DHS Quietly Testing Mandatory Facial Recognition of Passengers *Exiting* U.S.

We’re all used to having to identify ourselves as we enter a country.  It is the only way we can hope to have any attempt at a secure border.  But, so-called “exit controls,” where documents are checked as travelers are leaving the country, were popularized last century by Nazi Germany as a great way to ensure that they could control, round up, and exterminate the Jews and other “undesirables.”  It can obviously serve no purpose of keeping terrorists out, because it only affects those who are already in.  The U.S. has never had exit controls, although they remain popular in Europe, Russia, and China.

Last week, privacy advocate and blogger Jeffrey Tucker posted his experience before a flight from Atlanta to Mexico:

Halfway down the jetbridge, there was a new layer of security. Two US Marshals, heavily armed and dressed in dystopian-style black regalia, stood next to an upright machine with a glowing green eye. Every passenger, one by one, was told to step on a mat and look into the green scanner. It was scanning our eyes and matching that scan with the passport, which was also scanned (yet again).

Welcome Aboard, But First U.S. Marshals Will Scan Your Retina,” published 2/25/2017.

A bit of research uncovered that CBP announced a 2-month pilot program last year for flights between Atlanta and Japan in which they would be doing facial scans as passengers were about to board their flights:.

As part of the testing, travelers will present their boarding pass while their digital photo is taken. The process will take less than three seconds before travelers proceed to the passenger loading bridge to board their flight. Travelers over the age of 14 and under 79 will be required to participate in the test. The test will evaluate CBP’s ability to successfully compare the image of a traveler taken during departure against an image the traveler previously provided, in an automated fashion and without impacting airport operations.

This was, apparently, announced sufficiently quietly that I had not before heard of the program.  The 2 month window has expired, and there is no mention on their Web site, that I can find, of a new program between Atlanta and Mexico.  But, it seems to me that the likely scenario is that CBP has re-started this program and Mr. Tucker confused U.S. Marshals with CBP officers, and retinal scanning with face recognition scanners (not that it makes a difference in terms of our privacy).

What exactly is the point of this?  Are we hoping to catch someone who has overstayed their visa so that we can stop them from leaving, then take them into custody so that the taxpayer can fund their leaving?  It may simply be a dumb idea, or it may be a far more sinister plan to further control the movements of everyone in the country, citizen or otherwise.

Either way, count me out, and I encourage you to refuse as well.

By: professional-troublemaker

The European Debt Bomb Fuse Is Lit!

Eurozone Target2 imbalances have touched or exceeded the crisis levels hit in 2012 when Greece was on the verge of leaving the Eurozone. Others have noted the growing imbalances as well.

I had a couple of questions for the ECB regarding Target2, which they have answered, I believe disingenuously.

First, we will explain Target2, then we will take a look at various charts, viewpoints, and the email exchange with the ECB.

Target2 Background

Target2 stands for Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement System. It is a reflection of capital flight from the “Club-Med” countries in Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, and Italy) to banks in Northern Europe.

Pater Tenebrarum at the Acting Man blog provides this easy to understand example: “Spain imports German goods, but no Spanish goods or capital have been acquired by any private party in Germany in return. The only thing that has been ‘acquired’ is an IOU issued by the Spanish commercial bank to the Bank of Spain in return for funding the payment.

This is not the same as an auto loan from a dealer or a bank. In the case of Target2, central banks are guaranteeing the IOU.

Target2 also encompasses people yanking deposits from a bank in their country and parking them in a bank in another country. Greece is a nice example, and the result was capital controls.

If Italy or Greece (any country) were to leave the Eurozone and default on the target2 balance, the rest of the countries would have to make up the default according to their percentage weight in the Eurozone.

Target2 Imbalances

target2-2017-02-23

Those numbers are as of December 2016. A check of the Bundesbank Target2 Balance as of January 31, 2017 shows a new record high of €797 billion.

As of December 2016, if Italy were to exit the Eurozone, Italy would owe €356.6 billion to Germany, Luxembourg, and a couple other small creditors.

What’s the likelihood Italy could ever pay back €356.6 billion?

Unpayable debts

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph notes the unpayable debts then asks Are Eurozone Central Banks Still Solvent?

