Why the New Security Zone along the Canadian Border?

By Michael Collins

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just issued an environmental report on its enhanced security plan to cover an area extending from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the northern border of the United States to 100 miles south of the border. While there are few specifics on the new security measures, the environmental report offers enough to see how we will be protected against threats to national security coming from Canada. The Department of Homeland security will enhance efforts and technologies to reduce the danger from “known terrorist affiliates and extremist groups [that] have an undisputed presence along the Northern Border in both the United States and Canada.” Northern Border Security Programs, p. 1-3, September 2011 (Northern Border) (Image: thelastminute)

In 2006 the American Civil Liberties Union exposed the expansion of border control activities to within 100 miles of any point on the U.S. border. ACLU labeled this area the Constitution Free Zone. Search and seizure options at border checkpoints are not constrained by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. Now, thanks to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), just because they’re within 100 miles of the nearest border nearly 200 million citizens are subject to searching and procedures that previously were used exclusively at border checkpoints.

What do they have in store for citizens on the northern border?

Some highlights of the program include: checkpoints far from the border (but within the 100-mile limit); increased patrol activity; remote video surveillance system systems; upgraded surveillance and telecommunications systems; high-powered X-ray machines of various kinds; and fencing or vehicle barriers at selected points along the border.

The new and improved “High-Energy X-Ray Imaging Scanners” (Northern Border, p. 2-12) expand national security radiation exposure from airline passengers to the much broader audience of drivers and their families, for example, who choose to visit and return from Canada, as well as those who choose to visit the United States from Canada, and anyone unlucky enough to drive into a checkpoint in the Constitution Free Zone.

Buried within the report was this findings, DHS asserts that even though ”œexposure to high levels of radiation would increase a person’s probability of developing cancer and hereditary genetic damage,” (Northern Border, 8-13-10, p. 201), the impacts of this program will be ”œnegligible.” One wonders if their analysis has considered the kids sitting in the back seat of the car, protected by nothing more than that back seat and their clothing, while a CBP agents X-rays the car’s trunk with a mobile device. It’s hard to feel warm and fuzzy about impacts being negligible when you can’t see any analysis to support that assertion.

With the expanded territory and array of new technologies, one can argue that the security measures represent a militarization of the Canadian border. The following illustration from the environmental report makes that point:

Northern Report, 1-6

The possibilities for a one-sided encounter with those who claim to protect us are endless. You may be driving to visit a friend in a car once owned by someone one on the Automated Targeting System (ATS), “a security and tracking program for cargo that DHS has extended to travelers by assigning all who cross the nation’s borders with a computer-generated risk assessment score that will be retained for 40 years — and which is secret and unreviewable.” A Homeland Security drone spots you and relays the message to the Customs and Border Protection command center. That alert sends a message to the “mobile data terminal” in a Border Patrol “agent vehicle” and it’s game on. You’re pulled over. Good luck explaining why you’re in a “dirty car.”

O Canada!

“CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) is the largest law enforcement component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It has a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States.” Introduction, p. 4

An enhanced security zone along the longest peaceful border in the world should raise suspicion. As Paul Craig Roberts has pointed out, there have been no successful terrorist attacks on the United States since 9/11, at least none conducted by foreign governments (arguably, the response to Hurricane Katrina can be seen as a de facto terror attack on the people of New Orleans). There were two cross-border threats intercepted in December, 1999 through the efforts of Customs and Border Protection agents and others at the Canadian border in Vermont and Washington state. But that was with the systems and technologies of that time.

Has Canada suddenly become a hotbed of virulent anti-American activity? Are the Mounties and other law enforcement agencies in Canada turning a blind eye to known threats? Are we expected to believe that the nation that turned down a featured role in the coalition of the willing has suddenly become lax on enforcing international law?

Keeping them out or us in? (Or is it all about the money?)

Is there another motive behind the seeming militarization of the Canadian border

My choice for primary motive is enhanced revenue opportunities for the defense and national security industries. The U.S.-Canada border is over 4,000 miles long. The opportunities of a 100-mile ribbon along that border are expanded by all those people living there, approximately 50 million. This could be a huge payday. After all, Iraq and Afghanistan must end at some point. What better project to take up the slack for defense industry taxpayer subsidies than a massive border build up in areas that provide safe working conditions?

Look how quickly the government deployed full body scanners in airports across the country after the underpants bomber affair. Even though highly reliable witnesses saw that bomber bypass a security check at his point of departure, Amsterdam, the administration and security experts acted like a scanner would have somehow prevented events that had nothing to do with any type of security check.

The absurdity of government policies on war, defense spending, and the economy, and the elimination of more and more constitutional and other protections, opens the door for more sinister interpretations. There will be speculation that just maybe, the financial elite who run things see a total collapse of the economy. They should know, they created it. Or maybe they see a total loss of rights and an end to the pretense of freedom. Instead of letting all those consumers (aka citizens) cross the border in search of a reasonable life, they may just want to keep us around for the next big holiday shopping spree.

The border security program as prison bars for citizens is far-fetched but, arguably, it is no more far-fetched than a plan to beef up the border with a friendly, cooperative neighbor.

We live in a time of great decline. The cause of that decline is the ownership of virtually all of the tools of political control by those whose sole motive is to make more money than the huge sums they’ve already accumulated. For positive change to become an alternative, those who have failed so miserably need to be sent packing, replaced by true servants of the people.


