U.S. Marine Corps to train more Law Enforcement Battalions for Urban Warfare

It remains to be seen if these battalions will be shipped abroad when the US gets involved in new wars, or if they will be used on Americans themselves, as it’s been done in the past.

By JULIE WATSON | AP | JULY 23, 2012

The Marine Corps has created its first law enforcement battalions – a lean, specialized force of military police officers that it hopes can quickly deploy worldwide to help investigate crimes from terrorism to drug trafficking and train fledgling security forces in allied nations.

The Corps activated three such battalions last month. Each is made up of roughly 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs. The Marine

Corps has had police battalions off and on since World War II but they were primarily focused on providing security, such as accompanying fuel convoys or guarding generals on visits to dangerous areas, said Maj. Jan Durham, commander of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton.

The idea behind the law enforcement battalions is to consolidate the military police and capitalize on their investigative skills and police training, he said. The new additions come as every branch in the military is trying to show its flexibility and resourcefulness amid defense cuts.

Marines have been increasingly taking on the role of a street cop along with their combat duties over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been in charge of training both countries’ security forces. Those skills now can be used as a permanent part of the Marine Corps, Durham said.

The war on terror has also taught troops the importance of learning how to gather intelligence, secure evidence and assist local authorities in building cases to take down criminal networks. Troops have gotten better at combing raid sites for clues to help them track insurgents.

They also have changed their approach, realizing that marching into towns to show force alienates communities. Instead, they are being taught to fan out with interpreters to strike up conversations with truck drivers, money exchangers, cellphone sellers and others. The rapport building can net valuable information that could even alert troops about potential attacks.

But no group of Marines is better at that kind of work than the Corps’ military police, who graduate from academies just like civilian cops, Durham said. He said the image of military police patrolling base to ticket Marines for speeding or drinking has limited their use in the Corps. He hopes the creation of the battalions will change that, although analysts say only the future will tell whether the move is more than just a rebranding of what already existed within the Corps.

The battalions will be capable of helping control civil disturbances, handling detainees, carrying out forensic work, and using biometrics to identify suspects. Durham said they could assist local authorities in allied countries in securing crime scenes and building cases so criminals end up behind bars and not back out on the streets because of mistakes.

“Over the past 11 years of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some lessons learned painfully, there has been a growing appreciation and a demand for, on the part of the warfighter, the unique skills and capabilities that MPs bring to the fight,” Durham said. “We do enforce traffic laws and we do write reports and tickets, and that’s good, but we do so much more than that.”

Durham said the Marine Corps plans to show off its new battalions in Miami later this month at a conference put on by the Southern Command and that is expected to be attended by government officials from Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize.

Defense analyst Loren Thompson said the battalions make sense given the nature of today’s global threats, which include powerful drug cartels and other criminal gangs that often mix with religious and political extremists, who use the profits to buy their weaponry.

“This is a smart idea because the biggest single problem the Marines have in dealing with low-intensity types of threats is that they basically are trained to kill people,” he said. “It’s good for the Marines to have skills that allow them to contain threats without creating casualties.”

Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches law of war at Georgetown University, said Marines have already been doing this kind of work for years but now that it has been made more formal by the creation of the battalions, it could raise a host of questions, especially on the use of force. The law of war allows for fighters to use deadly force as a first resort, while police officers use it as a last resort.

If Marines are sent in to do law enforcement but are attacked, will they go back to being warfighters? And if so, what are the implications? Solis asked.

“Am I a Marine or a cop? Can I be both?” he said. “Cops apply human rights law and Marines apply the law of war. Now that it’s blended, it makes it tougher for the young men and women who have to make the decision as to when deadly force is not appropriate.”

Durham said that military police understand that better than any Marine since they are trained in both.

“They are very comfortable with the escalation of force,” he said. “MPs get that. It’s fundamental to what we do.”

Biometrically Identifiable Gesture Technology

If you believe fingerprinting or picture ID’s are invasive forms of technology, wait until you read this.

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 20, 2011

If you have never seen the documentary Shadow Government, I honestly recommend it. It details the latest information regarding the use of technology to create a global identification system of biblical proportions. In this system that is being built as we wonder “why I have to give my fingerprint to obtain a driver’s license”, every single human being will be accounted for; no exceptions.