Vast liabilities are being switched quietly from private banks and investment funds onto the shoulders of taxpayers across southern Europe. It is a variant of the tragic episode in Greece, but this time on a far larger scale, and with systemic global implications.

There has been no democratic decision by any parliament to take on these fiscal debts, rapidly approaching €1 trillion. They are the unintended side-effect of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank, which has degenerated into a conduit for capital flight from the Club Med bloc to Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands.

This ‘socialization of risk’ is happening by stealth, a mechanical effect of the ECB’s Target2 payments system. If a political upset in France or Italy triggers an existential euro crisis over coming months, citizens from both the eurozone’s debtor and creditor countries will discover to their horror what has been done to them.

As always, the debt markets are the barometer of stress. Yields on two-year German debt fell to an all-time low of minus 0.92pc on Wednesday, a sign that something very strange is happening. “Alarm bells are starting to ring again. Our flow data is picking up serious capital flight into German safe-haven assets. It feels like the build-up to the eurozone crisis in 2011,” said Simon Derrick from BNY Mellon.

german-2-year-yield

The Target2 system is designed to adjust accounts automatically between the branches of the ECB’s family of central banks, self-correcting with each ebb and flow. In reality, it has become a cloak for chronic one-way capital outflows.

Private investors sell their holdings of Italian or Portuguese sovereign debt to the ECB at a profit, and rotate the proceeds into mutual funds Germany or Luxembourg. “What it basically shows is that monetary union is slowly disintegrating despite the best efforts of Mario Draghi,” said a former ECB governor.

The Banca d’Italia alone now owes a record €364bn to the ECB – 22pc of GDP – and the figure keeps rising.

Spain’s Target2 liabilities are €328bn, almost 30pc of GDP.  Portugal and Greece are both at €72bn. All are either insolvent or dangerously close if these debts are crystallized.

On the other side of the ledger, the German Bundesbank has built up Target2 credits of €796bn. Luxembourg has credits of €187bn, reflecting its role as a financial hub. This is roughly 350pc of the tiny Duchy’s GDP, and fourteen times the annual budget.

Mish Questions for the ECB – January 27, 2017

Many media reports suggest the growing target2 imbalance in Italy is a sign of capital flight. ECB president Mario Draghi said it was a function of ECB asset purchases. Can you explain why Draghi is right or wrong?

Please also explain the growing target2 imbalance at the ECB itself.

Thanks
Mish

ECB Response – February 15, 2017

Dear Mr. Shedlock,

Thank you for your email and please accept our apologies for the late reply.

The implementation of the APP affects TARGET balances through cross-border settlement of our purchases. For more information on this particular mechanism, please see ECB Economic Bulletin, Issue 7 / 2016 – Box 2: TARGET balances and the asset purchase programme (pages 21-24).

As regards the ECB’s own Target balance, when the ECB purchases securities under the APP, the ECB credits the account of the respective counterparty. Such counterparties are credit institutions, which cannot hold accounts with the ECB, but instead, hold accounts with national central banks. Therefore, payment for a security by the ECB automatically increases the ECB’s TARGET liability (but not necessarily the overall TARGET balance). This is discussed in the Bundesbank’s March 2016 Monthly Report (pages 53-55).

With best regards,

TARGET Hotline
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

Disingenuous ECB Response

I have been talking about Target2 imbalances for years, and I do not accept ECB’s response straight up.

Euro intelligence also discussed this very question recently. They have it correct, as follows, emphasis mine:

One of the barometers of tension in the Eurozone is the number of articles in the German press questioning the euro’s advantages to the country. The publication of the latest Target2 imbalances is not helping soothe nerves. As of end January, the German surplus was at an all-time record of €796 billion, while Italy’s deficit was at a record €364 billion. The ECB argues that the reason for the gap is not the same as it was during the Eurozone crisis when the imbalances reflected capital flight.

Philip Plickert writes in FAZ that this argument does not tell the full story. It is true, of course, that international banks based in London sell bonds to the Bank of Italy from their Frankfurt-based branches – so that the asset purchases result in transfers of central bank money from Italy to Germany. But why do the sellers not replenish their portfolios with purchases of Italian bonds, shares or other assets? Instead, they take the money and invest in Germany. So this is still capital flight – except that it works indirectly through the asset purchase programme.

