Friday, March 28, 2008

Of course Homeland Insecurity consists of a great deal of privatization

Check the video from Frontline USA:

h/t Firedoglake, which adds:
Now that Iraq is drying up as a cash cow for contractors, they're all shifting focus to the privatization of border security and high tech enforcement. When I read the bill over, almost more troubling than the lack of any kind of pathway to citizenship -- or the bounties it offered to government employees -- were the provisions giving the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense the authorization to work together to "shock doctrine" the border and provide massive boondoggles to private contractors.
You want to know what Blackwater is planning for an encore? See Avi's piece, and wonder no more.
And once again -- thank you, Rahm Emanuel.
More on the Apartheid Wall struggle in Texas is presented in the comments to that post (see here, here, and here). Also, here's a link to something blogged on the DHS "Detention and Removal Strategy." I've written briefly on the electronic surveillance towers boondoggle before:
It's not as good as burning money directly (to paraphrase Dmitry Orlov), but I have to hand it to the US government - building spy towers along the US/Mexico border that simply fail to work is almost a stroke of genius. When historians write about the decline of the imperial US, stories like the one below (courtesy of Brenda Norrell, who's been tracking this boondoggle for a while) are ones that should be included as textbook case studies on how to speed up that decline: make something that doesn't work, spend more money on making it not work, and continue repeating the process in the hopes that no one ever gets wise to the scam.

SBInet hits software snag By Alice Lipowicz
Published on February 5, 2008

Following testing that was supposed to be final, the Homeland Security Department has determined that it needs to develop better software and perform additional tests on the initial 28-mile segment of the SBInet border surveillance system, a department spokeswoman said.
On Dec. 10, the department’s Customs and Border Protection agency conditionally accepted from prime contractor Boeing Co. the “Project 28” initial segment of the Secure Border Initiative Network at the Arizona-Mexico border. Also on that date, agency officials said they would conduct 45 days of operational testing before final acceptance of that section.

But 57 days later, a department official has confirmed a second round of tests is being conducted ... The additional round of testing is the most recent glitch in getting the potentially $30 billion U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border surveillance system up and running. Boeing was awarded the prime contract in September 2006 and began work on the $20 million initial task order for Project 28, installing towers, cameras, sensors and communications equipment ...

On Monday, Secretary Michael Chertoff said he is requesting $775 million for SBInet in fiscal 2009. The department also recently awarded a $64 million task order to Boeing to develop a common operational picture for SBInet. A common operational picture is a single, relevant display of information that can be used by more than one group.
Along with the border wall boondoggle, that spy tower boondoggle is something else. Just in case you ever wondered how your tax dollars were spent (or more properly, how that borrowed money from China and other semi-willing lenders was being spent).
I've also mentioned Blackwater's rather bloody reputation on occasion, and would strongly suggest that one read up on what Blackwater has done in Iraq, as it has implications for what would happen along the US-Mexico border. To learn more about the ICE deportation centers (let's just call them what they really are - concentration camps), see the blog T Don Hutto - America's Family Prison, and on the expansion of the prison-industrial complex in general in Texas, check out Texas Prison Bid'ness. There's something seriously wrong with this country. I'm not sure what one will be able to do to right what's wrong at this point (I'd suggest electing more Democrats isn't helping, nor will it help). All the same, knowledge is power.

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