March 5, 2009
It sounds innocent enough. In Santa Barbara County, California, you’ll get a free Domino’s pizza if you allow the fire department to enter your house and check the fire alarm.
|Beware of firemen bearing free pizzas.|
“According to a SBC Fire press release, if the alarms are found to be in working order, the pizza will be free of charge,” reports the Santa Barbara Independent. “However, if there is not a smoke detector in the home, one will be given by Domino’s to be installed by the resident. If there is an existing alarm and the batteries are missing or discharged, new batteries will supplied by Dominos.”
Domino’s and the fire department in West Richland, Washington, are doing the same. “For now, only the West Richland chain is doing this promotion, but the company hopes to expand to other areas in the county. The promotion runs through Sunday. They’ll be running a similar deal again in October,” reports MSNBC.
Prior to September 11, 2001, and the establishment of the behemoth Department of Homeland Security, allowing firemen into your home would have been safe enough. Now you run the risk of being categorized as a terrorist.
In September, 2007, the New York Fire Department and DHS held a conference to discuss plans for a new intelligence program. Fire chief officers from fire departments in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and 12 other U.S. cities were in attendance. “Real-time intelligence and information leads to a heightened state of situational awareness,” said NYC fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta at the conference. In other words, under the DHS sponsored program, firefighters and first responders became snoops on the lookout for “material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities,” as the Fire Service Intelligence Enterprise put it.
“It’s the evolution of the fire service,” Bob Khan, the fire chief in Phoenix, told the Associated Press in November, 2007. “If, for example, Washington is hosting an International Monetary Fund meeting where there will be a large group of protesters and a truckload of gasoline has been stolen in Baltimore, firefighters need to know about intelligence from overseas that terrorists are trying to make explosive devices out of gasoline,” added Larry Schultz, assistant fire chief in charge of operations in Washington.
[efoods]Firefighters “are really doing technical inspections, and if perchance they find something like, you know, a bunch of RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) rounds in somebody’s basement, I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Jack Tomarchio, a senior official in Homeland Security’s intelligence division. “The police ought to know about that; the fire service ought to know about that; and potentially maybe somebody in the intelligence community should know about that.”
It is not simply RPGs or gasoline that defines one as a terrorist. Under Section 802 of the Patriot Act, “any action that endangers human life that is a violation of any Federal or State law” is now considered terrorism, particularly if such acts “appear to be intended… to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,” apparently including acts of civil disobedience.
In October, 2007, then DHS secretary Michael Chertoff said “we’re trying to integrate fire operations into the very fabric of DHS. Our National Operations Center now has a Fire Desk.” Charlie Allen, DHS’ assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis, spearheaded a drive to add firefighting experts to state and local fusion centers, according to Chertoff.
“The centers received $254 million from the Department of Homeland Security between 2004 and 2007 and also work in conjunction with the military arm of the DHS, NORTHCOM,” notes Steve Watson. “They also have subscriptions to private information-broker services that keep records about Americans’ locations, financial holdings, associates, relatives, firearms licenses and the like.”
DHS and FEMA have doled out Adequate Fire and Emergency Services (SAFER) grants in an effort to federalize fire departments around the country since September 11, 2001. “Congress appropriated $190 million dollars for SAFER grants under the DHS Appropriations Act of 2008. The SAFER Grant program was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, ‘front-line’ firefighters available in their communities,” News Blaze reported on May 15, 2008.
The residents of California and Washington state should be skeptical of this free pizza deal, especially if they have weapons in their homes and hold political opinions contrary to those approved by the government.