Simple Target2 Explanation

Reader Lars writes: “Target 2 is a settlement system. When imbalances arise it’s because transactions are not settled. For example, Luigi in Italy transfers his €1 million from his Monte dei Paschi (MdP) account to his new Deutsche Bank account. MdP does not have the €1 million and has to borrow it from Bank of Italy. The Bank of Italy has to borrow the €1 million from Bundesbank. So at the end of the day, Luigi gets the €1 million into his account in DB but the Bank of Italy now owes €1 million to Bundesbank.”

Do that long enough and this is what happens:

  1. The Banca d’Italia, Italy’s central bank, owes a record €364 billion to creditors, 22 percent of GDPand rising.
  2. The Banco de España, Spain’s central bank owes €328 billion to creditors, almost 30 percent of GDP.
  3. Other nations owe smaller amounts.

Pater Tenebrarum at the Acting Man blog commented via Email “I agree with the eurointelligence view that the steep Italian and Spanish deficits are still a testament to capital shunning various countries. To put it very simply: people managing large sums of Other People’s Money for institutions subject to fiduciary duty continue to have doubts about the euro’s survival, and rightly so.

Reader Lars replied: “It seems to me that the ECB is trying to complicate matters and kick the ball into the tall grass. In regards to the ECBs €160 billion Target2 deficit, it might be the case that the ECB has borrowed from Bundesbank and then lent the money to other national central banks (NCBs) because the Bundesbank has not been willing to do all the heavy lifting itself. Is the Bundesbank shunning risk at local NCBs?”

Rating Agencies Where Art Thou?

The rating agencies should be all over this issue but they are not. Here are two possible explanations.

  1. The rating agencies are in bed with central banks or creditors
  2. They do not understand Target2

Huge Insurmountable Problem

Target 2 is one of the least discussed and least understood problems in the Eurozone.

Jens Weidmann, Bundesbank president, allowed nearly €800 billion in credit to build on his watch. One has to wonder: Is Weidmann moving into illegal territory?

Egon von Greyerz, Founder & Managing Partner, Matterhorn Asset Management AG, made a comment similar to what I have stated many times: “Germany is in bigger trouble than Italy, Spain, or Portugal. Those countries can’t pay so Germany will have to foot the bill.

Alternatively, the Bundesbank and the ECB are going to print money to cover those losses!

Greece alone is unlikely to trigger a crisis now, but Italy, Spain, or France could.

Fuse is Lit

The fuse is lit, multiple fuses actually.

  1. Italy Increasingly Likely to Abandon the Euro
  2. “Italeave” Odds Increase: Rebellion in Italy, Matteo Renzi’s PD Party to Split
  3. French Elections: Another “Unthinkable” Result Coming Up?

Gold’s Reaction

Recent strength in gold is likely based on increasing doubts central banks are once again out of control.

Of course, central banks were never really in control, but appearances matter.

For further discussion, please consider Rate Hike Cycles vs. the US Dollar: Rate Hikes Bad for Gold? 

By: Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Brexit bombshell: Why is this parliamentary report talking about RE-JOINING the EU?

DOWNING Street has slammed the contents of a commons report which advised Members of Parliament that the UK COULD RE-JOIN the EU.

The report was circulated among MPs ahead of the crucial vote held in Westminster earlier this month and repeatedly referred to Article 49 which allows for the re-joining of the EU.

In the wake of Theresa May’s famous “Brexit means Brexit” statement Express.co.uk pointed out the curious repeated references to the mechanism for re-joining the European Union. 

Today Downing Street has officially slapped down the report called “Brexit: how does the Article 50 process work?” which clearly points to a re-entry strategy developed by mandarins.

The report states: “There is no provision for withdrawing the notification, but many analysts believe Article 50 is revocable and that the UK could change its mind about leaving the EU after notification and before actually withdrawing. 

“The revocability of Article 50 TEU was not raised in the Miller case before the High Court, but could be important.

“If the UK wanted to re-join the EU in the future, it would have to re-apply under Article 49 TEU”. 

However when probed about the advice that was handed out to politicians and policy planners a Downing Street spokesman flatly denied there is any backdoor contingency plan being developed.

