Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comrade, Welcome to the Police State! (Part 2)

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Why Americans must Respond to Government's Abuses
by Beverly Eakman
November 29, 2010
NewsWithViews.com
Most people had already made their Thanksgiving reservations — mostly non-refundable tickets — to visit relatives and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday. That is precisely why the Transportation Security Administration picked the week before the busiest flight holiday of the year to spring its groping and full-body-scanners on travelers. Discovering that their campaign of intimidation generated only a smattering of overt protests at the nation’s airports — even after John Tyner uttered his now-famous “don’t touch my junk” threat to TSA agents at the San Diego International Airport and made a video that went viral with his iPhone — policymakers became even more emboldened.
“It was probably not the most artful way of expressing my point,” Tyner told ABC News, “but I was trying to keep it lighthearted…. I said it with a half smile on my face.” In return for his tongue-in-cheek rebuke, the TSA gave Tyner the fullest possible hassle and even threatened him with jail.
Then we learned the TSA had acknowledged that senior officials and lawmakers routinely bypass standard airport screenings, after a video surfaced showing an incoming House Speaker John Boehner bypassing airport security checks. The TSA’s “Big Sis,” Janet Napolitano, never flies commercial, nor do most of her fellow colleagues among the government elite. According to Associated Press, most are “exempted government officials [who] have gone through several levels of security clearances, including FBI background checks.”
Well, if that’s the standard, my closest relative fits, along with others in the Top Secret-and-above category — and possibly even me. But that’s not the standard. Elitist status is the standard.
But who is exempt is not the point. Nor is the lack of a mass protest at Thanksgiving, inasmuch as everyone was anxious to avoid more delays.
The point is that our “betters” among the governing caste knew full well that most people would feel they could not disappoint loved ones and therefore would be hesitant to forego the cost of their tickets — as if we needed further proof that our government couldn’t care less about the plight of average Americans. No wonder travelers who were offended feared delay and further intimidation more than they felt outrage; or that they didn’t know quite how to send an effective message to our nation’s “leaders,” such as they are.
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Moreover, the tactic worked so well that the TSA is set to move on to trains, long-distance buses and
subways. Notice, it is now post-election, not campaign season, so our “betters” will keep pushing the envelope till we holler “uncle,” while simultaneously ignoring the gaps in our borders, allowing the immigration of still more individuals from places hostile to the U.S., and giving the green light to outright criminals, always off on a technicality or paroled.
Two weeks ago I wrote a column, “Just Because They Can,” which went viral overnight, explaining why so many of our freedoms have been stripped away in so short a time frame, and articulating the logic behind the duplicity and capriciousness of various new rules aimed at so-called “security” and “order.”
So, let’s talk about an appropriate response, inasmuch as no one seems to have a viable plan.
Ever since the initial Civil Rights March of 1963, Americans disgruntled for one reason or another have tried,
without much success, to duplicate the sit-ins, protests and songs and civil disobedience on the Washington, D.C. “mall.” Based here in Washington, D.C., I can attest to the fact that protest movements have been a joke among government workers since at least 1985, when I worked across from the famous Lafayette Park, where picketers and demonstrators tend to gather weekly and sometimes daily. Officials in Congress and at the White House ignore them; bureaucrats find it a nuisance getting to and leaving work; Metro transportation officials sigh in resignation. Virtually no official or news service takes them seriously. Sometimes the mainstream media will try to get a photo angle that makes it appear there are more participants than there are, if they like their cause, but even the press has mostly tired of covering these “peaceable assemblages.”
Which means that method has run its course. So has writing letters to one’s state or federal legislator. A low-level aide intercepts it and cranks out a boilerplate response, tailoring the first paragraph to reflect whatever-it-is the constituent is complaining about. I churned these out myself for the Justice Department. Lobbyists
fare a little better, as do some walk-ins, since they are viewed as a potential source of campaign funds, but even then, if no one has seen this individual before, the cause usually garners little more than a polite smile.
Understand also that this latest stunt in airports is partly a response to the nation’s distaste for a national ID. Yes, of course, the drivers’ license and Social Security number are virtual ID’s, but they don’t work since terrorists can either forge them, or simply waltz in and pretend to live here.
What to do, then?
Here’s what to do: First, recognize that the only thing that matters is dollars. In this case, dollars to the airlines, which are in a better position than you to lobby and complain. So, pick a holiday period. Get with key people who can help get a massive groundswell going in your city or state. Then simply refuse to fly. If government steps up its intimidation to include gropes and unreasonable searches at train stations, refuse to ride them, too. And keep on doing that till the airlines and Amtrak and bus companies all holler “uncle”!
Will this be inconvenient? Yes, it will. But if you don’t do it, the government will keep upping the ante. I mean, they’re not only screening you, but your prescriptions bottles and liquids whenever it suits them — to catch terrorists? Oh, please! They’ve got you wearing football helmets to ride a bike. They’ve got you slamming on the brakes to avoid a collision, thanks to unnecessary speed traps and shortened yellow lights.
They’ve got you separating everything in your trash cans. They’ve stuck you with toilets that don’t work. They’ve got you scooping up dog droppings even in heavily wooded parks, then providing no trash cans in which to deposit the package, forcing you to “enjoy” your hike with feces attached to your belt at the threat of a fine from roving police.
Meanwhile, they’ve all but taken away your right to self-defense, as police are too busy with seat-belt violators to catch assailants. They’ve stopped you from lighting sparklers on the Fourth of July. They waste your tax dollars on phony “climate change” data, then have you purchasing mercury-containing light bulbs you can’t dispose of, under the cover of “saving the planet.” They tell you want to eat, then use your tax dollars to pay (via the War on Hunger) some 70 percent of “qualifying” males and nearly three-quarters of females in the program who are already overweight or
obese. Thanks to the EPA, time-consuming vehicle emissions tests are mandated annually in most states, instead of at the 5-year intervals initially advertised when the program was launched.
Exactly how much are you prepared to put up with? Do you really think future administrations are going to reverse all this stuff if people don’t start standing up for their rights? You are being run ragged to satisfy the privilege of “exempt” government honchos who never have to drive their own car, never have to stand in a grocery line, never have to pick up their own cleaning, and never have to be groped going through make-believe “security” lines at the airport.
C’mon people! Get a grip! You’re under attack! And if the good people you recently elected find themselves suddenly blackballed out of being committee chairpersons for having agreed with you, their constituent, don’t think for one minute they aren’t going to pipe down and “play nice” once that reality sinks in. They always do.
So, let’s get this straight: Why should you boycott the airlines, and other modes of mass transportation if necessary? BECAUSE YOU STILL CAN!
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Police State USA: TSA Gestapo Empire
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, November 23, 2010
It doesn’t take a bureaucrat long to create an empire. John Pistole, the FBI agent who took over the Transportation Security Administration on July 1 told USA Today 16 days later that protecting trains and subways from terrorist attacks will be as high a priority for him as air travel.
It is difficult to imagine New Yorkers being porno-screened and sexually groped on crowed subway platforms or showing up an hour or two in advance for clearance for a 15 minute subway ride, but once bureaucrats get the bit in their teeth they take absurdity to its logical conclusion. Buses will be next, although it is even more difficult to imagine open air bus stops turned into security zones with screeners and gropers inspecting passengers before they board.
Will taxi passengers be next? In those Muslim lands whose citizens the US government has been slaughtering
for years, favorite weapons for retaliating against the Americans are car and truck bombs. How long before Pistole announces that the TSA Gestapo is setting up roadblocks on city streets, highways and interstates to check cars for bombs? That 15 minute trip to the grocery store then becomes an all day affair.
Indeed, it has already begun. Last September agents from Homeland Security, TSA, and the US Department of Transportation, assisted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a counter-terrorism operation on busy Interstate 20 just west of Atlanta, Georgia. Designated VIPER (Visible Inter-mobile Prevention and Response), the operation required all trucks to stop to be screened for bombs. Federal agents used dogs, screening devices, and a large drive-through bomb detection machine. Imagine what the delays did to delivery schedules and truckers’ bottom lines.
There are also news reports of federal trucks equipped with backscatter X-ray devices that secretly scan cars and pedestrians.
With such expensive counter-terrorism activities, both in terms of the hard-pressed taxpayers’ money and civil liberties, one would think that bombs were going off all over America. But, of course, they aren’t. There has not been a successful terrorist act since 9/11, and thousands of independent experts doubt the government’s explanation of that event.
Subsequent domestic terrorist events have turned out to be FBI sting operations in which FBI agents organize not-so-bright disaffected members of society and lead them into displaying interest in participating in a terrorist act. Once the FBI agent, pretending to be a terrorist, succeeds in prompting all the right words to be said and captured on his hidden recorder, the “terrorists” are arrested and the “plot” exposed.
The very fact that the FBI has to orchestrate fake terrorism proves the absence of real terrorists.
If Americans were more thoughtful and less gullible, they might wonder why all the emphasis on transportation when there are so many soft targets. Shopping centers, for example. If there were enough terrorists in America to justify the existence of Homeland Security, bombs would be going off round the clock in shopping malls in every state. The effect would be far more terrifying than blowing up an airliner.
Indeed, if terrorists want to attack air travelers, they never need to board an airplane.
All they need to do is to join the throngs of passengers waiting to go through the TSA scanners and set off their bombs. The TSA has conveniently assembled the targets.
The final proof that there are no terrorists is that not a single neoconservative or government official responsible for the Bush regime’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Obama regime’s slaughters of Pakistanis, Yemenis, and Somalians has been assassinated. None of these Americans who are responsible for lies, deceptions, and invasions that have destroyed the lives of countless numbers of Muslims have any security protection. If Muslims were capable of pulling off 9/11, they are certainly capable of assassinating Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Libby, Condi Rice, Kristol, Bolton, Goldberg, and scores of others during the same hour of the same day.
I am not advocating that terrorists assassinate anyone. I am just making the point that if the US was as
overrun with terrorists as empire-building bureaucrats pretend, we would definitely be experiencing dramatic terrorist acts. The argument is not believable that a government that was incapable of preventing 9/11 is so all-knowing that it can prevent assassination of unprotected neocons and shopping malls from being bombed.
If Al Qaeda was anything like the organization that the US government claims, it would not be focused on trivial targets such as passenger airliners. The organization, if it exists, would be focused on its real enemies. Try to imagine the propaganda value of terrorists wiping out the neoconservatives in one fell swoop, followed by an announcement that every member of the federal government down to the lowest GS, every member of the House and Senate, and every governor was next in line to be bumped off.
This would be real terrorism instead of the make-belief stuff associated with shoe bombs that don’t work, underwear bombs that independent experts say could not work, and bottled water and shampoo bombs that experts say cannot possibly be put together in airliner lavatories.
Think about it. Would a terror organization capable of outwitting all 16 US intelligence agencies, all intelligence agencies of US allies including Israel’s Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, air traffic control, the Pentagon, and airport security four times in one hour put its unrivaled prestige at risk with improbable shoe bombs, shampoo bombs, and underwear bombs?
After success in destroying the World Trade Center and blowing up part of the Pentagon, it is an extraordinary comedown to go after a mere airliner. Would a person who gains fame by knocking out the world heavyweight boxing champion make himself a laughing stock by taking lunch money from school boys?
TSA is a far greater threat to Americans than are terrorists. Pistole has given the finger to US senators and representatives, state legislators, and the traveling public who have expressed their views that virtual strip searches and sexual molestation are too high a price to pay for “security.” Indeed, the TSA with its Gestapo attitude and methods, is succeeding in making Americans more terrified of the TSA than they are of terrorists.
Make up your own mind. What terrifies you the most. Terrorists, who in all likelihood you will never encounter in your lifetime, or the TSA that you will encounter every time you fly and soon, according to Pistole, every time you take a train, a subway, or drive in a car or truck?
Before making up your mind, consider this report from antiwar.com on November 19: “TSA officials say that anyone refusing both the full body scanners and the enhanced pat down procedures will be taken into custody. Once there the detainees will not only be barred from flying, but will be held indefinitely as suspected terrorists . . . One sheriff’s office said they were already preparing to handle a large number of detainees and plan to treat them as terror suspects.”
Who is cowing Americans into submission, terrorists or the TSA Gestapo?
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Strip-search in police cell
By Gary Dimmock
OTTAWA-A judge has condemned a handful of Ottawa police officers for subjecting a female prisoner to “an indignity” in a strip search of the young woman, who had her shirt and bra cut off by a male officer, only to be left partially clad in soiled pants in a jail cell for three hours.
