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ICE OTTP Operations Altoona, Pennsylvania: Armory Operations …

The Pennsylvania Railroad built a stop at Altoona in 1849 and founded a town that is now home to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Armory Operations. ICE Armory Operations handles the acquisition, testing, issuance and maintenance of all ICE-owned firearms, law enforcement equipment and ammunition. In addition to ICE components Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the armory services Department of Homeland Security components such as the Federal Protective Service (FPS), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The armory is part of ICE s newly integrated Office of Training and Tactical Programs (OTTP) and has two primary components: the ballistics laboratory and the armory section.

The ballistics laboratory is responsible for the technical evaluation of firearms, optics, firearms accessories and law enforcement equipment issued to ICE agents and officers. The personnel in the ballistics laboratory test weapons and approximately 100 lots of ammunition per year to ensure that all weaponry and supplies used by ICE are in excellent working condition. Armory Operations Supervisory Special Agent Robert L. Burgess explained: We make sure everything that goes out to the field is safe, performs well and does what it is supposed to do. Lowell Johnson, supervisory engineer of the testing laboratory, finds it easy to stay motivated and excited about his work: Many of us here are former military and combat veterans. With our prior service comes a certain urgency we have in doing our job and doing it to the best of our ability to support the people in the field.

The personnel in the armory are equipment specialist ordinants. They receive weapons directly from the manufacturer, log them into inventory, dismantle weapons and check them for defects. They also receive damaged or end-of-life weapons from the field and re-condition or retire each one as needed. The armory section conducts hundreds of firearms examinations and repairs or rebuilds thousands of firearms each year. James Carmany, special agent and armory supervisor, enjoys the technical aspects of the firearm program including testing, evaluating and preparing different guns. He said, I especially like studying what went wrong with a particular weapon to figure out how to prevent mishaps in the future. In a typical month, armory operations will receive and field 320 new weapons, receive, repair and return to the field 289 weapons, receive and process more than 728 parcels containing law enforcement equipment, weapon replacement parts and cleaning kits, receive 397,000 rounds of ammunition, and ship to the field 279,000 rounds of ammunition. The total weight of products shipped in and out of ICE Armory Operations per month usually exceeds 15,500 pounds.

Carmany has confidence in the armory personnel: They all know they may be working with a gun that may save someone s life someday. They don t know which gun it is, so they treat each one impeccably.

They understand that someday a person s life may depend on the firearm they hold in their hands, he said.

This Administration Has The Power To Indefinitely Detain Americans Without Charge Or Trial

An Obama Era unconstitutional power has landed in Trump’s lap. And we should be very, very, very, scared.

This Administration Has The Power To Indefinitely Detain Americans Without Charge Or Trial

Five years ago, on New Year s Eve, the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law. The NDAA is typically an unremarkable bill that authorizes funding for the U.S. Armed Forces. In 2012, however, it contained two alarming provisions that threaten the civil liberties of every American, Sections 1021 and 1022[1]. As described in Part 1[2] and Part 2[3] of this NDAA series, Sections 1021 and 1022 authorized President Obama, and now authorize President Trump, to order the arrest and indefinite detention–without charge or trial–of anyone labeled a suspected terrorist or belligerent.

Documents obtained from multiple federal agencies[4] show just how dangerous and confusing these sections can be when interpreted and applied by the government. Congressmen, Air National Guard colonels, and even seven-year olds have been placed on terrorist watch lists after being classified as reverent of individual liberty , suspicious of centralized federal authority , supportive of [Presidential candidates] Ron Paul and Bob Barr or insisting on paying with cash. In my interview with People Against NDAA (PANDA)[5] founder Dan Johnson below, we discuss why this law is a dangerous violation of our civil rights, and what you can do to help get it repealed.

PANDA is the largest organization in the country battling the NDAA, indefinite detention without charge or trial, and mis-application of laws of war to American citizens. PANDA has advanced anti-NDAA legislation in more than 25 states and numerous local jurisdictions, including Oakland County, MI[6], Las Vegas, Nevada[7], and Sunbury, Pennsylvania[8]. PANDA has also helped pass several key pieces of legislation[9] across the nation protecting our rights.

Steve Mariotti: How can we reverse this erosion of our civil liberties?

