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Immigration Reform Could Lead to Biometric ID Cards

In News on February 4, 2013 at 11:08 PM

01/31/2013

If one part of some lawmakers’ plan for comprehensive immigration reform goes through, Social Security cards could soon come with a fingerprint.

Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday that their Senate framework for immigration reform, recently endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), could require biometric information to check employment status.

Asked whether he favored “a super Social Security card that would have some sort of biometric thing like a fingerprint” by Politico’s Mike Allen at a Politico Playbook breakfast on Wednesday, McCain said, “I’m for it.”

McCain said he was not sure “exactly how” such a proposal would play out in any legislation, “but there is technology now that could give us a Social Security card, people a Social Security card, that is tamper-proof.”

“We want to make sure that employers do not hire people who are here illegally,” said Schumer, who has called for biometric employment cards in the past. “The only way to do that is to have a non-forgeable card. Because right now you can go down the street here and get a Social Security card or a driver’s license for $100 that’s forged.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment Thursday, but McCain and Schumer’s proposal sounds similar to President Barack Obama’s call in his immigration reform outline for a “fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant” Social Security card and “new methods to authenticate identity.”

Biometrics proposals have been floated for years as one solution to the vexing problem of how to prove workers are who they say they are. The ID card industry sees the potential for billions of dollars of business if immigration reform leads to biometric requirements. Privacy advocates, however, worry the new proposals could in essence create a national ID — and lead to a spate of Arizona-style “show-me-your-papers” laws.

Some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States resort to using forged or stolen Social Security identities to obtain work. A computer system called E-Verify is supposed to catch people who are not authorized to work in the United States, but it goes no further than matching a name to a number, and its use is usually voluntary.

Moreover, E-Verify “has too many false negatives and false positives,” Schumer said. A 2008 government study concluded that 0.8 percent of authorized workers are identified as unauthorized by the system, and 54 percent of unauthorized workers were tagged as authorized. With hundreds of thousands of employers signed up for E-Verify, and millions of workers covered, the mistakes add up — and even for American-born citizens, proving identity can sometimes turn into a bureaucratic nightmare.

Schumer’s solution is to require some sort of biometric information, like a photo, a fingerprint or an iris scan, to go along with Social Security cards. The biometrics would provide a verifiable external check on the bare Social Security number.

Civil liberties advocates, however, caution that linking biometric identifiers to Social Security cards would inevitably create momentum toward a national ID card.

“Once you have a physical card, people are going to start asking for it,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “If you look like you might be undocumented, are police going to expect to see your card on the street? We’ve seen these kinds of status checks in places like Arizona in the past.”

Representatives of the biometrics industry claim the cards could be made in a way that respects privacy and prevents official misuse.

“What it really comes down to is: how do we deal with an identity environment and make sure we’re empowering the citizen? How do we let them be the one that’s in control of their identity?” said Kelli Emerick, executive director of the Secure ID Coalition, an industry group. “There are ways in implementation that can be very sensitive to privacy.”

Emerick suggested an ID that included a photo on a chip embedded in the card, not stored in a centralized database. “I think that could definitely be a possibility,” she said. “And maybe that’s something that’s voluntary: If you want to harden your credential and add this piece to it, that’s a possibility.” (Obama’s proposal suggests “a voluntary pilot program to evaluate new methods to authenticate identity.”)

But Calabrese countered that such a technique would mean that “any time you lost your card you’d have to go back, go through the entire process again to get your card reissued” — an impractical solution, he said.

Whatever the mechanics of the biometric cards, the political pitfalls both for the Obama administration and Congress are clear. The 9/11 Commission recommended hardened standards for state ID cards, but the resulting REAL ID Act ran into a firestorm of controversy. States objected to the costs of upgraded cards, and a coalition of civil libertarians and conservatives concerned about government overreach managed to slow the law’s implementation to such an extent that the Department of Homeland Security says so far only 13 states have met the law’s standards.

