Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Who, Whom?

Tom Meehan writes:

This week, my home state of Pennsylvania woke to find the Rendell Administration embarrassed for hiring a private security firm to spy on his own citizenry. Their best defense was that they needed infrastructure threat information to satisfy the Federal Government. So Rendell is firing the company after letting them observe and report on us for at least a year. The press is playing gotcha while the legislature presses for disclosure of the secret reports. So far it seems that the contract spies uncovered a plot by environmental extremists to stop d natural gas exploration by nefariously speaking up at public meetings. I wait with baited breath for new revelations.

Absent from the coverage was a healthy interest in just who was spying on whom. Will anyone be surprised to learn that when looking for experts on how to address the security threat posed by Pennsylvanians to their own government, Rendell's people reached out to the Israeli's? The Institute of Terrorism and Response (ITRR) describes itself as..."an American and Israeli nonprofit corporation created to help organizations succeed and prosper in a world threatened by terrorism." Their specialty?

"Our US-based experts specialize in facing and overcoming domestic forms of terrorism like environmental, ecological, anti-abortion, anti-government, and "home-grown" religious extremism. We have expertise in a wide range of fields including law-enforcement, corporate security, homeland-security, intelligence, law, emergency medicine, and anti-terrorism. The Philadelphia office is also home to our campus-outreach initiative; a nationwide network and fusion-center of students and scholars united against terrorism."

"Anti-government", "anti-abortion" and "ecological threats", it may come as a relief to some that these foreign goons kept the Commonwealth safe from ecological ninnies, Catholics and the Tea Party. Frankly I'd prefer to be spied on by fellow Americans rather than people who learned law enforcement by breaking heads on the West Bank.

If that sounds like hyperbole, consider the desired "Course outcome" one gets from their training.

"The Anti-Terrorism / Response to Terrorism student, upon completion of the course has an understanding of the treat of terrorist attacks and methods; and will be able to incorporate the preparedness and response procedures utilized in Israel into their jurisdictional Homeland Security Planning, Preparedness, Training and Response procedures."

Since there is no reference to the inconvenient existence of our constitution, we'll just have to take it on faith that trainees understand that bulldozing our houses is not an option here.

The institute, which exists in the form of two post boxes, one in Philadelphia and the other in Jerusalem, also operates educational initiatives, including campus seminars, international internships, delegations to Israel, research projects and grant collaboration described thusly, "ITRR has experience with various grant programs DHS, HRSA, and CDC. We form mutual sustainable partnerships with academic institutions to obtain such grants, ensuring the continuance of important training and educational programs." The unmistakable implication here is that they can help you get grants from your own government you might not get on your own.

The penetration of our society by the personnel and institutions of any foreign power is troubling. Actually hiring out our security to persons from a country actively encouraging our entry into disastrous wars is suicidal.

Philip Giraldi adds:

The bigger question is to what extent has the security infrastructure of the United States been outsourced. To be sure, most of the outsourcing has gone to Israeli companies that have been able to exploit their alleged expertise on security issues. They have also benefitted from Congress’ grant of preferential status to Israelis when bidding on US government contracts, meaning that they often are able to undercut US companies because they have few R&D expenses, having either stolen the technology from US competitors or having received subsidies from the Israeli government to enhance their competitiveness. Israeli companies now dominate in the areas of transportation and telecommunications security, both of which are critical national infrastructures that should be restricted only to American companies employing American citizens.

One recalls that at the time of the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinski scandal there were reports that the NSA had determined that a foreign nation had been listening in to White House phone calls. That foreign nation was Israel, able to do so because several Israeli companies had the contracts to provide various services relating to telephone monitoring. The Israeli companies involved are still active, having changed their names and shifted their business locations to the US, but their ownership and management continues to be Israeli.

Israeli owned airline security companies are also in the game, acting frequently as the local Mossad station. The companies have a number of times been caught isolating and then interrogating passengers who were apparently of interest to Israeli intelligence, but they continue to benefit from large contracts in both Europe and the United States to provided security services.

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