The variety of technologies available to effectively identify anyone at work, at the gym, at public events, in Court houses and even at home, is simply mind blowing. However, the producers and buyers of these so-called security enhancing tools do not stop thinking about new ways to get the highest paid contracts from private companies or the government.

The latest example of invasive identification technology is Biometric Signature ID, Inc’s BioSig-ID. According to the manufacturer’s description, BioSig-ID is a “Multi-Factor Identity Proofing Technology”; the best of its kind. This earned the company the trust of a variety of organizations going from sectors such as healthcare, the financial and banking systems, online education, cloud computing, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

The BioSig-ID is known for its capacity to gather information such as mouse movement patterns, typing speeds, user gestures, and other personal characteristics to fully identify the person who intends to access information or use a piece of equipment.

Biometric Signature ID announced recently it received approval from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its latest patent which will be added to the large collection of technology-based identification tools it produces. The BioSig-ID technology collects movements made with various devices such as a mouse, touchscreen markings, fingers and body movements to create a biometric multi-factor password used for identification purposes.

Convenience is the name of the Game

As it often happens, the use of BioSig-ID as well as other invasive technologies, is presented not as a threat to personal privacy, but as a “convenient way to stay safe” or to keep data and information safe. In other examples of privacy violations we encounter the entertainment industry which managed to create products such as video game consoles that record the users movements as a biometric human fingerprint. Kinect, the device that is inside Microsoft’s XBox, allows users to play by just moving their bodies. “The console detects movement and recognizes people through a camera and various sensors installed on the device.” Isn’t that convenient?

Along with video gaming are the infamous full body scanners, which are supposed to keep us all safe from terrorism, but that instead are one of the most invasive forms of technology ever created. The scanners not only render full naked images of the passengers that allow their privacy to be violated -there is an opt out chance- but also bathes them with poisonous doses of radiation. See information on the scanners’ radiation amounts here. Read about full body scanner backscatter radiation here. Learn about radiation flux here.

Creating a need for invasive identification technologies

The amount of biometric-based identification technology production and consumption has increased exponentially in the last decade or so. This does not mean, however, that the use of these technology is so young. Military and technology contractors have been working on ways to fully identify individuals for a long time. In most cases, technology such as the one developed by Biometric Signature ID has been used in highly sensitive places in companies and military installations.

The success of this technology relies on the fact that a market was created -as it happens with many products- to assure its adoption. The evil part is that people’s fear and government policy are also used to push the production and sale of biometric identification. By the time consumers get to know about its existence, it has already been tried and tested for many years. In the case of BioSig-ID, the product was tested initially by The Tolly Group.

As we cited before, many organizations and companies adopt this kind of technologies under the safety excuse. Data safety, information safety, access to premisses safety, web access safety and so on. In the healthcare business, for example, the DEA requires electronic prescription of controlled substances, another failure of the infamous war on drugs. DEA uses this technology to authenticate access to patients’ records.

In the banking and financial markets, both private institutions and government offices use biometric identification to “bring security and safeguard customer information, reduce fraud, etc. It has not worked very well, though, as millions of customer credit card information has been stolen from those very same institutions and neither the hackers nor the banks have been held accountable for endangering the privacy of their customers.

Education has not escaped privacy violation. Both physical and online educational organizations adopted biometric and other invasive identification technologies to “guarantee” the correct accreditation of students as well as for registration and payment controls. Universities and other learning online-based institutions offer classes online which require signing in with more than one fingerprint.

New internet-based services such as Mobile and Cloud computing will pile on the number of consumers and users of Bi0Sig-ID and similar validation tools. As all content migrates to the “Cloud” and the corporations and the government become more empowered by centrally controlling information and how people access it from work or home, biometric identification systems will be key to mandate certified entrance to those “Clouds”. The idea to have a unique internet ID, as it has been proposed by government officials in several countries is suddenly appearing more and more realistic.

And if you are a government employee, as many are nowadays, and more will be in the near future, get ready to give every single piece of information your body emits. In Mexico,  all federal government employees had to submit to biometric identification recognition in order to keep their jobs. All over the world, government implement security protocols that include the use of Government Identity Cards or Credentials to access and manage information.

E-IDs are already available in countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Morocco and Spain.

