light armored’ tanks ready for deployment in New Mexico and W. Texas…yippeefreakingkayay!
Welcome to the Wild West, DHS style…
The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted
2,717* of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States. *An earlier version of this post included a figure of over 2,700 vehicles, as cited from the original RT link. This figure likely comes from a press release from Navistar Defense, mentioning delivery of 2,717 to the U.S. Marine Corps. A DHS Spokesman confirmed with Business Insider that they have only 16 nationwide.
For those of you who may be wondering…yes, I absolutely feel 100% safe and secure living here now that I know DHS is so well equipped as to be able to pluck us off the roadways (while not even having to worry about those pesky street mines!) as they drive…
…Oh…and if you actually believe me? Well…I’ve got some nice ocean front property for sale, too..!
These checkpoints are on every road leading out of Lost Causes. They are intimidating as hell; more often than not you feel like you’re getting swarmed as one agent leans in your window to question you and others run drug dogs and mirrors around your car. I’ve watched them grow from porta-potty sized outposts that were almost never open and usually manned by a single agent into something akin to the checkpoint you’d expect entering prison grounds. Millions and millions of dollars have been spent building these places up into outright terrifying and militarized monstrosities.
Checkpoints (some would say illegal checkpoints) have been popping up quite frequently in the USA. As you see in this video, you DO NOT have to comply with their question’s or demands. Don’t forget, you have rights.
A note of caution to folks who are not accustomed to the checkpoints or who may not be aware of the consequences of what can happen if they decide to challenge the agents…
Agents are armed. They have police dogs, tazers, pepper spray and of course, guns. LOTS of guns. Some seem to be young kids who either piss themselves…or overreact with attitude when their authority is challenged. Others are older men with a real abrasive attitude that jump on every word you say to screw with you. A few are polite and one or two have seemed apologetic for what they’re doing. It’s a game of roulette as to which type is likely to be pushing themselves into your space to question you so be prepared for anything. Agents assume innocent things are a sign of guilt – don’t remove your sunglasses? They assume you are hiding something and react accordingly. Don’t mute your stereo because you’re jamming to your favorite song? You’re a punk and probably have drugs. Smile and be too nice? You are a suspicious hippie bastard, better check you out.
I have seen people cuffed and down on their knees on concrete in the blazing sun…and I’ve seen cars being dismantled – and if I understand correctly, once they have turned your car into a completely disassembled scrap heap, they are under no obligation to RE-assemble the vehicle. Call a tow truck, the bill is on YOU even if you are 100% innocent of any wrongdoing. Keep that in mind if you’re asked to pull over into a secondary lane…once they get you there, you are pretty much screwed.
Since the ‘Powers That Be’ recently gave themselves the green-light on the use of drones in the US, one has to wonder who might be profiting from the newly enlarged ‘drone industry’…not to mention, who is using the drones – and for what purposes, exactly?
As with most of our new technological capabilities, the potential for abuse seems rather great. I personally wouldn’t trust my government to watch my cat and I certainly want no part of them watching ME. Beyond that, I don’t want any corporation to be trusted as responsible enough to be operating drones over my head…and seriously, there is no reason on earth for the local university to be screwing around testing these things over our community.
Excerpts from Daily Mail UK – “There are at least 63 active drone sites around the U.S, federal authorities have been forced to reveal following a landmark Freedom of Information lawsuit.
The unmanned planes – some of which may have been designed to kill terror suspects – are being launched from locations in 20 states.
Most of the active drones are deployed from military installations, enforcement agencies and border patrol teams, according to the Federal Aviation Authority…”
“...But, astonishingly, 19 universities and colleges are also registered as owners of what are officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles.
It is thought that many of institutions, which include Cornell, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, are developing drone technology…
…The FAA has confirmed that there were about 300 active COAs and that the agency has issued about 700-750 authorizations since the program began in 2006.
But this information does not reveal how many are owned, for example, by Miami Dade Police Department…”
So, who owns drones and how close might they be to YOU?
Read the full article on Daily Mail UK to find out.
I was disturbed to see names of institutions in close proximity to my own home on the list…*shudders*
New Mexico State University Physical Sciences Laboratory (NMSU-PSL)
New Mexico Tech
**The maps in the original Daily Mail UK are very interesting and it’s well worth the time to click over and take a look at them in full size.**
Read more: Daily Mail UK
From Republic Report
“McKeon is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and received $339,000 from the defense industry himself in 2010, so it’s reasonable to suspect that arms manufacturers and others are donating to his wife’s state race in order to please him.
Now, it appears that these donations are paying off. This morning at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., Rep. McKeon delivered a “Special Address” for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International(AUVSI), a drone industry lobbying organization. Republic Report gained access to the event — which hosted hundreds of attendees from the unmanned aerial systems industry, including military drone manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
It seems like our good ol’
Uncle, er…I mean Nanny Sam wants you to feel good about being a rotten snitch willing to rat out your neighbors for a false sense of safety and security. Here is the latest piece of government-funded propaganda designed to brainwash us into thinking terrorists are lurking behind every brief case…
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Bioinformatics company Eureka Genomics has reeled in a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the Department of Homeland Security to continue to develop tools to detect rare variants of the anthrax pathogen Bacillus anthracis.
Houston-based Eureka is a private firm that develops next-generation sequencing analysis tools for use in discovering microorganisms associated with disease. It also provides sequencing and analysis services.
Full Story On Genome Daily News
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