Pentagon Allowed to Supply Military Gear Directly to Homeland Security Dept. for ‘War on Immigrants’

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By Nafeez Ahmed, an investigative journalist and international security scholar. He writes the System Shift column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his former work at the Guardian. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel Zero Point, among other books. Originally published at Alternet

Amendments to a controversial Pentagon program to sell military gear to domestic police forces have quietly extended the scheme to provide war on terror weaponry directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The amendments for FY2016, passed by Congress in late 2015, were highlighted in a briefing note published by the Congressional Research Service in February 2016. Under the controversial “1033” program, the Department of Defense (DoD) is able to provide “surplus” military-grade equipment to law-enforcement agencies.

The program, legislated for in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), provided local police forces access to billions of dollars worth of high-tech military equipment, including armoured tanks, rocket launchers, automatic weapons, night-vision goggles, and other supplies traditionally used by the U.S. Army in foreign war theaters.

The DHS often provided multimillion-dollar grants to law-enforcement agencies to purchase the military equipment.

Excessive police brutality in cases like Ferguson and Baltimore put the 1033 program under the spotlight, and led widespread calls for greater accountability over the way domestic police departments are able to access military-grade equipment through the Pentagon scheme. In May 2015, the Obama administration moved to impose more robust oversight processes for the program, one of the consequences of which was a recall order compelling police departments to return equipment that was considered to be excessive.

The new provisions were, however, wide enough that military-grade equipment can still be acquired from the Pentagon by law-enforcement agencies if they can justify its necessity. Further amendments to the NDAA later that year expanded these provisions further, but their alarming scope has gone unreported until now.

Militarizing the Borders

Republican representatives in Congress managed to secure a key amendment to Section 1052 of the NDAA, expanding the application of the Pentagon weapons transfer program directly to the Department of Homeland Security.

The new provision stipulates that Pentagon equipment can be supplied to domestic agencies for the purpose of counterdrugs, counter-terrorism and “border security,” thus formally militarizing border operations under homeland jurisdiction.

“Section 1052 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2016 changed the scope of qualifying activities, expanding it to include counterdrug, counterterrorism, and border security activities,” explained a February 2016 Congressional Research Service briefing note. “The original statute required the Secretary of Defense to consult in these matters with the Attorney General and the Director of National Drug Control Policy. The amendment adds a requirement to consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate.”

The new NDAA amendment blurs the traditional boundaries between the DoD and DHS for domestic border security operations, requiring DHS use of Pentagon-supplied military equipment to be supervised under the final authority of the US Secretary of Defense, and based on specific joint DHS-DoD agreements.

According to a 1,000 plus page Congressional Joint Explanatory Statement published in November 2015 by the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives:

… any controlled equipment… transferred to the Department of Homeland Security through the “1033 program” as amended by this section remains the property of the Department of Defense, and this section does not authorize the Department of Homeland Security to transfer controlled DoD equipment to any non-federal entity. We expect the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to use memoranda of agreement similar to those used for the transfer of equipment to law enforcement agencies to state the conditions of transfer and compliance, including that non-compliance requires the return of all equipment to DoD.

Institutionalizing Pentagon Instrusion Into the Homeland

Amendments in the legislation widely assumed to be designed to improve the transparency and accountability of the 1033 program, in reality increase the role of the Pentagon in overseeing domestic law-enforcement and DHS operations.

According to the new Congressional Research Services briefing note, the 1033 program’s open-ended carte blanche for domestic law-enforcement agencies to access military-grade equipment has not been repealed, but integrated deeper into the Pentagon bureaucracy.

The new amendments dramatically increase the Pentagon’s powers to scrutinize and supervise the use of military equipment in the homeland. Among their implications, they make DoD-supervised military training mandatory for domestic agencies who receive these weapons.

In effect, this places all domestic law enforcement operations using Pentagon-supplied military equipment under the partial jurisdictional authority of the Secretary of Defense. By making domestic agencies more accountable to the DoD, the revamped 1033 program in effect extends the Pentagon’s jurisdictional authority into the homeland by bureaucratic fiat.

Both police departments and the DHS “are now required to certify annually” to the Pentagon that they have “adopted publicly available protocols for the appropriate use of controlled property, the supervision of such use, the evaluation of the effectiveness of such use, including auditing and accountability policies.”

Military Training for Cops

They must also certify to the Pentagon that they provide “annual training to relevant personnel on the maintenance, sustainment, and appropriate use of controlled property.”