Moments before Stacy Bonds, a 27-year-old theatrical make-up artist with no criminal record, was stripped of her clothes by Sgt. Steve Desjourdy, she was also the victim of “two extremely violent knee hits in the back by Special Constable (Melanie) Morris, and (had) her hair pulled back and her face shoved forward,” Justice Richard Lajoie said.
A police station videotape had captured the events of Sept. 26, 2008.
Lajoie made an oral ruling on Oct. 27, deciding to stay a charge against Bonds of assaulting police. In his ruling, the judge severely criticized the officers’ actions, saying “there is no reasonable explanation for Sgt. Desjourdy to have cut Ms. Bonds’ shirt and bra off, and there is no reason, apart from vengeance and malice, to have left Ms. Bonds in the cell for a period of three hours and 15 minutes partially clad and having soiled her pants, before she received what is called a blue suit.
“That is an indignity towards a human being and should be denounced.”
Desjourdy cut off Bonds’ shirt and bra with scissors after she was forced to the floor with a plastic riot shield in the police department’s booking room.
When Bonds was brought into the room, Lajoie noted that she showed “no hint of violence and no hint of being aggressive.” He described her as “co-operative.”
The judge said he was “appalled” that the strip search of the woman took place in the presence of at least three male police officers. “It is quite evident that none of these officers have received gender training, and that they do give only lip service to female dignity and privacy,” Lajoie said.
Bonds told the Citizen Tuesday that she’s still a wreck.
“It’s disgraceful. Being in a cell barefoot and topless for hours (which is also on videotape),” she said.
“I wasn’t bothering anyone. I was on my way home, walking, not driving, from an after-hours party. I wasn’t bothering anyone and the police had no reason to bother me,” Bonds said. “I was verbally and mentally raped.”
The events began when Bonds was stopped by police for no reason on Rideau Street. They ran her name through their computer and nothing came up, so they told her to keep walking home.
But after a few steps, she turned back and asked the officers why they had bothered to stop her in the first place, and things took a rapid turn.
The officers then arrested her for public intoxication, but that arrest, according to Lajoie, was unlawful because she was not drunk — not even close, the judge ruled.
But they handcuffed her, and Const. John Flores, a junior officer who was under the authority of a coach
officer, showed her the backseat of a cruiser.
“There was certainly no evidence that Ms. Bonds was a threat to herself or anyone else. Const. Flores clearly did not have reasonable and probable grounds to effect the arrest,” Lajoie said.
“Therefore, if the arrest is unlawful, the subsequent detention can only be an arbitrary detention, and a clear violation of Section 9 of the Charter,” Lajoie said.
Once Bonds was taken out of the cruiser at police headquarters on Elgin Street, the judge noted after reviewing the videotape that she was anything but “violent or aggressive.”
The one thing the judge said he did notice on the tape was the way Flores held onto his prisoner.
“He held onto her left arm practically throughout the whole duration of the scene at the police station.
“That is why videos have become so important. They provide us with these extra details that put meat to simple words that are spoken by witnesses,” the judge said.
The judge then noted that, during the initial part of the police search, “someone has a hand inside Ms. Bonds’ pants, down around her upper leg or hip area. We can see the formation of a fist or hand inside her tight white pants.
“And it is at that point that Sgt. Desjourdy tells us that he saw Ms. Bonds mule-kick Special Constable Morris.
“Ms. Bonds is immediately taken to the ground, and is not resisting with hands flailing or feet flailing, as testified to by both Special Const. Morris and Sgt. Desjourdy,” the judge said.
Still, the female prisoner was forced to the ground with a riot shield, and then subjected to a strip search, with the male officer cutting off her top and bra.
“The officers have tried to justify their actions on the principles of safety, officer safety and accused’s safety, as well as risk of suicide.
“No inquiry whatsoever was made by the officers prior to their taking action, and that is a common trait that we too often see in the recent past with the influx of a multitude of new (police) recruits, who are often trained by other officers who have one, two, maybe three years of experience,” the judge said.
“It is quite clear that the Ottawa Police has not been made aware (of), or is lending a blind eye to, the recommendations of the Supreme Court of Canada.”
The judge ruled that the strip search of Bonds was an “extremely serious breach of (her) rights, apart from it being unlawful.” The judge then stayed the charge against Bonds, saying he didn’t want to be part of the “travesty.”
“And with the sheer number of appalling behaviours which I have noted, it is quite clear that the only possible outcome, and fair outcome is one of a stay of proceedings, because as alluded to by (defence lawyer Matt) Webber, it would be a travesty to permit these proceedings to go on. And I certainly would not be a party to such an action,” Lajoie said.
The prosecutor who tried the case declined comment. And Desjourdy, who cut off Bonds’ shirt and bra, told the Citizen that he can’t discuss the case because it’s under review by his superiors.
Bonds thanked the judge, saying “this is a judge on the right side and actually serving justice.”
She doesn’t recall all of the details of her ordeal, saying she was so confused.
“From the get-go, I knew I was getting screwed. It was disgraceful.”
Webber said his client suffered a “horrifying” ordeal and her confidence in law enforcement has been shaken.
“But for the fact that my client had to withstand the ordeal of a trial, the case was laughable. Unfortunately,
there was nothing to laugh at,” Webber said.
“It’s an appalling example of abuse of power and misconduct on the part of the police. It’s a complete disregard for her dignity. It’s shocking,” Webber said.
Ottawa Police Chief Vern White said Tuesday that the force has launched an internal investigation into the case.
White said candidly: “If the judge’s ruling is indicative of what happened, it’s appalling.
“I look forward to a swift conclusion to our investigation. Professional Standards (internal affairs) takes this very seriously, as do I,” said White.
The internal investigation could take months and will include a review of the images captured on videotape.
It’s not the first time Desjourdy has been under investigation. Days before this 2008 case, he kicked and Tasered a female prisoner in the cell block twice. In 2009, he pleaded guilty under the Police Act and was demoted for three months from sergeant to constable.
Bonds said she is now thinking about launching a lawsuit against Ottawa Police.
Gary Dimmock can be reached at 613-291-2827 or gdimmock@ottawacitizen.com
Also See:
Ont. judge slams Ottawa police strip search
CBC News
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Ottawa police Chief Vern White said he would like more power to discipline police officers. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)
A woman was unlawfully arrested and suffered an "indignity" when she was forcibly strip-searched while in Ottawa police custody, an Ontario judge has ruled.
Stacy Bonds, 27, was arrested on Rideau Street in September 2008 and charged with public intoxication.
Justice Richard Lajoie of the Ontario court of justice stayed the charge against Bonds, ruling it would be a "travesty to permit these proceedings to go on" because of the "appalling behaviours" of police officers seen in a videotape presented in court.
In a transcript of his Oct. 27 oral decision released Wednesday, Lajoie ruled that while the accused had been drinking when she was arrested, there was "no evidence that Ms Bonds was a threat to herself or anyone else" and so there was no grounds to detain her.
Bonds's detention and subsequent strip-search was a "clear violation" of her rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Lajoie ruled.
Lajoie said the video shows Bonds — who is "not being one hundred per cent compliant" — receive "two extremely violent knee hits in the back."
Bonds is then forced to the ground, where a police officer cuts off her shirt and bra with scissors "with the assistance of at least three male officers," Lajoie said.
There was "no reasonable explanation" for the strip-search, Lajoie said. "It is more than evident that the search at 474 Elgin [Street] was an extremely serious breach of Ms. Bonds' rights."
Matthew Webber, Bonds's lawyer, thanked Lajoie.
"At the station we have the police officers not only assaulting my client, but we have the police engaging in a strip search which is in clear contravention of the Supreme Court of Canada's directions as to when you can engage in a strip search," Webber told CBC News.
"It's a lack of knowledge. It's a lack of training."
Police launch internal investigation
Ottawa police Chief Vern White, reached in Kingston, Ont. by telephone, promised a swift internal
investigation into the treatment Bonds received. Like other Ontario police chiefs, White said, he would like more power to discipline officers.
"I do not feel our discipline process today carries the full weight of accountability the public expects," White said. "Most of the chiefs have identified to the province that we need to have some changes in the Police Services Act."
White said the current act makes it difficult to suspend or dismiss police officers, and even those dismissed may remain on the payroll if they choose to appeal.
Webber suggested the officers involved should be fired.
"Perhaps they should not have those jobs; perhaps they cannot be trusted to have those jobs," he said.
Webber said the incident has shaken Bonds's confidence in the police and she is considering launching a lawsuit against the Ottawa Police Service.
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TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers’ Pants
Big Sis turns up the heat: New super-enhanced pat-down more invasive
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Prison Planet.com
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The TSA’s invasive new screening measures include officers literally putting their hands down people’s pants if they are wearing baggy clothing in a shocking new elevation of groping procedures that have stoked a nationwide revolt against privacy-busting airport security measures.
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Forget John Tyner’s “don’t touch my junk” experience at the hands of TSA goons in San Diego recently, another victim of Big Sis was told by TSA officials that it was now policy to go even further when dealing with people wearing loose pants or shorts.
Going through airport security this past weekend, radio host Owen JJ Stone, known as “OhDoctah,” related how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening. When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded, “I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants,” after which he did precisely that.
Stone chose to conduct the search in public in the fear that the TSA worker would be even more aggressive in a private room.
“If you’re wearing sweat pants or baggy clothing, I was wearing sweat pants they’re not baggy, they’re sweat pants,” said Stone, adding that the agent pulled out his waistband before patting his backside and his crotch.
Even the TSA agent who put his hands down the man’s pants was embarrassed at what he had been told to do by his superiors, apologizing profusely to the victim.
Speaking with The Alex Jones Show today, Stone went further – noting how the TSA thug directly patted down his testicles, penis and backside while his hand was inside Stone’s pants. Stone was initially embarrassed to reveal the full scope of the groping but related the details of what amounted to nothing less than outright sexual molestation.
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A 54-year-old Missouri City man experienced similar treatment when he was going through security at Fort Lauderdale Airport.
Thomas Mollman was subject to a groping by a TSA officer that was tantamount to sexual molestation.
“I was wearing shorts at the time – between the underwear, right on the skin, all the way around the back, all the way around my front, 360 degrees, touched inappropriately,” he said.
“This was an assault. This was no different than a sexual assault,” said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.
The level of abuse appears to be getting worse on an almost daily basis. First TSA agents use the back of their hands, then they outright grope you with the front, and now they are being trained to put their hands down traveler’s pants. What’s next? Mandatory bodily probes?
Even as the resistance to airport oppression grows, Big Sis and the TSA are responding by making the pat down procedures more invasive. Napolitano has figuratively said to the American people ‘let them eat cake’ as she slaps them in the face.
Given the fact that the TSA’s own woeful background checks for their own employees allows rapists and pedophiles to get jobs as pat down agents, will you allow TSA workers to put their hands down the pants of your daughter or wife?
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San Diego Man Balks at Scan
By Mike Krumboltz 
Sun Nov 14, 2010
Folks have been surrendering their dignity in the name of safe air travel for years. Most of the time, this happens without incident. But John Tyner, who was scheduled to fly from San Diego's Lindbergh Field to South Dakota for a hunting trip on Saturday, drew the line when he was asked to submit to either a full-body scan or a very personal pat-down.
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As a consequence, he was threatened with a civil suit and a $10,000 fine if he left the airport's secured area. An in-depth article from the San Diego Union-Tribune explains that Tyner was wary of full-body scanners for both health reasons and privacy concerns. He even went so far as to check the Transportation Security Administration's website before leaving for the airport to confirm that Lindbergh Field didn't use them. (When he arrived, he was surprised to see that the airport did indeed have them.)
The incident itself started when Tyner, 31, was directed toward the full-body scanner in the security line. Tyner refused, opting instead for the traditional metal body scan and a pat-down. When he was told that the TSA agent would have to conduct a kind of "groin check." Tyner balked, saying, "You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested."
That's when things got interesting. Various supervisors got involved, Tyner was pulled aside, the police came by, and a supervisor told Tyner that he wouldn't be allowed to travel unless he submitted to the check. Tyner opted to leave instead, getting a full refund for the ticket, but not before he was told that if he left the secured area he would be "subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine." Tyner left anyway.
After leaving the airport, Tyner wrote up a post on his blog detailing the incident as well as posted the video of his confrontation on YouTube. Both are drawing big clicks and even bigger searches. Many commenters on Tyner's blog are applauding him for standing up for himself. One person wrote, "My full admiration. Well handled, and well done." Another pledged to give Tyner $100 if the fine is actually levied.