Airlines want eye scanners for ‘secure’ check in’s

Note: Is this the ultimate ‘convenient and anti-TSA’ control grid? Can the public trust the airline companies more than the government? It seems more of the Problem, Reaction, Solution scheme. Problem: false terrorism, Reaction: inconvenient TSA abuses, Solution: less physically invasive but overall more invasive biometric control grid. Is it better to be violated electronically than physically? This is a clear example of the false choice paradigm.

Alex Kennedy
AP
June 7, 2011

Eye scanners and futuristic security tunnels may be standard in airports soon as the airline industry seeks to maintain safety while reducing the hassles of boarding a plane that deter some people from flying.

The International Air Transport Association unveiled a mock-up Tuesday in Singapore of what it dubbed the “Checkpoint of the Future,” where passengers separated by security risk would walk through one of three high-tech, 20-foot-long (6.1-meters-long) tunnels that can quickly scan shoes and carry-on luggage and check for liquids and explosives.

“Passengers should be able to get from curb to boarding gate with dignity,” IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani said. “That means without stopping, stripping or unpacking, and certainly not groping.”

Airlines are seeking ways to win back passengers put off by long and irritating airport security measures who have opted to travel instead by train, boat or car. IATA said Monday it expects the industry’s profit this year to plummet to $4 billion from $18 billion last year.

U.S. Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said he thinks IATA’s security system, which it hopes to implement within five years, is a great idea.

“It’s something that’s long overdue,” Pistole said at IATA’s annual conference. “We’re not at the checkpoint of the future yet but we’re working toward that. I think eventually we will see something similar.”

The TSA has been working for the last six months on developing a system that could differentiate passengers by security risk to cut down on needless checks, Pistole said.

“One size does not fit all,” Pistole said.

The TSA will likely start a pilot program this year in some airports that allows frequent flyers or other travelers with clean records to receive minimal checks, he said.

In the IATA prototype, passengers would be categorized based on the results of a government risk assessment that is put into a chip in a passenger’s passport or other identification. An eye scan would then match the passenger to the passport.

Low-risk passengers would walk through a tunnel with their carry-on luggage in just a few minutes — much quicker than the current average security screening of 35 minutes, IATA said. High-risk passengers would be directed to walk through the tunnel that performs a full body scan while searching for items like explosives.

“We must amalgamate intelligence based on passenger information and new technology,” Bisignani said. “That means moving from a system that looks for bad objects, to one that can find bad people.”

Former Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler replaces Bisignani as IATA’s leader next month. Geneva-based IATA represents about 230 airlines that account for more than 90 percent global air traffic.

One obstacle to the proposed system is that governments could be reluctant to share passenger background information, said Ron Noble, secretary-general of Interpol, the France-based international police agency.

“Most countries don’t want other countries to have data of their citizens,” Noble said.

Airline executives were also concerned about whether the new system would rely too much on technology at the expense of human observation.

“Only technology is not the solution,” said Elyezer Shkedy, chief executive of El Al Israel Airlines. “You must always change your way of defending. Otherwise, terrorists will find your weak points.”

Cybersecurity: The Takeover of the Internet

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
May 1, 2010

In the United States, a recent version of a bill was passed by the House Of Representatives, which will give the Federal cybersecurityCommunications Commission (FCC) complete dominion over the web. The bill includes the creation of a new sector of internet security which will include the training, research and coordination of cyberspace. It allows the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create a program to recruit children from Kindergarten up to 12 years old to teach them how to carry out internet surveillance, as part of the new Cyber Army. The scholarship program that will fund the training will teach the students how to create and identity management systems used to control access to the web, computer networks, and data. It will also create a series of standards which all service providers will have to meet in order to remain active. Internet users will have to put up with endless requirements, which include the use of government issued software. Bye, bye Linux!

In section 12, subsection 4, the document reads: “We shall provide a procedure to identify K-12 students to participate in summer work and internship programs that will lead to the certification of a federal information technology workforce standards…” In other words, anyone who intends to work anywhere close to the internet, will need to be certified by the federal government, and the federal government will assure itself it will have the “humans resources” to carry this plan out by recruiting children as young as 5 years of age.

