this sort of makes me wonder…
i wonder if they are hiring clergy from religions other than “christianity”? i wonder if they, for example, would hire me, an ordained christian minister who has been a practicing hindu for 25 years? and once i was hired, i wonder whose script i would be forced to read from to “quell public unrest” when they came to get my neighbors for being illegal aliens, or something like that? i wonder if, at that point, it would even matter who i worship?
August 15, 2007
By Jeff Ferrell
Could martial law ever become a reality in America? Some fear any nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil might trigger just that. KSLA News 12 has discovered that the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us.
Charleton Heston’s now-famous speech before the National Rifle Association at a convention back in 2000 will forever be remembered as a stirring moment for all 2nd Amendment advocates. At the end of his remarks, Heston held up his antique rifle and told the crowd in his Moses-like voice, “over my cold, dead hands.”
While Heston, then serving as the NRA President, made those remarks in response to calls for more gun control laws at the time, those words live on. Heston’s declaration captured a truly American value: An over-arching desire to protect our freedoms.
But gun confiscation is exactly what happened during the state of emergency following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, along with forced relocation. U.S. Troops also arrived, something far easier to do now, thanks to last year’s elimination of the 1878 Posse Comitatus act, which had forbid regular U.S. Army troops from policing on American soil.
If martial law were enacted here at home, like depicted in the movie “The Siege”, easing public fears and quelling dissent would be critical. And that’s exactly what the ‘Clergy Response Team’ helped accomplish in the wake of Katrina.
Dr. Durell Tuberville serves as chaplain for the Shreveport Fire Department and the Caddo Sheriff’s Office. Tuberville said of the clergy team’s mission, “the primary thing that we say to anybody is, ‘let’s cooperate and get this thing over with and then we’ll settle the differences once the crisis is over.'”
Such clergy response teams would walk a tight-rope during martial law between the demands of the government on the one side, versus the wishes of the public on the other. “In a lot of cases, these clergy would already be known in the neighborhoods in which they’re helping to diffuse that situation,” assured Sandy Davis. He serves as the director of the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
For the clergy team, one of the biggest tools that they will have in helping calm the public down or to obey the law is the bible itself, specifically Romans 13. Dr. Tuberville elaborated, “because the government’s established by the Lord, you know. And, that’s what we believe in the Christian faith. That’s what’s stated in the scripture.”
Civil rights advocates believe the amount of public cooperation during such a time of unrest may ultimately depend on how long they expect a suspension of rights might last.
and here is exactly the reason why i’m wondering all that kind of stuff… if there are going to be “behaviour detection officers” in airports, and eventually on street corners in your town, you’d better look “right” – whatever that means – otherwise you’re going to get “disappeared”… what happens next?
August 14, 2007
By Kaitlin Dirrig
Next time you go to the airport, there may be more eyes on you than you notice.
Specially trained security personnel are watching body language and facial cues of passengers for signs of bad intentions. The watcher could be the attendant who hands you the tray for your laptop or the one standing behind the ticket-checker. Or the one next to the curbside baggage attendant.
They’re called Behavior Detection Officers, and they’re part of several recent security upgrades, Transportation Security Administrator Kip Hawley told an aviation industry group in Washington last month. He described them as “a wonderful tool to be able to identify and do risk management prior to somebody coming into the airport or approaching the crowded checkpoint.”
The officers are working in more than a dozen airports already, according to Paul Ekman, a former professor at the University of California at San Francisco who has advised Hawley’s agency on the program. Amy Kudwa, a TSA public affairs specialist, said the agency hopes to have 500 behavior detection officers in place by the end of 2008.
Kudwa described the effort, which began as a pilot program in 2006, as “very successful” at identifying suspicious airline passengers. She said it had netted drug carriers, illegal immigrants and terrorism suspects. She wouldn’t say more.
At the heart of the new screening system is a theory that when people try to conceal their emotions, they reveal their feelings in flashes that Ekman, a pioneer in the field, calls “micro-expressions.” Fear and disgust are the key ones, he said, because they’re associated with deception.
Behavior detection officers work in pairs. Typically, one officer sizes up passengers openly while the other seems to be performing a routine security duty. A passenger who arouses suspicion, whether by micro-expressions, social interaction or body language gets subtle but more serious scrutiny.
