Monthly Archives: April 2008

USNORTHCOM And DHS Refine Relationship

April 10, 2008

By Sgt. 1st Class Gail Braymen
NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command plan to refine their existing intelligence relationship, said the top DHS intelligence official during a recent visit to USNORTHCOM headquarters.

“We have a number of areas where we’ve already agreed that we will begin new initiatives together, where we will do joint projects together, where we will do intelligence analysis together, where we will work to understand what NORTHCOM is doing in exercises and training,” said Charles Allen, the DHS undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis.

The intelligence divisions of DHS and USNORTHCOM are “extraordinarily compatible,” Allen said, and the organizations have the same goals.

“The combatant commander’s goals here, and my goals, and that of Secretary Chertoff, as the secretary of Homeland Security, are very simple: to keep the country safe, to keep the country from harm, to keep the country from damage.”

Strengthening the relationship between the DHS and USNORTHCOM intelligence offices will promote more efficient and effective information sharing, said Allen, and the American public benefits because the intelligence community at the federal level is working together in new and different ways.

“We have common objectives on the intelligence side: information sharing, which deals with secure borders, … with protecting the United States’ critical infrastructures [and] with trying to prevent dangerous materials from crossing our borders – chemical, radiological, nuclear, biological,” Allen said. “And we worry over extremism – global, violent extremism as represented by al-Qaida. And we also worry about the movement of large groups of people – migration trends and patterns.”

There are global elements, said Allen, that are not only trying to damage U.S. interests overseas, but also trying to strike the U.S. homeland.

“So we have to have a global understanding of what’s occurring,” he said. “Both [USNORTHCOM commander] Gen. Renuart and I have to understand the global picture so we can work together, along with our federal partners and our state and local partners, to keep the country safe.”

U.S. Northern Command was established on Oct. 1, 2002, to anticipate and conduct homeland defense and civil support operations within the assigned area of responsibility to defend, protect, and secure the United States and its interests.

U.N. Troops Fire On Starving Haitians

Roger Annis
April 9, 2008

Protests erupted in cities across Haiti on Monday in response to rising poverty and hunger and to the seeming indifference of the large United Nations mission in that country.

In the capital city, Port-au-Prince, thousands protested in front of the presidential palace. As BBC News reported, “Witnesses say the protesters used metal bins to try to smash down the palace gates before UN troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them.”

“The demonstrators outside the presidential palace said the rising cost of living in Haiti meant they were struggling to feed themselves. ‘We are hungry,’ they shouted, before attempting to smash open the palace gates.”

Protests spread across the country

The countrywide demonstrations started with two days of protest in Les Cayes, Haiti’s third largest city. According to a Haiti Information Project report, on April 2, “More than 3000 demonstrators surrounded a UN compound that houses Uruguayan troops who reportedly opened fire on the crowd.”

The next day, over 5000 protesters set up flaming barricades throughout the main downtown area of the city and paralyzed traffic for several hours. They attacked the fence of the headquarters of United Nations forces in the area.

Uruguayan troops with the United Nations Stabilization Mission, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, opened fire on the crowd and witnesses claim that five people were wounded. News agencies report that at least four Haitians have been killed by UN forces since protests erupted.

Mounting protests throughout Haiti stand in stark contrast to recent press releases and interviews by UN and Canadian officials claiming that the situation in Haiti continues to improve following the overthrow of the country’s elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2004. A foreign-sponsored election in February 2006 saw René Préval, a former colleague of Aristide, chosen as president.

Where has the “aid” money gone?

Foreign countries, principally Canada, the U.S. and France, have pumped several billion dollars into Haiti since 2004 while the average Haitian has seen no improvement in their living conditions. The price of staples such as rice and beans, whose importation is controlled by a few wealthy families, has nearly doubled while unemployment remains at close to 80 per cent.

There is great resentment, among the Haitian people, against the UN-sponsored police and military presence in their country. The UN spends $600 million per year there, twice the national budget of the Haitian government. Most of the UN money is spent on police and military, while the country is mired in a profound economic, social and environmental calamity.