Dan Johnson/PANDA: Education is PANDA s number one priority. Millions of Americans are still completely unaware that their civil liberties slipped away from them on New Year s Eve 2011. Congress passed the 2012 NDAA by 283-136 in the House and 93-7 in the Senate. We have given nearly 100 presentations across the country educating Americans of all political stripes about the dangers of the 2012 NDAA. We have published viral videos[10] and post regularly on a Facebook page[11], reaching millions of Americans. We have worked with the Patriot Coalition to hold educational briefings for legislators, law enforcement, and political parties, and we ve written dozens of articles and op-eds. There are frightening parallels in history to the NDAA. On February 27, 1933, in response to growing fears about Communist terror, the German government passed the Reichstag Fire Decree. The decree suspended provisions of the Weimar constitution that protected civil liberties, including the right to a speedy trial, the right to face your accuser, protection against search and seizure without a warrant, the right to assemble and the right to free speech.

This Administration Has The Power To Indefinitely Detain Americans Without Charge Or Trial

The German people failed to protest this erosion of their civil liberties, and Hitler wound up with unprecedented power. Six and a half years later, he invaded Poland, and the tragic events of World War II began to play out. Similarly, in response to growing fears of Islamic terror, President Obama signed the 2012 NDAA, even though Sections 1021 and 1022 violate 13 provisions of the U.S. Constitution. These include the right to a speedy and public trial, the right to face one s accuser, protection against search and seizure without a warrant, the right to assemble, freedom of association, and free speech. We have something, though, that the German people did not: A free press. After the Reichstag Fire Decree was signed, the German government moved to shut down newspapers and political parties critical of the new National Socialist government. They realized that if people were educated about the dangers of the Decree, they might form a successful resistance.

In the United States, although there have been numerous attempts to arrest journalists, silence news outlets, and punish sources, these have in large part failed. We still have freedom of the press, we can still speak our minds, and we have a new tool the German people did not: the Internet. Our educational approach is three-pronged. First, since the 2012 NDAA was passed in relative secrecy, we need to make the American people aware that Sections 1021 and 1022 exist. We must give them the opportunity to debate whether any president should have the power to indefinitely detain, torture or even execute an American citizen on U.S. soil, or anywhere in the world, without due process.

This Administration Has The Power To Indefinitely Detain Americans Without Charge Or Trial

Secondly, we must educate all Americans about what has happened every time we have given our government the authority to deem a group of people unworthy of Constitutional rights. During World War II, the Federal government detained over 120,000 Japanese Americans and people of Japanese descent in internment camps[12] for years due to fears of saboteurs. Today, the internment is considered to have resulted more from racism than from any security risk posed by Japanese Americans. During the Cold War and the Red Scare, civil rights were suspended for anyone labeled a communist sympathizer, and thousands were arrested. Now, during the War on Terror, anyone the government deems a terrorist may be legally denied civil rights. Finally, we must combat rising Islamophobia in this country. In order to violate the rights of its citizens with the support of the people, a government must first cast one or two minority groups as inhuman, and somehow unworthy of the civil rights in our Constitution. The German government ostracized, isolated and condemned as a communist sympathizer anyone deemed sufficient opposition to their policies. They played on the German people s poor economic conditions, and scapegoated the Jewish people as the other causing the economic pain and suffering of real Germans.

When we allow one group to be stripped of its protections, we greatly increase the odds that the government will eventually, inevitably, strip all citizens of their civil rights. If we are to successfully roll back the 2012 NDAA s violations of our civil liberties, we must refuse the government s attempts to cast people who practice the Islamic faith as unworthy of their civil liberties.

SM: Beyond education, what is PANDA doing to fight the NDAA s violation of our civil liberties?

DJ: Education without action does not create change. Most Americans know obesity is bad for your health, for example, yet over 67% of us are overweight or obese. On February 21, 2012, we launched PANDA to take action. We were a small organization started in my college dorm room, with no money, resources, or connections. We came up with a plan, however, that has proven very effective:

Phase 1: Pass local ordinances that require local law enforcement to uphold the Constitution, and prohibit the application of the laws of war in that jurisdiction. Phase 2: Encourage law enforcement to implement penalties in localities that have passed such ordinances for police officers who fail to comply with them.

Phase 3: Repeat this strategy at the state level, and eventually repeal the 2012 NDAA s detention provisions at the federal level.

SM: Where have you been successful in getting ordinances passed so far?

