US Has 55 Daily Encounters With So-Called “Terrorists” On Government Watch Lists

May 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Law enforcement and homeland security personnel face an average of 55 daily encounters with “known or suspected terrorists” named on government watchlists, officials told Reuters.

The figure – which equals more than 20,000 contacts per year – underscores the growing sweep of the watchlists, which have expanded significantly since a failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing attempt of a U.S. airliner. But officials note that very few of those daily contacts lead to arrests.

Civil liberties groups question the use of watchlists, and they have been ridiculed for ensnaring innocent citizens.

U.S. officials said the encounters, which involve airport and border security personnel as well as federal and local law enforcement officers, are reported to the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), an interagency unit led by an FBI official based in a tightly guarded building in northern Virginia.

At its headquarters, the TSC operates a 24-hour command center, resembling something from a Hollywood thriller, complete with giant wall-screen projections and signs flashing “SECRET.”

Officials said that when a law enforcement or homeland security officer in the field stops a person whose name matches a name in the TSC’s databases, the officer is supposed to phone the TSC command center for instructions. Based on information in the databases, the TSC then will advise the officer in the field how to proceed, which could range from releasing the suspect to calling in federal officers as backup.

The command center gets between 100 and 150 inquiries a day, of which an average of 55 involve individuals who turn out to be listed on one of the federal watch lists, officials said. Of those calls, about 60 percent come from federal officers at border or airport security posts; the rest come from local police.

“There are incidents every single day,” said TSC director Timothy Healy.

The watchlists include the best known “no fly list” as well as a “selectee list” of people who the government thinks should get extra screening or questioning before being allowed to board an airplane.

LISTS GET LONGER

Officials acknowledge that the number of names on these lists – and particularly the no-fly list – have grown considerably since Christmas Day 2009, when a Nigerian-born militant who was listed in a classified database called TIDE, but not the no-fly list, successfully boarded a US-bound aircraft but then failed to detonate a bomb which Yemeni militants had helped him stash in his underpants.

Before that incident, the number of names on the no-fly list was around 4,000. U.S. officials said it now contains about 20,000 names while the selectee list contains another 18,000.

A new threat to aviation security surfaced earlier this month, in the form of a foiled plot by al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate to deploy a more sophisticated “underwear” bomb.

The watchlists have been the subject of controversy – most recently last week when an 18-month-old girl and her parents were taken off a JetBlue flight when the toddler’s name appeared on a no-fly security list, apparently the result of a computer glitch.

While the U.S. government has instituted measures to enable people to petition for their names to be deleted, officials insist that over time the lists have become more accurate.

Watchlisting officials say that airlines maintain their own lists of potentially troublesome passengers; often, they said, when a well-publicized case arises of a prominent or innocent person being denied boarding, it is because the air carrier, rather than the government, misconstrued the identity of someone on its proprietary lists.

But Nusrat Choudhury, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said her organization is pursuing legal action on behalf of people who have unjustifiably been restricted from flying. She said redress mechanisms maintained by the government are at best “ineffective.”

Two or three of the inquiries per day turn out to be people listed on the “no fly” list, the most restrictive of the watchlists maintained by the TSC.

A suspect’s name is put on the “no fly” list if they are deemed by government experts to be a threat to aviation, to be planning an attack or if they are “operationally capable” and are known to be planning to attend, or to have already attended, a militant training camp.

Fewer than 500 of the individuals on the no-fly list are U.S. citizens, officials said.

Appeared Here


Black Based US Terror Organization Black Panther Party Openly Advertises $10,000 Bounty

March 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The new Black Panther Party offered a bounty of $10,000 Saturday for the “capture” of a Florida neighborhood watch captain who killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” leader Mikhail Muhammad said after announcing the reward for George Zimmerman at a protest in Sanford, Fla.

Muhammad called on 5,000 black men to mobilize and capture the neighborhood watch volunteer.

“If the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it,” Muhammad said, leading chants that included “freedom or death” and “justice for Trayvon.”