In an email interview, Tyner said he isn't sure of what consequences, if any, he will face. He's not aware of any legal action "beyond what was threatened in the airport." When asked whether he was concerned about the possibility of being placed on the no-fly list, he said he wasn't "that concerned." However, he says he is troubled by the government's ability to limit his methods of travel because he exercised his right to privacy.
The TSA did not immediately returned to a request for comment.
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Cops bust seven men playing chess in upper Manhattan park
By Perry Chiaramonte, Jamie Schram and Dan Mangan
November 18, 2010
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ROOKED: Junior Mendoza says cops only “should have given us a warning.”
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Drop that bishop and come out with your hands up!
A squad of cops in bulletproof vests swooped into an upper Manhattan park and charged seven men with the "crime" of playing chess in an area off-limits to adults unaccompanied by kids -- even though no youngsters were there.
"Is chess really something that should be considered a threat to the neighborhood?" Inwood resident and mom Joanne Johnson wrote Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly after the raid.
"This incident is an embarrassment to the officers from the 34th Precinct who felt that it was necessary to use their badge and authority to issue such a random summons."
The knights in Kevlar armor gave all seven suspects desk-appearance tickets.
The chess tables where they were ticketed for "failure to comply with signs" are in a fenced-in area where posted notices read: "Adults allowed in playground areas only when accompanied by a child under the age of 12."
Police said the rule protects kids from pedophiles or others who might want to harm them.
A police source added, "It’s the broken windows theory . . . small things can turn into bigger things. Some citizens may see it as police harassment, but God forbid something happens to a child, people would be complaining, Why didn’t the police enforce these rules? That’s what they would be griping about."
Yacahuda "Y.A." Harrison, 49, one of those chess aficionados, said he saw those signs months ago and "asked the [Parks] ranger if we had permission to be there."
"The ranger said, 'Oh no, that's fine, that's only written for pedophiles.' "
Since then, he said, parents have welcomed him and the other players -- and even had their kids take chess lessons from them.
"The day we got picked up, there were no kids" in the playground, he said. "They treated us like drug
dealers. All we were doing was playing chess."
Harrison, like the others, must appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on Dec. 28 for the Oct. 20 incident.
Another man ticketed that day, Inwood resident and artist Junior "Chiqui" Mendoza, 46, said that the police "should have given us a warning, and not a ticket."
Margaret Blachly, a teacher who took her students to the park yesterday, said, "There are often a lot of rules in this park that get broken, and no summonses are issued.
"If the tables are there to play chess, that's what they should be allowed to do."
But Parks Department First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh said the rule is "designed to protect children using our playgrounds and to deter inappropriate adult use of space designated specifically for children."
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "Police acted appropriately in issuing criminal summonses last month to men in a section of Inwood Hill Park restricted to children with their parents or other minders.
"The precinct conditions team responded to community complaints about drinking, drug use and other problems, including violations of Park Department regulations designed to protect children. One of men had priors for reckless endangerment, grand larceny, drug possession, and criminal mischief."
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The TSA chose Meg McLain for special screening. They wanted her to go through the new porno-scanners. When she opted out, TSA agents raised an enormous ruckus. When she asked some question about what they planned to do to her, they flipped out. TSA agents yelled at her, handcuffed her to a chair, ripped up her ticket, called in 12 local Miami cops and finally escorted her out of the airport. Listen to her story as she told it on radio show Free Talk Live last night. Things are truly getting scary.
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Meg McLain Singled out by the TSA, Cuffed to a Chair, Her Ticket Ripped up
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"None are more hopelessly enslaved than
those who falsely believe they are free."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Growing backlash against TSA body scanners, pat-downs
By Phil Gast, CNN
November 12, 2010
A growing pilot and passenger revolt over full-body scans and what many consider intrusive pat-downs couldn't have come at a worse time for the nation's air travel system.
Thanksgiving, the busiest travel time of the year, is less than two weeks away.
Grassroots groups are urging travelers to either not fly or to protest by opting out of the full-body scanners and undergo time-consuming pat-downs instead.
Such concerns prompted a meeting Friday of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano with leaders of travel industry groups.
Napolitano met with the U.S.Travel Association and 20 travel companies "to underscore the Department's continued commitment to partnering with the nation's travel and tourism industry to facilitate the flow of trade and travel while maintaining high security standards to protect the American people," the department said in a statement.
Federal officials have increased security in the wake of plots attributed to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Industry leaders are worried about the grassroots backlash to Transportation Security Administration security procedures. Some pilots, passengers and flight attendants have chosen to opt out of the revealing scans.
More of the units are arriving at airports, with 1,000 expected to be in place by the end of 2011."While the meeting with Secretary Napolitano was informative, it was not entirely reassuring," the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement.
"We certainly understand the challenges that DHS confronts, but the question remains, 'where do we draw the line'? Our country desperately needs a long-term vision for aviation security screening, rather than an endless reaction to yesterday's threat," the statement said. "At the same time, fundamental American values must be protected."
The travel industry is concerned that consumers may decide not to take a plane to Aunt Gertrude's for the holiday.
"We have received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from travelers vowing to stop flying," Geoff Freeman, an executive vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, told Reuters.
A 2008 survey found that air travelers "avoided" 41 million trips because they believed the air travel system was either "broken" or in need of "moderate correction," the U.S. Travel Association said. The decisions cost airlines $9.4 billion, the survey said.
One online group, "National Opt Out Day" calls for a day of protest against the scanners on Wednesday, November 24, the busiest travel day of the year.
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Groping America
Nudie Machines, Body Scanners and groping
By Dr. Laurie Roth
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
When I first started to smell the whiff of where Airport security was going, I was already horrified with so many TSA agents and Airport workers caught stealing out of passenger’s luggage. There have been documented cases of stealing all over the country, Houston, Chicago, New York and other locations. Then there was the worker who was caught slipping white powder into passenger bags…..This builds enormous confidence with our safety when flying. Granted a laptop or two might disappear out of your luggage, but at least people in Muslim garb will be ignored and get on the plane.
They were saving the best for last however.
Now we have nudie machines and groping of our privates if we refuse the machines. This is being described even by the ACLU as “foreplay.” TSA officials admit that their agents use their fingers and palms to feel around the breasts and genitals. I remember last year when they started placing these ‘porno’ machines in Airports, I predicted photos of the people would be stored somewhere….and where? I also predicted certain nudie shots of men and women, celebrities, politicians and other known people would be passed around, shared, sold and used against them later. I was right. Folks are already reporting that snide comments have been reported about TSA making fun of breast size and someone’s small penis.
The TSA will let folks opt out of the body scan for privacy reasons but then you are faced with the grope and physical pat-down (foreplay) all over your privates.
Why should we trust the TSA with all these stored photos of us nude walking through their machines just because they have a policy stating that they don’t store them or keep them. They also have a policy for TSA workers not to steal things out of baggage, yet millions of dollars worth of items have been reported stolen the last few years.
Even the security exports regarding the nudie machine admit they can’t catch all bombs strapped in or around
a body anyway, so what in God’s green earth are we doing this for? Is it just to provide a big thrill for lazy TSA workers and provide photos to sell later?
If the TSA really wanted to get real with security since 9/11, they would have started profiling (not persecuting) Islamic people and foreigners much more closely. They could have taken a very successful training lesson from El Al from Israel who does it right. Instead, the rest of us had our toes searched and tweezers snatched. Now, after our bunions are searched, our breasts are groped.
These nudie scanners are even being rejected by the largest Pilot’s Union in the world because of radiation risk. Steve Watson, from infowars.com talks about this danger and the ‘backscatter’ AIT devices being used to produce ionizing radiation, known to be potentially dangerous to your health.
Other scientists have weighed in about the danger of these machines and obviously the Pilots who fly all the time are urged to opt out and submit to the pat downs.
I guess the rest of us are chopped liver and it doesn’t matter if we fly a lot and get too much radiation flowing through our bodies. We are considered domestic terrorists anyway so naturally we should get cancer if we choose to travel.
There are other elephants running through the room regarding safety and security at airports. So far, we have radiation risk, or groping hell, but what about all the germ and bacteria risk no one is talking about? I’m talking about being forced to take our shoes off, then walk through the security machine area, mindless of the endless bacteria, athletes foot and God knows what other germs are living and breeding on the floor where countless people walk a day. I have never seen airport officials spray or sanitize where the mobs of people are forced through like cattle. Airports must be Mecca for spreading disease and flu. All you were trying to do was to get on the plane.
There is no reason whatsoever for Body Scanners and groping. It is a total violation and invasion to our right to privacy, safety and health. TSA should try REAL security strategies, like profiling of Muslims and foreigners. They should also give real back ground checks to their employees and support healthy sanitary practices.
Leave my body and privacy alone.
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Police subdue protesters in Sacramento, California on Mon., June 23, 2003.
Photo courtesy www.biotechimc.org
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airport surveillance
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Let there be light . . . in Germany
European Union banned 100-watt light bulbs because the European Union believes that it should be illegal to produce that much light
By Institute for Energy Research
Monday, October 18, 2010
Genesis Chapter 1:
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And then came the European Union, which said the light was too bright and too wasteful.
A year ago, the European Union banned 100-watt light bulbs because the European Union believes that it should be illegal to produce that much light. They believe that 100-watt incandescent light bulbs are inefficient and therefore should be illegal.
But a couple of German mechanical engineers and entrepreneurs have come up with a legal way to import and distribute 75 and 100-watt light bulbs—call them “small heating devices” and sell them at “heatballs.”
The EU thought the ban would produce innovation in lighting, but this probably isn’t what they had in mind. This just goes to show one more way people work to get what they want, regardless of bureaucratic mandates.
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Color-Coded Fascism Warning System
Brown: Full-on Fascism
Black: State-Sponsored Terrorism, Military Preparing for Takeover
Red: "Friendly Fascism": Corporate Control of Congress
Purple: Corporatism: Personhood & "Rights" for Companies
Blue: Liberty, Citizens are Sovereign
Current fascism alert status for USA: BLACK
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'Feds radiating Americans'? Mobile X-ray vans hit US streets
As an antiterror measure, the US government has deployed mobile X-ray technology to randomly scan cars and trucks. But the measure is riling privacy proponents.
By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / September 29, 2010
Atlanta
For many living in a terror-spooked country, it might seem like a great government innovation: Use vans equipped with mobile X-ray units to scan vehicles at major sporting events, or even randomly, for bombs or contraband.
But news that the US is buying custom-made vans packed with something called backscatter X-ray capacity has riled privacy advocates and sparked internet worries about "feds radiating Americans."
"This really trips up the creep factor because it's one of those things that you sort of intrinsically think the government shouldn't be doing," says Vermont-based privacy expert Frederick Lane, author of "American Privacy." "But, legally, the issue is the boundary between the government's legitimate security interest and privacy expectations we enjoy in our cars."
American Science & Engineering, a Billerica, Mass.-company, tells Forbes it's sold more than 500 ZBVs, or Z Backscatter Vans, to US and foreign governments. The Department of Defense has bought the most for war zone use, but US law enforcement has also deployed the vans to search for bombs inside the US, according to Joe Reiss, a company spokesman, as quoted by Forbes.
On Tuesday, a counterterror operation snarled truck traffic on I-20 near Atlanta, where Department of Homeland Security teams used mobile X-ray technology to check the contents of truck trailers. Authorities said the inspections weren't prompted by any specific threat.
The mobile X-ray technology works by bouncing narrow X-ray streams off an object like a car and then analyzing the scatter rate of the returning rays. Operators can then locate less-dense objects that could be bodies or bombs.
Backscatter X-ray is already part of an ongoing national debate about its use in so-called full body scanners being deployed in many US airports. In that case, US officials have said they will not store or share the images and will use masking technology to avoid revealing details of the human body. Nevertheless, information security advocates have filed suit to stop their deployment, citing concerns about privacy.
Security experts say expanding the X-ray technology for use on American streets is a powerful counterterror strategy. They also point out the images do not not offer the kind of detail that would be embarrasing to anyone. Moreover, law enforcement already has broad search-and-seizure powers on public highways, where a search warrant is often not needed for officers to instigate a physical search.
But others worry that radiating Americans without their knowledge is evidence of gradually eroding constitutional protections in the post-9/11 age.
"Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of national security … you have to be realistic that this is another way in which the government is capturing information they may lose control over," says Mr. Lane. "I just have some real problems with the idea of even beginning a campaign of rolling surveillance of American citizens, which is what this essentially is."
