Government Gone Mad in a Total Surveillance Society

June 25, 2009

By Tom DeWeese

I’ve heard it all- the cries, the pleas, the whines, the double speak and the lies. “We need the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect us from terrorists.” “We must have Real ID to protect us from illegal immigration.” “We must have E-Verify to protect American jobs.” “Traffic light cameras are necessary to make the streets safer.” “Security cameras on street corners make our neighborhoods safer.” “I’m glad the TSA is there at the airport – I feel so much safer getting on an airplane.” And my favorite lie of them all – “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.”

Take note: every single one of these issues results in bigger, more invasive government, and not a single one will do anything to solve the intended problem. Every single one will make you less free, less happy and less safe. Here is my guarantee – put each and every one of these programs fully into place and learn the hard way that it isn’t the final solution – but only the beginning. The government has much more in store for Americans and their privacy and personal security – and you are not going to be happy. Get ready, Americans. Here it comes like a freight train. And if you’ve uttered one of the whines listed above, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

I’ve argued that the Department of Homeland Security is the greatest threat to liberty Americans have ever faced. It began with 170,000 employees by combining 22 existing federal agencies, including Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Secret Service, FEMA, Transportation Security Agency (TSA), Immigration and Naturalization, Customs Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection, Federal Protective Service, FBI’s Domestic Preparedness, Federal Computer Incident Response Center, and several more lesser agencies of the same type.

All of these agencies are under the control of one manager, the Secretary of Homeland Security. As a result of provisions in the Patriot Act (a monstrous law, passed in the panic of 911 and admittedly never read by a single member of Congress before it was passed) the DHS Secretary – one person – has the power to send federal law enforcement into private homes without a search warrant. Records and materials may be taken from private homes, computer records searched, phones tapped and e-mails monitored, without the knowledge of the suspect.

Now, some may argue that all of that is necessary to catch a terrorist and that it is not intended to affect innocent citizens. Again, it’s the -“IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE – YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR” excuse. Before moving forward, let’s get rid of this naive utterance once and for all.

First, that statement really says that government always gets it right. So fear of searches is just nonsense – if you are innocent. Well, have you heard the recording of Campaign for Liberty employee Steve Bierfeldt when he was detained by the TSA simply because he was carrying less than $2,000 in cash from a conference? All young Steve did was ask the TSA agents to show him the law that said they had a right to ask him why he was carrying the money. The checks in the same metal box as the cash were made out to the Campaign for Liberty. Any moron could have figured out where the money came from and what it was for. But the TSA didn’t care – they wanted to show their authority. Biefeldt presented the entire box to TSA agents, not trying to conceal it in any way. TSA tried to bully him and threatened to turn him over to drug enforcement authorities, as an attempt to make it appear he was carrying the cash from drug deals. Steve’s reply was basically, “Fine – will they be able to show me the law?” Innocent Steve had nothing to hide and plenty to fear from TSA thugs.

Second, that statement says that the Bill of Rights was only created to protect the guilty. You see, if you have nothing to hide, then you obviously don’t need to be protected from government. The Constitution was written by men who feared government – even the one they were creating – and they put safeguards in it to force government to recognize and respect our property and our right to be innocent until proven guilty. DHS and the Patriot Act, and those who use the mantra “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear,” reject and ignore those guarantees. Under the Patriot Act and it’s agents in the DHS and TSA, you are not secure in your home or your person, you are not innocent until proven guilty and you are not allowed to face your accusers. That means tyranny, not the Constitution, is in control.

Supposedly, the DHS mission is to be our frontline against terrorism. An added bonus, say its supporters, is to help reduce illegal immigration. Yet the department has opposed the most obvious element of “homeland security” – securing the nation’s borders. DHS has blocked building the wall. It’s done nothing about enforcing Visa violators. And sometimes it even blocks local law enforcement from arresting and deporting known illegals.

Instead, DHS has been on a rampage to impose rules, regulations and projects, all designed to put legal, law abiding Americans in a massive straight jacket.

Real ID is not a tool to fight illegal immigration

First there was the Real ID Act. Unfortunately, some misguided Conservative leaders, both in the grassroots and in Congress continue to support this terrible Act as a safeguard to stop illegal immigration. They are horribly wrong.