A behavior specialist may decide to move in to help the suspicious passenger recover belongings that have passed through the baggage X-ray. Or he may ask where the traveler’s going. If more alarms go off, officers will “refer” the person to law enforcement officials for further questioning.
The strategy is based on a time-tested and successful Israeli model, but in the United States, the scrutiny is much less invasive, Ekman said. American officers receive 16 hours of training — far less than their Israeli counterparts_ because U.S. officials want to be less intrusive.
The use of “micro-expressions” to identify hidden emotions began nearly 30 years ago when Ekman and colleague Maureen O’Sullivan began studying videotapes of people telling lies. When they slowed down the videotapes, they noticed distinct facial movements and began to catalogue them. They were flickers of expression that lasted no more than a fraction of a second.
The Department of Homeland Security hopes to dramatically enhance such security practices.
Jay M. Cohen, undersecretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology, said in May that he wants to automate passenger screening by using videocams and computers to measure and analyze heart rate, respiration, body temperature and verbal responses as well as facial micro-expressions.
Homeland Security is seeking proposals from scientists to develop such technology. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 31.
The system also would be used for port security, special-event screening and other security screening tasks.
It faces high hurdles, however.
Different cultures express themselves differently. Expressions and body language are easy to misread, and no one’s catalogued them all. Ekman notes that each culture has its own specific body language, but that little has been done to study each individually in order to incorporate them in a surveillance program.
In addition, automation won’t be easy, especially for the multiple variables a computer needs to size up people. Ekman thinks people can do it better. “And it’s going to be hard to get machines that are as accurate as trained human beings,” Ekman said.
Finally, the extensive data-gathering of passengers’ personal information will raise civil-liberties concerns. “If you discover that someone is at risk for heart disease, what happens to that information?” Ekman asked. “How can we be certain that it’s not sold to third parties?”
Whether mass-automated security screening will ever be effective is unclear. In Cohen’s PowerPoint slide accompanying his aviation industry presentation was this slogan: “Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible.”
and, on top of that, you’re going to need a passport to travel within the united states pretty soon…
can i see your papers? your address is different from the one we have on file for you, you didn’t offer the explanation fast enough, and you looked nervous when you said it, so you must be lying, you terrorist! you’re under arrest!
By Eliott C. McLaughlin
Americans may need passports to board domestic flights or to picnic in a national park next year if they live in one of the states defying the federal Real ID Act.
The act, signed in 2005 as part of an emergency military spending and tsunami relief bill, aims to weave driver’s licenses and state ID cards into a sort of national identification system by May 2008. The law sets baseline criteria for how driver’s licenses will be issued and what information they must contain.
The Department of Homeland Security insists Real ID is an essential weapon in the war on terror, but privacy and civil liberties watchdogs are calling the initiative an overly intrusive measure that smacks of Big Brother.
More than half the nation’s state legislatures have passed or proposed legislation denouncing the plan, and some have penned bills expressly forbidding compliance.
Several states have begun making arrangements for the new requirements — four have passed legislation applauding the measure — but even they may have trouble meeting the act’s deadline.
The cards would be mandatory for all “federal purposes,” which include boarding an airplane or walking into a federal building, nuclear facility or national park, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the National Conference of State Legislatures last week. Citizens in states that don’t comply with the new rules will have to use passports for federal purposes.
“For terrorists, travel documents are like weapons,” Chertoff said. “We do have a right and an obligation to see that those licenses reflect the identity of the person who’s presenting it.”
Chertoff said the Real ID program is essential to national security because there are presently 8,000 types of identification accepted to enter the United States.
“It is simply unreasonable to expect our border inspectors to be able to detect forgeries on documents that range from baptismal certificates from small towns in Texas to cards that purport to reflect citizenship privileges in a province somewhere in Canada,” he said.
Chertoff attended the conference in Boston, Massachusetts, in part to allay states’ concerns, but he had few concrete answers on funding.
The Department of Homeland Security, which estimates state and federal costs could reach $23.1 billion over 10 years, is looking for ways to lessen the burden on states, he said. On the recent congressional front, however, Chertoff could point only to an amendment killed in the Senate last month that would’ve provided $300 million for the program.
“There’s going to be an irreducible expense that falls on you, and that’s part of the shared responsibility,” Chertoff told the state legislators.