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With full-body X-ray, a closer look at air travelers
By Faye Bowers, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor / February 26, 2007
Phoenix
Most passengers asked to submit to a full-body X-ray at Security Checkpoint B didn't bat an eyelash. Nine in 10 gamely stepped up to a scanner about the size of a vending machine, placed their feet on the red footprints painted on the carpet, and raised their arms – all in the name of airport security.
The aim of the new technology unveiled Friday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: to allow officials to detect weapons – such as plastic explosives strapped to the body – that metal detectors and other security measures might miss.
A potential sticking point is that this machine, known as a backscatter, can see through clothes. Its deployment at the Phoenix airport is a test to see how well it works – and to assess how air travelers respond to its use. If passengers at Terminal 4 who were asked to undergo body scans are an indication, security trumps privacy.
"Sure, I'd be happy to do it," said Ella Adams from Atlanta, who had stopped in Phoenix on Friday to catch a connecting flight to San Diego. "Privacy to me isn't nearly as important as our security, especially if they assure me the X-rays aren't harmful."
In all, the Phoenix airport has seven security checkpoints, and the body- scanning machine has been installed for this pilot program at just one. About 8,000 travelers a day move through this checkpoint, says Paul Armes, security director at Sky Harbor for the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The backscatter will not be used for everyone who passes this way, at least not at first. A traveler would have to have set off alarms on the routine metal detector, or be randomly selected for further screening. Even then, travelers have two options: the new X-ray machine, or a pat-down, which has caused passenger complaints about invasiveness.
What the backscatter 'sees'
Privacy advocates remain wary of backscatter technology. Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program for the American Civil Liberties Union, likens it to a "virtual strip search." He hasn't seen a demonstration of the latest version of the technology, but he saw an earlier one at a Los Angeles city jail.
"The one I saw was very graphic, almost like a nude picture," he says. The technology has not been installed at airports until now because of questions about privacy and how well it can detect possible weapons, adds Mr. Steinhardt. "Utility is ... important here. People are being asked to trade their privacy for security. But first show us there is some security [benefit]."
Backscatter technology has been around for years, says Joe Reiss, vice president of marketing for American Science and Engineering Inc. (AS&E), which makes the backscatter being tested in Phoenix. The technology has been used, for example, to check large cargo containers and passenger vehicles.
"About 15 years ago, this technology was incorporated in personal [body] scanning systems," Mr. Reiss adds. For airport use, AS&E has adjusted the technology so that what's depicted is only an outline of a passenger – with private parts blurred – and any objects on him or her, such as "a handgun, or a blade of a ceramic knife that wouldn't be discovered by a metal detector."
"This technology gives us an additional layer of capabilities to detect objects," says Michael Golden, a technology expert for Southwest Airlines, who is on loan to the TSA. "This actually will show us where prohibited items are on the body," he says, though he declines to name all objects this machine can detect. "We think it is a good balance between security and privacy."
Other officials say the backscatter will be able to detect several items that other security technology – including metal detectors – cannot. Those items include plastic or ceramic knives, plastic explosives, and some liquid explosives. They say it can at best prevent a bomb plot like the one uncovered in London last summer, in which alleged terrorists planned to attack using liquid explosives.
What the screened passenger does
Here's how the screening is working so far. A traveler, after agreeing to the X-ray, is walked through the process by a TSA employee. He or she stands on the red-painted footprints facing the scanner, with arms raised as if a police officer had yelled, "Hands up." Then the traveler turns around for a back pose.
Another TSA employee in a tiny, walled room about 50 feet away assesses the image. A man views images of male passengers, and a woman views images of women. The images are not stored, government officials say, and they aren't transmitted anywhere else. The process should take about 30 seconds.
Kenneth Johnson, a Vietnam veteran with artificial shoulder joints and an artificial knee, was among the first to be pulled out of line Friday for closer screening. He chose the backscatter X-ray over the pat-down, saying he didn't mind it a bit.
As the TSA decides whether to buy the $100,000 machine, its pilot project is expected to last up to 90 days. It may be expanded later this year, using another manufacturer, at Los Angeles International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
"We want to look at the operational capabilities of this machine and have a dialogue with the public about their perceptions of its use," says Ellen Howe, assistant administrator for the Department of Homeland Security.
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Victim of FBI Raid Speaks Out
by Tom Eley
Global Research, October 2, 2010
Antiwar activists in Minneapolis and Chicago targeted in last week’s FBI raids for their support of nationalist movements defined by the US as “terrorist” say they have done nothing illegal and that the invasion of their homes came without warning.
Most of those raided have been served with subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in Chicago on October 12. An unknown number of activists in other states, including Michigan, North Carolina, California and Wisconsin, have been approached by the FBI for interviews, although it is not clear if additional subpoenas have been issued.
Jess Sundin, whose home in south Minneapolis was raided and who received a grand jury subpoena, spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about the government attack.
“At 7 AM I awoke to the sound of banging at my front door,” Sundin said. “My daughter and my partner were already awake. By the time I got downstairs, there were six or seven federal agents in our house.
“When they came in and asked if we had any guns in the house, my six-year-old said, 'We don't believe in guns'. She took offense at the suggestion. We don't even allow toy guns in our house.
“The agents showed me a search warrant and proceeded to go through everything in my house, every room. Among the things they seized, they took books, they took music CD’s, photographs, computers, my cell phone, check book, papers, camera and a lot more.
“We were very clear that we were not going to talk to them. They gave both my partner and me our subpoenas for the grand jury. They told us we were not detained, we could leave, but no one else was allowed in. We couldn’t use the phone, except to call a lawyer.
“They took my phone into their possession and kept it with boxes and lists. I could hear it going off but I wasn’t allowed to answer it. Steff, my partner, kept possession of her phone but we weren't allowed to use it to make or receive phone calls.
“They took about four hours to search the house. I don't know how many boxes they carried out. They gave me a receipt, but I refused to sign it. I said, ‘I don’t know what you’ve taken.’”
Sundin said it was “immediately clear” to her that she was being targeted for her antiwar activism, and, in particular, her activity against US foreign policy in Colombia and the Middle East.
“The US is heavily involved in Colombia,” Sundin said. “They've been building military bases and they've been funding the Colombian government’s war against its own people. It's the third largest recipient of US foreign aid in the world.
“Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. And the Palestinian people have lived for generations—sixty-
plus years—without an internationally recognized state. Their homes are bulldozed, they’re second-class citizens with no right to participate in the political process. And in places like Gaza bombs fall from the sky.”
Sundin said she is a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a founding member of the Anti-War Committee of the Twin Cities, and a member of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Local 3800. She is a clerical worker at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Sundin’s opposition to US foreign policy took her to Iraq in 1998, where the sanctions regime imposed on the country by the Clinton administration and its allies had created a humanitarian disaster.
“We went to a children’s hospital where I was most struck by the empty shelves in the pharmacy and the stories that doctors shared of a health care system that had been the best in the Middle East, but had been paralyzed by the sanctions and the war,” she said. “So you had children that died because there weren't IV fluids to give them. You had people who died because they couldn’t get inhalers for asthma, antibiotics, heart medicine. These things just weren’t available there… The most striking thing I saw was Al Ameriya, which was a bomb shelter that was destroyed by two US smart bombs in 1991.”
Sundin said she does not know what sort of case the government intends to make against her. The search warrant indicates the FBI may well seek criminal prosecution based on the “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,” which, in effect, proscribes political speech in support of organizations the US president defines as “terrorist.”
The law, which prohibits “knowingly provid[ing] material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization,” even if that support consists of “expert advice or assistance” for “lawful, non-violent purposes,” was upheld in June by the Supreme Court in the case Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.
Sundin said she “can't speculate on what the government's plans are, but I will say that when we arise to the defense of democratic rights for any movement, it is for the greater protection of every movement.”
She concluded by pointing to the threat that the raids and grand jury subpoenas pose not just to the targeted individuals, but to their families. “Lastly, I will say that I am the mother of a six-year-old,” Sundin said. “A number of us involved in this case are the parents of young children, and I’m worried about what this means for our kids. I believe that I have the right to speak and that I wasn't putting my job in jeopardy by doing so.”
Those raided by the FBI are clearly under attack for constitutionally protected political speech. The raids and grand jury hearings, at which those subpoenaed do not have the right to counsel, represent a frontal attack on democratic rights and a major step in the direction of police-state forms of rule. The Obama administration has carried out the raids to establish a precedent and test the waters for far more sweeping attacks on political opponents of the government’s reactionary policies, both foreign and domestic.
The Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site call on all workers, youth and students who oppose the war policies of the government and all those who uphold democratic rights to defend the victims of the FBI raids. We have fundamental political differences with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which has its roots in Maoist student groups from the 1960s and 1970s, but we are unreserved in our defense of the democratic rights of the organization and its members against state repression.
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Protesters respond to recent FBI raids
Gazette-Times
gazettetimes.com
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Protesters swelled the ranks of the daily peace vigil outside the Benton County Courthouse on Tuesday to decry a series of recent FBI raids that targeted anti-war activists in the Midwest.
An estimated 20 to 30 demonstrators joined local peace advocates between 5 and 6 p.m. Tuesday on Northwest Fourth Street.
They were there to call attention to raids last Friday on the Minneapolis office of the Anti-War Committee and the homes of several peace activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. The FBI said the raids were part of an investigation into possible support of terrorist activities in Colombia and the Middle East.
“These are peace and justice activists who have devoted their lives to opposing war,” said Tamara Tal, who organized the local protest.
She said her partner, Kosta Harlan, was contacted, but not arrested, by FBI agents in North Carolina Friday in connection with the Midwest raids.
“It’s having a chilling effect on the peace community,” Tal said.
The Corvallis rally, she said, was one of about 30 in various U.S. cities Monday and Tuesday to protest the raids.
Lo’Erna Simpson, who regularly joins the daily vigil at the courthouse, said local peace activists made an effort to be on hand Tuesday to support Tal’s cause. She said the government is targeting the wrong people.
“We’re the ones who are helping create peace,” Simpson said. “We’re not the ones tearing down our government.”
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FBI Raids Activists' Homes in Sinister COINTELPRO Replay
By Tom Burghardt
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21208
Global Research, September 27, 2010
Antifascist Calling... - 2010-09-26
In a replay of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's infamous COINTELPRO operations targeting the left during the 1960s and '70s, America's political police launched raids on the homes of antiwar and solidarity activists.
Heavily-armed SWAT teams smashed down doors and agents armed with search warrants carried out simultaneous raids in Minneapolis and Chicago early morning on September 24.
Rummaging through personal belongings, agents carted off boxes of files, documents, books, letters, photographs, computers and cell phones from Minneapolis antiwar activists Mick Kelly, Jessica Sundin, Meredith Aby, two others, as well as the office of that city's Anti-War Committee.
Meanwhile, as federal snoops seized personal property in Minneapolis, FBI agents raided the Chicago homes of activists Stephanie Weiner and Joseph Iosbaker. According to the Chicago Tribune, "neighbors saw FBI agents carrying boxes from the apartment of community activist Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network."
"In addition," the Tribune reported, "Chicago activist Thomas Burke said he was served a grand jury subpoena that requested records of any payments to Abudayyeh or his group."
Amongst those targeted by the FBI were individuals who organized peaceful protests against the imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq and 2008 protests at the far-right Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
As Antifascist Calling reported in 2008 and 2009, citing documents published by the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, state and local police, the FBI and agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon's Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the United States Secret Service, the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency implemented an action plan designed to monitor and squelch dissent during the convention.
As part of that plan's execution, activists and journalists were preemptively arrested, and cameras, recording equipment, computers and reporters' confidential notes were seized. Demonstrations were broken up by riot cops who wielded batons, pepper spray and tasers and attacked peaceful protesters who had gathered to denounce the war criminals' conclave in St. Paul.
With Friday's raids, the federal government under "change" huckster Barack Obama, has taken their repressive program to a whole new level, threatening activists with the specter of being charged with providing "material support of terrorism." A felony conviction under this draconian federal law (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113B, § 2339B) carries a 15 year prison term.
State-Corporate Nexus
The trend by federal, state and corporate securocrats to situate antiwar and international solidarity activism along a bogus "terrorism continuum," is an alarming sign that plans for building an American police state are well underway as I pointed out in my 2008 analysis of the FBI's "Counterterrorism Analytical Lexicon."
Recently, the secrecy-spilling web site Public Intelligence posted 137 bulletins produced by the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), an American-Israeli company, under terms of a $125,000 contract to the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security.
