Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 20, 2010


Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on July 20, 2010

While I was reading Jessica’s post yesterday and wondering what kind of intelligence one can buy with 75 billion dollars, I received an email that included three brief videos, displayed below.

The videos are not directly related to homeland security.  But they did remind me how shockingly varied our world is.

I was told the first two displayed some of the reconstruction work in Haiti. The third is from Bangladesh.

The videos are Buckets (28 seconds), Shovels (27 seconds), and Bricks (43 seconds).

As Jessica noted yesterday: In DC, there are 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work under construction (or built since 9/11). I wonder how much all that cost, and what benefits are returned, and to whom.

The Hopi word Koyaanisqatsi means life out of balance. I’m not sure what the people in the videos are building, but in spite of the brick carrier’s equipoise in the third video, something is out of balance.

[Note: the videos are direct links from YouTube; two of the videos display a web address (not a link) for what euphemistically is termed an “adult site.” ]

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 20, 2010 @ 6:51 am

Yes there is a world wide shortage of bricks, buckets, and shovels. Simple building materials are always important. One of my favorite insights into the almost senile Carter Director of FEMA, John Macy who died between the first and second Reagan inaugrals was his crossing his heart and hope to die pledge to Maggie, Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington, to whom he pledged 900,000 shovels after the Mt. St. Helens vulcano exploded in May 1980, and then when Maggie called days later asking where were the shovels, Macy told Maggie FEMA could not supply or even buy the shovels. Of course that was not true either from a logistics standpoint or law but indicative of the fraility of a system that was not process but personality.
And of course this reminds me of a second wonderful example involving shovels. Glasnost and Perestrika were driven in part by two huge events. The core-melt accident at Chenyobl and the Armenian earthquake. The latter was an event that shattered the notion for all time that the Soviet Army was capable, when after the earthquake, people were clawing at rubble looking for survivors weeks after the event. The Soviet Army showed up and were ready and willing to help. Unfortunately there were NO shovels for this massive show of force (Don’t soldiers entrench anymore?) and there are pictures of ranking officers and men of the Soviet Union crying in frustration because they had NO shovels.
Well sometime review the MODERN MARVELS show on the development of the shovel and you will see how this simple tool combining the lever and inclined plane, two of the seven basic tools, is so important to the world. So here I ask readers of the blog the following to which I don’t have any answer? How fast can the countries of the world on their own, and with their own resources produce one (1) million shovels and how long will that take. Hey I buy a pitch fork every month and sharpen it so the peasants will be armed when storming the Bastille (Bastille Day last Friday?) but perhaps shovels would be of more use when modern society breaks down under its ever present technological vulnerabilities. But hey I am sure all the new facilities built and described in the WAPO will be completing self-sustaining. By the way was site selection made based on the location of the nearest STARBUCKS? A map correlating locations of the facilities with STARBUCKS would and should give that result with wonderful accuracy. After all, TOP SECRET ops and analysis are always driven by great coffee and lots of it.

Comment by Dan O'Connor

July 20, 2010 @ 8:02 am

In broad terms and to your point of balance; is it our access to excess and our expected way of life that drives our perceived information needs?

Secrecy or classification strata are, in my opinion, used more to exclude than protect. It’s a mechanism to arbitrarily justify behaviors and budgets. There are things that are classified for the sole purpose of hiding them.

And, we all have experiences where slight, inconsequential bureaucrats self empower by not sharing because “it’s classified”.

Do we need secrets? Yes. Is everything that’s classified need to be? Unequivocally, no.

And, secrecy in terms of National Security simply isn’t what is used to be.

Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in 1953 for conspiracy to commit espionage. The charges related to passing information about the atomic bomb to the then Soviet Union. This was the first execution of civilians for espionage in United States history. They were in one sense, a sign of the times.

Yet, we read daily in the paper un-named sources to protect their anonymity releasing what could be described as astounding pieces of information; UBL’s cell phone usage, troop movement in Yemen, unconventional warfare tactics etc. This has dramatic effect on planning and American success in battle. Yet, no one is identified, let alone convicted. This not the exception, but the rule…

I doubt very seriously the Rosenberg’s would be executed today, let alone convicted…even in this growing secret world.
But I also doubt the true value of water boarding or torture has any net affect, with the exception of punishment for punishment sake. Hence, its net gain must be kept secret. I wonder if that’s what the Shakespeare had in mind in the Merchant of Venice;
I fear you speak upon the rack
Where men enforced do speak anything.

At some point, the value of the information gained is either overcome by time or simply useless. Perhaps not.

In any case, as this intelligence monolith grows, I think there has to me a modicum of concern for the rights and privileges of our citizenry. How long is it before we have a quasi Stasi reporting on un American activities? Does it already exist and we’re just now finding out?