This article may be reproduced with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

Special thanks to the anonymous source who explained the significance of the report and to Cryptome, which listed the report summary and links on the date of publication.

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Appendix I: Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Fourth Amendment, US Constitution, FindLaw

Appendix II: Becoming Part of the Process

Public Meetings

CBP will hold a series of public meetings on the environmental report in October. At these meetings you may learn more about the project and you may also submit comments. The public meetings will be held from 7-9 pm and are scheduled as follows:

Click for pdf of public meeting dates, city, and location. Source

Public Comment

You may submit comments via Internet at http://www.northernborderpeis.com/get-involved.html, via telephone at 1-(866) 760-1421, or via mail by posting written comments to: CBP Northern Border PEIS P.O. Box 3625 McLean, Virginia, 22102. Comments must be received by October 31, 2011.

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Michael Collins

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Excessive Snow in the Northeast Part of Vast Canadian Conspiracy
    The Daily Pygmy Oct 3

    U.S. intelligence is confirming reports that the excessive amount of snow falling on much of the northern regions of the United States is actually a pre-invasion tactic on the part of Canadians.

    “It’s a confirmed fact that all the snowstorms we’ve been getting come from Canada. All this white crap is a Canadian weapon of mass destruction,” said Major General McCauliffe of U.S. Military Intelligence.

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    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • and the renewed anxiety about anthrax attack aren’t enough to re-spark America’s chronic terrorist fears, then surely the menace of Canadian weaponized snow should have people duct taping their windows shut again. Homeland Insecurity has apparently figured it out. Canada’s role as military allies, top trading partners, natural resource suppliers and its friendly tourism ccampaigns are all just a clever disguise designed to have America lower its guard. Canadian shoppers on specially reinforced snowmobiles will soon come streaming over the border to take over the US government, eliminate capital punishment, insure free health care for all and snap up all the two-for-the price-of-one mall specials. Too horrible to even contemplate.

  • I’ll probably get to live in a Constitution free zone and the nearest meeting for public comment is >400 miles away.

    I’m more than 100 miles from an actual border crossing, but i doubt that will matter; they’ll probably use the sea border…because all terrorists just love sneaking into the US by navigating a small craft across Lake Superior. (Where death comes from hypothermia before you have time to drown.)

    But i’m sure that my freedom loving, Tea Party representative will save us from this big government intrusion.

  • and still eating french fries.
    I just hope that this border is impermeable to north bound trafic. This is a great thing actually, because most canadians love to go shopping to the US. So the US is again shooting itself in the foot.
    As long as Americans do it to other americans, canadians shouldn’t worry about an american invasion. And I would just love to see more chinese tourists here, they are so quiet compared to rowdy Yanks.

  • tantalizing Canucks to come to their side of the border to buy their cheap gasoline.

    We crossed last Friday and had to turn our engine off because of the lineups ahead of us. It took more than an hour after throwing the Loonie and the Twoonie (three bucks) into the border collection bin. The gas light came on while inclined upwards before we’d reached the middle of the bridge. Ever tried steering a car or braking with the engine off? LOL Luckily, as soon as we crested and our vehicle pointed downwards, the evil light went off. We were able to get to a US gas station and fill up without running out which sparked a lively conversation in our car as to how a tow truck carrying gas would get to us with line ups eight abreast!

    Americans need to do something useful like figuring out what would happen if a Canadian had a heart attack while waiting in the lineups to cross the border.

    Stop luring us there with your cheap gas, put on your thinking caps and come up with a method of rescuing us in your lineups! We won’t go forward with our snowmobile attacks if you promise to do that!

    I hadn’t realize the RCMP issued tall, skinny hats as well as short, broad ones. Well done–they’re worth what they’re being paid!

  • the guys with tall, skinny heads who get issued those hats. Most chaps wear the normal ones. A design for RCMP with low, flat heads is still on the drawing boards but, when approved, is expected to be in tremendous demand.

  • They will come for s when we least expect it, in the winter,

    btw, One of John Forbes Nash’s delusions was the invasion of terrorists carrying suitcase nuclear weapons.

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    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • I view it as the modern Athens of humor since most of the people I think are hilarious are Canadian.

    The first military action of the Continental Army of the American Revolution was to attack Canada, hoping to convince the French to join us against England. Well, as we’ve shown over an over, invasion is not a very successful way to win hearts and minds. Our General in charge, the ultimate traitor, Benedict Arnold.
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    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • “Uh, what did you buy in the United States today.”
    “Pull over sir, and exist your vehicle slowly.”

    We’ll trade gas purchases for medication purchases and be quite grateful and in Vancouver… well, yes, medicine for gas there too.

    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • Are you saying Canadian word masticators, pun-liners and general cyni-gogues, should be bailed out? I heartily agree but I’m worried about the potential for laugh riots. For that reason, even though they spawn more jokesters than codfish, I suggest excluding support for Newflounder-landers. Lord knows they’ve been bailing for years now to little effect. Sasquatch-chewan, on the other hand, needs all the help it can get because there is nothing funny there unless watching wheat grow tickles your funnybone. People are funny in Quebec, especially if they’re from She-koots-on-me but they’re funny in French which is “la bummer”. There’s nothing funny on the west coast either but, like man, it’s like BC, so like who cares? Which is like kinda funny.

    Of course the problem with accepting bailouts is the attendant need to introduce strict austerity measures including jokus interruptus.. Canadians will simply have to get used to telling tall tales but stopping just short of the punch line.

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