Psychological warfare in the name of security: Is DHS funding the decimation of privacy?by Darlene Storm, m.blogs.computerworld.com
Since 9/11 and the “War on Terror” could America’s citizens be under a PSYOPS warfare attack made possible by grant money from the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)? After reading numerous different documents on Public Intelligence and adopting the feds’ favorite “connect the dots” theory, it seems the whole world may have been under a psychological warfare (PSYWAR) attack, also known as “Psy Ops, Political Warfare, ‘Hearts and Minds’ and propaganda." Here’s why it seems probable, but buckle your seatbelt as we are about to jump all over the place.
“We know that to defend the homeland, we must start by defending the hometown. We must defend our cities across America,” wrote Senator Tom Coburn in “Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Department of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities” [PDF]. “The balancing act between liberty and security has been tenuous throughout the history of our nation, founded upon basic freedoms granted by our Creator and protected from government infringement within the Bill of Rights of our Constitution.” Sen. Coburn was talking about Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grants when he said, “A new element has been added to this equation over the past decade that threatens to undermine both our liberty and security—excessive government spending and insurmountable debt.”
The American people recognize and understand the limits we face. They understand that we should never sacrifice all of our freedoms in the name of security.
While the senator’s report focused on ridiculous $7.144 billion ‘security’ expenditures, one such recent example was when the New Jersey City’s Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security used $100,000 of UASI money to purchase “Eye in the Sky, a three-story high, mobile tower equipped with 360-degree views and streaming surveillance cameras to give police a bird’s-eye view of high-crime areas.” Although crime was used in that sentence, Sen. Colburn said UASI is a “risk-based program targeting security gaps” and is most often used under the guise of counterterrorism.
NYPD uses this same ‘Eye in the Sky’ but tossed in potentially using .50 caliber rifles for even more anti-terror capabilities as well as the use of drones. The EFF has put together an interactive drone map which shows where military, police and other organizations currently are authorized to fly drones. They are used to surveil “people of interest.”
Since everyone knows terrorists are stealthy skateboarders (yes sarcasm), New Jersey also spent $55,000 for a skateboard park surveillance system. San Antonio is spending $20 million for an elementary school surveillance project. Those rolled through my newsfeed just today. The ACLU has long warned about the surveillance society created by CCTV and more are installed each day in the USA despite the fact that surveillance “camera systems have little effect on crime rates.”
So hey, thought the government with money to burn, let’s find a new way instead of just watching and eavesdrop via the installation of microphones on public buses and iconic streetcars. What’s more, the passenger conversations can be collected and stored. One such example of the bus audio surveillance capabilities is that it can distill “clear conversations from the background noise of other voices, wind, traffic, windshields wipers and engines.” Ashkan Soltani, an independent security consultant, told The Daily, “Given the resolution claims, it would be trivial to couple this system to something like facial or auditory recognition systems to allow identification of travelers. This technology is sadly indicative of a trend in increased surveillance by commercial and law enforcement entities, under the guise of improved safety.”
“Government surveillance today manifests in many forms,” wrote the EFF. “Cloud communication, which centralizes massive amounts of data in one place, allows governments ‘one-stop access’ to our data and introduces complex new questions regarding who has jurisdiction over citizens’ personal information.” That’s not enough for the FBI which claims it needs back doors into everything to keep it from “going dark” in fight against terrorism.
The U.S. Department of Defense uses propaganda and counterpropaganda to influence “the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.” However, according to a NATO technical report, “The emphasis of military operations is shifting more and more towards non-kinetic activities, such as Psychological Operations and Information Operations, which are geared towards influencing attitudes and behaviors of specific target audiences.”
In section 2.2.7 in the NATO report titled, “How to Improve your Aim: Measuring the Effectiveness of Activities that Influence Attitudes and Behaviors” [PDF], the “psychological objective all aim to affect attitudes and behaviors of a target population in a desired way. Attitudes and behaviors are key concepts in the planning and evaluation of influence activities. Attitudes are the perceptions and feelings of a target audience (for example the local population) towards a defined object (for example NATO troops or an adversary). Behaviors are the (potentially) observable patterns of actions among the target audience.” So NATO wrote that “knowing how to influence attitudes in a target audience increases the likelihood of being able to induce desired behaviors in that target audience.”
Before it was replaced with a new 'National Terror Alert' system, the DHS terrorist alert system of old never went below "yellow" for elevated risk. As we hear the same reasoning over and over again since 9/11, about why more public surveillance or backdoors into the web are needed to fight against terrorism in our homeland, and the endless lists of innocent behaviors regarded as "suspicious activity," what is that if not brainwashing with the fear factor? Isn’t that a form of psychological warfare to change the “hearts and minds” of Americans into accepting this as needed to 'keep us safe'?
The Institute for Economics and Peace Global Terrorism Index [PDF] says “North America is the least likely region to suffer from terrorism,” yet still the USA adds more ways to 'spy' on us. While I surely hope all this surveillance made possible through DHS grants is not PSYOPS for us to 'willingly' give up more of our privacy, freedoms and civil liberties, it seems prossible.
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