The Future of Border Security: Lie-Detecting Computer Kiosks Equipped with Artificial Intelligence

The Future of Border Security: Lie-Detecting Computer Kiosks Equipped with Artificial Intelligence

May 15th, 2018

Magic 8-Ball says, “Orange jumpsuit for you.”

Via: CNBC:

International travelers could find themselves in the near future talking to a lie-detecting kiosk when they’re going through customs at an airport or border crossing. The same technology could be used to provide initial screening of refugees and asylum seekers at busy border crossings.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded development of the virtual border agent technology known as the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time, or AVATAR, about six years ago and pilot tested it at the U.S.-Mexico border on travelers deemed a low risk. Since then, Canada and the European Union tested the robot-like kiosk that uses a virtual agent to ask travelers a series of questions.

“The technology has much broader applications potentially,” despite most of the funding for the original work coming primarily from the Defense or Homeland Security departments a decade ago, according to Aaron Elkins, one of the developers of the system and an assistant professor at the San Diego State University director of its Artificial Intelligence Lab. He added that AVATAR is not a commercial product yet but could be also used in human resources for screening.




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Russian ‘bitcoin fraud’ suspect held in Greece says prison security beefed up over ‘kill order’

Washington accuses Vinnik of laundering $4 billion with the help of the BTC-e bitcoin trading platform. The Russian denies any wrongdoing. Speaking to RIA Novosti via his lawyer, Vinnik confirmed that there is a threat on his life in Greece where he is currently in jail. The prison, however, beefed up security measures to protect him.

READ MORE: Greek ruling to extradite Russian Bitcoin expert to US violates int’l law – Moscow

“These special measures have been taken since early February, the head of the prison told me in the presence of the Thessaloniki city prosecutor. He explained that someone wants to poison me, there is a kill order for me. This information was official,” Vinnik said in comments sent to RIA. The Russian stressed that he also received threats via phone.

The entrepreneur says that in order to minimize the poisoning threat, he is forced to drink tap water, despite having an opportunity to buy water in the prison shop. He is escorted by a security guard in prison to exclude any contacts with other prisoners.

Vinnik was arrested in the resort area of Halkidiki, near the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece in July 2017. It was claimed that he had links to BTC-e digital currency trading and exchange platform, which he allegedly used for money laundering. The US also claims that Vinnik is behind the hack of Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

In the meantime, Russian authorities have also requested Vinnik’s extradition, accusing him of stealing 600,000 rubles ($10,500) from an unidentified entity “using… deception and the internet.” Vinnik says that he is ready to be extradited to Russia, confirming that he wrote to the Russian Interior Ministry and General Prosecutor’s office.

In February this year the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a warning to all citizens about the threat of being detained or arrested in foreign countries at the request of US special services. Vinnik’s arrest was one of the examples given by the ministry.

It also warned that after being handed over to the US justice system, Russian citizens often encounter extremely biased attitudes. “Through various means, including direct threats, they attempt to coerce Russians into pleading guilty, despite the fact that the charges of them are far-fetched. Those who refuse get sentenced to long prison terms,” the statement stressed.

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US to Assure North Korea’s Security?

US to Assure North Korea’s Security?

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Accepting US pledges at face value is hazardous to the security of all sovereign independent nations and most others.

Washington can never be trusted. It word isn’t its bond. Promises are made to be broken. Time and again it’s been true – this time with North Korea not different.

America has been in a state of undeclared war on the DPRK since adoption of the uneasy 1953 armistice – following devastating US aggression virtually destroying the North.

Neocon extremists in charge of Trump administration geopolitical policymaking are militantly hostile to all sovereign independent governments – wanting them all replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Pompeo was less than candid, saying Washington will “provide security assurances” to Pyongyang to achieve DPRK denuclearization – without further elaboration, adding:

“Make no mistake about it. America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into LA or Denver or to the very place we’re sitting here this morning.” 

“That’s our objective. That’s the end state the president has laid out, and that’s the mission that he sent me on this past week, to put us on the trajectory to go achieve that.”

The risk of Pyongyang launching a nuke on America or any other country is ZERO – except in self-defense if attacked.

In 2005 following earlier six-party talks involving America, China, Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea, Pyongyang pledged to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.”

In 2009, talks broke down following disagreements over verification and continued development of North Korea’s legitimate ballistic missile program.

In 2005, the Bush/Cheney administration claimed the US “has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade with nuclear or conventional weapons.”

Political analyst/former US congressional candidate Myles Hoenig believes Washington secretly stored nukes at one or more of its South Korean military bases.

Its regional naval forces and bomber warplanes comprise a regional “nuclear umbrella” – protecting Japan and South Korea from a nonexistent threat. Nuclear bombers are based on Guam for regional use if ordered.