Canada sent 500 soldiers to Haiti in February/March 2004 to participate in the overthrow of Aristide’s government, along with troops from the U.S. and France. Since then, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has headed up a 100-plus member Canadian training mission of the Haitian National Police, a notorious human rights-violating agency. Unknown numbers of Canadian military advisers are in the country. There are also Canadian-appointed advisers playing key roles in the ministries of the Haitian government.

Following Aristide’s ouster in 2004, several thousand of his supporters were killed, and thousands were jailed or exiled. Haiti’s prison population has doubled since 2004. Prisoners are held in horrific conditions. The April 7, 2008 issue of Maclean’s described the conditions in Haiti’s main national penitentiary as follows: “Words cannot describe the horror, the stench and the despair inside.”

The Canadian government says that one of its contributions to Haiti in the past four years has been improvement to the prison and criminal justice system.

Raytheon Company’s Active Denial System

Date posted: 03/03/2008*

Active Denial is a revolutionary non-lethal protection system that employs millimeter wave technology to repel individuals without causing injury. The system provides a zone of protection that saves lives, protects assets and minimizes collateral damage. Active Denial emits a focused beam of wave energy that travels at the speed of light and produces an intolerable heating sensation that causes targeted individuals to flee. The sensation immediately ceases when the targeted individual moves away from the beam.

Raytheon has produced and delivered three Active Denial Systems to the U.S. Air Force customer. Raytheon has also built one Silent Guardian™ system that is roughly 1/3 the size and power of the other Active Denial Systems.

Active Denial and Silent Guardian are part of a family of Directed Energy solutions produced by Raytheon. Those solutions include the Vigilant Eagle Airport Protection System, Laser Area Defense System and Direct Infrared Counter Measure Systems.

Silent Guardian uses millimeter-wave technology to stop, deter or repel adversaries threatening our forces or sensitive infrastructure.

Vigilant Eagle creates a protective zone around airports to safeguard aircraft when they are at their most vulnerable – on take off and landing. Vigilant Eagle is based on a high-powered microwave beam that can be dispatched from a ground station to deflect shoulder-fired missiles away from aircraft.

The Laser Area Defense System (LADS) combines the capabilities of the 20-millimeter Phalanx weapon system with the power and effectiveness of lasers to provide fast, precise search, track and engage capabilities for directing laser energy on target, destroying mortars and other munitions in flight.

Quiet Eyes, a baseball-sized turret that can be mounted on combat helicopters, uses a laser beam to disrupt shoulder-fired missiles.

Pictures Of The Mexican And Canadian Flags Flying At The Smart Port In Kansas City Clearly A North American Union Agenda

Pictures of the Mexican and Canadian Flags flying at the smart port in Kansas City. While I was taking these pictures, semi after semi was entering the premises delivering containers. Today when I drove by there, there was at least 30 earth movers working in a frenzy.

Something is obviously going on at the old air force base.

Also see the sign which says it is a port. One of the flags flying actually says, I qoute,
“KANSAS CITY SOUTHER DE MEXICO” see pictures below..

Thanks to Sherman for sharing this:

Obama Adviser Calls For Troops To Stay In Iraq Through 2010

The New York Sun
April 5, 2008

WASHINGTON — A key adviser to Senator Obama’s campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.

The paper, obtained by The New York Sun, was written by Colin Kahl for the center-left Center for a New American Security. In “Stay on Success: A Policy of Conditional Engagement,” Mr. Kahl writes that through negotiations with the Iraqi government “the U.S. should aim to transition to a sustainable over-watch posture (of perhaps 60,000–80,000 forces) by the end of 2010 (although the specific timelines should be the byproduct of negotiations and conditions on the ground).”

Mr. Kahl is the day-to-day coordinator of the Obama campaign’s working group on Iraq. A shorter and less detailed version of this paper appeared on the center’s Web site as a policy brief.

Both Mr. Kahl and a senior Obama campaign adviser reached yesterday said the paper does not represent the campaign’s Iraq position. Nonetheless, the paper could provide clues as to the ultimate size of the residual American force the candidate has said would remain in Iraq after the withdrawal of combat brigades. The campaign has not publicly discussed the size of such a force in the past.

Oakland Cops Want To Search Houses For Guns Without Warrants

Kelly Rayburn
Inside Bay Area
April 10, 2008

A six-month pilot program where Oakland police officers would knock on doors and ask permission to search homes for guns got the green light from the City Council’s public safety committee Tuesday night.

