Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 18, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 18, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

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24 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 18, 2015 @ 7:25 am

Buried somewhat deeply in the second Republican Presidential Debate [both prelims and main event] were some items of interest. Senator Lindsey Graham [R.-SC] flatly stated that if the radical Islamic extremist has access to a nuclear device they would employ it against the US. This statement went unchallenged but of course one of the key subtexts of the Iran Nuclear Agreement is that Iran would use nuclear weapons against the US and/or its allies if it possessed it.

As readers of my past comments know I believe employment of a nuclear device in any major city of the US could well result in a collapse of our system of government.

Senator Graham spent 33 years in the US Air Force according to his own statement during the debate. Strategic Nuclear Weapons remain a TRIAD under current US defense policy.

Some background:

http://www.upmc-biosecurity.org/website/events/2010_nuke/pdf/conf_report.pdf (299.1kb)

TBC!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 18, 2015 @ 7:52 am

I have posted many many times comments on this blog indicating that WMD policy and issues including preparedness, protection, detection, mitigation, response and recovery, resilience, was in fact the primary reason for creation and establishment of the DHS. None have challenged this assertion.

But no interested person, probably even with DHS and FEMA can explain not just policy but who exactly is assigned to work WMD policy and issues, what funding do they have and what have they accomplished and what needs to be accomplished. The same of curse goes for HHS and CDC.

My friend Claire Rubin blogging as the RECOVERY DIVA has done yeoman effort to try and track RECOVERY policy and issues. Yet on page 8 of the document linked in my first comment on this FFF appears the following statement:

“No systems to support recovery: Smith called attention to serious gaps in the country’s planning for recovery, and emphasized that communities with strong integration among local organizations and strong connections to the federal government are best positioned for recovery. Among the gaps he noted: no single federal agency is in charge of long?term recovery; there are very few robust plans for
recovery on the state or local levels; and no system is in place to coordinate financial, technical, and policy resources among the nation’s aid providers. The lack of a coordinating mechanism creates a disconnect between resources and those who may need them. Additionally, local capacity to receive disaster assistance must be enhanced in order to facilitate fast and effective recovery.”

I challenge Claire and others to comment on whether this statement in the 2010 report remains accurate which it does IMO.

There will be [hopefully] a 115th Congress sitting as of January 2017, just as a new President. At one time there was a Permanent Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy.

IMO I believe a new Joint Committee of the Congress should be established to deal with WMD policy an issues.

IT IS TIME TO BRING OUR OWN NUCLEAR PRIESTHOOD UNDER OVERSIGHT AND PREVENT AMATEURS FROM TRYING TO PRETEND THEY UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY THE CHALLENGES OF THE NUCLEAR AGE IN ALL ITS ASPECTS.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 18, 2015 @ 9:04 pm

I am appalled at the media and the White House in particular again weighing in w/invitation to the White House in a local law enforcement issue and a Homeland Security issue involving a student bringing a briefcase with a home made clock – the issue at hand, the protection of all students in the school charged to local law enforcement – there is zero tolerance in a school zone and this young student was advised by his teacher not to show his briefcase or device/clock to anyone outside his classroom — enough of this charade –

Law enforcement MUST treat every possible concern and further, the White House needs to butt out of law enforcement issues especially when we are talking about a clock which ticks and to the lay person, it is the bomb squad capable of making any such decision —

This youngster is no hero as promoted by Barry Obama et al and the safety of all youngsters must be of utmost concern — from our officials – we are advised as citizens to be vigilant – well, this youngster and it is said his parents were aware of this clock making so if one chooses to take any such item to school in a backpack or brief case without advising school authorities and maybe even police, no matter the age or gender, the law enforcement community asked the student to explain and he did not so again, in a heightened moment in our history related to terrorism and the lawlessness we see even among government officials entrusted to uphold laws, I see no reason why this youngster has been invited to the White House and in fact, he should of been held in custody until this detailed and a strong statement by all that no such item will be tolerated by school authorities –

Again, despite a White House which spews divisiveness, law enforcement was in fact very much justified under state law in their action – the device/clock in this matter in a brief case brought to school without proper explanation….again, zero tolerance in the school district anywhere —

This is a time when because of a weakened America as a direct result of a White House intentionally weakening our nation given its lack of policies and intentional acts and statements in apology for America to our adversaries and support of the Muslim Brotherhood and others, sorry kid and anyone else whose kid, Black, White, Blue, Green or Yellow, zero tolerance and kudos to the law enforcement community for taking this scenario seriously – now that the media and the White House have weighed in – now to worry about another seeing the failure to support our law enforcement and make some kid a hero visiting the White House who actually placed many within the school real concern until advised that the device in the brief case with all the wires and a clock, was not a bomb!