Besides the programs described above, the bill also talks about the creation of new protocols that will provide enhanced security. All software made available will have to first be reviewed by the government and then pre-aproved. Again, bye bye open source! Coincidentally, Google has announced the creation of their own version of the internet; which many worried citizens recognize as a beta test for the coming internet 2.0. Among some of the suggested practices that would be adopted under this internet 2.0, is the use of biometric identification in order to access the web. This would allow the government and its technology partners -AKA Microsoft, Google, AT&T, Verizon and others- to further monitor anyone who uses the web, since such identification would narrow down the work to a single individual operating from a specific computer at a specific location. This type of practices have been put in place by technology manufacturers in computers, external hard drives and other devices, which were biometrically enabled. Recently, Microsoft unveiled the latest version of their Xbox game console which features a 5 megapixel camera that activates on movement and recognizes specific body movements.

Section 7, which talks about licensing and certification of cybersecurity professionals reads: “Beginning three years after the enactment of this act, it shall be unlawful for any individual to engage in business in the United States or to be employed in the United States as a provider of cybersecurity services to any federal agency or information system or network … who is not licensed and certified by the program.” Reading further into the bill, it is clear the mentioned networks include not only the all public ones, but also all private ones.

The Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative will give the President emergency powers -to be added to the ones he got under the Patriot Act- that include contingencies to limit the publication of content, access to the internet and shut down of the web. Some presidential aides as well as technology professional who support the bill tried to dampen critics concerns alleging the president already has vast powers to regulate the Internet during emergencies. No one would think the government’s intent is to take advantage of a bill like this in order to limit or end access to the net, if it was not for the crystal clear statements that government officials have put out with respect to net neutrality, internet 2.0, access to the web and so on. One of the best examples we can use to illustrate what the military industrial complex is planning to do is the most recent statements by Barack Hussein Obama’s Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein. He said websites should be mandated remove “rumors” and “hateful” or “absurd” statements, usually contained in “right wing” websites. “In the era of the Internet, it has become easy to spread false or misleading rumors about almost anyone,” Sunstein writes. “Some right-wing websites like to make absurd and hateful remarks about the alleged relationship between Barack Obama and the former radical Bill Ayers; one of the websites’ goals was undoubtedly to attract more viewers. “On the Internet as well as on talk radio, altruistic propagators are easy to find; they play an especially large role in the political domain. When Sean Hannity, the television talk show host, attacked Barack Obama because of his alleged associations, one of his goals might have been to promote values and causes that he cherishes.”

The kind of policies bills like the passed in the U.S. House of Representatives wants to implement, are also being proposed and adopted elsewhere in the world. In Australia, senators are rocking their newly acquired powers, by telling the citizens what is legal and what is illegal to say or publish on the web. One of the many people advancing censorship in the land down under is Senator Steve Fielding, who is a member of the party called Family First. He wants all X-rated content banned for everyone, including adults. Mr. Fielding is open to wide censorship on the internet.

Meanwhile in Indonesia, the local government is following on the steps of the United States and Australia. “There are myriad violations by Internet users in Indonesia. We don’t have any intention to move backward… but we don’t want people to think that the government ignores matters like pornography on the Internet.” Recent laws passed in Indonesia were adopted despite firm opposition and widespread protests. The bill was supported by conservative Muslim groups such as the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), which traces its origins back to Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Governments and organizations that support internet censorship and push for cybersecurity acts usually cite pornography, rumors, hate speech and conspiracy theories as the reasons to intervene with what is written and read online. In reality, however, such plans are efforts to minimize or eliminate dissent, much like some governments like Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Cuba close newspapers and television stations that challenged the “official position”.

In the United Kingdom, a bill labeled as The Digital Economy Bill includes a new code to limit Internet access. Local reports warn that the government may bypass the regular consultation process to bring it into force. The bill in the UK contains two clauses, 10 and 11, which are particularly worrisome. They would enable Ofcom to move forward with technical measures as soon as the Initial Obligations code has been introduced. This is seen as a government plan to jump the gun, and ahead to limit the Internet without following the appropriate steps. According to the site IPINTEGRITY.com, the rules included in the bill mirror the language of ‘limitations’ contained in the Universal Services directive in the E.U. Telecoms Package.

What other goals do these kind of internet bills will try to achieve?