He said: “We have been clear that we are committed to delivering on the will of the people and leaving the European Union. 

“There can be no attempts to remain inside the EU and no attempt to re-join it.

“We want the best deal for the whole of the UK. 

“It is in no one’s interests for there to be a cliff-edge for business or indeed for the rest of the country. 

“We want a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that exist between us.” 

Theresa May is currently buoyed after the Conservatives shock election victory in the Copeland by-election.

Tory Trudy Harrison won with 13,748 votes to 11,601 for Labour’s Gillian Troughton.

Mrs May is also riding high with positive approval ratings as Jeremy Corbyn continues to fight off controversy in the crumbling Labour party.

During the Article 50 Commons Vote two weeks ago there was drama with high profile resignations from the Labour front benches.

The Conservative government sailed through the process with a comfortable win with 494 votes in favour to 122 against.

The only Tory rebel to vote against the Government was Ken Clarke who had previously announced he enjoyed the limelight he’d been receiving as a result of his stance.

No one from the SNP denied party orders to vote against the bill after Nicola Sturgeon’s posturing however it has already been ruled that devolved assemblies do not have a say after the Supreme Court judgement.

A total of 616 MPs cast their vote on the issue with a total of 34 who did not take the opportunity out of the 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom.

 

In terms of percentages the Government won the vote by 80.2 per cent to 19.8 per cent. The draft legislation is now set to move to the House of Lords but is a comfortable win for the Conservative party who will now be buoyed in their Brexit negotiations with the EU. 

By: Siobhan McFadyen

Source: express.co.uk

Netherlands Looks To Join The Super-Snooper Club With New Mass Surveillance Law.

from the but-it-ain’t-over-until-the-CJEU-rules dept

As Techdirt has noted, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act, better known as the Snooper’s Charter, has been dubbed “the most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy.” It may be the worst, but it’s not an isolated case. Governments around the world are bringing in laws that grant them powers to spy on innocent citizens using “bulk collection” of information — mass surveillance, in other words. As the Dutch site Bits of Freedom reports, the latest country to join the super-snooper club is the Netherlands, where the lower house has just passed the bill for the new Intelligence and Security Services Act:

The controversial new law will allow intelligence services to systematically conduct mass surveillance of the internet. The current legal framework allows security agencies to collect data in a targeted fashion. The new law will significantly broaden the agencies’ powers to include bulk data collection. This development clears the way for the interception of the communication of innocent citizens.

Another worrying trend is for spies around the world to pass on information they have gathered to intelligence services in other countries. The Dutch law is particularly bad in this respect, for the following reason:

Under the passed bill, Dutch security agencies may also share collected data without having analyzed it first. But when we hand over data to foreign governments without performing some form of data analysis prior to the exchange, we run the risk of not knowing what potentially sensitive information falls into foreign hands, and the consequences that might have for citizens.

The Bits of Freedom post also notes that much in the proposed law has yet to be defined, which is hardly a happy state of affairs. That includes limitations on the powers and how oversight will be carried out. However, more positively, among the revisions made to the bill when it was put out for public consultation in 2015 are some important improvements. Here’s what happens next:

It’s now the Senate’s turn to review the bill. A bill that, in all likelihood, will not meet the minimum safeguards dictated by European law. If the parliamentary groups in the upper house abide by those in the lower house, the bill will be cleared with a comfortable majority.

The mention of the safeguards of European law is significant. As we reported in December, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that general and indiscriminate data retention is illegal in the EU. Assuming the Dutch law is passed as expected, a legal challenge at the CJEU could follow, and would seem to stand a good chance of getting the law struck down in its present form.

By: Glyn Moody

Source: techdirt

The Deep State Oligarchs/Plutocrats Want To Keep America Drugged.

As was predicted in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the Elite have a vested interest in keeping their subjugated populace drugged to the maximum extent possible so that they do not ever wake from their stupor in order to challenge their soft (and sometimes overt) tyranny over them.

Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Set in London in the year AD 2540 (632 A.F.—”After Ford”—in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that combine profoundly to change society.