America is thermonuclear armed and dangerous worldwide. Yet it demands North Korea abandon its key deterrent – developed and maintained only because of feared US aggression.

Trump administration officials demand more from Pyongyang than it’s likely to accept – dismantlement of its nuclear program entirely, its nukes removed to Oakridge, TN for US-overseen destruction, leaving the DPRK vulnerable to a nation militantly opposed to all sovereign independent governments.

Following US/DPRK summit and subsequent talks, “little rocket man” rhetoric could resurface if North Korea fails to bend entirely to Washington’s will.

Based on past history, chances are things will turn out this way – Trump’s JCPOA pullout the latest example of US treachery, note taken in Pyongyang. 

America wants dominance over all other nations. It’s not about to be Mr. nice guy in dealings with North Korea – a nation it’s been militantly hostile to since the late 1940s.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Video Shows Security Guard Choking Black Teen Accused Of Shoplifting In New York

New York police officers arrested a department store security guard on Friday night after he was filmed punching and choking a suspected shoplifter who begged for him to stop. 

Witness Brian Fraser recorded the violent confrontation, which involved multiple loss prevention employees, outside of the Century 21 department store at 22 Courtland Street in New York City. 

In the above footage of the incident, security guards hold down and appear to choke the suspected shoplifter. The man can be heard yelling, “What are you doing? I can’t breathe.”

While the incident involved private security guards, Fraser’s video reflects similar high-profile cases of police violence against black people ― specifically, Eric Garner, the 43-year-old father of six who yelled “I can’t breathe” while dying in a police chokehold in 2014.

More recently, Sacramento police fatally shot 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was unarmed, in his backyard while responding to reports of break-ins. The officers said they thought he had a firearm when he was actually holding his cellphone.

Fraser said the alleged shoplifter, 19-year-old Victor Roberson, was “compliant” with the security guards up until they began being violent with him on Friday. 

“No matter what accusation, they should not have hit him,” Fraser told HuffPost.

Fraser said he was walking home from dinner when he saw a group of security guards walking a man, whom he described as a “teen,” across the street with his hands behind his back.

“The next thing I see is the boy being tackled to the ground and a struggle ensued,” Fraser said. “They began choking him and putting their hands over his mouth.”

Fraser said the security guards then pulled the suspect off the ground and one guard began punching him in the face.

Roberson “began bleeding from the mouth and a knot appeared on his forehead,” Fraser told HuffPost. “They picked him up and pinned him against the wall when one of the security guards hit him again.”

As seen in videos filmed by passersby, the young man can be heard coughing and yelling multiple times, “I can’t breathe.” 

Witnesses on the scene can be heard warning the security guards that the man can’t breathe and pleading for them to stop. All the while, employees were asking the witnesses to stop filming, Fraser said.

Police arrived on the scene after the security guards tried to “drag” the young man back to the store entrance, according to Fraser. 

The New York Police Department told HuffPost officers were called to the scene after receiving reports that a 19-year-old male illegally placed store items into his backpack.

Police said a Century 21 employee, identified as 24-year-old Acosta Wilson, followed Roberson as he exited the store and “engaged him in a physical altercation” while trying to detain him.

Officers reviewed witness’ footage of the confrontation and arrested Wilson on an assault charge after determining he used excessive force.

That night, officers also arrested Roberson, who was accused of stealing two pairs of Prada shoes, and charged him with petit larceny and possession of stolen goods. 

Roberson was treated at a hospital for neck and back pain before he was placed in custody.

Fraser said Roberson didn’t escalate the situation and didn’t deserve to be treated violently.

“Bottom line, whether he was in the wrong, Century21 security, [who are] civilians, had no right to treat him with that level of aggression. The punching, choking was excessive,” he told HuffPost.

“They were using unnecessary force.”

Century 21′s executive director Larry Mentzer said in a statement to news organizations that the company is taking the incident “very seriously,” adding that one of their employees have been suspended pending an investigation.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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NYC store security guard filmed tackling teen to the ground, charged with assault (VIDEO)

Video of the incident, which happened Friday night, shows the teen being pinned to the ground by three Century 21 security officers as the youth shouts out, ”What are you doing, I’m 18, I can’t breathe.” One of the security personnel appears to strike the teen with his fist.

In a longer video of the incident, also captured by Brian Fraser and posted on a friend’s Twitter account, security can be heard telling onlookers to move away for their own safety as a female friend threatens to call police.

“What are you doing to this black man? I’m calling the cops,” she shouts as the alleged thief, identified as Victor Roberson, is dragged along the sidewalk.