Back in the United States, section 5 of the Cybersecurity bill states: “The transfer of cybersecurity standards, processes, technology and techniques, will be developed by NIST.” Both NIST and the FCC, have praised Google’s initiative to build a high speed version of the internet. At the same time, the FCC is in the process of submitting a National Broadband Plan which will effectively limit the amount of time and areas a user can access. In addition, internet users would be charge by the use of bandwidth, the amount of downloads and so on. Among the plans to be implemented with the new cybersecurity bill is the “harmonization” of the web. This means, people will eventually have to use software approved by federal agencies in order to access the world wide web.

Section 6, which details the new standards NIST will put in place, indicates that those who do not comply with federal regulations will be barred from using the internet. Subsection 2.2, again touches on the FCC’s prerogative to decide what are safe standards and to allow access to the web only to those Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) and other companies that meet those standards. In other words, companies that provide internet services and the users themselves will have to operate under the federal governments boundaries or simply forget about what up until now has been a freely accessed medium. This type of policies match Cass Sunstein’s views regarding the use of the web. He says: “freedom usually works, but in some contexts, it is an incomplete corrective.” He proposes a “chilling effect” on “damaging rumors” or using “corrective” measures to deter future rumor mongers. WND reported about Sunstein’s “First Amendment New Deal” also known as a new “Fairness Doctrine” that includes the creation of a panel of “nonpartisan experts” to force “diversity of view” on the airwaves. The regulatory Czar’s radical proposal is contained in his 1993 book “The Partial Constitution.

Section 8, which talks about Domain Name Contracts, gives an advisory panel created by the act veto power on decisions made by the assistant secretary of commerce for Communications and Information with respect to renewal or modification of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority for the operation of Domain Name System. This seems to echo what was stated by the two representatives who presented the cybersecurity bill. “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records,” Jay Rockefeller said. Olympia Snowe agreed with her colleague: “if we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.” The governments that approve bills like the ones in the U.S., and initiatives like the ones in Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and other countries, will certainly follow on the steps China has left behind. There, “companies like Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Websense – stand accused of aiding and abetting human rights violations,” states the website campaignforliberty.com. The group Amnesty International documented violations committed by Chinese authorities which have introduced regulations, closed LAN houses, spied on and blocked e-mails, taken down search engines as well as foreign news and politically-sensitive websites. More recently, a new filtering system was put to work, with the intention of banning a list of key words and terms”. Such control, it seems, can be implemented either through a central organization that will oversee all internet providers and users, or through regional and local management posts, which the American bill states, will be established through the monetary support of non-profit organizations which will serve as branches for the centralized cybersecurity center.

Groups concerned with the far reaching powers the bill appropriates to the president -whomever he or she happens to be- as well as federal agencies are already mobilizing to show their opposition. GoPetition.com, is a place where people can sign a petition to reject S773. The site correctly states that if the bill passes, “Barack Obama can silence his dissenters directly by ordering a shutdown of all Americans’ access to the Internet. The Internet is a free marketplace of ideas and information and not a federal government property.” Another site called thepetitionsite.com also prompts people to make their voice heard by signing their petition. “If you’re on this site, then you probably know how useful the internet is for the sharing of information.” And it continues, “You also probably enjoy the many ways you can interact with others and entertain yourself. This will all come to and end if the cybersecurity Act of 2009 (s773) passes.” The website freedomfactory.us begins its opposition by citing what many internet users are familiar with: “The usual threats and scare tactics are used to justify giving Big Brother greater powers, including giving the President the power to shut down portions of the internet he deems a threat to national security, and access to vast amounts of digital data currently legally off limits.”

Shelly Roche, from breakthematrix.com pointed out a very important issue. The more dis-centralized the management and control of the web is, the harder it is to “take it down” or significantly hack it to a level where it poses a threat to users or companies. “If common practices are forced on private companies via a federal certification program, hackers will have a road map that, once deconstructed, could unlock every compliant network.”

Just like the neoconservatives used Leo Strauss’ theory to create fictitious threats in the 20th century, engaging the fundamentalist Christians at home to build support, now communist/fascist infected federal governments have created a fake cyber threat in order to push their agenda to limit access to the world wide web. Just like the neocons succeeded in creating the fake war on terror based on a false premise and alliances with terrorist groups around the world -which they themselves financed and directed- now the liberals, -also controlled by banking interests- are trying to tighten the grip on the only medium that challenges their power and control; the only medium that brought some real freedom of information to the people; the only medium that put the brakes on their plan to create a global technocracy, to consolidate their scientific dictatorship.