DJ: At the local level to date, we have passed strong legislation in seven jurisdictions, including Albany, New York s state capitol, and several cities in Idaho and Massachusetts. Between PANDA, the Patriot Coalition, the Tenth Amendment Center, and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, we also have strong statements in more than twenty, including Las Vegas and San Francisco, CA. At the state level, we have introduced or advanced more than fifty pieces of legislation in nearly thirty states including North Carolina, Maryland, Nevada, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Indiana, Idaho, Wyoming, Mississippi, Minnesota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Montana, Washington, Minnesota, Iowa and Georgia. Virginia, Alaska and California. These states have all signed legislation into law opposing the 2012 NDAA.

SM: Why did PANDA focus on local ordinances? Why not simply work at the federal level to fix the NDAA?

DJ: Because congressional efforts to overturn the detention provisions of the 2012 NDAA have failed. PANDA supported the 2012 Smith-Amash amendment proposed by Adam Smith (D-Wash) and Justin Amash (R-Mich) as a real solution to the NDAA. The Smith-Amash Amendment would have banned indefinite military detention and military commission trials in the United States. This would have made clear that individuals apprehended on U.S. soil who are suspected of terror-related activities can only be tried in a civilian court with all the corresponding constitutional protections. The amendment failed to pass the House of Representatives, where it was torpedoed by the House GOP. The vote was 205-217, with only 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats voting to restore our constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial, probable cause, and due process.

Ron Paul (R-Texas) made a rare appearance on the House floor to voice his support for the Smith-Amash Amendment, noting: I do not believe a republic can exist if you permit the military to arrest American citizens, put them in secret prisons and be denied a trial. Unfortunately, NDAA Sections 1021 and 1022 were erroneously represented as critical to national security. This has protected them from reasonable legislation such as the Smith-Amash amendment, which would have fixed these violations of American civil liberties without diminishing national security.

SM: PANDA uses the constitutional doctrine of interposition to get local liberty ordinances passed. How does interposition work?

DJ: Interposition is simple. Every person who holds office in our government, from your local sheriff to a Supreme Court Chief Justice, takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. Each sworn officer s highest mandate is to defend the Constitution. If any level of government attempts to violate the civil rights enshrined within the Constitution with an unconstitutional law–which is by definition null and void–it is the duty of all sworn officers to to interpose and prevent that action, in order to uphold the Constitution.

In 1798, just seven years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law. These acts prohibited most protesting, criticism of the government and criticism of the president.

This Administration Has The Power To Indefinitely Detain Americans Without Charge Or Trial

In response, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson authored the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. In the Virginia Resolution, Madison, the Father of the Constitution, urged the states to uphold the Constitution by interposing against a rogue Federal government:

That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact… the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil

-Virginia Resolution, December 24th, 1798.

Chief Justice Marshall upheld the doctrine of interposition in Marbury v. Madison, writing …the principle, supposed to be essential to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument

Clearly, the NDAA sections that suspend our civil rights are repugnant to the Constitution, and, as U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest put it[13], have a chilling impact on First Amendment rights. Every other department, including police departments, have a responsibility, therefore, to oppose it.

SM: How can local jurisdictions use interposition to combat a federal law like the NDAA?

DJ: In 1793 and in 1850, as part of a compromise with Southern states, the Federal government passed two Fugitive Slave Acts. These laws mandated that anyone coming across escaped slaves return them to their masters. Dozens of jurisdictions passed local liberty laws interposing against the Fugitive Slave Acts, and refused to return slaves. Thousands of people defied the law, saving the freedom and lives of tens of thousands of slaves. In 1942, under Executive Order 9066, President Franklin Delano-Roosevelt authorized the indefinite detention of 120,000 Japanese-Americans. American military members, with the help of local law enforcement, went door-to door in coastal communities, rounding up Japanese families and sending them to internment camps for the duration of the war.

If local governments had adopted personal liberty laws like those used to interpose against the Fugitive Slave Acts, these could have been used in 1942 to prevent the Federal government from hauling Japanese-Americans off to internment camps. Today, imagine the public outrage it will cause in a community that has passed local liberty ordinances if the Federal government violates those ordinances and arrests a citizen under the NDAA provisions. We believe such outrage will bring the NDAA issue to national attention, and force debate. Without having to flip hundreds of votes in Congress– since the Federal government would never want to face off with a local sheriff on a civil-liberties issue–we could prevent the indefinite detention of a citizen simply by refusing to allow the Federal government to detain that person in that community. It is also far easier for the citizens of a town to hold the local sheriff and police chief accountable, because they can be voted out of office. It s much more challenging for the residents of a local town to attempt to hold a member of the military or Federal law enforcement accountable.