Roberson faces charges of petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, for allegedly trying to steal two pairs of Prada shoes worth about $860. Before his arrest, he was taken by paramedics to New York Presbyterian Hospital for back and neck pain, according to NYPD, as reported by AM New York.

READ MORE: ‘Clear violation of policy’: Footage of Miami cop brutally kicking man in head goes viral (VIDEO)

Two hours later, following a review of Fraser’s video, officers arrested one of the security guards, Acosta Wilson. They charged him with assault after determining that “excessive force” was used by the 24-year old, the NYPD said.

In a statement to NBC New York, Century 21’s Executive Director of Stores Larry Mentzer said the store is taking the situation “very seriously” and the security guard in question had been suspended pending an investigation. “We will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement,” he added. has reached out to Century 21 for further comment.

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Red Ants: Meet South Africa’s private security firm violently evicting squatters

red ants SA


The Red Ants are a South African private security company specialising in clearing “illegal invaders” from properties. Two, sometimes three times a week, a convoy of trucks drives out of the gates of a sprawling farm in Gauteng province, carrying hundreds of men and led by “officers” armed with shotguns and handguns.

The company is rarely out of the headlines in South Africa and has been repeatedly accused of crimes ranging from theft to murder. It is fiercely criticised by human rights campaigners. But the attitude of the general public is more ambivalent – and the Red Ants themselves are fiercely loyal to each other and their employers. “We are a family. We look after each other … We have built a community,” says Johan Bosch, the farmer who founded and owns the company.

Johannesburg’s crumbling buildings

A lack of adequate housing is one of the most toxic legacies of the apartheid regime that governed South Africa for nearly 50 years. Families, migrant workers, students and homeless people pay middlemen for plots on wasteland around Pretoria and Johannesburg or in derelict buildings in the cities’ centres. Local authorities show little sympathy and say they have to enforce the law. Their chosen enforcers are the police and, to provide the manpower for evictions, the Red Ants.

Fattis Mansions was once a fashionable 1930s block of flats in the heart of the banking and legal district in Johannesburg. Wealthy, mainly white, residents fled Johannesburg’s centre during the late 1980s and early 1990s, leaving hundreds of buildings to be taken over by poor migrants from rural areas. Four hundred people shared three taps. There were no toilets or electricity. The city authorities have been clearing these “hijacked buildings” one at a time for years – often using the Red Ants.

The operation, involving 600 Red Ants, begins in the early morning, without warning. Wailing police sirens fill narrow streets. The Red Ants pour through an entrance, then proceed on rusting iron stairways and down filthy corridors. There is no resistance. The pushers, gang leaders and the rent extorters have gone. Rubbish, furniture, mattresses pile on the roadway outside.

The singing starts, low and purposeful, as the Red Ants work. Children are carried out, followed by distressed mothers clutching salvaged belongings in plastic bags. Most adults knew this would happen one day. For those too young to understand, the sky has fallen in.

red ants


Who are the men in the red overalls? They come from impoverished small former mining towns, from distant provincial villages in parched mountains, from Soweto, from hardscrabble neighbourhoods half hidden amid the urban sprawl of Johannesburg. Most are young. Many are without basic educational qualifications. Some have criminal records. A few are former convicts. All are poor. They are paid the equivalent of $10 (£7.50) a day, plus some food. Many are squatters themselves.

One left neighbouring Mozambique to work on building sites but has struggled to find employment. “My wife said get a job … so I did,” he says, shrugging narrow shoulders. Another says he has siblings to feed and clothe and send to school: “No one likes doing this … But I go to church every Sunday and pray for my soul and I know my Lord is watching over me, even here.” All say they feel sorry for the squatters but “work is work”.

In charge are older men whose own life stories are intimately intertwined with the complex, troubled history of their nation. One fought in the 80s in the South African defence forces in cold war battles in Angola. Another, a former police officer from Soweto whose family was deeply involved in the struggle against apartheid, say his career ended when he denounced corruption. He says his work reminds him of his time in the police. He now suffers from chronic insomnia.

Demolishing shack settlements

First you see the smoke, above the dry hills and the scattered corrugated iron homes. Then you hear the noise. If the operation is going well, it is that of a work site: hammers rhythmically striking metal, straining diesel engines, work songs, radios, and shouted orders. If the operation is going badly, the noise is of a battle: shattering glass, rocks striking plastic shields, stamping feet, shots, sirens and screamed abuse.

Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, a Red Ant leader, watches 650 men, equipped with crowbars and shields, and all dressed in identical red overalls and helmets, move through an illegal squatter camp on the ragged outskirts of Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. “We always win. We have to win … we are on enemy territory. We are a long way from home,” Dlamini says.

