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Posts Tagged ‘Constitutional rights’

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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Forget about due process, forget about the rights of children. Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.

“Kill them…including the children.”

That’s how to solve the threat of militant Muslims?

This quote is from what one official involved in homeland security said was the theme of a speech by Walid Shoebat at an anti-terrorism training in Las Vegas in October 2010.

Our source had turned around after Shoebat’s speech and asked the woman in the chair behind them at the conference what she thought was the solution offered by Shoebat.

“Kill them…including the children…you heard him,” was the full response.

Shoebat’s Las Vegas speech was described by our source as “frightening.”

Read more at The Huffington Post.

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The lead paragraph reads like it’s a sick joke, but it’s not.

A state government anti-terrorism agency placed the Tennessee ACLU on a map of “terrorism events and other suspicious activity” for sending a letter warning public schools not to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.

The ACLU expressed outrage Tuesday over its appearance on the Tennessee Fusion Center’s map, saying it “raises the specter that the government is once again tracking innocent Americans.”

“It is deeply disturbing that Tennessee’s fusion center is tracking First Amendment-protected activity,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-Tennessee’s executive director.  “Equating a group’s attempts to protect religious freedom in Tennessee with suspicious activity related to terrorism is outrageous. Religious freedom is a founding principle in our Constitution — not fodder for overzealous law enforcement.”

The Tennessee Fusion Center was created in 2007, one of many around the country established after 9/11 to help state agencies share and analyze information about terrorism and other threats.

“While the ostensible purpose of fusion centers, to improve sharing of anti-terrorism intelligence among different levels and arms of government, is legitimate and important, using the centers to monitor protected First Amendment activity clearly crosses the line,” the ACLU said in a news release.

Read more at Nashville’s City Paper.

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They can record and videotape and wiretap us all they want, but try to record “an official” in a public space and you could be looking at hard prison time. This is the 21st Century one-way mirror: They can scrutinize us, but we can’t scrutinize them. What, did you think you were their equal or something?

Michael Allison, a 41-year-old backyard mechanic from southeastern Illinois, faces up to 75 years in prison for an act most people don’t realize is a crime: recording public officials.

Allison lives in Bridgeport, Illinois, and often spends time at his mother’s house in Robinson, one county to the north. Both towns have abandoned property (or “eyesore”) ordinances prohibiting the parking of inoperable or unregistered vehicles on private property except in enclosed garages. These rules place a substantial burden on hobbyists like Allison; to obey the law he must either build a garage—which he says isn’t an option, given his property and his income—or register, plate, and pay insurance on every car he fixes up, even though he never drives them on public roads. So Allison kept working on his cars, and the city of Bridgeport kept impounding them: in 2001, 2003, and 2005.

In 2007 Allison filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging the law was a violation of his civil rights and a scheme to collect revenue through impound fees. He then resumed tinkering with unregistered vehicles in his mother’s driveway in Robinson. By Allison’s account, police officers in Robinson began harassing him with threats of fines or arrest for violating that town’s ordinance, though Allison alleges the harassment was personal—retaliation for his lawsuit back in Bridgeport. That’s when he began recording his conversations with cops.

Read the rest at Reason.com.

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“Well,” you might say, “this policy would be intended for prisoners at Guantanamo suspected of being terrorists. Why does it matter to me?” It matters because it sets a horrifying precedent. Remember that weapons and tactics developed for use in the “war on terror” can and will be used against the American people. Remember how domestic wiretapping was originally intended for “the terrorists”? Now everyone’s subject to it.

The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials.

The draft order, a version of which was first considered nearly 18 months ago, is expected to be signed by President Obama early in the New Year. The order allows for the possibility that detainees from countries like Yemen might be released if circumstances there change.

But the order establishes indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy and makes clear that the White House alone will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge or trial.

Read more at Pro Publica.

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The Washington Post has published a lengthy and comprehensive article about the U.S.’s domestic spy grid that’s worth reading in its entirety. Here’s a telling remark from the introduction, something we’ve been observing at “Government Against the People” since the blog’s inception:  “Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.” We first pointed out this principle in a December 2009 post and have done so again in several posts subsequently. This migration of weapons, tools, and weapons from the battlefield to the homefront is one of the most important principles to understand as our country is incrementally locked down and tyranny is introduced to the Land of the Formerly Free.