Muhammad said New Black Panther’s chairman, Malik Zulu Shabaz of Washington, was taking donations from black entertainers and athletes.

The group hopes to collect $1 million off the outrage by next week.

New Black Panthers members pointed to what they called the inaction of government officials — from Sanford city officials up to the governor — and accused them of lying and delaying justice.

They also said Angela Corley, the newly appointed special prosecutor, was an enemy of the black community.

“She has a track record of sending innocent young black men and women to prison,” Muhammad said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the New Black Panther Party, a black-separatist group created in 1989, “virulently racist and anti-Semitic.”

Martin, who is African-American, was wearing a hoodie and carrying a pack of Skittles and an ice tea on the night of Feb. 26. He was heading back to his father’s fiance’s townhouse.

Zimmerman, 28, called 911 to report a suspicious person in the gated community and followed the teen despite the dispatcher’s request that he stand down.

Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman’s family says he is Hispanic and race was not an issue.

A Florida man was also charged Friday with threatening to kill Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee and his family.

Lee temporarily stepped down as chief over the case.

Trayvon’s mom said she was having a hard time realizing that her son’s not coming home, People magazine reported Saturday.

“I look at every door and think, he’s just going to walk through it any minute,” Sybrina Fulton told the magazine.“I just want to see him again, but I can’t.

“He’s in heaven, looking down at me.”

Appeared Here


New Jersey Office Of Homeland Security Riding 9/11 Hysteria – Warns State Workers And Residents About Anyone With Goosebumps, Staring, Or Yawning Suspiciously

March 16, 2012

NEW JERSEY – Infowars has obtained a document from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness that lists banal bodily activities such as yawning, staring and goose pumps as “suspicious activity” indicative of terrorism.
DHS Terror Document Lists Yawning, Goose Bumps As Suspicious Behavior yawn 2

The document (PDF), entitled Terrorism Awareness and Prevention, is presented as a guide for both “residents and workers of New Jersey,” along with employees of federal, state and local agencies, on how to “assist in combating terrorism” by identifying “unusual or suspicious activities and behaviors.”

The guide encourages participants to “look for signs of nervousness in the people you come in contact with.” “Signs will become particularly evident in a person’s eyes, face, next and body movements.”

The document then lists examples of suspicious behavior indicative of terrorism, which include, “Exaggerated yawning when engaged in conversation,” “glances,” “cold penetrating stare,” “rigid posture,” and “goose bumps”.

Of course, any of these behaviors could be explained by a million other circumstances and the likelihood that they are indications of terrorist activity is virtually zero.

However, as we have seen from recent literature put out by the DHS or related law enforcement bodies, the standard for being characterized as a potential terrorist is getting broader and broader all the time.

Last month we reported on the FBI’s Communities Against Terrorism (CAT) program, which encourages store managers and staff of numerous different businesses to report examples of suspicious activity to the authorities.

A d v e r t i s e m e n t

In a flyer handed out to Internet Cafes, workers are encouraged to report people who use cash to pay for their coffee as potential terrorists.

Expressing an interesting in protecting online privacy when surfing the web in public is also characterized as a suspicious activity.

In a flyer issued to Military Surplus stores, the purchase of storable food supplies in bulk, an increasingly popular trend amongst “preppers,” is also defined as a potential indication of terrorism.

Even more chilling, the feds have also begun to characterize perfectly legitimate political and economic beliefs as those held by terrorists, effectively denouncing them as thought crimes.

As Reuters reported in February, authorities are now treating those who “believe the United States went bankrupt by going off the gold standard” as extremists who are a potential violent threat to law enforcement.

Characterizing behavior which millions of Americans engage in every day as a potential indication of terrorism only serves to breed paranoia and distrust. If anything, it actually helps terrorists to blend in and not be identified, by increasing the chances exponentially of innocent Americans being mistaken for terrorists.

Appeared Here


Terrorists On Every Corner: “Homeland Security” Vendors Still Thriving Due To Post 9/11 Hysteria

May 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – A decade after the 9/11 terror attacks, homeland security is still a growth business.