Schumer also suggested linking employment verification and biometrics the last time immigration reform was on the table, in 2009, to similar objections. ID industry executives estimated they could make anywhere from $1 billion to $4 billion off the idea — but it went nowhere. Emerick chalked the response up to “the politics around immigration at that time.”

But Calabrese doesn’t see the civil liberties objections to biometrics, or anything approaching a national ID, fading any time soon.

“Imagine the police holding their smartphones with their E-Verify app, and they walk up to you on the street and say, ‘What’s your name?’” he said. “It’s an enormously intimidating prospect, this idea that they’ve got a national database.”

Via HuffingtonPost

Related Link: Ron Paul: Immigration “Reform” Will Turn the US Into a Police State

Hidden US-Israeli Military Agenda: “Break Syria Into Pieces”

In News on February 4, 2013 at 9:46 PM

01/31/2013

Israel is now actively involved in the war on Syria, following the Israeli bombing raid of a Syrian research center on January 30, 2013.

The following article published last June focuses on the covert role of Israel in fostering sectarian divisions within Syria as well as supporting “jihadist: terrorist formations within Syria, in liaison with the US, NATO and the Gulf States.    

A timely article in the Jerusalem Post in June [2012] brings to the forefront the unspoken objective of US foreign policy, namely the breaking up of Syria as a sovereign nation state –along ethnic and religious lines– into several separate and “independent” political entities. The article also confirms the role of Israel in the process of political destabilization of  Syria.  The JP article is titled: “Veteran Kurdish politician calls on Israel to support the break-up of Syria’ (by Jonathan Spyer) (The Jerusalem Post (May 16, 2012)

The objective of the US sponsored armed insurgency is –with the help of Israel– to “Break Syria into Pieces”.

The “balkanisation of the Syrian Arab Republic” is to be carried out by fostering sectarian divisions, which will eventually lead to a “civil war” modelled on the former Yugoslavia. Last month, Syrian “opposition militants” were dispatched to Kosovo to organize training sessions using the “terrorist expertise” of the US sponsored Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in fighting the Yugoslav armed forces.

Sherkoh Abbas, President of the US based Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KNA)  has “called on Israel  to support the break-up of Syria into a series of federal structures based on the country’s various ethnicities.” (Ibid)

One possible ”break-up scenario” pertaining to Syria, which constitutes a secular multi-ethnic society, would be the formation of separate and  “independent” Sunni, Alawite-Shiite, Kurdish and Druze states:   “We need to break Syria into pieces,” Abbas said. (Quoted in JP, op. cit., emphasis added).

“The Syrian Kurdish dissident argued that a federal Syria, separated into four or five regions on an ethnic basis, would also serve as a natural “buffer” for Israel against both Sunni and Shi’ite Islamist forces.” (Ibid.).

Ironically, while Islamist forces are said to constitute the main threat to the Jewish State, Tel Aviv is providing covert support to the Islamist Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Map 1

Meeting behind Closed Doors at the US State Department

A top level US State Department meeting was held in May with members of the Syrian Kurdish opposition. In attendance were representatives of the Kurdish National Council (KNC),  Robert Stephen Ford, the outgoing US ambassador to Syria (who has played a key role in channelling support to the rebels) as well as Frederic C. Hof, a former business partner of Richard Armitage, who currently serves as the administration’s “special coordinator on Syria”. (Ibid). The delegation also met with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

Frederic C. Hof, Robert Stephen Ford and Jeffrey Feltman are the State Department’s key Syria policy-makers, with close links to the Syrian Free Army (SFA) and the Syrian National Council (SNC).

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman

Frederic C. Hof, The Administration’s “special coordinator on Syria”

Robert S. Ford, outgoing US Ambassador to Syria

The public statements of KNA leader Sherkoh Abbas in the wake of the State Department meeting suggest that the political fracturing of the Syrian Arab Republic along ethnic and religious lines as well as the creation of an “independent Kurdistan” were discussed. “State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner described [the meeting's] purpose as part of ‘ongoing efforts… to help the Syrian [Kurdish] opposition build a more cohesive opposition to Assad.’”  (Ibid).