SM: How are local law enforcement officers reacting to your efforts?

DJ: Many excellent police officers support this, such as Worcester, MA Deputy Police Chief Edward J. McGinn, who told us that any laws or orders which serve to violate the basic human rights of any citizen would be met with great resistance; perhaps more so than what a non-officer citizen would offer.

Just as there must be punishments for officers who collude with criminals, however, it is necessary to pass policies with consequences for officers who participate in or allow the violation of our constitutional rights. Only then can the citizens of every community be confident that their constitutional rights will be protected by their local law enforcement. That is why Phase 2 of PANDA s plan recommends that communities that pass local ordinances prohibiting unconstitutional detainment also implement penalties for officers who fail to uphold the ordinances.

SM: What about Phase 3, repealing the NDAA at the federal level?

DJ: Every person in America deserves the right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury of his or her peers. This fundamental protection was placed into our Bill of Rights because our nation s founders never wanted to repeat the actions of the British government from which they were declaring independence. The British regularly labeled American revolutionaries traitors –the colonial equivalent of suspected terrorist today–and hung them without so much as a show trial. Every person in the United States should receive the same Fifth Amendment protections as the citizens in Albany, NY;Webster, MA; Middleton, ID, and other jurisdictions that have said No! to the Federal Government s supposed authority to claim someone is a terrorist and therefore detain him or her without a trial. The 2012 NDAA s detention provisions must be interposed against at the state level and repealed at the federal level. Until they are, any American could potentially be picked up off the street and detained without charges.

We have been educating members of Congress, DC-based organizations, and other civil rights leaders about the dangers of the 2012 NDAA, but Congress responds most to the will of masses of the people. Once our educational efforts, and our local and state efforts, are successful, the Federal government will have no choice not only to repeal the law, but also to avoid using it or any similar claimed authority to violate our constitutional rights.

SM: How do you respond to those who argue that the NDAA would never be used against American citizens who have committed no crime, who aren t real terrorists, or who aren t doing something wrong?

DJ: That is exactly what former President Obama argued. He claimed he would not use the full powers accorded to him by the NDAA. In his signing statement on the 2012 NDAA[14], Obama said:

The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. He added that I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law. That all sounds very nice, but the fact is that the 2012 NDAA is like a rattlesnake in a dark cave. We may hear it rattle, but we think it will never bite us. But one day, when the wrong president comes into office, or the wrong person is designated by the president to use this power, that rattlesnake will bite. And by then, it will be too late.

If you would like to help fight the NDAA, visit PANDA s Take Back Your Town page here[15].

“I’m Just a Mom!” Daphne Lee Gives Powerful Speech Against NDAA in Clark County, Nevada

Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most.


  1. ^ Sections 1021 and 1022 (
  2. ^ Part 1 (
  3. ^ Part 2 (
  4. ^ Documents obtained from multiple federal agencies (
  5. ^ People Against NDAA (PANDA) (
  6. ^ Oakland County, MI (
  7. ^ Las Vegas, Nevada (
  8. ^ Sunbury, Pennsylvania (
  9. ^ several key pieces of legislation (
  10. ^ viral videos (
  11. ^ Facebook page (
  12. ^ the Federal government detained over 120,000 Japanese Americans and people of Japanese descent in internment camps (
  13. ^ Katherine Forrest put it (
  14. ^ statement on the 2012 NDAA (
  15. ^ Take Back Your Town page here (

Celebrating a Retirement and 53 Years of Serving Local Community

Celebrating A Retirement And 53 Years Of Serving Local Community

George and Betty Kleban. (Photo: Patty Kleban)

Click photo for gallery

Change. The only thing in life that is inevitable.

This week my family is preparing for some change. My father-in-law, Dr. George Kleban, is closing his dental practice after 53 years. If anyone deserves a chance to step away from work and start enjoying the fruits of retirement, it is Doc, as he called by so many. He will turn 80 in July.

I first met Grandpa back in 1977 when his oldest son also named George asked me to the junior prom. I didn t know young George then but knew his older sister, coincidentally also named Patty. That first date evolved into 30 years of marriage and in-laws who have made me a part of their family.