Billing itself as "the preeminent Israeli/American security firm providing training, intelligence and education to clients across the globe," ITRR is part of a large, but little understood nexus of "public-private partnerships" fusing state and corporate surveillance against leftists and environmentalists.
Amongst the targets of ITRR's alarmist screeds were anti-drilling and environmental activists, permanent quarry for corporate spies and provocateurs, as the web site Green Is The New Red (GNR) amply documents.
Earlier this month, GNR reported that while ITRR and their political paymasters have been monitoring non-violent activists, "including a film screening of Gasland," Pennsylvania's heimat security boss James Powers wrote in an email that his office intended to "continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies."
In the bizarre parallel universe inhabited by Powers and his Israeli cohorts, anti-drilling activists are "ecoterrorists," while the mass-murdering neo-Nazi mastermind of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people including 19 children, Timothy McVeigh, was "just a person very angry with the U.S. government."
While corporate polluters and criminals get a free pass from the federal government and an anti-Muslim and anti-Arab crusade is in full-swing, stoked by right-wing goons and their media shills, it is little wonder then, that Friday's raids targeted supporters of the Palestinian solidarity movement.
Neo-McCarthyite Witchhunt
With a pretext that the raids were seeking "evidence related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation," FBI spokesperson Steve Warfield told The New York Times that repressors are "looking at activities connected to the material support of terrorism."
Attorney Ted Dooley who represents Mick Kelly, a union- and socialist activist targeted by the Bureau told the Times that the SWAT team broke down Kelly's door at 7 a.m. on Friday and served a search warrant on his companion.
According to Dooley, the warrant claimed the secret state was searching for "evidence" that activist groups had provided "material support" to "Hezbollah, the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia."
Dooley told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the raids are nothing less than "a probe into the political beliefs of American citizens and any organization anywhere that opposes the American imperial design."
The political nature of the raids was blatantly transparent. A copy of the search warrant on Kelly's home obtained by Twin Cities Independent Media Center (TC-IMC) revealed that the order, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Nelson specified that Kelly's membership in the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) was a primary motive behind the Bureau's home invasion.
The warrant allowed the FBI to take "documents, files, books, photographs, videos, souvenirs, war relics, notebooks, address books, diaries, journals, maps, or other evidence, including evidence in electronic form relating to Kelly's travels to and from and presence and activities in Minnesota and other foreign countries, to which Kelly has traveled as part of his work for FRSO."
Reprising the red-hunting frenzy of the McCarthy period at the height of the Cold War, the warrant specifies that the Bureau was authorized by Obama's Justice Department to seize material relating to "the recruitment, indoctrination, and facilitation of other individuals in the United States to join FRSO, including materials related to the identity and location of recruiters, facilitators, and recruits, the means by which the recruits were recruited to join FRSO, the means by which the recruitment was financed and arranged."
In other words, with a bogus "terrorism investigation" as a pretext, the Obama regime is targeting socialist political groups for destruction in order for Democrats to whip-up "War on Terror" and anticommunist hysteria prior to November general elections that may see Congress pass into the hands of the troglodytic Republican faction of war criminals and corporatists.
Grand Jury Intimidation
In addition to turning over the homes of antiwar and solidarity activists in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota, the FBI handed out subpoenas ordering individuals to appear before a federal grand jury that will convene next month in Chicago.
While the Bureau cannot compel citizens to answer their questions, administrative means can be used by the secret state to coerce testimony against fellow activists: the federal grand jury system.
As civil liberties scholar Frank Donner wrote in his groundbreaking book, The Age of Surveillance: "Federal grand juries, judicial bodies limited under our legal system to an accusatory role, were in the same way [as red-hunting congressional committees] taken over by the executive branch in the Nixon years and converted into intelligence instruments."
Historically, federal grand juries have targeted dissident groups and individuals as an harassment and intimidation tactic, particularly when activists and organizations challenged the government's imperial adventures abroad and capitalist depredations at home.
Individuals subpoenaed by the state who refuse to answer questions posed by Star Chamber inquisitors can be receive an indeterminate jail sentence for failing to do so.
During the Nixon administration according to Donner, some one hundred grand juries subpoenaed more than one hundred thousand witnesses in a blatant attempt to silence New Left and antiwar groups; as well, members of the Catholic left and supporters of the African-American, Native American, Puerto Rican independence and women's liberation movements were similarly targeted.
While corporate media insist that the COINTELPRO-era disappeared with Nixon, FBI snoops throughout the 1980s, '90s down to the present moment have marked the left for destruction.
Recently, Bay Area Indymedia journalist Josh Wolf was jailed for 226 days in 2006-2007 by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco after refusing to turn over his raw, unedited video footage to the FBI in connection with the Bureau's alleged "arson investigation" against anti-G8 anarchist protests in 2005.
Wolf refused to comply with the subpoena, and National Lawyers Guild attorneys argued that to do so would have a "chilling effect" on journalists who covered future protests, effectively transforming reporters into an arm of the government. Their arguments failed to sway the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Wolf was imprisoned.
When Wolf was released from the Federal Corrections Institution in Dublin, California in 2007, he had been jailed longer than any other journalist for refusing to divulge sources or source materials.
Cover-Ups, Terror, Repression
Today, as the capitalist economic crisis deepens and the "War on Terror" morphs into a multiyear, multibillion dollar boondoggle engorging defense and security corporations with taxpayer-funded boodle, labor, environmental and socialist opponents are in the cross-hairs of the Obama administration, just as they were during the years of the criminal Bush regime.
Activists with diverse groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Group, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera, a Colombian political prisoner, have now been targeted for "special handling" by Obama's Justice Department.
As the imperialist occupation project flies off the rails in Afghanistan, and as governments in Central and South America reject the capitalist "free trade" paradigm of militarism, hyperexploitation and resource extraction that benefit grifting North American multinationals and drug-money laundering banks, the repressive state is moving to shore-up its crumbling edifice here at home.
Friday's raids are all the more ironic, given the fact that just last week the Justice Department's own Office of the Inspector General (OIG) revealed that the Bureau had used false claims to launch "counterterror" investigations to justify covert spying and infiltration operations by provocateurs against activist groups across the country.
That report was a whitewash and largely exonerated the Bureau, clearing secret state agents of deliberate violations of their targets' civil rights and claimed that FBI snoops were motivated by a concern over "potential violence," not the leftist views expressed by U.S. policy opponents.
Although a cover-up, the OIG report disclosed new details of illegal FBI spying on an array of antiwar, Muslim, environmental and animal rights groups. Filled with mendacious characterizations designed as an alibi for "overzealous" agents, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine asserted that people were placed on terrorist watch lists because of "factually weak" evidence and that investigations were opened and continued "without adequate basis," not their opposition to imperialism or destruction of the environment.
The conduct by secret state repressors however, goes far beyond overzealousness. In the wake of the provocative 9/11 attacks, materially aided by the FBI's own informant, the al-Qaeda triple agent Ali Mohamed, "terrorism" continues to serve as a pretext--and justification--for a domestic clampdown against organizations engaged in legal political activity guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and is a key feature of Washington's "War on Terror" policies.
Parenthetically, Fox News reported Sunday that the Pentagon "has burned 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's memoir 'Operation Dark Heart,' his book about going undercover in Afghanistan."
"The Defense Intelligence Agency," the right-wing news outlet reports, "attempted to block key portions of the book that claim 'Able Danger' successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks."
According to Fox, "the DIA wanted references to a meeting between Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, the book's author, and the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, removed. In that meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, Shaffer alleges the commission was told about 'Able Danger' and the identification of Atta before the attacks. No mention of this was made in the final 9/11 report."
Undercover at the time, Shaffer recounted that there was "stunned silence" at the meeting after he told the executive director of the commission and others that Atta was identified as early as 2000 by 'Able Danger'."
While far-right terrorists are given entrée to the United States by secret state agencies to murder its own citizens, organizations targeted by the Bureau's blanket spying according to the Inspector General included Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Catholic Worker and the Thomas Merton Center, a pacifist group dedicated to nonviolence. In one telling passage, Fine wrote, "in some cases, the FBI classified some investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its 'acts of terrorism' classification."
Given imperial assertions by the Bush and now, Obama regimes, that the Executive Branch, and it alone, has the authority to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone it so chooses without trial, on suspicion of "terrorism," categorizing nonviolent protesters as "terrorists" could lead to the seizure of individuals so designated and send them on a one-way trip to a military gulag such as Guantánamo Bay or even a CIA "black site."
In a statement commenting on the release of the OIG's report, Michael German, the American Civil Liberties Union Senior Policy Counsel, and a former FBI whistleblower said:
"The FBI has a long history of abusing its national security surveillance powers, reaching back to the smear campaign waged by the American government against Dr. Martin Luther King. Americans peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights were able to become targets of FBI surveillance because spying guidelines that were established after the shameful abuses of the 60s and 70s were loosened in 2002. Unfortunately, they were loosened again in 2008, even after this abuse was uncovered.
"Unless the rules regulating the FBI are strengthened to safeguard the privacy of innocent Americans, we are all in danger of being spied on and added to terrorist watch lists for doing nothing more than attending a rally or holding up a sign."
With the recent raids on activist homes, the Bureau has issued its unambiguous reply to the Inspector General and the American people.
In response, over 150 people attended a community meeting in Minneapolis Friday night "on less than six hours notice, to begin to respond to Friday morning's FBI raids and subpoenas to local antiwar and international solidarity organizers," the Twin Cities Independent Media Center reported.
"Organizers," according to TC-IMC, "also announced two upcoming events: a protest outside the Minneapolis FBI office, 111 Washington Ave. S., at 4:30pm on Monday; and a solidarity committee meeting on Thursday at 7pm, location to be determined. The subpoenas ask activists to appear before a grand jury in Chicago, where a solidarity vigil was held last night as a raid was still ongoing in that city, on or around October 19, reported a Chicago Indymedia post."
Minnesota civil rights attorney Bruce Nestor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he was "profoundly troubled" by the raids. "Overwhelmingly they're people who are doing public political organizing, so I think it's shocking to have heavily armed federal agents show up at their homes. ... It's all people involved in anti-war activity, and it appears to be focused largely on opposition to the U.S. policy in Colombia and Palestine."
Nestor added. "This is a direct attack on people who are strong, dedicated advocates of freedom, of the right of people to be free from US domination. It is an attack upon anybody who organizes against US imperialism and US militarism abroad."
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Anti-War Activists Targeted by FBI Speak Out
Say Gov't Agents' Searches of Addresses in Minneapolis, Chicago Are Aimed at Intimidating Protest Movement
By Associated Press Writer Karen Hawkins
CBS News
CHICAGO, Sept. 26, 2010
(AP) Two anti-war activists said Saturday that a 12-hour search of their Chicago home by the FBI was an attempt to intimidate them and silence the peace movement.
Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, said the government targeted them because they've been outspoken against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. funding of conflicts abroad. They denied any wrongdoing.
The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East.
Iosbaker and Weiner declined to discuss their relationship with any groups abroad, citing their upcoming testimony before a grand jury on Oct. 5.
"These raids, searches and grand jury investigations are nothing more than an attempt to intimidate us and to intimidate the anti-war movement," Iosbaker said. "We have done nothing wrong."
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said Saturday that the bureau's investigations "are predicated on criminal violations, not First Amendment protected activities."
When reached Friday, FBI spokesman Steve Warfield declined to provide details of the searches, but said there was no imminent threat to the community and the agency wasn't anticipating any arrests "at this time." He said the FBI was seeking evidence related to "activities concerning the material support of terrorism."
The homes of longtime Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby were among those searched. All three were also subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago next month.
The warrant for Kelly's home, provided by his attorney, sought evidence on travel he did as part of his work for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and information on any travel to Colombia, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria or Israel.
Two groups use the name Freedom Road Socialist Organization, one based in Chicago and one in New York. They split several years ago, and the New York group said it was not targeted.
The website for the Chicago group, which describes itself as a "revolutionary socialist and Marxist-Leninist organization," shows Kelly and Sundin have been affiliated with it. Kelly edits FightBack!, a Minneapolis-based website and newspaper for the group.
Kelly's subpoena also commanded him to bring records he might have relating to the Middle East and Colombia, along with "all records of any payment provided directly or indirectly to Hatam Abudayyeh."
The subpoena did not further identify Abudayyeh, but FightBack! has interviewed and carried articles by a Hatam Abudayyeh who's the executive director of the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network.
Abudayyeh did not return a phone message left at his office Friday, and his office mailbox was full Saturday. His cell phone voicemail was also full. Several activists said their cell phones had been confiscated by the FBI.