In other words, law-enforcement and DHS personnel provided with Pentagon military-grade equipment must receive annual military-level training “appropriate” to the use of such military hardware.

This annual certification process is institutionalized through a formal agreement between the Secretary of Defense and “a federally funded research and development center” (FFRDC). Under this agreement, and through the FFRDC, the DoD is able to indirectly “assess the overall program, evaluate the determination of suitability of agencies to receive controlled property, analyze reported statistics on transfers and incidence of loss, and to review the effectiveness of policies and procedures for the return of controlled property.”

A further independent report prepared by the U.S. Government Accountability Office is required to evaluate the Pentagon transfers, their use by law-enforcement and the DHS, and the extent to which they “enhance” domestic operations.

These measures institutionalize a permanent role for the Pentagon in managing domestic law-enforcement, as well as homeland security under the remit of defending the border. Far from reversing the militarization of the homeland, they pave the way for its acceleration in the name of policing illegal immigration.

The driving force behind these and other amendments to the NDAA is Republican Congressman Mark Thornberry, chair of the House Armed Services Committee. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the Texas representative has received a total of $933,415 from the largest 75 US defense contractors—making him the highest overall recipient of contractor funds among all members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

American Border War Is an Abject Failure

But the counterproductive militarization of U.S. immigration enforcement policies was exposed in a study released this March from Princeton University. The peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Sociology found that from 1986 to 2010, the U.S. had invested $35 billion on increasingly militarized border enforcement mechanisms, which only led the net rate of undocumented population growth to double.

According to lead author Douglas Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton, “Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the US, greater enforcement stopped them from going home.”

The militarization of enforcement raised the costs of undocumented border crossing, causing undocumented migrants to stay in the U.S. longer to make the trip profitable.

“The end result was a self-perpetuating cycle of rising enforcement and increased apprehensions that resulted in the militarization of the border in a way that was disconnected from the actual size of the undocumented flow,” the study concludes.

One major beneficiary of this process, however, is the military-industrial complex. As the NACLA Report on the Americas points out, the DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is “the second-largest investigative agency in the federal government, after the FBI.”

Defense giants like Boeing, General Electric, Halliburton and even Elbit Systems—the contractor for Israel’s apartheid wall—count among the DHS’ contractors for military technology “originally designed for Middle Eastern war zones.”

Now, under the Pentagon’s oversight, the DHS can directly procure such military technology to fight America’s increasingly futile homeland war on the migrant invasion.

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  1. ambrit

    The Cynic in me might muse that this escalation of the “illegal immigration counterforce” is really all about the ‘militarization’ of the domestic police forces.
    During WW2, the Reich had units associated with the SS that belonged to both the Gestapo, and the Criminal Police. Thus, the local cops became subservient to the war effort. That, at least, was a ‘real’ war. Today? Someone remind me who we’re supposed to be fighting now.

    1. JD Adam

      I fear our well worn and won Cynicism is now met with a reality where there is no comfort, even in Cynicism. We can be “doing our makeup” and looking in the mirror while other Americans of Color are being horribly enslaved and ignore it….even while those seeking asylum from the very death squads we proudly voted for and funded are met with deadly military force at our borders, as well as the now heralded solution of engaging Corporate Prisons without cause or warrent but for Profit as their new homes, and how would they dream they had a right to keep their families together once they survived to get to the great Democracy of the United States of America? Yet there is coming a time, I fear soon, when our Military Artillery in all it’s blustering destruction will be patrolling even the streets we walk on, and at least protecting the affluent communities that no longer feel so safe behind their locked gates…now the DOD is in charge of Military solutions to our Domestic upheaval. Good luck everyone, see you on the other side of this hell!

  2. portia

    the cynic in me surmises that the enemy will be American civil unrest resulting from worsening conditions–Maddow got all snarky about Bernie’s assertion that protesting outside was perfectly alright. Sent a little chill up my spine, her behavior between segments talking with Bernie. Very respectful to his face, then like a junior high mean girl in between. It made me laugh a little until the end.
    Maybe the border thing really is to keep us in.

    1. RUKidding

      Well it’s at least meant to keep all of us peons in line. So STFU, move along now, nothing to see here, and don’t complain.

  3. Lumpenproletariat

    You should should see the border at the northern extreme of I5. There, otherwise unemployable ex military guys produce nothing but long lineups and scared tourists. The border patrol/homeland security has incredibly grandiose buildings and equipment, while the towns around it is literally crumbling.