Rounding out the point; what is the cost benefit? If we’re spending billions and growing government, and developing onerous infrastructure, both in terms of collection, analysis, data, and facilities and cannot stop the underwear bomber and Times Square bomber what does it say about our return on investment?

We hear about Major Nidal Malik Hasan and our other “intelligence failures” often. We hear about how complex the intelligence machine is and becoming.

What has the expenditure, efforts, and work gained us? We don’t know because that’s classified.

Comment by 21stCentury and Intel

July 20, 2010 @ 9:38 am

None of us like the fact that local, state and national government here and yonder have selfishly spent trillions, trillions and trillions without any real concern for mankind, for if they had any ethics, the monies would not be spent and our world may have less, yet not be in such angony and real demise.

Every man-made government since Babylon has failed – whether socialist, democratic or otherwise as self-agenda and outright greed and lustfulness in power and control have always prevailed.

In this 21st century, while we all are more than impressed with technological advancement, we are troubled by cybersecurity issues, new weapons development by the Chinese and others seeking to dominate the skies and our electric grid.

Mankind has crippled himself once again though as it has allowed Goldman Sachs et al – the bankers, the central bankers to rape the global economies and enslave the populace. We fear not the inevitable double dip, but the depression, a depression this time in another repeated history lesson which will very shortly change forever many, many lives.

BP, Goldman Sachs, those here in in Europe who have their hands in the cookie jar and in this 21st century where the “KGB Putinites” and the “Brutes of Tehran” have an agenda which will cause much strife, death.

A new Chinese Navy with far reaching global raqmifications and a new German-led EU Army with shiny new battleships in the waters off the Middle East and an aggressive Vatican with its own agenda all resulting in the necessity of an America awakened by the fact that intel requirements are many if we are to assure a future for this great Republic!

It is incredible to think how the Washington Post is so pleased with itself by posting all this information when the present administration and its agenda seeks to license all press and media personnel to enable government to control what is written and the Washington Post chooses to set its sights on the intel community, our heros in a world riddled with corruption we see here on Main Street USA never mind in the basement of the Pakistani capital….

Instead of the Washington Press doing an extensive presentation of each administration and appointed officials of the Obama Administration and the entire network chart depicting the reality that soon the American Flag will have GS imprinted over the stripes and stars for the real outrage here on Main Street is not in our pride for those at NSA and the DOD and other related intel agencies including even the NYPD staff and other locals so engaged day and night committed to thwart the internal and external threats to our security, by outraged that the Washington Press and the media is general has allowed Goldman Sachs (GS) to be so networked, so involved, so attached in almost every individual who has present and or past ties to Goldman Sachs – that’s the real story….

BP, Goldman Sachs and this ongoing charade, you Mr. President who has ramped up the budget deficit in such a short term, you and your White House staff should be tried for treason for you know full well that your enslavement of the average American, raping our pensions, stripping America of an middle class, well, Mr. President et al, you and “Mr. Barney” and “Smug-smiled Pelosi” do not know better and your willingness to compromise our flag, our nation, our Rights, this is the real story….

This is a Judeo-Christian nation and while you may think you will inevitably take identity from us, to you and your Goldman Sachs team, I have ordered one dozen flags with GS imprinted over the stripes and stars and as a visual, anyone who has doubts will begin to demand that the Washington Post not focus on affording our enemies information of any sort, but how Goldman Sachs and its ties to nearly every administration official and to the beltway and Congress!

While the Middle East is about to break out in war which will inevitably involve all, the story of the day is not the intel community’s commitment to protest us which is a story we need to read about as we have only the folks at NSA and DoD, not the professional politician who chooses to tell no one his whereabouts and walks the streets of South America with his mistress leaving the State of South Carolina w/no executive leadership in direct breach to his pledge to uphold the responsibilities he is entrusted to and gues what, such stories are rampant with all the same outcome, accolades and incestuous applause by the fellow god ‘ol boys – that’s what is really scary – not folks committed to protecting America from within, never mind AQ! That’s the real story and the Washington Post and its colleagues, soon to be licensed who have failed us and knowing the Chinese and its scientific and engineering leadership types who have a strong commitment to extend its hands into America’s secrets as well as Putin who along with the KGB boys know full well the lack of experience offered from a junior Senator and a Chicago community activist chosen by Goldman Sachs to lead the charade and impoverish middle America, to enslave us, however never underestimate Mr. President et al the inherent strength of even an impoverished America!