The website for the Arab American Action Network describes the organization as a "grassroots nonprofit" that "strives to strengthen the Arab community in the Chicago area by building its capacity to be an active agent for positive social change."
Melinda Power, an attorney representing Iosbaker and Weiner, said the couple know Abudayyeh through their work on Palestinian issues, but she didn't know the extent of their relationship. She said Abudayyeh is Palestinian.
Power said Iosbaker, 51, works at the University of Illinois in Chicago, though she didn't know in what capacity, and his wife was a college teacher. UIC's website lists Iosbaker as assistant to the associate chancellor for sustainability.
Iosbaker and Weiner said the raid wouldn't stop them from speaking out. Activists are planning protests outside of FBI offices around the country, they said.
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It Is Official: The US Is A Police State
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, September 25, 2010
On September 24, Jason Ditz reported on Antiwar.com that “the FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of raids against the homes of antiwar activists in Illinois, Minneapolis, Michigan, and North Carolina, claiming that they are ‘seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.’”
Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: “The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that--the old view.” The new view, Napolitano said, is “to counter violent extremism right here at home.”
“Violent extremism” is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning’s FBI’s foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with “the material support of terrorism,” just as conservatives equated Vietnam era anti-war protesters with giving material support to communism.
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AWC organizer Mick Kelly, shot with a less lethal projectile from a few feet away

Keith Smith
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Anti-war activist Mick Kelly whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests. I wonder if Kelly is under-estimating the threat. The FBI’s own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.
“Material support” is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government’s lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government’s declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason.
As this initial FBI foray is a softening up move to get the public accustomed to the idea that the real terrorists are their fellow citizens here at home, Kelly will get off this time. But next time the FBI will find emails on his computer from a “terrorist group” set up by the CIA that will incriminate him. Under the practices put in place by the Bush and Obama regimes, and approved by corrupt federal judges, protesters who have been compromised by fake terrorist groups can be declared “enemy combatants” and sent off to Egypt, Poland, or some other corrupt American puppet state--Canada perhaps--to be tortured until confession is forthcoming that antiwar protesters and, indeed, every critic of the US government, are on Osama bin Laden’s payroll.
Almost every Republican and conservative and, indeed, the majority of Americans will fall for this, only to find, later, that it is subversive to complain that their Social Security was cut in the interest of the war against Iran or some other demonized entity, or that they couldn’t have a Medicare operation because the wars in Central Asia and South America required the money.
Americans are the most gullible people who ever existed. They tend to support the government instead of the Constitution, and almost every Republican and conservative regards civil liberty as a coddling device that encourages criminals and terrorists.
The US media, highly concentrated in violation of the American principle of a diverse and independent media, will lend its support to the witch hunts that will close down all protests and independent thought in the US over the next few years. As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels said, “think of the press as a great keyboard on which the Government can play.”
An American Police State was inevitable once Americans let “their” government get away with 9/11. Americans are too gullible, too uneducated, and too jingoistic to remain a free people. As another Nazi leader Herman Goering said, “ The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. Tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace-makers for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger.”
This is precisely what the Bush and Obama regimes have done. America, as people of my generation knew it, no longer exists.
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Man Faces 7 Year Sentence Under "Wiretapping Law" For Filming Police
OK for police and government to film and wiretap US citizens
Steve Watson
Prison Planet
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A man has been charged in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with filming police officers during a routine traffic stop and faces up to seven years in prison for "wiretapping".
Brian D. Kelly is charged under a state law that bars the intentional interception or recording of anyone's oral conversation without their consent, reports the Patriot News.
The criminal case relates to the sound, not the pictures, that his camera picked up.
His camera and film were seized by police during the May 24 stop, he said, and he spent 26 hours in Cumberland County Prison until his mother posted her house as security for his $2,500 bail. Police also took film from his pockets that wasn't related to the traffic stop, he said.
Kelly, just 18 years old, is obviously extremely scared and has apologized profusely for not knowing the law. he has sought the help of the ACLU in the case.
The charge is invalid because it flouts privacy laws. Under the fourth amendment the expectation of privacy is not reasonable at such public places as automobile thoroughfares.
In other words filming on a public highway cannot be classed as an invasion of privacy.
Furthermore, the expectation of privacy is not reasonable if there exists a vantage point from which anyone, not just a police officer, can see or hear what is going on.
Charging someone with wiretapping for filming on a public highway in this sense would be akin to charging someone with arson for cooking burgers on a grill.
The charge also becomes bogus because the "wiretapping" law is not adhered to by police officers themselves. An exception to the wiretapping law allows police to film people during traffic stops.
In addition police routinely carry microphones that are wired up to their vehicles to record conversations without the knowledge of anyone whom they stop or question.
This is not the first time this has happened either. Last year a North Middleton Twp. man was charged in a street racing case that involved a wiretapping charge. Police claimed the man ordered associates to tape police breaking up an illegal race after officers told him to turn off their cameras.
Furthermore, just last month a 48-year-old man from Dover, New Hampshire was arrested for "wiretapping" for allegedly recording police while they were investigating him for driving while intoxicated.
In addition we have previously covered stories where camera crews have been threatened with arrest for filming peaceful demonstrations, and where cops have been caught stealing protestor's cameras.
Filming in public is a right every American citizen has under the first amendment, which is why the cops in the case above had to steal the camera and the footage, because there was no legal basis to seize it.
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Criminal? Jail Time?
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It seems that filming and photographing is now deemed to be a threat per se. Pick from any number of stories archived at www.freedomtophotograph.com for example.
In Seattle, police banned a photography student from a public park. He was taking photographs of a bridge for a homework assignment. The officers who ban him from the park do so without the knowledge of park officials and have no authority to do so.
In Texas a man was first threatened by neighbors and then reportedly accosted and sprayed with pepper spray by police. He was walking around his neighborhood, filming with his new video camera.
In New York, National Press Photographers Association members staged a protest in the New York subway system to bring attention to a proposed law to ban photography in the subway system.
In Philadelphia a magazine photographer was detained and questioned after a parade for taking architectural shots while waiting for a subway train.
In Harrisburg, PA a man was swarmed by 8 Police and accused of being a member of Al-Qaeda after shooting pictures of his new car under a bridge.
We have recently exposed how some police now do not understand that they are violating the rights of individuals. In other cases we have witnessed police pull out pocket constitutions from cars and question their legality.
In addition we have a government which has been mired in scandal for wiretapping US citizens without warrant, yet when the tables are turned US citizens face the full wrath of the corrupt judicial system.
Though clearly Brian D. Kelly had no criminal intent and is likely to escape with just a fine, the case sets a dangerous precedent. US citizens can be arrested and charged for filming on public streets.
It also sets the precedent that those who enforce the law are also above the law.
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Tyranny in the USA: The true history of FDA raids on healers, vitamin shops and supplement companies
Mike Adams
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Here's a brief overview of some of the campaigns of terror the FDA has initiated against natural healers, nutritional supplement companies and other organizations. Many were conducted using armed agents wielding assault rifles and automatic weapons, dressed in body armor. All of them were intended to destroy natural medicine, thereby protecting the profits of drug companies and conventional medicine practitioners.
This is the true history of the FDA that the FDA doesn't wan't you to know!
(This timeline is excerpted from my book Natural Health Solutions and the Conspiracy to Keep You From Knowing About Them)
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1987: The Life Extension Raids
The Life Extension Foundation (www.LEF.org) has long been targeted by the FDA. It is a non-profit organization that publishes information about the healing power of nutritional supplements and genuine anti-aging breakthroughs from the world of natural health.
On February 26, 1987, approximately 25 armed FDA agents and U.S. Marshals burst through the glass doors of the Ft. Lauderdale offices of the Life Extension Foundation with guns drawn. A second group of FDA agents simultaneously attacked the LEF warehouse, where they detained LEF founder William Faloon at gunpoint.
Employees were lined up against the wall and searched. Agents rifled through the personal belonging of the employees and confiscated many items. Over the next 12 hours, they seized thousands of items, including nutritional products, files, and documents, including 5,000 newsletters that were about to be mailed to subscribers. Computers and telephones were reportedly, "…ripped from the wall," and agents seized anything they could find regardless of whether such items were actually named in the search warrant. Later analysis revealed that 80 percent of the seized items were never named in the warrant.
Not surprisingly, the entire legal basis for the raid was fraudulent to begin with. The search warrant, issued by Magistrate Lurana S. Snow, was based on perjured testimony by FDA agent Martin Katz. But the intent to terrorize the Life Extension Foundation worked: Employees suffered nightmares and many were afraid to come to work.
Rather than giving in to the tyranny of the FDA, Bill Faloon and the Life Extension Foundation chose to fight for their First Amendment rights. As explained by Saul Kent of the Life Extension Foundation at www.LEF.org:
Everyone we consulted, including attorneys who were FDA "experts", told us we had to submit to the FDA's authority to have any chance of surviving. We ignored all this advice and instead decided to wage all-out war against the FDA. We did this knowing that we would not only risk our livelihood, but our personal freedom as well
.We were told again and again that the FDA had the unlimited resources of the federal government at its disposal, and that an organization with fewer than 5,000 members had no chance of winning an all-out war with them.
To further terrorize the Life Extension Foundation and its founders, the FDA, with the help of various corrupt law enforcement bodies, filed 56 criminal charges against Foundation officers Saul Kent and William Faloon. After an 11-year reign of terror in which the FDA spent millions of taxpayer dollars attempting to prosecute them, Kent and Faloon prevailed. In November, 1995, Federal Judge Daniel Hurley dismissed 55 of the 56 charges, and in February, 1996, the final charge was dismissed.
And thus ended the FDA's campaign of terror against the Life Extension Foundation. It was the first time in 88 years that the FDA had been forced to give up its prosecution efforts and throw in the towel.
As Saul Kent says, "The FDA's dismissal of the charges against me (and Bill Faloon) is an unprecedented victory against FDA tyranny that goes far beyond winning in court. The FDA's historic defeat is a victory for everyone who cherishes freedom in healthcare."
In 1994, the Life Extension Foundation established the FDA Holocaust Museum to document the decades-long reign of terror the FDA has perpetrated against the American people.
1990 - The El Cajon pet food store raid
In 1990, FDA agents raided the pet food store of Sissy Harrington-McGill, a 57-year-old pet lover who was guilty of the "crime" of claiming that vitamins would help keep pets healthy. Without a search warrant, FDA agents ransacked her store, confiscating products and literature.
She was later tried and convicted of violating the Health Claims Law, a law that did not exist at the time of the raid and was never passed by the U.S. Congress. Nonetheless, likely due to FDA pressure on the presiding judge, she was sentenced to 179 days in prison and fined $10,000 for daring to say that vitamins are good for puppy dogs!
1990 - The Highland Laboratories raid
In 1990, Ken Scott ran a vitamin business in Mt. Angel, Oregon, a small rural town. He was selling nutritional supplements containing coenzyme Q10, a vital nutrient for cellular energy that has received tremendous praise from the scientific community for boosting cardiovascular health, preventing congestive heart failure, improving blood pressure and cholesterol profiles, as well as many other benefits. To help educate customers about the healing power of CoQ10, he offered to send reprints of magazine and newspaper articles describing some of the scientific findings about the nutrient.
This public education effort, of course, would not be tolerated by the FDA Gestapo. So the FDA organized an armed raid comprised of nine FDA agents, 11 U.S. Marshals and eight Oregon state police. With guns drawn, they kicked in the doors to Ken Scott's business and conducted one of the most terror-driven "vitamin" raids in U.S. history.
For the next 11 hours, agents confiscated nearly everything they could find at Highland Laboratories. Ken Scott and his employees were threatened with violence if they tried to set foot in the office, and his daughter, who was located miles away, was illegally detained and held in "house arrest" for 12 hours.
The FDA, you see, would not tolerate Ken Scott mailing scientific literature or articles to his customers. So in order to comply with the FDA, Scott later hired an outside mailing service owned by his daughter to run the article mailing operations.
The FDA's response to that? They illegally raided the mailing service company and threatened to confiscate the checkbook and cash of its owner. Out of fear (terrorism works, you see?), that owner subsequently closed her business and refused to file charges against the FDA.
Ken Scott was ultimately forced to cut a deal with prosecutors, and eventually served five years on probation for his "crime" of telling the truth about CoQ10.
The message from the FDA to other vitamin companies couldn't be more clear: Don't you dare tell your customers the truth about vitamins, or we'll shut you down and prosecute you!