    1. RUKidding

      Interesting. Well the border at the extreme southern end of the 1-5 is something else again, especially crossing from Mexico back to San Diego. I haven’t done that in almost a decade, but it used to be – and probably still is – quite the Fellini-esque affair. I always brought canned goods to hand out to people. It was a sad situation but somewhat entertaining in a weird way.

      I have no idea what the border patrol must be like now. It’s one reason why I don’t go down there so much anymore. That and the cartels, although violence in TJ has been mostly suppressed.

    2. diptherio

      Scary. But I don’t think anybody is truly “otherwise unemployable,” at least theoretically. Of course, theory is one thing and reality another.

      As a practical matter, there are no other job opportunities for them, or at least not ones that pay as well or provide as much continual ego-stroking. But we shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that these guys are un-trainable in any other skills besides those of intimidation; or that there aren’t plenty of necessary tasks that need doing if only someone one would fund them (I’m looking at you, Treasury). Neither of those things are true.

      It’s a lack of political willpower, imagination, and love that has led us to this place, with DoD crossing the Rubicon one step at a time, making use of traumatized and impoverished communities and individuals to fill the ranks of their legions.

      1. Lumpenproletariat

        Ideally these surly ex-military guys and all sorts of better-mannered yet un/underemployed people would be hired to build and run just about anything else

        How about an efficient HSR network? HSR parallel to the I5 would be a nice start. And yeah, the whole MIC isn’t about protecting anyone.

        It’s about manipulating fear to make a few bucks for connected contractors.

    3. Merf56

      Warning personal anecdotes!!
      That was our experience as well a few years ago. We were headed home after an extended road trip to Montana early in the spring . There we were – a older middle aged couple clearly Northern European descent American citizens at the ND border at the Peace Park. We crossed into Canada with a brief border stop and a friendly greeting by the Canadian border patrol guy who even advised us that the iris were gorgeous right now and not to miss them. We spent a few hours at the park and then we attempted to cross back into the US.
      The US border patrol guy( the only one there as it is quite a remote station), was definitely ex-military. He was rude and insulting from the first second. He said and I quote” do you people REALLY expect me to believe you came all this way off the interstate to visit the Peace Park? We said yes. He then pulled us both out of the car and proceeded to search EVERYTHING WE OWNED. And was an a** while doing it – repeatedly insulting us and insinuating we were clearly ‘up to no good’.
      He quizzed us for at least 45 MORE minutes because of our passport stamps. My husband travels on business quite a bit overseas and I often go with him. Multiple trips to China, Southern Africa ( an anniversary trip of a lifetime photo safari, and of course he went apeshite over stamps from Jordan and Egypt. He was even offended by multiple trips to the UK. I finally only got really frightened when he started talking about and I again quote : ‘detainment until we can find out what you folks are REALLY doing here”..
      Then when all of a sudden another car finally came behind us, he handed us our passports and said we could go. A stop of nearly two hours. You can attribute it to boredom I suppose but American officials getting their jollies frightening ordinary citizens for the sheer hell of it is not a promising sign for our future freedoms. We were also quizzed endlessly and frankly abusively, coming back into NY from a trip to Montreal just last fall.

      Another anecdotal item-sorry ! – my bestie from college is a PA in a Veteran’s hospital. She talks about the mental state of the returning veterans from the Middle East she sees.
      Most of them she sees are ….. Yes … You guessed it – police officers. And she says a good 2/3 of those are heavily mental health compromised but refuse to avail themselves of care( of course as she says the funding for the VA especially in mental health is worse than abysmal ). And we are going to give these folks military weaponry AGAIN??

      What a world …

      1. Ishmael

        I could counter that story with one where I was traveling from Australia to Canada and yes my passport was stamped full including the Middle East. I passed through customs in San Fran very easily but ended up being stopped for over two hours in customs in Calgary where they went through everything I had opened every pill container (my mother was a vitamin nut always sending me vitamins) and continually asking me questions. At one point he opened a container and asked me what it was. I said vitamins. He goes over to another customs officer and goes “what do you think these are?” Officer goes vitamins. After 2 hours I was finally allowed to go.

        Don’t get me wrong. You were abused and I feel sorry for you but you never can tell when or where you are going to run into an authoritarian nut. Hey, if you have not heard they have pulled people over in southern New Mexico and taken them to a hospital for a colonoscopy. I drive across the southwest 3 or 4 times a year and live in fear of such crap. One time coming up out of southern NM via White Sands and I was questioned a while by immigrations people and I had not even been across the border. I drive a Tahoe and they are like can we look in the back and I am like go for it and have fun. With that they let me go!