I don t think I officially became his dental patient until mid-way through college. It was after one of my sorority sisters broke one of her front teeth on a beer bottle and was afraid to call her mother. We called young George who called his dad. With one appointment and some tooth-colored stuff that he put on it and then cured with a light, her teeth were back to normal. When my roommate eventually told her mother, she said Four years of high school sports and you break your teeth on a beer bottle? We all still laugh about it. Dr. Kleban to the rescue.

That story and my friend are just one of the thousands that Grandpa has treated and helped over the years.

George and Betty came to State College in the mid-1960s with 3 little kids in tow, he a recent graduate of The University of Pittsburgh dental school. They rented an apartment on Hamilton Avenue, across from the current shopping center. My husband George can still remember playing on the steps of that apartment, which is still there. They moved to State College after an instructor at Pitt told him about a practice for sale in what was then a small, sleepy university town. A dentist had passed away and his wife was selling his practice. When I went to see Grandpa for my appointment last week, it was in that same space, above what is now The Growing Tree, above what for years was Kaye s Korner.

Originally from Windber, Pa., George was working as an orderly while going to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown when he met Betty who, as a graduate of Pittsburgh s St. Francis Medical Center s nursing program, was working as a nurse. Another coincidence — I later worked in the psych unit at St. Francis, formerly the nursing dorms. They moved to Pittsburgh from Johnstown after Patty was born so he could attend dental school. To support his family, he worked a variety of jobs at night including as a security guard and in a lab slicing tissue for science. In what was non-traditional for the early 1960s, Betty worked as a nurse at Magee-Women s hospital.

There is famous story in the Kleban household about an important exam, trying to balance jobs and a toddler, nights without sleep and a baby on the way. When he finally turned in the exam, George wrote on the top It s a boy! The instructor gave it back to him a few days later with an additional note. It s an A. That boy was my husband George. Their middle son, Rick, was also born in Pittsburgh.

In more than 50 years of practicing dentistry, George found a balance between what was new while building a practice with a family feel to it. He has pictures of his kids and grandkids in the office next to the computerized X-ray system. Patients could expect warm greetings, firm guidance, excellent treatment, and, almost certainly, a stream of jokes when sitting in the dental chair. His reputation was one of solid, detail-oriented dentistry. For many years, he served as faculty for continuing education at both Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh. A few weeks ago, one of my friends who is one of the surgeons to whom my father in law refers patients asked how my father-in-law was doing. I mentioned that he was considering retiring. My friend said He s a really good dentist. Accolades from peers is about the best review a professional can earn.

The Klebans have been part of the growth of State College. From serving on charity committees to their involvement at Our Lady of Victory, they are a part of this community. He coached Pee-Wee and Little League baseball before they started following five kids in their activities – Carolyn and Tom were born after they arrived in State College. George and Betty have been on the sidelines or in the audience of just about every sport, dance and extra-curricular activity you can name, first with their own children and eventually with the 11 grandchildren (currently ranging from age 19 to 27). Track and field were always a favorite for Grandpa who placed second in the state of Pennsylvania his senior year of high school in the 180 yard low hurdles. Along with the triumphs came some tragedies, first with my husband s car accident and then Tom s life changing spinal cord injury. The community has been a part of their life throughout. From the famous Kleban tailgates to Chicken George at the Kaywood picnics, they have loved Happy Valley.

There are the funny stories about his dental practice. Local celebrities and coaches who became part of the practice family. Days when his calendar was filled with Amish patients, including the occasional kid without shoes. One favorite is when actor Jonathan Frid from the 1970s soap opera Dark Shadows was in town doing something at Penn State and he needed an emergency procedure. We were never sure if Grandpa fixed a regular tooth or one of Barnabas Collins fangs. Mostly, however, it was going to work every day, doing the job that he loves.

My husband started working for his dad in high school, pouring models and cleaning in the office. That turned into a career, first with his dad and eventually his own separate dental laboratory. He will miss the camaraderie of having his Dad as a client but is happy that his father is now taking the time to enjoy some down time. After 53 years, it is time to for Grandpa to put himself first. He will close his doors on March 31. Details will be forthcoming on a party for family, friends and his patients to come and celebrate his service to our community.

To quote Socrates, the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new. Please join me in wishing Doc, Grandpa . George Kleban, the best in retirement.

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