Bravo to law enforcement and continue to be vigilant in every way despite these self-serving politicians — our children are important to us and while many of the same support this group tearing the organs from babies, there are far many more in this nation Christian, Hebrew, Muslim, Hindu and other who cherish the importance of our youth and Life itself as well as our Judeo-Christian principles!

Enforce the law and be vigilant — Our Kid’s Life Matters! Zero Tolerance and nothing less….now this youngster should be writing 100 times an apology to the school, fellow students and law enforcement for placing all in such a compromising position –

…an invitation to the White House? Really?

(Chris)topher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
http://www.bigdiglifvest.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 18, 2015 @ 9:30 pm

Contrary to the White invitation to a youngster who knowingly brought a ticking clock with wires in a briefcase to school without parents and he notifying school officials and even law enforcement authorities has no prompted me to establish –

Kids Lives Matter —

a new organization to encourage and support law enforcement and school districts to maintain zero tolerance for any such — an invitation to the White House? Really?

Law enforcement and school officials are charged every day to protect our youngsters and unless it is the bomb squad or someone very experienced, these youngster knowingly open his briefcase and caused real concern and anxiety — and give local laws, a reason for immediate action and custody —

“Kids Lives Matter” which will be a non-profit to convey support and encourage all to be vigilant and to make all students, no matter age, that any such device, homemade or not – unless approved by school officials and even local law enforcement, our children in our schools will not be allowed to be compromised —

…again, an invitation to the White House? Really? This charade must stop!

We as citizens are advised to be in constant vigilance and it is reported that this youngster’s parents knew of this clock making and they should have notified school authorities as well and they should be held accountable for breaking the law causing consternation among many —

The existing law is quite clear – but heck this Wh is lawless itself anyways —

Kids Lives Matter!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 19, 2015 @ 9:36 am

RE: The Federal Reserve and Wall Street! What did we know and when did we know it and what does this mean for EM and HS?

The Federal Reserve supposedly relies on data. often big data. But on Thursday the FED did NOT raise rates not based on data but based on world events, and in particular CHINA and we all know or should know that China and its economy is almost anything but data with high levels of non-feasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance in keeping honest books, and that’s right folks all about accounting including accurate double entry bookkeeping that started in the Renaissance.

And Wall Street which has talked up China for two decades is now very very afraid it has placed the wrong bet by shipping American manufacturing to China and destroying the American Middle Class was starting a rudimentary one in China.

Will HS and EM as currently designed rely on existing resources not mobilized or redirected resources. Funny how California drought and fires have produced such a lackadaisical response from the federal government.

And Governor Jerry Brown being really tested by events as never before.

Comment by RecoveryDiva

September 20, 2015 @ 7:01 am

Bill tossed out a big challenge, but I am way out of my element trying to answer his concerns.

I have avoided getting into Homeland Security matters in my blog and never thought to explore recovery from WMD. The matter needs to be studied, but I am not the right person to do it.

I hope someone else will.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 20, 2015 @ 7:24 am

Thanks Claire! The Health Physics Society has done the most work supporting WMD recovery. FEMA and DHS have NO guidance out on WMD recovery.

RECOVERY always the stepchild while the politcos continue to use that phase as a public works strategy and program. IT IS NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEES.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 20, 2015 @ 7:25 am

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/14feaab062bfc92d

On another note:

“Bill tossed out a big challenge, but I am way out of my element trying to answer his concerns.

I have avoided getting into Homeland Security matters in my blog and never thought to explore recovery from WMD. The matter needs to be studied, but I am not the right person to do it.

I hope someone else will” –

My question: W/all the billions in federal reserve notes spent on Homeland Security, Really? No one truly responsible for such an important concern has not stepped forward — Really?