        I really do not know what the point is of that reference to controlling our borders by American Journal of Sociology I read the report and it was a complete liberrtard study attempting to support illegal immigration. It was laughable. For all the money they spend the border patrol has basically been given orders to not stop illegals so their conclusions are idiotic.Some places along the border it is practically a war zone. All you have to do is look at NM. Due to several places being “Sanctuary Cities” in NM crime has soared until it has the second highest murder rate per capita in the US. NM is the only state west of the Mississippi that has a declining population. A good story discussing it is “A dying city by a dying river.” which is about Albuquerque. Truly sad because NM is a beautiful state. Oh and for the mayor of Albuquerque’s success in destroying the city he was made the head of HUD.

        1. Merf56

          I have traveled all over the world for just shy of 4 decades- from Botswana to The Phillipines , to Peru, to Brazil, most of Eastern Europe under communist rule and since the fall of it, to all of western and northern Europe, to Morocco, to Senegal, to India, to Vietnam , to Thailand, to Sri Lanka,to most of Central America as well as the countries mentioned in my original post. I have NEVER encountered more arbitrary and capricious as well as downright vicious immigration officials than I have entering at various points all over the US and I have entered nearly all the air entry points and many of the highway border stations.
          This is NOT a matter of a few ‘authoritarian nuts’ as you so dismissively state. It IS US policy. It’s who they hire and how they train them. And it has gotten orders of magnitude worse in the last 15 years since we have made the entire world our enemy and raised ourselves onto an astronomically high pedestal of virtue. As well as the start of the massive employment of mentally scarred war vets due to federal preferential hiring and giving them back their military hardware and MORE military style training techniques to work with our own citizenry instead of a war foe…..
          I find the rest of your comment a rant about New Mexico which is not particularly relevant to the article’s topic.

      2. Mike G

        In my experience US immigration is the nastiest in the world, arriving at LAX is like being processed into jail. And I’m a middle-aged US-born citizen of northern European ancestry and conventional appearance, I’m sure it’s worse for minorities.

        It wasn’t very hospitable or professional even before 9/11, but that event gave the authoritarian bullies and paranoiacs free reign.

        1. fajensen

          I am old enough to have visited East Germany back in the day of the Cold War.

          I must say that the USA sort-of got the DDR looks down with bored goons everywhere, long queues and bureaucracy.

          But. They “improved” it!

          The US goons at the airport have this insect-like attention to their assigned task which is quite scary. They really seem to be hyped on something.

          And. No sense of humor. At all.

          The DDR “arrivals” had 5 people, one officer who did everything, 4 conscripts, one woman in a red trenchcoat with a handgun in her purse about 10 meters back to get runners and a dog.

          They were people, though. Even getting yelled at in German for not having the transit visa was a human experience.

          In the La Guardia, one sense very clearly that there is something switched off within these people and any excursion from what their rule-processing core consider to be outside the assigned parameter space for “non-threat” will end wit a trip to The Hive where they will insert eggs or whatever it is aliens do to missing people.

          Very unsettling experience.

          Inside the US people are people again, probably friendlier than your average Scandinavian and more curious about other travelers.

          We were immediately invited to having a beer and talk with some cowboy dudes outside the hotel when we arrived after midnight, so we sat down for a while.

          The hotel even tried to hack my MacBook. Every morning I find that the battery would be drained, the log showing it wake-on-lan at 03:00, then the firewall would get really busy.

          1. fajensen

            La Guardia should be John F. Kennedy International Airport, of course. Stupid me.

        2. oh

          A German Customs Official in Frankfurt who was quite nice to me when I was going through the wrong line related to me how nasty the NY Customs and Immigration had been to him. I agreed with him about the US Customs being unfriendly in general, although you do meet some very courteous ones too.

  4. Louis Renault

    “Excessive police brutality in cases like Ferguson and Baltimore put the 1033 program…”

    Officer Wilson was not driving a military surplus vehicle nor wearing nor using military hardware. The Baltimore PD van was not a military surplus vehicle nor were any of the officers wearing or using military hardware. Try again.

    1. Steve in Maine

      But Maryland sure has been making hay with its Stingray cell tower simulators!

    2. Tim

      I think you missed that the author was referring to the gear used to suppress rioting in the aftermath of the incidents.