Bill Walsh, senior legal fellow for the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative think tank that supports the Real ID Act, said states shouldn’t be pushing for more federal dollars because, ultimately, that will mean more federal oversight — and many complaints about cost coincide with complaints about the federal government overstepping its bounds.
“They are only being asked to do what they should’ve already done to protect their citizens,” Walsh said, blaming arcane software and policies at state motor vehicle departments for what he called “a tremendous trafficking in state driver’s licenses.”
The NCSL is calling Real ID an “unfunded mandate” that could cost states up to $14 billion over the next decade, but for which only $40 million has been federally approved. The group is demanding Congress pony up $1 billion for startup costs by year’s end or scrap the proposal altogether.
Everyone must visit DMV by 2013
The Real ID Act repealed a provision in the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act calling for state and federal officials to examine security standards for driver’s licenses.
It called instead for states to begin issuing new federal licenses, lasting no longer than eight years, by May 11, 2008, unless they are granted an extension.
It also requires all 245 million license and state ID holders to visit their local departments of motor vehicles and apply for a Real ID by 2013. Applicants must bring a photo ID, birth certificate, proof of Social Security number and proof of residence, and states must maintain and protect massive databases housing the information.
NCSL spokesman Bill Wyatt said the requirements are “almost physically impossible.” States will have to build new facilities, secure those facilities and shell out for additional equipment and personnel.
Those costs are going to fall back on the American taxpayer, he said. It might be in the form of a new transportation, motor vehicle or gasoline tax. Or you might find it tacked on to your next state tax bill. In Texas, Wyatt said, one official told him that without federal funding, the Lone Star State might have to charge its citizens more than $100 for a license.
“We kind of feel like the way they went about this is backwards,” Wyatt said, explaining that states would have appreciated more input into the process. “Each state has its own unique challenges and these are best addressed at state levels. A one-size-fits-all approach to driver’s licenses doesn’t necessarily work.”
Many states have revolted. The governors of Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington have signed bills refusing to comply with the act. Six others have passed bills and/or resolutions expressing opposition, and 15 have similar legislation pending.
Though the NCSL says most states’ opposition stems from the lack of funding, some states cited other reasons for resisting the initiative.
New Hampshire passed a House bill opposing the program and calling Real ID “contrary and repugnant” to the state and federal constitutions. A Colorado House resolution dismissed Real ID by expressing support for the war on terror but “not at the expense of essential civil rights and liberties of citizens of this country.”
Privacy concerns raised
Colorado and New Hampshire lawmakers are not alone. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation say the IDs and supporting databases — which Chertoff said would eventually be federally interconnected — will infringe on privacy.
EFF says on its Web site that the information in the databases will lay the groundwork for “a wide range of surveillance activities” by government and businesses that “will be able to easily read your private information” because of the bar code required on each card.
The databases will provide a one-stop shop for identity thieves, adds the ACLU on its Web site, and the U.S. “surveillance society” and private sector will have access to the system “for the routine tracking, monitoring and regulation of individuals’ movements and activities.”
The civil liberties watchdog dubs the IDs “internal passports” and claims it wouldn’t be long before office buildings, gas stations, toll booths, subways and buses begin accessing the system.
But Chertoff told legislators last week that DHS has no intention of creating a federal database, and Walsh, of the Heritage Foundation, said the ACLU’s allegations are disingenuous.
States will be permitted to share data only when validating someone’s identity, Walsh said.
“The federal government wouldn’t have any greater access to driver’s license information than it does today,” Walsh said.
States have the right to refuse to comply with the program, he said, and they also have the right to continue issuing IDs and driver’s licenses that don’t meet Real ID requirements.
But, Walsh said, “any state that’s refusing to implement this key recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, and whose state driver’s licenses are as a result used in another terrorist attack, should be held responsible.”
State reaction to Real ID has not been all negative. Four states have passed bills or resolutions expressing approval for the program, and 13 states have similar legislation pending (Several states have pending pieces of legislation both applauding and opposing Real ID).
Chertoff said there would be repercussions for states choosing not to comply.
“This is not a mandate,” Chertoff said. “A state doesn’t have to do this, but if the state doesn’t have — at the end of the day, at the end of the deadline — Real ID-compliant licenses then the state cannot expect that those licenses will be accepted for federal purposes.”