1990: The Century Clinic "chelation" raids
In Reno, Nev., 1990, the Century Clinic was raided by the FDA and Postal Service inspectors. Agents seized large quantities of items from the clinic, virtually wiping it out of computers and equipment, as well as patient records and files. No charges were filed.
After Century Clinic rebuilt and sued the FDA for the return of its property, the FDA raided it again and conducted a search of the persons and homes of the owners and employees. Patients at the clinic were reportedly interrogated and not allowed to leave without turning over their names and addresses. No charges were ever filed against the clinic or its owners.
1991: The Tijuana cancer clinic kidnapping
Jimmy Keller cured his own cancer through the use of natural medicine therapies. Encouraged by success with his own cancer, he pursued a career in natural medicine and later moved to Mexico and opened a clinic that could legally treat U.S. patients with the disease (treating cancer naturally is illegal in the United States, so the best practitioners are forced to open clinics in Mexico or other countries). The success of this clinic caught the eye of health authorities in the United States, and they decided to put a stop to it.
In March 1991, armed Mexican police officers, with no warrants or charges whatsoever, kidnapped Keller from the St. Jude Hospital and delivered him to U.S. Justice Department bounty hunters who, against his will, drove him across the border to the USA. There, the FBI arrested him and charged him with wire fraud (Keller had used the telephone to hold conversations with prospective patients). Keller was later convicted of wire fraud and sent to a North Dakota prison for two years. His kidnapping and arrest are blatantly illegal under international law.
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1992 - Raid on Nature's Way
In 1992 in Utah; the FDA seized bulk primrose oil from Nature's Way, a manufacturer that offers some of the highest-quality supplements in the business. Nature's Way filed a lawsuit to get their product returned, but was forced to remove the natural Vitamin E from the formulation, as the FDA insisted that Vitamin E had not been approved as an additive for primrose oil.
1992 - The Tahoma Clinic FDA Raid
On May 6, 1992, FDA agents joined armed King County police officers in an armed raid against the clinic of Dr. Jonathan Wright, an M.D. and natural health practitioner. His crime? He was treating patients with injectable high-dose B vitamins -- a safe, natural treatment -- and in doing so was actually helping patients heal.
The armed agents smashed down the door, rushed into the clinic like a SWAT team with guns drawn, terrorizing the patients and shouting at them to put their hands in the air. Over the next fourteen hours, agents rifled through Dr. Wright's clinic, seizing patient records, computers, vitamin supplies, and various natural therapy products. The FDA illegally held on to confiscated items, including the computers needed to run his clinic, for three years.
But was Dr. Wright really so dangerous as to justify an armed raid? He's a graduate of Harvard and the University of Michigan Medical School. He's a book author, a prolific public speaker, and served as the nutrition editor of Prevention magazine for more than ten years. The purpose of the FDA raid was clearly not to arrest Dr. Wright, who was never charged. Rather, the purpose appears to be conducting a campaign of terror: sending a message to the alternative medicine community that anyone engaged in nutritional treatments could be raided and shut down, with no legal justification.
It was all part of the FDA's campaign against natural health treatments, a campaign that continues to this day.
1992: The Texas vitamin store raids
In 1992, the FDA prompted the Texas Department of Health (TDH) and the Texas Department of Food and Drug to conduct raids on more than 12 health food stores. Agents seized flaxseed oil, aloe vera, zinc supplements, vitamin C, and even Sleepytime Tea. One health food store owner was reportedly threatened by TDH with, "Don't talk to the press, or we'll come down on you twice as hard!"
None of the confiscated products were ever returned to the store owners, no charges were filed, and no reason for the raids was ever given. The raids were simply a campaign of terror designed to destroy the inventory and disrupt business operations of stores selling natural health products.
1993: The health food store raids
In 1993, the war against health freedom reached its peak in Texas, where combined forces of the FDA, DEA, IRS, U.S. Customs, and U.S. Postal Services conducted commando-style raids on nearly 40 different health food stores, vitamin companies, and natural health clinics from May through September. The homes of company owners and employees were also raided, and some raids were conducted with SWAT teams brandishing assault weapons and flak jackets.
In one home, a mother who was breast feeding her infant was reportedly "roughed up and handcuffed for 11 hours while FDA agents ransacked her home." Items seized in the raids included vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements. IRS officials also seized computers, automobiles, and bank accounts. The U.S. Postal Service illegally blocked the mail of some of the targeted companies, denying them the ability to conduct business or even organize a legal defense.
Targeted products included Dr. Kurt Donsbach's nutritional products and Dr. Hans Neiper's German-made health products.
The 1963 Church of Scientology raid
In the early 1960s, the FDA got word of something it didn't like: The Church of Scientology was helping its members overcome mental problems with the use of a simple biofeedback device called the E-meter. With the market for psychotropic drugs so consistently profitable, and with Scientology gaining momentum in helping millions of people overcome severe emotional and mental problems, this E-meter had to be taken out of play… and fast!
To do so, the FDA filed a "libel of information" with a U.S. District Court, after which Judge William B. Jones ordered a warrant authorizing the arrest of the E-meters. Yes, the meters themselves were to be arrested. The warrant also authorized the arrest of "an undetermined number of items of written, printed or graphic matter."
With the warrant issued, armed U.S. Marshals and FDA agents launched a military-style raid on the church. According to sworn affidavits of eyewitnesses, the agents "…burst into the church offices… and loudly demanded and threatened all in sight; observed absolutely no courtesies except for not actually shooting the guns they carried, and denied to the Church administrators any opportunity to arrange that students and Church members not be disturbed, upset or terrorized.
"Showing no legal warrant, the agents and … deputies pounded their way up stairways, bursting into confessional and pastoral counseling sessions, causing disruption and violently preventing the quiet pursuit of the normal practice of religious philosophy.
"They seized all the publications and all the confessional aids called E-meters they could find in desks, in ladies' handbags, in students' briefcases and in the session rooms.
"… the agents removed from the church to the waiting vans some tens of thousands of copies of over twenty Church books, texts, recorded sermons; even the Church archives were sacked. The confiscated material was handled roughly, and when ministers of the Church asked that their property be handled more carefully, the 'deputies' from Baltimore gave only sneering illiteracies for answer."
In all, three tons of materials were seized. In clear violation of both the First and Fourth Amendments, the FDA had illegally used its powers to spread yet more fear and terror through the world -- this time, to raid a church.
All religions have healing tools
Of course, Scientology is not as mainstream as Christianity, Buddhism, or Catholicism, but since when did religions have to be popular to enjoy equal protection under the U.S. Constitution? Besides, various churches have always attributed special healing powers to their particular tools. Roman Catholic churches have Holy Water and other healing elements (Easter wafers, Saint Glaize Candles, Scapulars, and so on). Other religions use prayer clothes, prayer oils, and various pieces of string for which healing benefits are commonly prescribed. Nearly all churches recognize prayer as an effective form of healing. Yet the FDA chose to single out Scientology's E-meter machine, likely because it perceived the device as presenting a genuine threat to psychiatry's monopoly over mental health treatment.
The FDA, you see, believes it not only regulates foods, drugs, and cosmetics, but also religions. Only "mainstream" religious practices will be allowed, and any such religions that use alternative symbols, rituals, or scriptures will be prosecuted, regardless of what the Constitution says. The rule of law never interferes with the FDA's campaigns of terror.
The history of the U.S. government's persecution of the Church of Scientology is long and complex, and it is a sad demonstration of true religious intolerance right here in the United States. The First Amendment, which protects both Free Speech and Religion, offers no real protection against the criminals at the FDA, who have for decades attempted to suppress alternative philosophies that actually help people heal.
After nine years of protracted legal battles, and the expenditure of countless millions in taxpayer dollars that funded the prosecution efforts, the Church of Scientology achieved a victory in the courts, and the FDA was forced to return the E-meters. Yet, just to inflict a little more pain and punishment upon the Church, the court ordered the Church of Scientology to pay for all the warehousing costs of the confiscated items held over the previous nine years, plus all the legal fees of the government's prosecution efforts. The courts also ruled that all Scientology literature describing the E-meter must carry a warning message written by the FDA, and that the church must pay the salaries and travel expenses of FDA agents who would, from time to time, visit the church to ensure compliance with the courts. (Source: The Hidden Story of Scientology, Omar V. Garrison, page 143.)
In other words, the Church of Scientology was to be severely punished for daring to oppose the tyranny of the FDA. Just as a factory-working Jewish prisoner who talked back to his Nazi captors in 1942 would be beaten and shot, the FDA made sure that the Church of Scientology would pay a dear price for daring to question the authority of this all-powerful federal agency, an agency that could summon the aid of firearms-brandishing law enforcement officials at any time, for apparently any reason, regardless of its legality.
Other FDA raids
1991, San Leandro, Calif.: A nutritional supplement company, NutriCology, is raided by 12 FDA agents. All FDA injunctions were eventually thrown out of court.
1991, Texas: The anti-cancer clinic of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a brilliant researcher from Poland, is raided by the FDA and the Texas Department of Health. Just before the raids, the National Cancer Institute had announced they would evaluate the pioneering work of Dr. Burzynski, which involved cancer treatment using antineoplastons. With the help of health freedom champions like Dr. Julian Whitaker, Dr. Burzynski fought FDA oppression and went on to save the lives of countless cancer patients, some of which are profiled on his clinic website today: www.CancerMed.com
1992, San Diego, Calif.: The heads of three European vitamin companies, along with their U.S. marketing professional David Halpern, are arrested and charged with 198 counts of conspiracy, smuggling, and violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for importing simple nutritional supplements that are freely available in Britain, Germany, and other European countries. The indictments reportedly carried combined prison terms of 990 years.
And this report, by the way, doesn't even cover the FDA's terror-style tactics against a company called Lane Labs, which developed and marketed anti-cancer supplements that really worked.
As you can see from this report, it is quite clear that the FDA has the intention of destroying natural medicine using any means necessary, including terrorism tactics.
And who supports the FDA? Pharmaceutical companies, medical associations, doctors, medical journals, hospitals and numerous corrupt Congresspeople and Senators. By supporting the FDA, they condone the use of terrorism tactics against the American people and, ultimately, support the continued use of police state tactics against innocents.
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GOP revives ISP-tracking legislation
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News
February 6, 2007
All Internet service providers would need to track their customers' online activities to aid police in future investigations under legislation introduced Tuesday as part of a Republican "law and order agenda."
Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store those records forever.
Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, called it a necessary anti-cybercrime measure. "The legislation introduced today will give law enforcement the tools it needs to find and prosecute criminals," he said in a statement.
A second requirement, also embedded in Smith's so-dubbed Safety Act (PDF), requires owners of sexually explicit Web sites to post warning labels on their pages or face imprisonment. This echoes, nearly word for word, a proposal from last year that was approved by a Senate committee but never made it to a floor vote.
Even though both requirements are central to a Republican-led effort, neither data retention nor Web labeling are that partisan. A Senate committee approved a telecommunications bill that included Web labeling by a 15-7 vote in June. And Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, has been the most vocal proponent of data retention in the entire Congress.
Other bills in the Republicans' "law and order" agenda are related to terrorism, the death penalty, gangs, computer data breaches and drug trafficking.
The legislative fusillade marks the renewal of a political tussle that began in earnest last April, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called on Congress to target Internet providers with new regulations, which have been generally opposed by telecommunications companies and civil liberties organizations. CNET News.com was the first to report that the Bush administration has been pushing for such a rule privately since mid-2005.
Until this week, however, no formal bill had been introduced in the U.S. Congress.
Supporters of the proposal say it's necessary to help track criminals if police don't respond immediately to reports of illegal activity and the relevant logs are deleted by Internet providers. They cite cases of child molestation, for instance. Industry representatives respond by saying there's no evidence that Internet providers have dragged their feet when responding to subpoenas from law enforcement.
Details about data retention requirements would be left to Gonzales. At a minimum, the bill says, the regulations must require storing records "such as the name and address of the subscriber or registered user to whom an Internet Protocol address, user identification or telephone number was assigned, in order to permit compliance with court orders."
Because there is no limit on how broad the rules can be, Gonzales would be permitted to force Internet providers to keep logs of Web browsing, instant message exchanges, or e-mail conversations indefinitely. (The bill does not, however, explicitly cover search engines or Web hosting companies, which officials have talked about before as targets of regulation.)
That broad wording also would permit the records to be obtained by private litigants in noncriminal cases, such as divorces and employment disputes. That raises additional privacy concerns, civil libertarians say.