The KNA leader called upon Washington to support the creation of a separate Kurdish State consisting of  “an autonomous region in Syria; joining the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq – which borders the Kurdish region in Syria; or perhaps an even larger Kurdish state” [Greater Kurdistan].

“The Kurdish people, in all parts of Kurdistan, seek the right to form an independent Kurdish state. We can only achieve this cherished goal with the help of the western democracies, and first and foremost the U.S.” said Sherkoh Abbas. (Syria: An Alternative, Choice, Ekurd.net, May 22, 2012)

It is worth noting, in this regard, that the creation of a “Greater Kurdistan” has been envisaged for several years by the Pentagon as part of a broader “Plan for Redrawing the Middle East”.(See map 2 below)

This option, which appears unlikely in the near future, would go against the interests of Turkey, a staunch ally of both the US and Israel. Another scenario, which is contemplated by Ankara would consist in the annexation to Turkey of parts of Syrian Kurdistan. (See map above).

“Greater Kurdistan” would include portions of Iran, Syria, Iraq and Turkey as conveyed in Coronel  Ralph Peters (ret) celebrated map of “The New Middle East” (see below). (For Further details see Mahdi Nazemroaya’s November 2006 Global Research article).

Colonel Peters taught at the US Military Academy.

Detailed analysis on Syria.

Over 30 chapters, available from Global Research at no charge

SYRIA: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War?
ONLINE INTERACTIVE I-BOOK
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-07-15
Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”
- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2006-11-18

Towards the balkanization (division) and finlandization (pacification) of the Middle East

Map 2. The New Middle East

The following map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006,
Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006).

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers.

This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles.

Michel Chossudovsky Via GlobalResearch

Israel Announces “Security Zone” in Syria

In News on February 4, 2013 at 9:21 PM

02/04/2013

Israel is considering a “buffer zone” stretching ten miles into Syria “to protect itself from fundamentalist rebels on the other side of the border,” the Sunday Times reports.

The proposal, which has been drawn up by the military and presented to Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, is intended to secure the 47-mile border against a growing Islamist threat if President Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime loses control of the area.

The “Islamist threat” in Syria is funded and armed by the CIA and Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Obama administration likes to pretend it is actively working to keep arms out of the hands of al-Qaeda in Syria, but the truth is something quite different – al-Qaeda and its affiliates play a key role in undermining the al-Assad regime.

One of the most effective fighting groups inside Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist organization aligned with the Free Syrian Army. The U.S. has designated it as an al-Qaeda affiliate. According to Quilliam Foundation, a counterterrorism policy institute based in London, Jabhat al-Nusra is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a terror group allegedly founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the mythical terror leader who transformed AQI “from a small elitist vanguard to a mass movement.”

In addition to Israel’s “state sponsored terrorism” (as its bombing inside Syria was characterized by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan), Israel has long used the Kurds to undermine not only Syria, but also Iran.

Lebanon Redux

Israel’s decision to carve out a strip on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights – Syrian territory occupied and administered by Israel since 1967 – is hardly a new tactic: Israel did much the same in south Lebanon.

Following the conclusion of the 1982 Lebanon War and Operation Peace in Galilee (the Israeli invasion of Lebanon), the IDF was instructed by the Israeli government to maintain a “security zone” in Lebanon, ostensibly to prevent infiltration by the PLO. Israeli occupation of a 25 kilometer deep area inside the country and the brutality inflicted on civilians by the IDF and its proxy the South Lebanon Army resulted in the formation of Hezbollah.

Around 18,000 people were killed and 30,000 injured and between 500,000-800,000 made homeless in the first three months of the Israeli occupation. The IDF maintained the notorious Khiam prison where many Lebanese were held without trial and tortured.

Resistance by the Lebanese and Hezbollah’s low-intensity guerrilla warfare eventually resulted in Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. In 2000, Israel completed the withdrawal in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 425 and 426 requiring it to withdraw to internationally recognized borders.

