CIA Used Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs to Torture Terrorism Detainee

April 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Music/Book/Film/Art, Police State

More details are coming out of a forthcoming Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA, including black site prison locations and wrongful detentions, but there are also some new details on interrogation techniques.

While the CIA reportedly used torture methods deployed by the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea—including sleep deprivation and isolation—the agency took it a step further for Abu Zubaydah, a detainee who was subjected to all 10 torture techniques used by the CIA, according to a report from Al Jazeera.

In addition to being stuffed inside a pet crate, such as the ones that are used to transport dogs, for two weeks, Zubaydah was also shackled at the wrists and hung to the ceiling of his cell, all the while loud music was played on an endless loop.

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REPORT: Mom, Miriam Carey was Shot in the back of the head by U.S. Capitol Police / SS

April 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State


 

WASHINGTON — First they called her a terrorist threat.

When she turned out to be an unarmed suburban mother, they said she was on drugs.

Now, WND has exclusively learned, without a trace of doubt, that was wrong, too.

WND can also now report Miriam Carey was shot in the back of the head by U.S. Capitol Police officers and uniformed Secret Service agents six months ago, on Oct. 3, 2013.

The official police investigation still has not been released. But Carey family attorney Eric Sanders obtained the toxicology and autopsy report on this macabre anniversary.

The report showed there were no drugs in Carey’s system, prescription or otherwise, when she was shot dead.

The report was prepared by Dr. Nikki Mourtzinos of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia.

After the terror threat was discarded, the media had tried to portray Carey as mentally unbalanced, citing prescription medications she was reportedly taking.

Sanders spoke to WND at the Garfield traffic circle, on the edge of the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, which is where the Carey family believes Miriam was fatally wounded before driving a few blocks farther.

And Sanders believes the autopsy report provided the evidence proving that theory, because it showed that Carey was severely wounded in the back of the head. Sanders suspects that was the fatal shot, but adrenaline allowed Carey to drive to Maryland Ave. and Second St., where her car crashed at a Capitol Police guard shack.

The report said Carey was shot numerous times but did not specify exactly how many.

When Miriam’s sister, Valarie Carey, learned that her sister was shot and killed from the back, the former New York Police Department sergeant was too distraught to speak with WND on camera.

The video below shows officers fired at least seven shots at Carey in a crowded public space after they inexplicably failed to block her car at the traffic circle.

Sander’s told WND what he believed happened in the video at the top of this page.

Columnist Mark Steyn memorably remarked, “Ms. Carey does not appear to be guilty of any act other than a panic attack,” and, “We are told Ms. Carey was ‘mentally ill,’ although she had no medications in her vehicle and those at her home back in Connecticut are sufficiently routine as to put millions of other Americans in the category of legitimate target.”

But now, it is a certified fact that Carey did not even have prescription drugs in her system when she was shot to death.

Even before that confirmation, it became clear months ago that there was no good explanation for why Carey was shot, and the story disappeared entirely off the mainstream media radar.

In fact, no media other than WND showed up Thursday to a press conference Sanders announced. The event marked six months since the bizarre and deadly chain of events that were set in motion after Carey strapped her baby girl into the back seat of her black Nissan Infiniti in Stamford, Conn., and drove 270 miles to Washington, D.C.

Upon arriving, she apparently made a wrong turn into a White House entrance, tried to leave, was chased by heavily armed officers and ultimately shot dead by police in the shadow of the Capitol.

Why she was killed is a mystery to this day because, according to the initial police report, she never crashed a security gate or a barrier, though media reports claimed she had.

Read the initial police report on the Miriam Carey case, Page 1 and Page 2.

She simply tried to make a U-turn and leave.

Yet, uniformed Secret Service agents and U.S. Capitol Police officers tried to stop her, then hunted her down and shot her to death.

And to this day, a half-year later, no one knows why.

 

Carey’s car after she was shot to death near the Capitol on Oct. 3, 2013

The official investigation into the incident, conducted by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department and turned over to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, has still not been released.

And the Carey family is tired of the excruciating wait for answers.