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA 02645
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 20, 2015 @ 7:42 am

Since posting my earlier comment on this thread on the FED and Wall Street I have read the multi-page article in a recent ECONOMIST newspaper on China. While being a cheerleader for China between the lines the Economist admits that transparency and opaqueness dominates the Chinese economy.

IMO almost no profits from China have actually been repatriated to the US or other Western Economies. Apparently this item is still the Wall Street equivalent of a State Secret.

But a graph in the article indicates the swelling of the Chinese middle class. No equivalent seems to exist for the decline in the US middle class because no real agreement on what is the US middle class. The graph picks a number defined in US dollars for China but not really identifying that number just concluding then Chinese middle class will number 472 million in 2020.

This whole middle class argument, rise and fall, seems to me a political shell game. The real test is still security and safety, housing [decent, safe, and sanitary,], water that can be drunk, transportation, education, jobs that can keep a family of four above some poverty line.

But the article reveals over 200 Chines billionaires. The US has over 700 hundred.

What the Chinese Communists have relatively successfully done is tie the government to the economy. So if that economy collapses will the government collapse? IMO YES!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 20, 2015 @ 7:49 am

Are Syrian migrants smarter than the rest of MENA [middle east N. Africa] peoples?

IMO the Syrians have in general recognized after a 5 year drought. and while not ignoring the war as a factor, Syrians now know that based on nature and man-caused problems, Syria down the world is not a habitable part of the world. And perhaps not the rest of MENA or even the Mediterranean world in general. All due largely to environmental changes, damages, and destruction.

How does this relate to Homeland Security and EM? Well a decade after Hurricane Katrina we know that the environmental aspects of Katrina were ignored. Those who left permanently may well be the smarter ones.

The current drought and fires in California should be teaching US some hard lessons, but will that event do so?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 20, 2015 @ 7:54 am

All of the above brings me back to mitigation and protection, and prevention, and preparedness.

How exactly is the climate and environment worked into DHS and FEMA efforts? The real answer is that it isn’t.

I still have many Mexican-American friends that say if the border really finally sealed there could well be another Revolution in Mexico with the Northern States of Mexico breaking off hoping eventually to join the USA.

Time will tell!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 20, 2015 @ 8:28 am

All very interesting Bill – much appreciate the insight on a matter of national security and policy making as the White House transitions w/new leadership whomever it may be and hopefully a newly elected WH who can lead both parties to a workable Agreement when it comes to the very important issue of immigration, now being discussed for a long time and little resolve — again, thanks Bill as your commentary so informative and helpful in attempts to become better educated and more aware of the issues at hand — Bravo!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 20, 2015 @ 3:10 pm

“Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, head of U.S. Central Command, recently telling Congress that only ‘four or five fighters’ are on the ground in Syria, with the administration having spent $500 million on the effort” –

Really? Are you kidding….what a charade!

….and we here on “Main Street USA” are supposed to feel secure w/a sitting US WH very much in obvious breach of faith, treason and the same for good ‘ol Ms. Hillary — we obviously have two political parties in the nation who do not give a damn about our beloved Republic and prefer to continue to spin all this empty and self-serving rhetoric — as I have clearly stated before….if the US Congress and the US Senate cannot get the job done despite this biased and deceitful White House, it would be timely for the US military to step in and take over the reins of our nation for a time and straighten this mess out — far too many have given their Life or limb to assure our Judeo-Christian values remain in tact and if those we “entrust” to serve the people cannot get the job done which is quite obvious when we see Russian military hardware and support on the ground in Syria….time that we make some dramatic changes for our nation has had checks and balances, laws to be enforced and on both sides of the aisle, all obviously succumbing to special interests!

This charade must not be allowed to continue and it is time for House arrest for breach of faith – treason as a starter! Our Democracy w/strong arsenal in hand must be re instituted….thank God for the folks at NSA!

Time to monitor those from within —

God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 21, 2015 @ 8:22 am

Did I mention that Eleanor Cliff on the McGlaouthin Group talk show stated that 15 of the 200 billionaires in China have fled the country. SOE’s [State owned enterprises] still 60% of the Chinese economy. The US has NO extradition treaty with China.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 21, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

As we watch horrified the EU and other nation-states wrestle with refugees and internal displace suggest all read the report linked below:

Do you mean this report?