One incident prompts a slew of new allegations. The Red Ants are hired to clear squatters from land where a shopping complex is due to be built in Lanesia, on the southern outskirts of Johannesburg. The operation starts in the early morning. But the squatters are ready and fight the Red Ants with machetes, rocks and staves.

Comment: In 2017 police spokesperson Kay Makhubele said of the Lanesia incident:

“Someone was shot dead and another was beaten to death’ allegedly by the Red Ants'”…

The police are investigating two cases of murder and numerous assault cases’ but “the charges might change to attempted murder because some people have been taken to the hospital”.

The eviction stalls and the Red Ants withdraw. Two squatters lie on the ground. One is dying from head injuries, the other is dead. Under a tree, huddled in a plastic chair salvaged from her makeshift hut, a widow sobs. The violence prompts investigation by private security industry regulators. The Red Ants deny wrongdoing.

Losing one of their own

Red Ants are injured, sometimes even killed. Kervin Woods died when land invaders opened fire in Lenasia South. The Red Ants said community members stabbed him, some using screwdrivers, after he fell to the ground. Preparations were made to set fire to his body when Red Ants started shooting, dispersing the crowd.

Woods’s funeral takes place in Soweto. The dead man’s aunt weeps, comforted by a handful of family members and neighbours. But this is primarily a Red Ants funeral. Senior leaders salute the coffin and deliver short eulogies before the rank and file sing hymns as the coffin is closed. Then, as a guard of honour, they follow a hearse to a cemetery where they sing as each takes a turn with a shovel to pour dry soil into the grave.

Handguns and shotguns are fired into the air in a final salute before the Red Ants return to their buses and their base for a memorial meal. Within days, they are out on another clearance operation.

South Africa is a fractured land. It is optimistically known as the Rainbow Nation, a reference to the diversity of its communities. But in a rainbow, the colours remain separate. The most striking divide in South Africa is economic. The Red Ants are on the frontlines of a conflict between those with land and those without, the haves and the have-nots, the winners and the losers in one of the most unequal countries in the world. During their 12-hour days, they are on one side. But when their work is done, they return to the other.

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Armenian president dismisses heads of security service, police at new PM’s request

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has dismissed the head of the security service and the police chief at the request of newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the presidential press service said on Thursday. Opposition leader Pashinyan was elected the prime minister by parliament earlier this week after mass protests against corruption and cronyism in the ex-Soviet republic. Pashinyan said on Wednesday he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week. The meeting will take place on the sidelines of a summit of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

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Attorney: Deep State has weaponized security clearances to block Trump appointees



Entrenched bureaucrats are using the vetting process for security clearances as a “weapon” in order to block President Trump’s appointees, according to a new Wall Street Journal piece.

In the op-ed, security clearance defense attorney Sean M. Bigley writes about representing a senior Defense Department official who called out “cronyism” at a Pentagon office and faced clearance revocation as a result.

In the course of representing Adam S. Lovinger, Bigley wrote that he has had a “front-row seat to behavior that only a year ago I would have dismissed as a conspiracy theory.”

“You have very hostile, entrenched bureaucrats, folks who are not a fan of President Trump, and they have essentially decided security clearances are the low-hanging fruit. They are using security clearances as a way … to keep people out of the bureaucracy who will execute the president’s agenda,” Bigley said Friday on “America’s Newsroom.”

Bigley said the longer Trump’s nominees are blocked from Senate confirmation, the longer “acting officials” can remain and attempt to “govern through the administrative state.”

He said the recent case of VA secretary nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson followed the same “playbook,” as the Navy admiral was accused of workplace misconduct and eventually withdrew himself from consideration.

“You sort of throw unverified allegations against the wall, see what sticks, and in the process really destroy people’s careers,” said Bigley, calling on the Trump administration to realize the “extent” of the problem and for Congress to hold hearings on the matter.

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Australian Government Launches Urgent Fuel Security Review as Reserves Dip Below 50 Days

Australian Government Launches Urgent Fuel Security Review as Reserves Dip Below 50 Days

May 7th, 2018

Via: New Zealand Herald:

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has ordered an urgent review of Australia’s liquid fuel reserves as the country dips below 50 days, but says it should “not be construed as Australia having a fuel security problem”, reports

The International Energy Agency mandates that countries hold at least 90 days’ supply, but Fairfax reported on Monday that Australia has just 22 days of crude oil, 59 days of LPG, 20 days of petrol, 19 days of aviation fuel and 21 days of diesel remaining.

Australia depends on the Middle East for 91 per cent of its transport fuel imports, but recent instability in the region amid US-led air strikes on Syria has prompted warnings that the country has no “plan B” in case of an oil and fuel supply interruption.




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