The American Civil Liberties Union is skeptical of data retention and Web labeling. "It's going to be very difficult for Web sites to know whether they fit into this," said ACLU legislative counsel Marv Johnson, referring to the labeling rules. "And then when you throw in the 'sexually explicit materials' definition, does that include safe-sex Web sites?"
"Preservation" vs. "Retention"
Currently, Internet service providers typically discard any log file that's no longer required for business reasons such as network monitoring, fraud prevention or billing disputes. Companies do, however, alter that general rule when contacted by police performing an investigation--a practice called data preservation.
A 1996 federal law called the Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act regulates data preservation. It requires Internet providers to retain any "record" in their possession for 90 days "upon the request of a governmental entity."
Because Internet addresses remain a relatively scarce commodity, ISPs tend to allocate them to customers from a pool based on if a computer is in use at the time. (Two standard techniques used are the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet.)
In addition, Internet providers are required by another federal law to report child pornography sightings to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is in turn charged with forwarding that report to the appropriate police agency.
When adopting its data retention rules, the European Parliament approved U.K.-backed requirements saying that communications providers in its 25 member countries--several of which had enacted their own data retention laws already--must retain customer data for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.
The Europe-wide requirement, expected to take effect next year, applies to a wide variety of "traffic" and "location" data, including the identities of the customers' correspondents; the date, time, and duration of phone calls, voice over Internet Protocol calls, or e-mail messages; and the location of the device used for the communications. But the "content" of the communications is not supposed to be retained.
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The Private Arm of the Law
Some Question the Granting of Police Power to Security Firms
By Amy GoldsteinWashington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Kevin Watt crouched down to search the rusted Cadillac he had stopped for cruising the parking lot of a Raleigh apartment complex with a broken light. He pulled out two open Bud Light cans, an empty Corona bottle, rolling papers, a knife, a hammer, a stereo speaker, and a car radio with wires sprouting out.
"Who's this belong to, man?" Watt asked the six young Latino men he had frisked and lined up behind the car. Five were too young to drink. None had a driver's license. One had under his hooded sweat shirt the tattoo of a Hispanic gang across his back.
A gang initiation, Watt thought.
With the sleeve patch on his black shirt, the 9mm gun on his hip and the blue light on his patrol car, he looked like an ordinary police officer as he stopped the car on a Friday night last month. Watt works, though, for a business called Capitol Special Police. It is one of dozens of private security companies given police powers by the state of North Carolina -- and part of a pattern across the United States in which public safety is shifting into private hands.
Private firms with outright police powers have been proliferating in some places -- and trying to expand their terrain. The "company police agencies," as businesses such as Capitol Special Police are called here, are lobbying the state legislature to broaden their jurisdiction, currently limited to the private property of those who hire them, to adjacent streets. Elsewhere -- including wealthy gated communities in South Florida and the Tri-Rail commuter trains between Miami and West Palm Beach -- private security patrols without police authority carry weapons, sometimes dress like SWAT teams and make citizen's arrests.
Private security guards have outnumbered police officers since the 1980s, predating the heightened concern about security brought on by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. What is new is that police forces, including the Durham Police Department here in North Carolina's Research Triangle, are increasingly turning to private companies for help. Moreover, private-sector security is expanding into spheres -- complex criminal investigations and patrols of downtown districts and residential neighborhoods -- that used to be the province of law enforcement agencies alone.
The more than 1 million contract security officers, and an equal number of guards estimated to work directly for U.S. corporations, dwarf the nearly 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States.
The enormous Wackenhut Corp. guards the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and screens visitors to the Statue of Liberty.
"You can see the public police becoming like the public health system," said Thomas M. Seamon, a former deputy police commissioner for Philadelphia who is president of Hallcrest Systems Inc., a leading security consultant. "It's basically, the government provides a certain base level. If you want more than that, you pay for it yourself."
The trend is triggering debate over whether the privatization of public safety is wise. Some police and many security officials say communities benefit from the extra eyes and ears. Yet civil libertarians, academics, tenants rights organizations and even a trade group that represents the nation's large security firms say some private security officers are not adequately trained or regulated. Ten states in the South and West do not regulate them at all.
Some warn, too, that the constitutional safeguards that cover police questioning and searches do not apply in the private sector. In Boston, tenants groups have complained that "special police," hired by property managers to keep low-income apartment complexes orderly, were overstepping their bounds, arresting young men who lived there for trespassing.
In 2005, three of the private officers were charged with assault after they approached a man talking on a cellphone outside his front door. They asked for identification and, when he refused, followed him inside and beat him in front of his wife and three children.
Lisa Thurau-Gray, director of the Juvenile Justice Center at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, said private police "are focusing on the priority of their employer, rather than the priority of public safety and individual rights." But Boston police Sgt. Raymond Mosher, who oversees licensing of special police, says such instances are rare.
Private police officers "do some tremendously good things," Mosher said, recalling one who chased down a teenager running with a loaded gun.
In Durham, after shootings on city buses, the transit authority hired Wackenhut Corp. police to work in the main terminal in tandem with city police officers stationed on buses.
"There is a limit to the amount of law enforcement you can expect taxpayers to support," said Ron Hodge, Durham's deputy police chief, who said some of his requests for additional officers have been turned down in recent years. Although, as in most cities, some Durham police work privately while they are off-duty, Hodge said the demand for off-duty police outstrips the supply.
In one of the country's most ambitious collaborations, the Minneapolis Police Department three years ago started a project called "SafeZone" with private security officers downtown, estimated to outnumber the police there 13 to 1. Target Corp. and other local companies paid for a wireless video camera system in downtown office buildings that is shared with the police. The police department created a shared radio frequency. So far, the department has trained 600 security officers on elements of an arrest, how to write incident reports and how to testify in court.
When a bank was robbed in the fall, a police dispatcher broadcast the suspect's description over the radio. Within five minutes, a security officer spotted the man, bag of cash in hand, and helped arrest him.
Private police officers work across the Washington area, although their numbers have not been growing sharply. According to the D.C. police department, any private security employee who is armed must be licensed as a "special police" officer with arrest powers; the city has more than 4,000 of them, including at universities and some hospitals. Maryland and Virginia, which have different criteria, each have several hundred private police, according to law enforcement and regulatory officials.
In Virginia, the Wintergreen Resort has a private police department with 11 sworn officers. They include an investigator who last year helped solve a string of break-ins along the Appalachian Trail, identifying the burglar with images from the department's video camera when he drove out of the resort with a stolen car.
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services is also trying to foster closer ties between security companies without police powers and the police and sheriff's departments. The agency has begun training and certifying "Private Crime Prevention Practitioners" and soon plans to send security companies e-mails with unclassified homeland security threats and crime alerts.
Maryland has no similar collaboration, according to the Maryland State Police, which licenses security officers. The District is strengthening its supervision of security and private police, with new requirements for training and background checks having been adopted by the D.C. Council.
Some of the most sophisticated private security operations have expanded in part because of shrinking local and federal resources. The nation's largest bank, Bank of America, hired Chris Swecker as its corporate security executive last year when he retired as assistant director of the FBI. Even as identity theft and other fraud schemes have been booming, Swecker said, fewer federal investigators are devoted to solving such crimes, and many U.S. attorney's offices will not prosecute them unless their value reaches $100,000.
As a result, he said, federal officials now ask the bank's own investigators to do the work, including a three-year probe that helped police and the FBI piece together an identity-theft ring that defrauded 800 bank customers of $11 million.
In North Carolina, the state Department of Justice requires company police to go through the same basic training as public officers. They have full police powers on the property they are hired to protect.
Capitol Special Police's owner, Roy G. Taylor, was chief of three small nearby police departments and held state law enforcement jobs before starting the company in 2002.
As Hispanic gangs were increasing, he said, "I saw a niche." The company has eight officers, some of whom are part time while working for area police departments.
They have used batons and pepper spray but have not fired a service weapon, Taylor said. Once, in an apartment complex where they worked in nearby Carrboro, Capt. Nicole Howard, Taylor's wife, dressed in plain clothes to attract a convicted rapist who had been peering in windows and stalking women. Then she arrested him for trespassing.
Today, charging $35 per hour, the firm has contracts with four apartment complexes, a bowling alley, two shopping centers and a pair of private nightclubs. A few weeks ago, two of the Taylors' employees, Capt. Kenny Mangum and Officer Matt Saylors, walked over to a car at the nightclub Black Tie to warn the men inside not to loiter in the parking lot. Catching a whiff of marijuana, they found seven rocks of crack cocaine in the ashtray and two handguns under the seat of the driver, who was a convicted felon. They called the Raleigh police to handle the arrest.
Because they are part of a private company, Taylor and his officers are mindful that customers are billed for the time they spend testifying in court.
"I try to make arrests only when absolutely necessary," said Watt, the officer who stopped the six men with the open beer cans. The company's marked patrol cars, he said, do not have radios to call for backup help or computers to check immediately for outstanding warrants or criminal records.
After satisfying himself that the six young men, lined up nervously and shivering in the cold night air, had no drugs, Watt let them go.
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Police State USA
by Rep. Ron Paul
August 10, 2004
Last week's announcement that the terrorist threat warning level has been raised in parts of New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., has led to dramatic and unprecedented restrictions on the movements of citizens. Americans wishing to visit the U.S. Capitol must, for example, pass through several checkpoints and submit to police inspection of their cars and persons.
Many Americans support the new security measures because they claim to feel safer when the government issues terror alerts and fills the streets with militarized police forces. As one tourist interviewed this week said, "It makes me feel comfortable to know that everything is being checked." It is ironic that tourists coming to Washington to celebrate the freedoms embodied in the Declaration of Independence are so eager to give up those freedoms with no questions asked.
Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens' lives. This doesn't stop governments, including our own, from seeking more control over and intrusion into our lives. As one Member of Congress stated to the press last week, "people who don't want to be searched don't need to come on Capitol grounds." What an insult! The Capitol belongs to the American people who pay for it, not to Congress or the police.
It is worth noting that the government rushes first to protect itself, devoting enormous resources to make places like the Capitol grounds safe, while just beyond lies one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the nation. What makes Congress more worthy of protection from terrorists than ordinary citizens?
To understand the nature of our domestic response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, we must understand the nature of government. Government naturally expands, and any crises – whether real or manufactured – serve to justify more and more government power over our lives. Bureaucrats have used the tragedy of 9/11 as an excuse to seize police powers sought for decades, such as warrantless searches, Internet monitoring, and access to bank records. It should be no surprise that the recently released report of the 9/11 Commission has but one central recommendation: bigger government and more spending at home and abroad.
Every new security measure represents another failure of the once-courageous American spirit. The more we change our lives, the more we obsess about terrorism, the more the terrorists have won. As commentator Lew Rockwell of the Ludwig von Mises Institute explains, terrorists in effect have been elevated by our response to 9/11: "They are running the country. They determine our civic life. They shape our private life. They decide how public resources are spent. They may dictate who gets to be the next president. It should be obvious that the government doesn't object. Not at all. The government benefits, by getting ever more reason for ever more money and power."
Every generation must resist the temptation to believe that it lives in the most dangerous time in American history. The threat of Islamic terrorism is real, but it is not the greatest danger ever faced by our nation. This is not to dismiss the threat of terrorism, but rather to put it in perspective. Those who seek to whip the nation into a frenzy of fear do a disservice to a country that expelled the British, fought two world wars, and stared down the Soviet empire.
Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.
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Also See:
Comrade, Welcome to the Police State! (Part 1)
30 October 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/10/xxx.html
and
Is Orwell Dead? Big Brother Isn't (Part 1)
14 April 2007
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2007/04/is-orwell-dead-big-brother-isnt.html
and
Is Orwell Dead? Big Brother Isn't (Part 2)
21 May 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-orwell-dead-big-brother-isnt-part-2.html
and
Kent State Massacre in 1970
08 May 2007
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2007/05/kent-state-massacre-in-1970.html
and
Lets Not Forget Ruby Ridge
11 December 2008
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2008/12/lets-not-forget-ruby-ridge.html
and
Aldous Huxley and George Orwell
03 March 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/03/aldous-huxley.html
and
Martial Law? Revolution? What is in the Future?
24 July 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/07/bizarre-you-decide.html
and
ID Cards - Soon Everyone will have One!
03 September 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/09/those-pesty-id-cards-everyone-will-have.html
and
Big Brother is Watching
06 September 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/09/big-brother-is-watching.html
and
Big Brother in the United Kingdom!
02 April 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/04/big-brother-in-united-kingdom.html
and
Canadian and United States Border
09 May 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/05/canadian-and-united-states-border.html
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