The niche—that includes James Bond-like tools such as infrared cameras, explosive detectors and body scanners—is expected to grow 12 percent annually through 2013, according to Morgan Keegan.

“Homeland security is reactive,” says Tim Quillen, a senior equity analyst at investment banking firm Stephens Inc. “The stocks are hedges against bad things happening.”

One example: the underwear bomber, who was thwarted in late 2009. After that a bell weather homeland security stock OSI Systems [OSIS 39.11 0.04 (+0.1%) ] rocketed 30 percent within a month. “The stock went on a tear,” says Brian Ruttenbur, a research analyst at Morgan Keegan. Why? OSI makes X-ray and metal detectors used to scan people, baggage and cargo that it sells worldwide. During the past 12 months ending yesterday, the stock has popped from $25 to $40, driven by border and port growth.

Much has changed, since the government spent over $20 billion beefing up airport baggage screening nationwide with X-ray devices.

Airline security is a small business: about $1 billion. There’s 2,100 airport security lanes in the U.S., and 90 percent use X-ray scanners.

“The scanners are ten plus years old now,” says Ruttenbur and “going through an upgrade cycle.” Recently, the government has ordered another 500 scanners though.

Screening cargo going on aircraft and boats at ports is also spiking. Now, only a small percentage of all cargo is scanned. Security screening will grow ten percent to 15 percent annually in coming years, says Ruttenbur in a recent report. This driver will help OSI Systems pump out strong security earnings.

Tiny Niche, Big Clout

There aren’t any pure plays within homeland security though—neither stocks or ETFs. Some players like OSI Systems sell their screening devices to healthcare companies too, so their homeland security earnings are diluted.

“You have to spread the net wide and separate reality from hype,” says Quillen

Both OSI Systems and Flir Systems [FLIR 35.52 0.28 (+0.79%) ] are undervalued right now, says Quillen.

Flir Systems is a well-managed market leader in infrared cameras used to protect critical buildings, he says. This fast-growing market is slated to expand 20 percent annually, though only half of Flir Systems’ revenue come from government business. The stock rose from $29 to $36 in the past year. And Quillen has a 12-month price target of $43 on it.

OSI Systems is another favorite. In the first quarter of the year, OSI’s security group revenues grew 27 percent over last year’s.

“The stock is a long-term play,” says Jonathan Richton, an analyst at Imperial Capital, citing OSI’s developing cargo scanning business. Analysts peg five-year earnings growth at 20 percent. Another plus driving earnings: OSI Systems is aggressively tightening operating margins.

A third player, American Science and Engineering [ASEI 86.07 -0.11 (-0.13%) ] makes cargo and parcel search systems. But the stock is expensive right now, say analysts, since the company missed first-quarter revenue targets.

In the past year, the stock has risen from $77 to $88. Ruttenbur expects only 4-percent earnings growth this year but 10 percent to 15 percent in the next few years, as orders pick up. His 12-month price target: $94.

For investors casting a wide net, L-3 Communications [LLL 81.60 0.30 (+0.37%) ] is a homeland security monolith. It’s also the sixth largest U.S. defense contractor.

The company makes surveillance equipment for airports and checkpoint scanners. “They’re playing a meaningful role,” says Quillen, “but security revenue is only about 5 percent.”

Its stock price has been flat over the last year.

These days, homeland security niche players are a safe bet though — even after the recent death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Appeared Here


A Terrorist On Every Corner: Kentucky Office Of Homeland Security Releases Terror Reporting iPhone Application

April 14, 2011

KENTUCKY – Kentucky isn’t the first place you’d expect to see suspicious behavior, but instances of domestic terrorism such as the Oklahoma City bombing are a reminder that criminal activities aren’t confined to high-profile cities.

With vigilance in mind, the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS) recently released an iPhone app that mirrors the “Eyes and Ears on Kentucky” website for reporting “suspicious activity.”

The free app is designed to allow citizens to send tips to the KOHS — anonymously if they wish — on any activity that may be linked to a terrorist act.