Displacement: The New 21st Century Challenge, UNHCR, June 2013

The direct link is:

http://fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/displace.pdf

And as you know Hurricane Katrina created refugees not evacuees.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 21, 2015 @ 12:37 pm

As we watch horrified the EU and other nation-states wrestle with refugees and internal displace suggest all read the report linked below:

Displacement: The New 21st Century Challenge, UNHCR, June 2013

The direct link is:

http://fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/displace.pdf

And as you know Hurricane Katrina created refugees not evacuees.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

September 21, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

Bill, that’s actually not the case. Hurricane Katrina created Internally Displaced Persons (or IDPs), not refugees, which are distinguished from IDPs by having been driven across a national border. The distinction matters for several reasons, but mainly because each category has been ascribed a distinct (although very overlapping) set of human rights, vis-a-vis international law.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

September 21, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

In response to Mr. Tingus’ assertion that “Obama” rolled out the red carpet for the recent migrants that flooded our borders, here is an article today from The Guardian about how the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has issued a 130 page report (called a Statutory Enforcement Report) rather dramatically calling out the Department of Homeland Security by detailing “a litany of abuses against immigrants in government and private-contracting facilities.”

Here is a link to the USCCR report:
http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/Statutory_Enforcement_Report2015.pdf

and the article in the Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/21/immigrant-detention-center-conditions-civil-rights-report?CMP=ema_565

The article itself, with all the embedded links (including Jeh Johnson’s response) is below:
________________________________________________________________

US civil rights report condemns abuses against detained immigrants

By
Scott Keyes
Monday 21 September

A scathing report from the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) has criticized the government’s treatment of immigrants in detention facilities and called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately release families held in such centers.

The 130-page report, released on Thursday, detailed a litany of abuses against immigrants in government and private-contracting facilities, from the denial of proper medical care to possible violations of legal and constitutional rights.

“While these immigrants migrate to the United States to escape harsh living conditions,” the report’s authors wrote, “once they cross the US border without authorization and proper documentation, the federal government apprehends and detains these individuals in conditions that are similar, if not worse, than the conditions they faced from their home countries.”

DHS secretary Jeh Johnson released a statement in response to the report, arguing that his department has “implemented significant reforms to how we operate our family residential centers” and “will continue to make additional improvements when appropriate”.

The report labelled the conditions “inhumane” and “inconsistent with American values”.

In one cited instance, Raúl Ernesto Morales Ramos, a 44-year-old Salvadoran immigrant in a California detention facility run by the GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest private prison operators, experienced ongoing diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. He was left untreated.

When Morales Ramos asked for a catheter to treat his urinary incontinence, medical officials denied him one. After three weeks, Morales Ramos was transferred to a hospital where he was found to have intestinal cancer, which has high survival rates when caught early. He died three days later.

In another example detailed in the report, a transgender woman who had Aids, Victoria Arellano, was not given a medication she had been prescribed. She soon developed nausea and began vomiting blood.

Days later, the report noted, Arellano was taken to a hospital. She died there, “shackled to her hospital bed”.

The treatment of immigrants at detention centers has made headlines, particularly after a large wave of migrant children from Central America made their way to the US last summer.

More than 65,000 unaccompanied children, fleeing violence in their native countries and seeking to reunite with family members, were apprehended in 2014, a four-fold increase on the previous three years.

Because being in the US without authorization is considered a civil rather than criminal matter, immigrants caught by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are not supposed to be sent to jail, but rather a detention facility for administrative purposes.

In reality, the report noted, “immigration detention centers are also operated like criminal penitentiaries” and “detention can last for months or even years”.

Prison officials have often retaliated against immigrants who protest their lengthy stays, the report said.

When the USCCR toured the Karnes Family Detention Center in Texas this May, a number of mothers recounted how after “taking part in a hunger strike over prolonged detention [they] were threatened by detention facility staff with having their children taken from them if they did not break the hunger strike”.

In one instance, the mothers said, a child was so distraught over the extended detention that he had attempted to kill himself by jumping from a balcony.

The report cited other glaring issues in the immigrant detention system as well, including a lack of access to legal representation for detainees, harassment and improper housing of LGBT immigrants, and authorities not abiding by the 1997 Flores Agreement that mandated children be given more hospitable living environments than currently exist in detention centers.