It goes to the full council Tuesday, when the council will meet at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

The consent-to-search program, as it is called, is based closely on a similar effort launched in St. Louis in 1994 and on ongoing programs in Boston and Washington, D.C. The idea is simple: To ask parents for permission to search their homes for weapons their children may be hiding.

Under the program, officers would request permission to search homes for guns. Guns would be taken away, but officers would not pursue prosecution unless the weapon was tied to a crime.

The St. Louis effort fizzled after initial success, but Oakland’s Deputy Police Chief David Kozicki said that in Washington, police officers say they cannot keep up with requests from parents to search their homes. Such is the interest in the program, he said.

Councilwoman Patricia Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown), who is on the public safety committee, said she was surprised to hear that and hoped Oakland might see the same results.

“I think it’s worth trying and seeing what the community reaction is,” she said. “If it’s embraced as a way to get guns off the street, great. If people don’t want to cooperate, then we don’t continue the program.’

Councilwoman Desley Brooks (Eastmont-Seminary) asked the Police Department to look into the possibility of a consent-to-search program in February.

The police department is proposing a six-month trial period for the program beginning in either June or July, probably somewhere in West Oakland.

Lt. Kirt Mullnix said the program, which would be launched during summer break, would largely be operated by Campus Life and School Safety (CLASS) officers, who normally patrol in and around schools.

It also could involve department problem-solving officers as well. All told, six to 10 officers would be used in the effort, Mullnix said. He didn’t anticipate additional overtime being billed to the city.

Consent-to-search programs are not without controversy. Oakland civil-rights attorney John Burris criticized the idea when asked about it in February. And the American Civil Liberties Union has protested programs in other cities. Mark Schlosberg, police practices policy director for the ACLU of Northern California, said the organization would pay close attention to what happens in Oakland.

“There are a whole host of reasons why people might not want police to search their homes,” he said. “But people might not know they have a right not to consent.”

City and police officials stressed it would be important to educate community members about how the program works before implementing it and said providing education and outreach would be a priority.

Under the program, if guns were found, police would take them away, but not pursue prosecution unless the gun in question was tied to a shooting or homicide.

“The important thing is you’re looking at removing guns from the streets to prevent future violence,” Mullnix said. “You’re giving up arrest and prosecution for less violence in the future. It’s another tool we can use. There’s a lot of gun violence in Oakland and that’s why we’re trying it.”

Missouri Bill Would Expand Authorization Of Public-Private Partnerships

A Missouri House panel has unanimously approved a bill that would encourage more public-private agreements for transportation projects throughout the state. Another bill would allow heavier trucks on certain types of roads.

Missouri law already authorizes the state to partner with private business to pay for, build and operate a new Mississippi River bridge in St. Louis. The bridge would carry Interstate 70 traffic between Missouri and Illinois.

The Missouri House Transportation Committee endorsed a bill that would expand the types of projects that could be completed with private groups. Sponsored by Rep. Charlie Schlottach, R-Owensville, the measure would authorize the state to enter into agreements for projects that include roads, bridges, airports, railroad and mass transit facilities.

Projects would be required to have a total value of at least $25 million.

Deals involving existing interstates would be prohibited.

Another provision in the bill would exempt from state income tax collection any revenues received from a public-private project.

Supporters say that public-private partnerships help leverage private capital and expertise to provide a public service. They also point out that many other states are doing it.

A 2006 law allows officials in Missouri and Illinois to partner with private business to build a new bridge that is expected to relieve traffic on the Poplar Street Bridge, which carries traffic from Interstates 55, 64 an 70. More than 120,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily.

The bridge’s price tag is nearly $1 billion. While Congress has earmarked funds for nearly a quarter of the cost of the bridge, the states would split the remainder of the tab.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is not in favor of the deal.

Schlottach’s bill – HB1974 – would allow Missouri to work on other projects. It is in the House Rules Committee awaiting clearance for consideration before the full House.

Another bill in the House that is of interest to truckers would authorize heavier vehicles on certain roadways. Sponsored by Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, the measure would increase the total gross weight of vehicles allowed on non-interstate highways from 80,000 pounds to 85,500 pounds.

Cooper’s bill – HB2214 – is in the House Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri, click here.

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