      It was a scene on tv of the military vs the rock throwers, just like every other 3rd world country, except it was us.

      That didn’t sit well with most Americans that saw the footage, who are already skeptical about police competence with a simple fiream and a badge, let alone military grade gear.

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    I’m trying to imagine what the use of “rocket launchers” would look like inside the u. s.

    Waco? Oklahoma City? Twin Towers? The MOVE bombing in Philadelphia?

    1. James Levy

      Although I’m supposed to, I guess, keep up with this stuff (military historians do pay more attention to contemporary developments in our chosen field of study than most academics) I was taken aback by the stress on a relatively new idea–force protection–that kept popping up during the Second Gulf War. This notion is, I believe, pernicious: that one of the prime responsibilities of officers is to the safety of their men. Call me crazy, or just extremely old fashioned, but to my mind soldiers (and cops) accept the risk when they take the King’s coin and sign up. The idea that an officer (or cop) would let civilians be killed in order to “protect” himself or his men is vile to me. The honor in service comes from risking your life for the community. If you shoot first and ask questions later, you dishonor yourself and anyone who puts up with such disgraceful behavior.

      Elites are counting on our soldiers and cops having embraced two rotten notions–“I gots mine” and “force protection.” My fear is that the solid (vast?) majority of both are all-in.

      1. no one

        “Force protection” seems like a hugely important concept that was slipped into our vocabulary by the usual forces of PR blandness with ramifications for all citizens. What a repugnant concept! It completely undermines the concepts of police and military in a democratic society, but fits right in with the Teachout definition of corruption: self-dealing. And neoliberalism.

        Is there nothing on this planet neoliberals haven’t covered with their taint?

  6. Watt4Bob

    People who understand the governments procurement systems inform me that every single item purchased by the government is instantly available as “surplus”.

    This has the effect of producing the broadest possible market for military hardware, read increased sales.

    So what starts out as economic corruption, as it rolls downhill, becomes the basis for the iron fist of authoritarian repression.

    The same people who explained this to me, also explained that it is the true “third-rail” in politics, in other words, do not investigate government procurement, if you want to stay in public service, let alone lead a long and happy life.

    There is a further complication that bares scrutiny, when our government decides to arm “freedom fighters” (like the ones congress forbids them to arm) they might sell them $600 assault rifles for $15, (partly to hide the sale) but when they sell arms to those congress approves of they charge what ever they want.

    So “secret” Nicaraguan Contras get $15 machine guns on the sly, Iraqi “allies” get $1500.00 machine guns.

      1. anon

        Well, not in *this* game.

        But none of this is about defense against real enemies, state actors. It’s about supression of domestic civil disobedience. Our gun loving friends have often asserted that their Second Amendment right to bear arms secures our First Amendment freedom of speech.

        Right. Maybe back in the 18th and 19th centuries when there was no standing army and the police were often unarmed and mostly engaged in enforcing court orders. But that has all changed. Local police now have armored vehicles, machine cannons and rocket launchers. How are individuals with knock off AR-15’s going to secure anything against that? The militarization of the police will be the end of civil society, completing America’s transformation into a corporatist imperium.

        1. reslez

          Our gun loving friends have often asserted that their Second Amendment right to bear arms secures our First Amendment freedom of speech.

          Then what the hell are they waiting for?

          Whenever the govt suppresses speech, search and seizure, or any other right the 2nd Amendment clowns are fully on board, cheering them on. The only right they support is the one that lets them intimidate their neighbors. (Maybe they can’t get respect any other way.)

          1. ambrit

            Just another manifestation of the sad fact that there is no real ‘Left’ in America.
            Can you imagine an American Spartacist movement?

            1. RMO

              The U.S. military itself has repeatedly failed to accomplish anything against poorly armed, fed, educated and supported people in several parts of the world of late so I have my doubts that the ex-military, militarized police would do any better against their fellow citizens – if those citizens are pushed far enough. Not that I’m saying that I really believe that the whole “average gun owner saving us from tyranny” idea is particularly credible.

    1. optimader

      passing this hardware down stream is a method to destock supplies in-order to maintain the vendors that build this stuff. The government equivalent of digging a hole and burying it so they can perpetually keep buying more.

      Beyond the inappropriateness of passing much of this military gear on to municipal police, it all becomes a budgetary blackhole for local municipal maintenance budgets –if the gear is to be kept current and operational Spare parts are purchased retail!

