Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New York Mall Kiosks Raided by Homeland Security for "Terrorism" Goods

Activist Post

Some people still might be unaware of just how long the reach of Homeland Security has become. How about counterfeit goods as possible terrorism? That is what has been suggested fairly recently as DHS has begun to conduct an increasing number of raids in several states over the past few years aimed at rooting out this "threat to our liberty and economy."

Operations such as 2012's "Operation Fashion Faux Pas" was part of a six-month crackdown that closed 20 businesses. As the video below illustrates, hundreds of others have been swept up in similar raids, many of which began by scouring the Internet for key words and indicators of illegal activity.



The latest example of connecting counterfeit goods to possible acts of terrorism comes out of Amherst, New York where a group of kiosks in the Walden Galleria and Boulevard Mall were shut down. Statements by Homeland Security raise a few questions about their role in this type of crime, which is also mirrored in cybersecurity directives.

According to local CBS news affiliate, WIBV4, agents descended upon two shopping malls, seizing merchandise and closing five kiosks.


Disturbingly, WIBV4 provides a link in their article to "report a business for selling goods you believe to be counterfeit." However, as we learned in the video above, most people can't tell what is real or not, hence the alleged problem. And, according to Orange County News reporting on Operation Fashion Faux Pas:
It's become progressively harder to tell what's fake and what's real that agents say they now rely on experts. (Source)
So, even though it is admitted that experts have to be called in for examination, the untrained public is being further encouraged to become involved in the snitch culture continuously promoted by Homeland Security in cooperation with media and other private companies.

buy gold ... it's real
Furthermore, as we learned from Operation In Our Sites, which led to the seizing of 150 domains on Cyber Monday in 2011, the sweep resulted in a guilty-until-proven-innocent framework where even linking to copyrighted material became part of the counterfeit-intellectual property dragnet. This was in addition to 82 sites seized in the first year of the Operation.

However, Homeland Security is apparently hell-bent upon bringing down its literal and virtual boot wherever it sees fit ... naturally, all in the name of security:
Jim Spero, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Buffalo office of Homeland Security, says the sale of counterfeit goods - in Buffalo and beyond - poses a major security threat. 
"When you purchase counterfeit goods, when you sell counterfeit goods, you don't know who you're dealing with. You don't know what kind of criminal activity you're supporting," Spero said. "It's actually organized crime that is behind the distribution of these goods. It could be terrorists as well." (Source)
Other reports have cited cosmetics and suspicious chemicals as part of the justification for Homeland Security's intervention, in addition to their argument that this type of activity is essentially economic terrorism.

Counterfeiting is a problem, true, but to the level of national security? The real threat to liberty and economic security on a national level more closely comes from the DHS itself and other dangerous agencies of the U.S. government which far outweigh the threat of getting ripped off at the mall.

Furthermore, in a time where the mere accusation of terrorism can get someone locked away indefinitely, it is troubling to see the term being used in such a flippant way.

What is your opinion? Should Homeland Security be devoted to this type of crime? Or is this just one more example of DHS asserting their right to intervene so that it can reach in and examine anyone, anywhere, anytime, and for any reason?

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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like DHS is being used as an enforcement arm of corporate garment industry...not their mandate.

Anonymous said...

The protection of businesses has nothing to do with 'national security'. Period. Once again, the US gov't takes a very narrow focus on the problem of our economy, ignoring the real problem; which are the corporate policies of outsourcing and automation. But, of course, the US gov't must think that corporations are mostly beyond reproach. After all, they make the highest contributions, by far, toward political campaigns.

And the whole 'supporting organized crime' claim? What is government, but a legal crime syndicate? They are thugs that work for the power elite, no different from any criminal organization.

As far a safety goes; I doubt there are many cases of counterfeit goods harming people, or there would be more of an uproar over it. I'd say 'show me the data', but I don't believe it exists.

Brendan R

Anonymous said...