In July, a federal judge ruled that the government was not complying with Flores and hundreds of immigrants living in “deplorable” conditions should be released.

The USCCR made a number of recommendations, most prominently “that DHS act immediately to release families from detention”.

Other proposals included calling on Congress to “no longer fund family detention”, to “reduce its funding for immigration detention generally, in favor of alternatives to detention”, and to pass legislation “extending the right to counsel in immigration detention proceedings to all indigent detainees”.

The USCCR is an independent body, with some members appointed by the president and others by Congress. Of the eight sitting members, five voted in favor of the latest report, two voted against it and one member recused herself.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 21, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

Thanks Vicki! Although I could argue being forced to move to Texas makes one a refugee not an IDP!

Comment by Vicki Campbell

September 21, 2015 @ 5:41 pm

LOL – Good Point!!!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 22, 2015 @ 4:47 am

Just to restate my belief and opinions on the issue of immigration–both legal and illegal–Mexico should be carved out from any discussion and/or analysis of both types of immigration. WHY? In fact, if not law, the USA and Mexico are one country as time will tell. Perhaps if JEB not the DONALD becomes President this will become clearer.

And in the meantime, since 1990 when the law changed to allow INVESTMENT VISAS guess which country has obtained over 90% of them–CHINA.

Even now as the IMO CHINA BUBBLE BURSTS attempts to get their assets out of China by the over 200 Chinese billionaires ramp up. Yes folks, USA home to much of the world’s flight capital.

And Naomi Klein has a new book out on capitalism and climate change.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 23, 2015 @ 4:44 am

Even as California fights fire and drought I have been made aware that a classic document from FEMA has been made available virtually as far back as 2007 and now posted on the FAS/FEMA page dealing with the risk of earthquakes in that state and dating from 1980.

Here’s the link:

It is now posted here:

http://fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/catcal.pdf

The intervening years since the report brought publication of the Plan to Respond to A Catastrophic Earthquake published in the Federal Register in 1987 and the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 and the Northridge Earthquake 1994.The published document IMO is also important because a more extensive classified document produced for the NSC and by FEMA and NSC staff no longer exists even in the Carter Presidential Library.

The Earthquake Response plan evolved into a Natural Disaster Response Plan 1989 and then the Federal Response Plan 1992.

The effort by NSC to have an entirely separate domestic response plan was shelved by these other civil agencies led plans.

And now of course not much in the way of real plans but instead National Frameworks.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 23, 2015 @ 7:13 am

Well Bill I am certainly Not one in agreement with Naomi Klein’s new book and her premise:

“I am struck most by this fact: the same military equipment and contractors used against New Orleans’ Black residents have since been used to militarize police across the United States, contributing to the epidemic of murders of unarmed Black men and women” –

I am tired of fingers pointing to police when in fact, fewer Black men are shot by White and Black police officers serving our communities than white men and further, the thugs we have seen for the most part challenging “authority” and funding themselves either arrested or shot and even killed, well, let’s say that when most of us are challenged by an officer of the law, we do not cause altercation or fleeing from an order so as in the case when we saw an arrogant young man in gait steal from a local merchant abuse a senior clerk and later walk and disrupt traffic and with Black witness accounts showing their was no credibility in Hands up – don’t shoot – well, sorry, today on the streets of the USA it is apparent that “authority” is not respected for the “family” itself is Not respected and many are self-serving as we clearly see from the WH, to the Justice Department to State who have spewed empty rhetoric – it is time for the Black community to take responsibility and if in fact for example, Black Lives Matter as do all lives matter and certainly our law enforcement responding officer’s Life matters, where is Barry and Eric on on the wknds, playing golf, certainly not walking the streets of Chicago and helping the precious Black youth of Chicago, Blatimore or other —

God Bless America!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 23, 2015 @ 8:34 am

Thanks Chris! We need effective policing but I myself in NOLA witness to a shooting death of a black man by a white security officer during recess from a public hearing in 1975.

Wondering if all races and ethnicities need to wonder about police training and psychology. IMO we are short highly trained and skilled law enforcement forces.

My main concernis civil riot and disorder situations as far as HS!

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