      MRAPs and other vehicles, in particular, are built and supplied with the assumption there will be legions of GI pool technicians to tinker that stuff 24/7. When it become enough of a nuisance it is made redundant and “donated”, auctioned, or gas axed into scrap.
      Nothing is free

      a couple years old but the story hasn’t changed..

      ….An officer with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Department in central Washington is offering me a tank. Three of them, actually.

      “We really want to get rid of these,” Undersheriff John Wisemore says. “We’ve been trying to get the military to take them back since 2004.”

      The tanks came from a vast Defense Department program that has furnished American police arsenals, at no charge, with $4.3 billion worth of combat equipment leftover from two foreign wars. The tanks are amphibious, capable of firing 107-mm mortars—and not remotely useful to Wisemore’s rural police department. But the county can’t seem to unload them. Back in June, Wisemore got an email from a Defense Department liaison promising to explain how Chelan County can get rid of the tanks. Then, nothing. Until further notice, Wisemore says, “they’re just going to sit there.”…. police-departments-struggle-return-pentagon-military-surplus-gear

    2. ke

      I was consulting on a procurement IS for Naval Command…round up the usual suspects…D&T, …Why do all projects go through the filter of the big accounting firms…hmmm.

  7. claudia kimball

    Just a little mundane event regarding border etc. I went to the DMV to renew my “enhance driver’s license which allows one to enter Canada without a
    passport. I was informed by the clerk that I should stay with the “enhanced”
    version because it would be active for six years instead of five and that in
    2018 everyone would be required to carry either the “enhanced ” driver’s
    license or a passport to traverse state lines. It was news to me….does
    everyone know this?

    1. Lambert Strether

      Hilariously, the automatic passport scanners won’t recognize mine because there’s a “crease” across the number (which is, of course, perfectly readable by the human eye, or my iPad camera, or an el cheapo flatbed scanner). So I’m seeing some major DHS contractor cashing in for a multi-million dollar fix in the near future.

      “Nobody could have predicted a paper page would get creased! Handling that wasn’t part of the spec!” An argument for inserting a RFID chip under the skin, I suppose..

      1. optimader

        I if you don’t mind spending more time w/ a customs agent.

        as a sidebar on passports
        My dad ran a textile facility in Chicago that amongst other things, produced the material used for the covers of US passports.

        Pick a cost number that you would feel bad about, then you probably can move the decimal point over a bit. . Very expensive, stuff, considered strategic akin to the paper that US currency is printed on. A part of the deindustrialization of Chicago, this capability was moved to Tennessee

        Maybe ten years after he retired representatives of the entity that produces the Gov. of India passports contacted him to name a price and go consult with them to install a domestic facility to produce India’s passport covers, as they bought their stock from the US manufacturer. He declined, but I always wondered how much the Gov of India spends on Passport material??

        If you are old enough to remember the packaging software came in when the form factor was Floppy disk, ( think VisiCalc it was a fabric covered portfolio box w/ a nested 3 ring binder with disk & printed instructions. Similar textile…

      2. reslez

        Careful there, Lambert, if you get an immigration officer in a bad mood they could reject your passport. Expedite fees aren’t cheap, especially if you’re trapped away from home.

        “Significantly damaged” passports are completely ineligible for travel, according to State Department guidelines, and it may surprise you — as it did Baker — to learn how “significant” your passport’s damage may be considered. The term includes water damage, substantial tears, missing visa pages and either damage, rips or markings on your bio page in the front.

        You may think your passport is fine to fly the way as is, as normal wear and tear like frayed edges and leafed-through pages is acceptable. But playing the passport guessing game is especially risky for air travel: If your passport meets any of the “significant damage” criteria above, then you can’t be too cautious in getting it replaced, said Niles Cole, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. (HuffPo)

  8. ke

    War on stupid, by stupid.

    The global economy is imploding because the intolerant global expert culture and its followers are shorting photosynthesis and themselves, and their collective knowledge is the equivalent to a grain of sand on the beach. Burning oil just adds insult to injury.

    The only reason I continued with university after the first 5 minutes of medical research lab was to find out why it was so stupid. The critters are methylating themselves.

    The military turning inward after failing outward should be expected.

    Patience is a virtue.

  9. Russell

    We love weapons so much.
    Fascism, one historian said comes on quick because it is all emotion.
    This is why I fight the system designed to take our deeds.
    After the nest, home,place communities only memories,war chaos feels better.
    Keep getting ready,soon the big one.
    Meantime there is the Drug War.
    There will be no war.
    Just Apocalyptic riot.

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