The “World State” was built upon the principles of Henry Ford’s assembly line: mass production, homogeneity, predictability, and consumption of disposable consumer goods. While the World State lacks any supernatural-based religions, Ford himself is revered as the creator of their society but not as a deity, and characters celebrate Ford Day and swear oaths by his name (e.g., “By Ford!”). In this sense, some fragments of traditional religion are present, such as Christian crosses, which had their tops cut off to be changed to a “T”.

From birth, members of every class are indoctrinated by recorded voices repeating slogans while they sleep (called “hypnopædia” in the book) to believe their own class is superior, but that the other classes perform needed functions. Any residual unhappiness is resolved by an antidepressant and hallucinogenic drug called “soma.”

This is why the Oligarchy/Plutocracy supports a vibrant pharmaceutical industry, consisting predominantly of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and anti-human emotion drugs.

As was explained in ZeroHedge’s article by Michael Snyder in “The Drugging Of America Summarized In 19 Mind-Altering Facts,” the author makes the points that:

“The American people are the most drugged people in the history of the planet…Illegal drugs get most of the headlines, but the truth is that the number of Americans that are addicted to legal drugs is far greater than the number of Americans that are addicted to illegal drugs…close to 70 percent of all Americans are currently on at least one prescription drug…In addition, there are 60 million Americans that ‘abuse alcohol’ and 22 million Americans that use illegal drugs…What that means is that almost everyone that you meet is going to be on something. That sounds absolutely crazy but it is true…We are literally being drugged out of our minds…there are 70 million Americans that are taking ‘mind-altering drugs’ right now…If it seems like most people cannot think clearly these days, it is because they can’t…We love our legal drugs and it is getting worse with each passing year…And considering the fact that big corporations are making tens of billions of dollars peddling their drugs to the rest of us, don’t expect things to change any time soon…”

The pharmaceutical industry funds with billions of dollars medical doctor and scientific whores who have categorically declared that the vast majority of Americans are bona fide, “mentally ill,” and thus require immediate, consistent, and long-term medication.

As was recited in the article “Psychiatrists: the drug pushers” published by The Guardian, “They say failed doctors become psychiatrists, and that failed psychiatrists specialize in drugs.” The article asks the seminal question: “Is the current epidemic of depression and hyperactivity the result of disease-mongering by the psychiatric profession and big pharma? Does psychiatry have any credibility left at all?”

Unfortunately the long-term effects on the population are that the best and brightest, the ones who can easily gauge and determine just what exactly is wrong with the way the planet is being run, are often times the most depressed, and therefore deemed to be “mentally ill.”

The Psychiatric Times issued an obviously well-hidden article by the Oligarchs/Plutocrats entitled “The Association Between Major Mental Disorders and Geniuses” wherein it was shown that:

“There exists an association between creativity and major mental disorders known since antiquity. The ancient Greeks considered both as “having been touched by the gods.” Aristoteles, in his perspicacity, stated, “There is no genius without having a touch of madness.” This phenomenon has been verified repeatedly in studies in the past. Does one phenomenon cause the other or do both share a common underlying factor or mechanism? How are geniuses able to accomplish “creative fits”? Although the proposed origin and mechanism of the brain function of creative geniuses is novel, empirical evidence is available to support this theory. Empirical evidence demonstrates that creativity and major mental disorders share a common pool made up of individuals with an extreme temperamental variant who, if endowed with other qualities (eg, high intelligence, tenacity, curiosity, energy) and live in a nurturing and complementary zeitgeist, can be creative geniuses. On the other hand, persons with a similar temperament but who do not have the additional qualities form a common pool of individuals who are at increased risk for a major mental disorder.”

The early-on “diagnosis” and forced drug administration immediately silences and stifles creativity and problem-solving abilities, not to mention the motivation to undo the wrongs of the world, and renders the world’s people leaderless.

The Oligarch/Plutocrat’s favorite and most highly funded publications, such as the Huffington Post, eschew mercilessly and repeatedly that “Early Detection for Mental Illness Is a Must,” while preaching on and on about today’s young geniuses needing to be clipped right from the beginning, before they do any real or meaningful damage to the existing status quo, which is often pretty evil.

These articles go on ad nauseam about how it is absolutely essential to “take out” these geniuses of society, as early as possible, for the ultimate benefit of the ruling class.

And this is exactly what the Oligarchs/Plutocrats want.