How dare the Washington Post has think it has accomplished some journalistic excellence in its report of the intel community when in fact we are at war from within and an ongoing nine year war in Iraq/Afghan which is certainly part of the plan, continue the budget spending and place us all in bankruptcy over and over again, in fact, 13 trillion times….and growing $5 billion daily, but wait, those are government estimates, just as with BP and their estimates of the spillage, can we trust the government’s figures and in fact, why is it that millions and millions in BP’s shares were shorted just a few days before the spill – was the spill an accident many ask or a continued and intentional method of raping the national bankrupted coffers and the continued necessity to print federal reserve notes, not dollars for they are merely federal reserve notes backed up by gold, but why?

The fact is that the American press need not be licensed individually as reporters for it is evident that the American press is bought and packaged. When we see “Mr. Barney” and his buds at Freddie Mac and we see the Governor of South Carolina arrested for negligence and other derelict of duties and sworn commitment to protect the good people of South Carolina, when we see the press show the ties, the affiliations of White House administration officials and others and their ties to Goldman Sachs and the bankers, well, maybe we, too can applaud the press.

Yet for now, when we sleep at night w/one eye open, it is only because of the dedicted folks at NSA, the triple letter club an so on and so forth for the recent esteemd General said it all of the President and the Vice President and as a General we will follow, we salute you, Sir and all others who understand that we understand that the enemies within are more apparently more dangerous than AQ for we grew up hearing – united we stand –

….and the resulting disparity, the fiscal negligence require vigilance within….

We expect more from our intel community, not less for yes, we are very concerned with external threats, yet it is the upheaval, the enslavement of fellow people from nation to nation, people to people, and the direct and indirect involvement of Goldman Sachs et al who could give a damn about anyone who is not within their own circle –

God Bless our beloved Republic! Our forefathers were brilliant and their foresight to see Goldman Sachs and their folks residing at the White House in the boardroom by a President chosen to be manipulated as let’s face it, how many African Americans are on the Goldman Sachs and BP Board of Directors? Who else to lead the young and unknowing American voter, certainly not John McCain.

God Bless our intel community – now, let’s play “connect the GS dots at the White House” and we can all applaud the Washington Postand let me be the first to dare you to “connect the Goldman Sachs dots”

Christopher Tingus
aka Citizen Joe
PO Box 1612
Harwich, MA 02645 USA

Comment by Dan O'Connor

July 20, 2010 @ 9:45 am

And to add another dimension; perhaps this is just the unintended consequence of a growing demand for information, the coming exaflood, and the convergence of data.

Are we prisoners of our own irrational fear and our satiation point is data?

And is it in our expedition to gain clarity over these issues that redundancies and overlap occur? If thats the case, than there’s nothing sinister about it, but just the way it is.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 20, 2010 @ 11:50 am

Personally I believe if the “VERONA” tapes had been introduced at the Rosenberg trial would have proved beyond a reasonable doubt their guilt. The passage of the Classified Information Procedures Act of 1978 was designed to allow espionage prosecutions to occur and get over the fact that defense counsel always argued for release of much classified material that would prove their clients innocence. Not wanting to release some of that material many prosecutions were dropped.

The problem with that statute is that clearing the Judges and lawyers for the defense and conducting in camera review has still not accomplished the job of allowing classic espionage by other than diplomats so-called NOC’s or even US citizens passing or releasing information should really be studied in detail by the Judiciary Committees of Congress. Of course because it is in the public interest few lobbyists are involved, i.e.no campaign contributions, the basic staff of life for members of congress. And of course the Executive Branch continues to prevent close supervision of classification decisions by use of SAPs and other strategems. So the beat goes on and with each improper classification decision the sinews of our democracy are weakened! Again, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s book entitled “SECRECY” is a gem and should be a starting point.

I once had a high-level FEMA official come into the law library of FEMA and asked if there was any statutory guidance on the succession to the President outside of the Constitution itself. Of course there is such a statute. When I showed him the statute is immediate comment was that this “document should be classified”! Of course it was in the US Code and not classifiable. This particular gentleman was a Career SES in FEMA! Where do we get such men?

Comment by Dan O'Connor

July 20, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

The VENONA tapes did indeed shed light on many instances of espionage, but it was so secret, the President did not even know its breadth and reach and was not told the material came from decoded Soviet ciphers. But his mistrust(Truman’s)of J. Edgar Hoover and suspected exaggeration of said reports for political purposes diminished the reports’ gravitas.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 20, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

Thanks for the correction on “VENONA”!

Comment by 66

July 22, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

If they get a blank check they don’t need to be concerned with the balance. The other method is to just take whatever they want and mortgage the future. A ruler with a lean purse soon yields to the will of the people, so the leveling process always works itself out. The point of zero is we don’t use it in daily operations. Nobody farms zero acres or buys zero fish. Automobile dealers were offering 0% interest. Now it’s Government Motors.

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