When WND asked Sanders if he had any idea why the official investigation still had not been released, the former New York Police Department officer said, “I am just as curious as you, and I’m trying to understand it from a law-enforcement perspective.”

“The shooting is not complex. It’s very simple. They have all the evidence. They have video,” he said. “What’s taking six months? I don’t understand this. It’s not that complex.”

He said the Carey family called the news conference to make their feelings known and because, “Six months have passed and there still is no official version of what happened to Miriam Carey. And she matters.”

Sanders also had a word of warning: What happened to this unarmed, suburban mother could happen to anyone.

“The people of this country should be very, very concerned when the police feel like their actions are beyond reproach,” he said. “That’s not what the framers of the Constitution intended.”

When Carey was shot to death by federal law-enforcement officers on Oct. 3, they were initially treated as heroes and even given a standing ovation in Congress.

But then WND began asking questions about what exactly happened, and the mainstream media narrative began to unravel.

At first, police justified their actions because they presumed Carey posed a possible terrorist threat. When it turned out she posed no such threat and, in fact, was a suburban mother with her child strapped into the back seat of her car, officials defended their actions by saying they essentially had no choice but to shoot first and ask questions later.

But WND consulted with law enforcement and civil-liberties experts and learned that not only were those police actions contrary to the policies of most major police departments, they were probably unconstitutional.

Constitutional law expert and famed civil libertarian Nat Hentoff told WND it was a plain case of murder.

WND contacted 87 members of Congress to inform them about the misconceptions, unusual circumstances and unanswered questions surrounding the death of Miriam Carey and has yet to receive a single response.

“Well, if it’s not on their agenda, no one wants to talk about it,” Sanders said. “How do you justify shooting an unarmed woman?”

He added, “How do you justify shooting at a car as it is driving away? Everyone knows, but it’s not politically correct to say it was unjustified.”

Sanders and the Carey family have now begun their own attempt to get the government to listen.

“We have a petition urging Congress to finally do its job and investigate – to see what happened in this shooting. Obviously, we don’t want it to conflict with the criminal investigation,” Sanders told WND.

The attorney noted that just recently, Congress had finally begun to show at least a little interest in the case. On March 23, members of the House Appropriations Committee asked a smattering of questions about Carey to Capitol Police Chief Kim Dines.

“His comments are laughable,” is how attorney Sanders described the chief’s statements after he defended his department’s use of force in the deadly shooting of Carey.

Dines told members of the House Appropriations Committee that the high-speed car chase from the White House to the Capitol involved a “very, very quick, very fluid set of circumstances.”

 

Miriam Carey

But Sanders wasn’t buying it. The attorney, who represents the Carey family in a $75-million wrongful death claim against the Capitol Police and the Uniformed Division of the U.S. Secret Service, disputed what his clients saw as the “shoot first, ask later” approach used by federal officers.

Sanders said he was certain officers didn’t follow training guidelines.

“If he’s telling me that’s the way law enforcement officers are trained in the District of Columbia, especially Capitol Police, then Congress and the rest of the district should be afraid, because that’s not how you want your police officers responding,” observed Sanders.

Dine justified his officers’ deadly response by telling Congress, “These officers are out there every day putting their lives on the line and they have to make split-second decisions, and it’s easy for any one of us to obviously sit here and second guess them.”

Sanders reminded WND that he has a law enforcement background and speculated the reason the chief responded that way was likely because “what law enforcement tends to do is close ranks. If he’s so confident in his statement, they could have released the policy already. It’s very easy.”

The attorney was referring to the Capitol Police Department’s official policy on the use of deadly force, which has not been made public.

Sanders provided WND with a copy of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department’s guidelines on the use of force, “because it would only make sense that the Capitol Police and Secret Service would operate under similar guidelines.”

The Metro Police guidelines read:

  • “[N]o member shall discharge a firearm in the performance of police duties except to defend himself or herself or another from an attack which the officer has reasonable cause to believe could result in death or serious bodily injury.”
  • “No member of the the Metropolitan Police Department shall discharge his/her firearm … at or from a moving vehicle unless deadly force is being used against the officer or another person. For purposes of this order, a moving vehicle is not considered deadly force.”