Intimidating Syria

Israel’s action against Lebanon was part of a long-standing “effort to secure the balkanization and vassalization of Lebanon, the eradication of Palestinian nationalism, and the intimidation of Syria,” writes Naseer H. Aruri. He cites the writings of Moshe Sharett, the second Prime Minister of Israel, who documented

deliberate Israeli acts of provocation, intended to generate Arab hostility and thus to create pretexts for armed action and territorial expansion. Sharett’s records document this policy of “sacred terrorism” and expose the myths of Israel’s “security needs” and the “Arab threat” that have been treated like self-evident truths from the creation of Israel to the present…

Livia Rokach, in her book on Sharett’s personal dairy, reveals a consistent effort by Israel to provoke Syria, beginning in the early 1950s and culminating in the occupation of the Golan in 1967, a move that resulted in the explusion of 130,000 Syrians.

“The Golan Heights serves as yet another reminder that the conflict on the ground is very different than the story Israel offers up to the world,” writes Mya Guarnieri. “The conflict isn’t about the Western world battling the Muslim world; it’s not a clash of cultures or a clash of values; the occupation isn’t a security measure, meant to protect Israel from ‘terrorists.’”

It is also about balkanizing and splintering the Arab and Muslim world, a plan not exclusive to Israel as a key component of its own territorial ambitions, but also used by the global elite who have employed the time-tested British “divide and conquer” strategy to “prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together,” as Zbigniew Brzezinski writes in The Grand Chessboard.

Israel’s Buffer Zone in Syria: Old Habits

“The purpose of the plan [to impose a buffer zone] is to ensure the safety of Israel’s Golan Heights and its northern region after the fall of the Assad regime in Syria,” Israel Defense reports today.

“If the Syrian instability persists, it seems that IDF forces will have to stay in the security zone that will be constructed for years,” said one of those close to those behind the plan that was submitted.

For Israel, the piecemeal conquest of Syria – and Lebanon before it – has little to do with “Syrian instability” manufactured in large part by external players (the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar), but is rather an ongoing effort to dissolve Arab and Muslim states.

A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s, written by Oded Yinon, who was formerly attached to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and published in Kivunim (Directions), the journal of the Department of Information of the World Zionist Organization, “reflects high-level thinking in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment,” writes Ralph Schoenman. The article “outlines a timetable for Israel to become the imperial regional power based upon the dissolution of the Arab states.”

Yinon described an effort to dissolve Lebanon, fragment Syria, go to war with Iran, target Iraq (mission accomplished), marginalize and weaken Egypt (now in process), undermine Saudi Arabia, and eventually depopulate the Occupied Territories.

The decision to carve out a new security zone in Syria – despite its abject failure to maintain one in Lebanon – reveals that it remains on a trajectory envisioned prior to the establishment of the Israeli state.

The United States will naturally support this violation of Syria’s national sovereignty – citing al-Qaeda and other manufactured threats – as it has supported nearly all of Israel’s efforts against its Arab and Muslim neighbors.

Birds of a feather, they say, after all fly together.

Via InfoWars

U.S. Approved Israeli Bombing of Syria and May Join the War at Any Moment

In News on February 4, 2013 at 9:16 PM

02/03/2013

Despite the Pretense that the U.S. and Israel Are Not Intervening In Syria’s Civil War, They Are Both At War With Syria

Israel claims it bombed a weapons convoy, while Syria claimed that a research facility was hit. Who is right?

Both.

Time reports:

Israeli warplanes struck several targets inside Syria overnight Tuesday, including a biological weapons research center that was reportedly flattened out of concern that it might fall into the hands of Islamist extremists fighting to topple the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad, Western intelligence officials tell TIME.

The irony is thick, as the U.S. is directly backing the Islamist extremists fighting to topple the Syrian government.

Time continues:

A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes.

But the U.S. isn’t just an arm-chair quarterback … it may directly join in the action:

One Western intelligence official told TIME the U.S. military was poised to carry out similar airstrikes around Aleppo if rebels threaten to take sites associated with weapons of mass destruction in that region.

