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Posts Tagged ‘City government abuse’

Well, of course BART’s action resembles a strategy employed by Middle East dictatorships. The high-tech control grid is being deployed uniformly around the world. And yet many in America and Europe and other “social democracies” are stuck in the illusion that we have liberty.

BART’s shut-off of subterranean cell phone service in its downtown San Francisco stations may have prevented a protest Thursday, but it sparked accusations Friday that the action stifled free speech and smacked of the kind of government intrusion employed by Middle East dictators.

“All over the world, people are using mobile devices to protest oppressive regimes, and governments are shutting down cell phone towers and the Internet to stop them,” said Michael Risher, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. “It’s outrageous that in San Francisco, BART is doing the same thing.”

Read the rest at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Denver cops aren’t known for being warm and cuddly. See also Denver Man Beaten for Offering to Testify against Cops.

On the night of January 15, 2009, nineteen-year-old Community College of Denver student Alexander Landau was stopped by Denver police for allegedly making an illegal left turn. But according to a federal complaint filed yesterday, within minutes of the stop Landau was being beaten by three Denver cops, two of whom were wielding a radio and a flashlight as bludgeons. When it was all over, he was taken to Denver Health to be treated for a broken nose, lacerations and closed head injuries — but not before he demanded somebody take photos of him.

The lengthy and detailed complaint is the latest in a string of high-profile cases of alleged police brutality incidents that have captured local headlines and led to the resignation of Denver Manager of Safety Ron Perea. The issue was even discussed during the swearing-in ceremony of interim mayor Bill Vidal earlier today.

Landau’s story may add fuel to the fire — especially since one of the officers named in his complaint, Randy Murr, also played a role in the controversial police beating of Michael deHerrera. The complaint filed on Landau’s behalf notes that in the process of the traffic stop, police found marijuana on Landau’s passenger, a fellow student named Addison Hunold, and proceeded to search Landau’s car. Apparently the situation spun out of control when the cops asked Landau if they could search his trunk and Landau stepped towards them, asking if they had a warrant. Allegedly the three officers then on the scene – Murr, Ricky Nixon and Tiffany Middleton — then proceeded to punch him in the face and then, once he fell over, beat him for several minutes, with one officer yelling, “He’s going for the gun.” According to the complaint, when it was all over, Landau heard one officer say to him, “Where’s that warrant now, you fucking nigger?

Read the rest at Denver Westword.

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The author of this column claims that the sole purpose of the Dept. of Homeland security is to provide bonanzas for favored congressional districts. Its purpose goes further than that: To maintain a constant mood of low-level fear so the people will continue going along with government abuses of power.

Hardly anyone has seriously scrutinized either the priorities or the spending patterns of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its junior partner, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), since their hurried creation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Sure, they get criticized plenty. But year in, year out, they continue to grow faster and cost more — presumably because Americans think they are being protected from terrorism by all that spending. Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that the agencies are making Americans any safer.

DHS serves only one clear purpose: to provide unimaginable bonanzas for favored congressional districts around the United States, most of which face no statistically significant security threat at all. One thinks of the $436,504 that the Blackfeet Nation of Montana received in fiscal 2010 “to help strengthen the nation against risks associated with potential terrorist attacks”; the $1,000,000 that the village of Poynette, Wisconsin (pop. 2,266) received in fiscal 2009 for an “emergency operations center”; or the $67,000 worth of surveillance equipment purchased by Marin County, California, and discovered, still in its original packaging, four years later. And indeed, every U.S. state, no matter how landlocked or underpopulated, receives, by law, a fixed percentage of homeland security spending every year.

As for the TSA, I am not aware of a single bomber or bomb plot stopped by its time-wasting procedures. In fact, TSA screeners consistently fail to spot the majority of fake “bombs” and bomb parts the agency periodically plants to test their skills. In Los Angeles, whose airport was targeted by the “millennium plot” on New Year’s 2000, screeners failed some 75 percent of these tests.

Read the rest at Foreign Policy.

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Notice how, over time, we have become conditioned to believe that rights are granted to us by government—a belief that was abhorrent to the Founding Fathers, who believed certain rights are innate and inviolate. When rights are granted by government, they may be easily withdrawn, and a right that may be withdrawn is no right at all.

Click on Maine, and you find that the entire state is highlighted as a “Constitution Free Zone,” meaning that we lack full constitutional rights.  How can that be?  The United States Border and Customs Patrol defines the border as anywhere within one hundred miles of the physical geographic border.  We tested that theory in Maine, and it’s true: all of Maine falls within 100 miles of either the coast or Canada. That means Border Patrol asserts its authority to stop anyone at anytime in the State of Maine without probable cause or reasonable suspicion to check your “immigration status.”

Border Patrol has been seizing laptops and cell phones from travelers, and now, the agency has begun to make routine inquiries into American’s political and religious beliefs.  Rest assured, the ACLU is on the case.  The ACLU has sued to stop Border Patrol from seizing and searching laptops and other electronics without reasonable suspicion.  Last week, the ACLU requested a formal investigation of this practice in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner.

This week, we learned that Border Patrol also just invested in the controversial license plate scanners.  The MCLU was successful in working with the legislature to pass important safeguards on the use of this technology.  We will be watching Border Patrol to make sure they comply with state law.  The Constitution does in fact still apply in Maine.  We won’t accede to the Constitution Free Zone moniker yet.

From the Maine Civil Liberties Union.

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The Honeywell T-Hawk drone. How would you like one of these babies following you around? If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about, right? Right?

One more time! (Say it with me.) “Weapons and tactics developed for use in war zones can and will be used against the American people.”

In places such as Kabul, Gaza, and Baghdad, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hovering over homes, following suspects, and tracking enemies of the state are a daily reality.

So where are the high-tech drones buzzing to next? Miami-Dade County, natch!

The Miami-Dade Police Department is poised to become the first large metro force using drones in its aerial missions. The department finalized a deal to buy a drone called T-Hawk from defense firm Honeywell and officially applied for permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month to begin flying it around the county.

Read the rest at Miami New Times.

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Notice that the videographer calmly asserts his rights, he is polite, he is fully informed about the TSA’s own regulations, and perhaps most importantly, he responds to questions with questions of his own. This strategy–responding to questions with questions–is one of the most potent ways to deal with “the authorities.”

The cop’s performance at the end of the video, where he stands in the middle of the road flashing a strobe light at the videographer, is quite interesting. What is the purpose of this display other than to demonstrate who is in charge? In what way could standing in the middle of a roadway flashing a strobe enhance public safety?

About 10 demonstrators gathered at PHL on December 23, 2010. The purpose was to educate travelers about the dangers of new TSA procedures. (www.WeWontFly.com)

Traffic was slow, so while the others were passing out flyers, I took the opportunity to observe TSA and Philadelphia police. Notice how they all claim the authority to boss us around. But when you stand your ground they go away.

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