Real ID is argued to be an attempt to standardize the process and format for the creation of all state drivers’ licenses to achieve increased security. Proponents argue that now we will know that anyone carrying a driver’s license is legal in this country and therefore not a threat. What most Americans do not know is that Real ID did not originate in the United States, but in the backrooms of a UN organization called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Real ID mandates a certain picture quality for all drivers’ licenses that are to be compliant with the ICAO’s Document 9303 biometric format. Your photo taken by a local DMV is run thorough special software which measures and analyzes the unique personally identifiable characteristics of your face. The process results in a unique numeric code which identifies a person according to facial measurements. In other words, under Real ID, your face is reduced to a number code – a number which is read by computer, tracked by surveillance cameras and distributed worldwide by the ICAO. Take a look at your drivers’ license – if it has a blue background, it is ICAO-compliant.

Real ID is not a national ID card designed to protect us from terrorism and illegal immigration – it is an INTERNATIONAL ID card designed to track the movements of everyone wherever they go – anywhere in the world. As you read on you will find that it will get much worse, for Real ID is only the first step.

The Obama Administration is now talking about repealing Real ID because there is such opposition to it. Do not be fooled. They know they are caught with this monster and so the flimflam is on – repeal Real ID and replace it with something much worse. That’s how they play the game.

E-Verify – Government control of jobs

Second, the E-Verify system has been sold with the same argument – just a tool to stop illegal immigration. And those opposing it have been accused of being either liberals who just want open borders, or greedy businesses who want cheap labor. While it is true that elements of both exist in the opposition to E-Verify, the overwhelming number of opponents do so because of its connection with the creation of an international biometric ID system.

Once again, because the government refuses to do its job, it has decided to make business the scapegoat in the battle against illegal immigration. It’s so easy for these government hypocrites to put the burden of enforcement on the backs of those who simply wanted to start a business. Not only is business now forced to be the national tax collector and healthcare provider, it is also to be our first line of border defense. And we need government – why?

In truth, E-Verify, which uses Social Security numbers to determine if someone is an American citizen is, again, the brain child of the Department of Homeland Security. Are you seeing a pattern here? Under expanded DHS rules, as in Real ID, E-Verify will now use “enhanced photograph capability” that will allow employers to check photographs in E- Verify databases. And, again, those photographs are compliant to the UN’s ICAO international data bases. DHS is now also expanding compliant databases to include visa and passport files.

The main danger in E-Verify is that it sets the stage for a national workforce management system which gives the government ultimate power to decide who works and who doesn’t. It is designed to ultimately help subject all Americans to an intrusive global surveillance system as the information in DHS databanks is being transferred to international systems through DHS partners, including the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and, of course, the ICAO.

Now, here’s where the terrifying truth about the Department of Homeland Security and the Real ID- E-Verify matrix being created begins to come into focus. (Those Americans who supported these plans just because they wanted a little security are now going to find how wrong they are.)

Cameras on every corner

The world is now full of security cameras called CCTVs. They are in every public building, every airport, and every convenience store. And it’s the same around the world. It is said that one can not travel anywhere in London without being on a camera. The same is quickly becoming true in Washington, DC and many other American cities. Washington DC is now installing cameras on nearly every street corner in every neighborhood to watch for crime. Do you feel safer yet?  Of course, now every city has found the quick- buck benefits of traffic light cameras. Police control by mail. How modern.

Now, what’s the connection between Real ID and CCTV’s?  Your driver’s license or more precisely, your digital facial image/photograph is, and will be used with CCTV to identify you. It will not matter if you are in your hometown or in Berlin, Germany. Government will be able to identify you without your even knowing it. The CCTV camera will be pointed at you, a scan of your face will be taken and the results of the scan will be compared to domestic and international databases to determine your identity. The main purpose of the Real ID Act is to ensure we are enrolled into a global biometric identification system so government can know our whereabouts at all times. It has absolutely nothing to do with stopping illegal immigration – or even terrorists. You must understand most of these plans were at least being discussed long before 911 occurred. The only real barrier was the lack of technology. It’s no longer a problem.

Suspicious Sweat

And so it gets worse. As we are all quietly enrolled in the international databases, there are plans to efficiently use that information. Comes now the Department of Homeland Security’s “Project Hostile Intent” (PHI). Ohh – wait a minute – that’s just too harsh (and revealing) for politically-correct public officials. Please just wait a minute while they rename it to “Future Attribute Screening Technologies” (FAST). That’s better. Now we can all relax. The government just wants to keep us all safer, faster!