Who are the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan? Anyone who resists the corporate-colonial occupiers. Who are the domestic terrorists here at home? Anyone who resists the wholesale, high-tech violation of privacy and liberty being committed by a rogue government, with corporate sponsorship, against the people. In short, a domestic terrorist is anyone who believes in and stands up for the Enlightenment Age ideals upon which our nation was founded.

Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

Other democracies – Britain and Israel, to name two – are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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That pesky Constitution. Only conspiracy theorists and members of al-Qaeda insist that it be adhered to.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office has a new mobile booking unit. It’s a bus bought and outfitted with a $300,000 grant from the state to help police officers get back on the street more quickly after an arrest.

The mobile booking unit is equipped with everything required to book suspects, from cameras for taking mug shots to fingerprint equipment and multiple computers.

A temporary lock-up area has room for nine prisoners.

Sheriff Daron Hall said he hopes the mobile unit will cut booking time in half.

“The average arrest in Nashville takes an officer out of his or her zone an average of four hours,” Hall said.

Right now, an officer has to drive downtown, then wait to appear before a commissioner. On the bus, the suspect would appear before a commissioner via teleconference.

But there’s a missing step that’s causing some concern: the officer never appears before the commissioner.

Attorney David Raybin said the officer’s sworn statement before the commissioner is a crucial step that can’t be cut out.

It’s unconstitutional. It’s illegal. The warrant is worthless if you do that,” Raybin said. “The felony bus makes a lot of sense, but it’s a step backward if they are going to cut out the constitutional requirements.”

Read more at Nashville News.

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Members of a TSA choir demonstrate what friendly folks they are.

USA Today reports:

LOS ANGELES — Travelers passing through Los Angeles International Airport are finding that security officers have more than a scan or pat-down for them this holiday season. They’re offering musical entertainment, too.

The LAX TSA Choir, a group of 17 singers and musicians, all of them officers of the Transportation Security Administration, have been surprising passengers with performances of holiday music and other tunes in the midst of one of the nation’s busiest airports.

See? Those federal agents who have been scanning and groping people are just regular, happy-go-lucky people, every bit as fun-loving as these folks:

 

Oom pah pah oom pah pah . . . we're friendly, regular folks too!

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The gradual, incremental clamp-down of the control grid continues . . .

(Reuters) – Officers will start random bag inspections on the sprawling Washington subway system, the Washington Metro Transit Police said on Thursday, a week after a man was arrested for making bomb threats to the rail system.

Metrorail police officers plan to randomly select bags before passengers enter subway stations and they will swab them or have an explosives-sniffing dog check the bags, according to the Metro police.

There is “no specific or credible threat to the system at this time,” Metro said in a statement. Passengers who refuse to have their bags inspected will be denied entry into the subway system.

Read more at Reuters.

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Notice that this technology is to be used on people merely suspected of having committed crimes, not only on those who are guilty. In a police state, everyone guilty until they prove themselves otherwise. This technology was first used on a civilian population by occupation troops in Iraq. We’ve said it many times before and we’ll say it again: Tools, weapons, and tactics developed for use in war zones can and will be used against civilians at home.

December 11, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ — In a move questioned by the New York Civil Liberties Union and some of New York’s top lawyers, the New York Police Department is now using machines to photograph and scan the irises of prisoners as they pass through New York Central Booking. The department claims that this new high-tech identification program is part of a failsafe measure meant to prevent escapes as suspects move through New York’s complex and winding court system.

Individuals deeply concerned with civil liberties and privacy, like New York top lawyer David Perecman, are uneasy with new regime of personal data collection.

“The NYPD can now photograph the irises of suspects arrested for any reason and they implemented this without any legislative oversight or public discourse,” said David Perecman. “There are also no reports on how authorities plan to protect this collected biometric data from misuse.”

News of the initiative was first released late last week. Civil libertarians and privacy advocates say the collecting and storing of this data could “put innocent people under permanent suspicion.”

Read more at 24/7 Press Release.

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