But aren't the mall kiosks used by mossad as cover for operatives:

FOX news report from Nov. 2001
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWpWc_suPWo

Joe said...

DHS...The Swiss army knife of US fascism...

Anonymous said...

Why are these "heroes" (that IS sarcasm) not raiding the IRS for engaging in TERRORISM?
By their own definition, the IRS has been TERRORIZING:
* U.S. Code of Federal Regulations: "...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).
* Current U.S. national security strategy: "premeditated, politically motivated violence against innocents."
* United States Department of Defense: the "calculated use of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."
* British Terrorism Act 2000, defines terrorism so as to include not only attacks on military personnel, but also acts not usually considered violent, such as shutting down a website whose views one dislikes.
* 1984 U.S. Army training manual says: "Terrorism is the calculated use of violence, or the threat of violence, to produce goals that are political or ideological in nature."
* Brian Jenkins: "Terrorism is the use or threatened use of force designed to bring about political change."
* Walter Laqueur: "Terrorism constitutes the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective when innocent people are targeted."
* 1986 Vice-President's Task Force: "Terrorism is the unlawful use or threat of violence against persons or property to further political or social objectives. It is usually intended to intimidate or coerce a government, individuals or groups, or to modify their behavior or politics."
* James M. Poland: "Terrorism is the premeditated, deliberate, systematic murder, mayhem, and threatening of the innocent to create fear and intimidation in order to gain a political or tactical advantage, usually to influence an audience."

Anonymous said...

U.S. Customs was merged with U.S. Immigration and became Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE then became Homeland Security. Fake goods would be under the umbrella agency Homeland Security then.

Patriot099 said...

Interesting to note (and not alluded to here) is that many kiosks are run by israelis. Hmmm.

LadyRavenhaire said...

Actually most kiosks are not run by Israelis. A good number are owned in NYC by West Africans or Chinese. I have friends in Chinatown who tell me about these gross raids, sometimes having nothing to do with selling knock-off bags, but genuine ones and how they are all about the garment industry monopolizing the sale of goods. At the same time, there are no law enforcement officials to stop illegal evictions, or any real crime reported. But the dept. of homeland security doesn't care about its citizens, but the corporations that own & control our government.

Mark McCandlish said...

There is a valid "terrorism" concern here, in spite of first impressions and appearances. Counterfeit products can include anything from pirated video DVD's or music CD's of copyrighted material, but it can also include other, products that have a distinct public safety consideration. For example, aircraft parts. Over the years, there have been a number of airline crashes where defective and sub-standard flight control system parts were examined as part of NTSB investigations into the crash of aircraft carrying passengers. Jack screws responsible for aircraft trim in both Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas aircraft were examined in several such incidents, and it is well-known in the aviation industry that there are substandard parts coming out of several countries in Asia.

All it takes is one such part making into the repair roster of an airline trying to cut money to save on the bottom line and hundreds of people can die. So yes-- although it may not seem like it-- counterfeit products can bring with them the possibility of innocent people dying. It's really a matter of context. Think about it: Would you ever dream of riding in a 737 that had counterfeit parts operating the control surfaces of the aircraft?

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that terrorists made fake Gucci bags. Thank God that the DHS is keeping their eye on the ball. I can't tell you how much safer I feel now. Great job.

When are they going to direct their attention to the fake stock market?

Anonymous said...

Corporations do not like competition. All they do is suck and steal. Take, take, and take. DHS and other agencies love to fabricate and accuse others as terrorists and counterfeiters. It is their whole agenda to obsessively spend 24/7 looking for trouble and which they need to be looking in the mirror. I can smell the bankers behind all this so called counterfeit and terrorism smoke screens. Isn't the U.S. currency counterfeit as well and also our fake identities that they try to mandate and impose on us with the social security # (all letters upper case)?? It takes one to know one. Hmm!

Anonymous said...

when you start a company and trademark it, you are pay to protect your trademark at the borders, these guys are only doing their jobs.

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