What ever the name, the result is the same. FAST is a computer software program that assesses whether or not a person is more or less likely to present a threat based on the way a person behaves, walks, dresses or other factors. In fact the government is now working to obtain sensors that will help them monitor our sweat to decide of you are a threat based on how much you perspire.

That means, if you are walking down the street, perhaps with your children, maybe sightseeing in a foreign town, and a CCTV monitor picks you up, you may be approached by law enforcement to determine if you are a security threat – simply because you matched the profile by the way you dressed or walked – or if you are sweating too much. You will be required to pull out your government-sanctioned ID and justify why you are there and what you are doing, regardless of the activity in which you are engaged.

Do you get it yet? The point is law enforcement will not need actual probable cause to observe or detain you. All it will need to do is claim that you walk, dress or sweat suspiciously.

Control and Intimidation

There are two kinds of control – direct and indirect. Real ID compliance is direct control. Without compliance through the proper drivers’ license you will lose access to public buildings, government services like marriage licenses, gun ownership, or travel by air or soon, even by train or bus.

Indirect control comes from intimidation. Russell Tice, former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst has warned about that agency’s efforts to intercept American’s e-mails and phone calls. He has also discussed the monitoring of cash transactions. Obviously this is the kind of intimidation young Steve Bierfeldt was experiencing when the TSA thought they had him hidden away in a windowless room at the airport as they harassed and attempted to scare him into submission. Luckily that courageous young man was not intimidated and turned the tables on them by recording their tactics. The idea behind it all is to make you afraid to speak out or fight back – “Just let me on my plane and I promise not to make a fuss.”

“Right-wing Extremists” – not illegal immigrants – are the target

So for those of you who may still think this is all just an overstatement – a misunderstanding – for those who still think Real ID and E-Verify are just necessary tools for stopping illegal immigration – – let me bring all of this together.

In the June issue of The DeWeese Report (Volume 15, Issue 6) the lead article entitled “The Department of Homeland Security is a “Man-Caused Disaster,” I reported on the MIAC Report from the State of Missouri and another report from the Department of Homeland Security. Both reports were intended to warn law enforcement to be on the lookout for rightwing extremists. It then went on to clarify what it meant: “Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority ,or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

The MIAC report stated that anyone who voted for Ron Paul, Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin was a potential security threat, possibly violent and possibly a terrorist. The report was issued by the Missouri Fusion center, a department under the control of the Department of Homeland Security. These reports are so broad in their definition of “rightwing extremist,” that they can only indicate a growing attitude by the government that anyone who opposes its policies is a potential threat to the government and must be controlled or eliminated.

In June, a lone gunman entered the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and opened fire on two security guards. Of course, gun control advocates haven’t hesitated to use the incident as another excuse to confiscate guns. That’s to be expected.

But the next day, The Washington Times reported in a sidebar article about the incident, saying, “Even before Wednesday’s fatal shooting of a security guard purportedly by a white supremacist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, right-wing extremists have come under increased scrutiny.” The article went on to discuss the DHS report and quoted a professor from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who said she worries that local law enforcement agencies do not keep close enough tabs on such groups and that the Internet allows them to put forth an extreme rhetoric that advocates violence. My friends, they are talking about you and me. Not enough surveillance on our “dangerous” ideas? This shooting couldn’t have come at a better time for DHS. How convenient.

Mandatory IDs containing biometric information in international databases that can track our every move through CCTV cameras on every street corner, which monitor our facial expressions and measure our sweat – are not tools to make us safer. They are the weapons of tyranny designed to keep the government safe from apparently “dangerous criminals” who believe in the Constitution of the United States – the very document every single American public official from the President to the police officers swore to protect and defend. Does that connect enough dots for you?

Let me make it clearer. Because you believe in limited government, oppose immigration or abortion, or profess to be a Christian, you are being targeted by government as a threat. Total surveillance through Real ID and biometric data banks will be used to monitor and control your movements. E-Verify will be used to control whether you work or not. You can be shut out of society, unable to open a bank account, travel, or even drive a car because – just like the no-fly list – you will be targeted as an enemy of the state – all because of your political beliefs. You are the target in a nation where the government has gone mad. Do you feel safer yet?


Tom DeWeese is the President of the American Policy Center and the Editor of The DeWeese Report. TThe DeWeese Report is now available online, for more information click here.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.