Source: Activist Post
February 20, 2018
The New York Times is more than willing to point out the surveillance state in China and other nations; however, they remain silent about America’s surveillance.
In early February The New York Times ran a piece titled “What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State.” The article focuses on the increasingly totalitarian surveillance methods employed by the Chinese Community Party against the indigenous Uighurs in the western region of Xinjiang. However, the Times‘ piece does not make a single mention of the growing surveillance state currently being installed across the United States. The Times writes:
Imagine that this is your daily life: While on your way to work or on an errand, every 100 meters you pass a police blockhouse. Video cameras on street corners and lamp posts recognize your face and track your movements. At multiple checkpoints, police officers scan your ID card, your irises and the contents of your phone. At the supermarket or the bank, you are scanned again, your bags are X-rayed and an officer runs a wand over your body — at least if you are from the wrong ethnic group. Members of the main group are usually waved through.
The Times goes on to describe the invasions of privacy faced not only by the entire population of China, but more specifically the Uighur.
You have had to complete a survey about your ethnicity, your religious practices and your “cultural level”; about whether you have a passport, relatives or acquaintances abroad, and whether you know anyone who has ever been arrested or is a member of what the state calls a “special population.”
The Times notes that China has established a database filled with citizens’ biometric data which is then turned into a score that ranks people as “safe,” “normal,” or “unsafe.” These categories dictate who is allowed to visit a museum, drive through certain neighborhoods, use hotels, rent apartments, apply for jobs, or use transportation services. In addition, all vehicles have GPS tracking devices installed, all cell phones contain apps which spy for the government, and all messaging platforms are banned except WeChat.
To be fair, The Times does a great job of pointing out the totalitarian nature of the Chinese government, especially towards a targeted minority population. However, search the article for any mention of the American government and their surveillance programs and you find nothing. The Times – seen by many as the leading journalism outfit in America – completely ignores the fact that minority populations in the U.S. (Mexicans, Muslims, or anyone else with brown skin) are facing similar conditions due the Trump administration’s focus on immigration. Although the official talking points claim that the increase in profiling and the growth of surveillance tech is aimed at catching terrorists or illegal immigrants, it seems fairly obvious at this point that the U.S. government would like to mimic the Chinese surveillance state.
Under the guise of “border security” and “fighting illegal immigration” the Trump administration has also granted Customs and Border Protection and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wide-ranging powers which violate constitutionally guaranteed protections (and rights that all people should have). The expansion is not about catching illegal immigrants, but establishing a “biometric wall” with facial and retinal scanning for ALL people leaving and entering, armed surveillance towers, automatic license plate readers, and other forms of surveillance. The Trump administration is already facing lawsuits over their use of secretive handheld devices which gather biometric data from immigrants. In addition, the authorities have already been stealing people’s phones and laptops. This is only going to increase under the rest of Trump’s presidency and it will expand further and further into the mainland United States. Activist Post has previously reported on efforts to monitor social media and establish a “threat assessment” for all visa applicants.
Activist Post recently reported that the ICE agency now has access to a nationwide license plate recognition database after finalizing a contract with Vigilant Solutions, the industry’s top license plate data collection company. A copy of the contract shows that ICE finalized the deal in early January. Vigilant Solutions released a statement denying any contract with ICE, noting that they do not share contractual details per “a standard agreement between our company, our partners, and our clients.” The company has more than 2 billion license plate photos in their database due to partnerships with vehicle repossession firms and local law enforcement agencies with vehicles equipped with cameras. Local law enforcement agencies typically use some version of an Automatic License Plate Reader. ALPRs are used to gather license plate, time, date and location that can be used to create a detailed map of what individuals are doing. The devices can be attached to light poles, or toll booths, as well as on top of or inside law enforcement vehicles.
The Border Security for America Act – one of several bills being considered in relation to Trump’s desire to build a wall – will greatly increase the budget and personnel of the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection, with each receiving 5,000 new agents. The bill provides 10 billion for Trump’s wall and another 5 billion to upgrade the nation’s ports. The bill requires new biometric systems to be up and running at the nations 15 busiest airports, seaports, and land ports within two years. After five years all land and sea ports of entry would require biometric systems to be running. Some of the most worrisome portions of the bill include biometric scanning of all people who exit the United States, both citizens and foreigners. In addition, the text of the bill calls for DNA collection of “any individual filing an application, petition, or other request for immigration benefit or status.” Perhaps most worrisome is a provision which requires the DHS and the Department of Defense to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones) and automatic license plate readers along the border. The bill would allocate $125 million to upgrade the ALPRs of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Finally, the bill allows the National Guard and the military to be called upon for intelligence gathering and surveillance activities in the name of securing the border.
The U.S. government’s efforts are not only aimed at immigrants, however. In January the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a six-year extension of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a controversial law which allows the federal government to spy on American citizens. A bipartisan coalition of civil liberties advocates opposed the bill, but failed to stop the measure from passing with a vote of 256-164. The program has been extended several times since its inception. As 2017 came to a conclusion, lawmakers approved a short extension until January 19. The six-year extension was passed as part of a bill introduced by California Republican Devin Nunes. Nunes’ bill – The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 – allows the FBI and NSA to access Americans’ private communications without requiring a warrant first. Instead, the agencies only need notify the secret FISA court that it intends to access the data and communications of a suspect. This should be a glaring example that when it comes down to the issues which affect all Americans – taxation, war, surveillance, civil liberties, economic enslavement – the two parties are always going to work together. They are not enemies, but rather different factions of the same party.
Why would The New York Times ignore the obvious examples of a police and surveillance state in the United States yet spend an entire article pointing a finger at the Chinese government? The answer is simply that the deadstream corporate media is in cahoots with the U.S. government. They want an ignorant population that blindly submits to tyranny under the auspices of fighting terrorism and illegal immigration. Don’t make their job any easier. Inform yourself, get active in your community, and resist them at every turn.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1, Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2 and Manifesto of the Free Humans.