“Instead of having to wait until they got home to the desktop computer or laptop computer in accessing our website and then linking to the reporting portal, they could bring up that app on their iPhone and basically enter the same information while they’re standing there watching the activity or looking at whatever it is they might see,” said Shelby Lawson, the KOHS’ deputy executive director of operations and prevention.

Examples of activity that could be reported to either the portal or the app include seeing someone showing an unusual interest in a building’s security system — asking several questions about how security’s accomplished and how many people are involved in the facility’s security. Suspicious activity may also include someone sketching the location, using GPS to get a facility’s coordinates, or having “just more than the casual curiosity that tourists or sightseers would take in,” Lawson said.

Citizens can also report the presence of suspicious items or objects.

When a report is submitted through the app or portal, a KOHS analyst reviews the submitted information and other relevant data to determine if there’s a pattern, repeated reports in the same location, or similar reports in similar locations. If the activity is thought to be related to terrorism, the information is then forwarded to the Joint Terrorism Task Force at the FBI. Reports have already been submitted to the KOHS since the app’s launch, but Lawson said because the app is free, the KOHS has received some innocuous information from users who are attempting to pull pranks.

The KOHS worked with a team from Kentucky.gov — Kentucky’s official website — to launch the Eyes and Ears on Kentucky Web portal and app. Funding for the portal was supplied by a $10,000 state homeland security grant; the app was built for free.

Kentucky isn’t the first government to launch an app for reporting suspicious activity. In 2010, Dallas launched a smartphone app called “iWatch Dallas” for citizens to report crimes as well as suspicious behavior that could possibly be linked to terrorism.

Not everyone feels suspicious activity reporting is effective. A 2010 report from the American Civil Liberties Union claims that suspicious activity reporting (SAR) programs can lead to submissions of many common activities, such as a person who looks through binoculars, takes pictures or draws diagrams. “SAR programs increase the probability that innocent people will be stopped by police and have their personal information collected for inclusion in law enforcement and intelligence databases,” the ACLU report said.

Appeared Here


Lying Groveland Massachusetts Police Officer Aaron Yeo Caught Sleeping And Playing On The Internet – His Lawyer Claims He Was Actually Somewhere Secret “Watching For Terrorists”

October 21, 2010

GROVELAND, MASSACHSETTS – A small town police officer assigned to serve and protect has been accused of sleeping on the job, looking at inappropriate images online and lying about it to his superiors.

The officer had been on the force for three and a half years when his supervisors became suspicious. His low mileage on his overnight patrol shift didn’t add up, but time spent surfing the net, did.

Women wearing next to nothing were discovered on a Groveland Police station computer. Officials said Officer Aaron Yeo would surf for hours during his shift.

“I got information that this officer was not doing his job and we started looking at him and wondering why he wasn’t doing his job,” said Chief Robert Kirmelewicz from the Groveland Police Department.

Internal Affairs wired his car with GPS and video. They said they caught him sleeping on the job and calling into dispatch with false locations, sometimes from inside the police station itself.

“There was a pattern of deception and lying and that’s why he was terminated,” said Kirmelewicz.

But the 28-year-old father of two said he was fired without just cause.

“Unfortunately I feel my rights were violated,” said Aaron Yeo.

That’s because he didn’t know his car was rigged and his stalking like internet behavior was being monitored by internal affairs. His lawyer said lots of people used the computer and suggested Yeo’s dispatch locations were kept secret because he was watching for terrorists.

“He was concerned and fairly so that if somebody was using a scanner they’d listen to find out where he was,” said Stephen Pfaff, union attorney.

But even the Labor Relations Board said Yeo’s firing was justified. Michael Boyle, an arbitrator with the Division of Labor Relations said: “Officer dishonesty would erode the public’s confidence and hamper the ability to ensure public safety.”

Yeo’s former boss said Yeo won’t be doing that in Groveland anymore now that he’s off the force.

“A lying police officer loses all credibility and integrity and therefore cannot effectively perform the job of a police officer,” said Kirmelewicz.

Yeo and has lawyer said they’ll decide within the next two weeks whether they’ll appeal.

Appeared Here


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers