Ponder This:

Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

America's Flimsy Fortress

America's Flimsy Fortress

Bruce Schneier
Wired Magazine, March 2004

Every day, some 82,000 foreign visitors set foot in the US with a visa, and since early this year, most of them have been fingerprinted and photographed in the name of security. But despite the money spent, the inconveniences suffered, and the international ill will caused, these new measures, like most instituted in the wake of September 11, are mostly ineffectual.

Terrorist attacks are very rare. So rare, in fact, that the odds of being the victim of one in an industrialized country are almost nonexistent. And most attacks affect only a few people. The events of September 11 were a statistical anomaly. Even counting the toll they took, 2,978 people in the US died from terrorism in 2001. That same year, 157,400 Americans died of lung cancer, 42,116 in road accidents, and 3,454 from malnutrition.

Click to read more.


Now Playing At Security Theater: The Sting
Posted by Jim Babka

The Feds do lots of things to make people feel safer than don't actually improve security. Bruce Schneier calls it "security theater."

FBI stings are a perfect example. Most of the "potential" terrorists they trap were NEVER A THREAT to anyone.

These stings are a waste of time and money. I've asked Congress to end them using DownsizeDC.org's "I Am Not Afraid Campaign."

This is what I wrote . . .

Most of the "terror Plots" the FBI stopped over the past 10 years were of their own making. For instance, I was angered when I read this: (http://motherjones.com/print/125137) . . .

Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley have examined prosecutions of 508 defendants in terrorism-related cases, as defined by the Department of Justice. Our investigation found:

* Nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by money (operatives can be paid as much as $100,000 per assignment) or the need to work off criminal or immigration violations.
* Sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur -- an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.
* With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings. (The exceptions are Najibullah Zazi, who came close to bombing the New York City subway system in September 2009; Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian who opened fire on the El-Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport; and failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.)
* In many sting cases, key encounters between the informant and the target were not recorded -- making it hard for defendants claiming entrapment to prove their case.

They also note, "Terrorism-related charges are so difficult to beat in court, even when the evidence is thin, that defendants often don't risk a trial."

Victims of FBI stings include . . .Click to read more.
Post a Comment

Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

Blog Archive