In the bizarro world of American and Israeli propaganda, arming Al Qaeda rebels or bombing Syrian assets does not count as “intervening” in a war:

Though no country has intervened in Syria’s civil war directly …

In diplomatic terms, surgical strikes launched in the name of preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction tend to be well-tolerated by the international community, especially when the attacks are not publicly acknowledged. Israel still does not officially acknowledge its secret 2007 destruction of a Syrian nuclear reactor.

“I’m not going to give any condemnation of Israel or rush into any criticism,” British foreign secretary William Hauge told the BBC on Thursday. “There may be many things about it that we don’t know, or the Arab League or Russia don’t know.”

What does this mean?

The endless war on terror has been re-branded through propaganda. There are no new wars launched by America and its allies. There are simply “kinetic actions“, and “covert operations” carried out in secret.

Postscript: The official narrative says that these endless series of wars secure our national defense and stimulate the economy.

In the real world, however, top American economists say that endless war has ruined our economy and hurt the vast majority of Americans.

And security experts – including both conservatives and liberals – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

Via Washington’s Blog

High Military Alert Across Middle East Following Israeli Attack Inside Syria

In News on February 4, 2013 at 9:11 PM

01/31/2013

Military forces in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have raised their alert levels following an Israeli attack inside Syria on Wednesday.

The Arabic-language daily Lebanese newspaper Addiyar reports that Syria has moved troops to the Israel-occupied Golan Heights, the Lebanese Army has reinforced its southern outposts and Jordan has positioned troops on the Jordan River border with Israel, according to The Voice of Russia.

DEBKAfile reports that the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean is also on high alert. Its military sources claim that “Turkish units on the Syrian border are on high preparedness although Ankara played down the reports of the Israeli air strike in Syria, uncomfortable over the fact that the Israeli Air Force was the first external power to intervene directly in the Syrian conflict.”

DEBKAfile claims that U.S. forces stationed at the Turkish Incerlik air base, U.S. Special Forces deployed at the Jordanian Mafraq air facility and American, German and Dutch Patriot missile units on the Turkish border are also on high preparedness.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the attack. “If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it,” the ministry said on Thursday.

Iran’s foreign minister condemned what he called Israel’s “brutal aggression” against Syria. “There is no doubt that this aggression is part of a Western and Zionist strategy to push aside the success of the Syrian people and government to return to stability and security,” Ali Akbar Salehi said in a statement.

Western media claims the attack targeted a Syrian military research center at Jamraya or a convoy of trucks headed for the Syria-Lebanon border allegedly carrying “game-changing weapons” destined for Israel’s arch-nemesis, Hezbollah. The BBC claims the convoy was transferring Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.

Reuters portrayed the attack as “a warning by Israel to Syria and Hezbollah not to engage in the transfer of sensitive weapons,” but Dr. Ali Mohamad, editor-in-chief of the Syria Tribune news website, told RT alleged worries about chemical weapons in Syria are a pretext to destroy the al-Assad regime’s military research centers and make certain Damascus is unable to produce arms for its military or regional allies.

Mohamed said Israel is working with the CIA’s mercenaries inside the country to target and destroy Syria’s weapons capability.

Neocon media emphatically states that the Israeli attack targeted Syria’s chemical weapons. “The Syrian strike can be seen as a precursor to a strike on Iran as Israel demonstrates that it will take action if a WMD red line is crossed,” writes David Greenfield for Fontpagemag, a website published by former Marxist David Horowitz.

The attack considerably escalates tensions in the region and possibly sets the stage for direct military intervention inside Syria.

“The prevailing estimate in military and intelligence circles in Washington and NATO capitals is that the Israeli air attack on the Syrian military site near Damascus was but the opening shot for the coming round of military blows they expect to be exchanged in the near future between Israel, Syria and Hezbollah, with Iran possibly waiting in the wings for a chance to pitch in,” DEBKAfile speculates.

Via InfoWars

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