Regular readers will be intimately familiar with my feelings on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Long before it became obvious to millions of people, I wrote about how the DHS was never intended to prevent terrorist attacks, rather it had always been intended to suppress the American citizenry. Over the past decade, it has become a dangerous behemoth of fascism under the guise of the fraudulent “war on terror.”
Going back to 2010, I wrote a piece titled: The Dangers of a Failed Presidency, in which I wrote:
There is clearly a power elite that consists of a union between big corporate and financial oligarchs and career bureaucrats in Washington D.C. These are the folks that pull the strings of all administrations. All you have to do is look at the trends that have been in place since George W Bush and continue under Obama to see what these players want. Bigger government and thus more Federal power, more wealth for the oligarchs (thank you Federal Reserve) and an erosion of the middle class, and reduction of civil liberties in the name of the 1984-like never-ending “war on terror.” I believe in a war on terror of my own. A war against the terror that Washington D.C. is constantly trying to inject into your head so that you sheepishly give away all you rights and power to them. That’s my war on terror.
That was written over four years ago, and the power structure since then has been able to push forward its agenda with very little resistance. Indeed, the average citizen is too busy simply trying to feed his or her family, or completely bonked out on tireless propaganda, to tell the difference between truth and fiction, let alone fight back. All the while, the DHS has been a key oligarch tool utilized in order to surreptitiously implement a police state. As Trevor Timm so eloquently points out in the Guardian:
For three weeks and counting, America has raged against the appalling behavior of the local police in Ferguson, Missouri, and for good reason: automatic rifles pointed at protesters, tank-like armored trucks blocking marches, the teargassing and arresting of reporters, tactics unfit even for war zones – it was all enough to make you wonder whether this was America at all. But as Congress returns to Washington this week, the ire of a nation should also be focused on the federal government agency that has enabled the rise of military police, and so much more: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The 240,000-employee, Bush-invented bureaucratic behemoth that didn’t even exist 15 years ago has been the primary arms dealer for out-of-control local cops in Ferguson and beyond, handing out tens of billions of dollars in grants for military equipment in the last decade with little to no oversight and even less training on how use it. “From an oversight perspective, DHS grant programs are pretty much a mess,” a congressional aide told the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman the other day.
There is now so much attention on the paramilitary pipeline that the White House has reportedly ordered a comprehensive review of the sprawling grant programs of both DHS and the Pentagon. But the problem with DHS is much larger than just combat gear: Homeland Security is also transferring tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in high-tech spying technology to local police through a sprawling backroom operation surveilling your neighborhood, much of which may be unconstitutional.
DHS has its own fleet of Predator drones roaming the US border and far beyond, which it has loaned out to police over 500 times for myriad unknown reasons. They don’t have missiles like America’s killer drones in Pakistan and Yemen, but they come decked out with all the surveillance equipment you can imagine – and more may be on the way as President Obama tasks DHS chief Jeh Johnson, who once helped justify the military drone program, as his pointman on the border. Homeland Security is also handing out millions of dollars to local police to “accelerate and facilitate the adoption” of smaller drones that police can fly themselves. Cops claim they want these “middleman” drones for “emergencies,” but in places like California’s Alameda county, documents show they’ll end up using them for “crowd control” and “intelligence gathering”.
Local police have also received millions of dollars in grants for Stingray surveillance devices, the invasive and controversial spying tool that police have been using to secretly suck up cellphone data from entire neighborhoods – then covering it up. As USA Today’s John Kelly reported, “Applications justify the purchases as an anti-terror tool, but records obtained from many police departments show the devices are being used to pursue more routine local crime.” That pattern – intended for “terrorism” but used for everything – repeats itself with virtually everything local police agencies receive from the Department of Homeland Security. Even local politicians who approve the continuation of funding rarely know what it’s being used for.
A Congressional report in 2012 found that so-called DHS “fusion centers” – the surveillance money pit that funnels all sorts of mundane personal information into databases that can be used and abused by countless local, state and federal agencies – produce “predominantly useless information”, while “running afoul of departmental guidelines meant to guard against civil liberties” and are “possibly in violation of the Privacy Act”. They’ve failed to uncover a single terrorist attack.
Not only is the DHS an enormous waste of money, it is also a cancer on the American soul. It has absolutely no place in a free society.