That last point is critical. Because a moving vehicle is not considered deadly force, Carey would be legally considered both unarmed and not a threat. Nonetheless, she was shot and killed by officers.

When Rep. James Moran, D-Va., asked Dines if officers should have shot at the tires rather than the driver – especially considering Carey was unarmed and had her baby in the backseat of her car – the chief responded, “There’s a lot of opinions out there, but most of them are wrong and uneducated.”

Initial reports after the shooting indicated Capitol Police officers may have had difficulties communicating with Secret Service agents on an antiquated radio system, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., asked Dine if the radio system had hindered the department’s response.

That system was finally replaced in March, but Dine said it had not been a problem on Oct. 3 and that officers were able to communicate using a two emergency channels.

http://www.timesofoman.com/Siteimages/MynImages/dtl_4_10_2013_15_0_54.jpg 

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine

Five days after the shooting death of Carey, however, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, expressed alarm that the faulty radio system might have been an issue.

“If these communication failures are in fact accurate, it is extremely concerning that this problem still has not been resolved after years of experience with such situations, as well as billions of dollars spent to resolve our weaknesses in interoperable communications systems,” said the former chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

But Valarie Carey, Miriam’s sister, told WND she believes a bigger issue was inexperience on the part of the officers who killed Miriam.

Valarie was concerned officers may have panicked, and she suggested they might not have ever experienced such a situation.

“The more experienced an officer is, the better equipped that officer is to address the situation, even if there had been a problem with radio contact,” she said, recalling her own law enforcement training. “If someone can’t decide when to take someone’s life, they should not be put in that position.”

At the end of January, attorney Eric Sanders informed WND he had filed the $75-million claim against the U.S., the uniformed division of the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Capitol Police for “numerous intentional, grossly negligent and reckless actions of police officers, supervisors, managers and other related employees.”

Sanders said that after months of waiting for the release of the official investigation and after an exhaustive review of all publicly available data, the Carey family has concluded the shooting was not justified.

The suit maintains Carey was still alive after she was shot numerous times by officers and then taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Carey was mortally wounded by gunfire during the chase, according to the suit. But, out of panic, she continued driving until she finally came to a stop and was taken from her car, a few blocks away from the initial shooting.

The suit said the incident began because Carey “mistakenly drove past the first guard post at the White House entrance because the entrance was negligently maintained, covered and supervised by police officers, supervisors, managers” and others, and then tried to make a lawful U-turn to leave.

However, according to the claim, “for some inexplicable reason,” instead of simply allowing Carey to leave, a police officer “without provocation or legal justification, inconsistent with his or her police training, negligently and recklessly threw a bicycle rack at the vehicle, striking it.”

The suit goes on to maintain that Carey had not violated any law and, therefore, police had “no legal basis to stop her or use any amount of physical force against her.”

Sanders claims officers endangered Carey’s safety, not the other way around. He contends the ensuing car chase also endangered the public, outweighing “the benefit of investigating a harmless mistaken entrance through the White House entrance gate.”

Sanders has filed the wrongful death claim on behalf of Carey’s mother, Idealla, Carey’s estate and her 1-year-old daughter, who was in the backseat of the car during the chase and, apparently, during the shooting. The suit is seeking $25 million for each claimant. Sanders said the suit is to compensate the family for their “great loss of a daughter, mother, friend and confidant.” But he insists the case is about more than the death of just one woman. He said it represents a threat to the rights of all Americans.

“Somehow, the Bill of Rights did not apply to Miriam. Miriam’s life did not seem to be so important. Thus far, Miriam’s death is being treated as simple collateral damage in the government’s zeal to protect itself from terrorism,” Sanders said.

He said that zeal should not eclipse the importance of human life.

“The framers of the United States Constitution fought for, died for and demanded it. We should expect no different in today’s society either,” he said.

Sanders, a former New York Police Department officer, has told WND numerous reasons why he believes officers should never have fired at Carey.

  • Media reports claimed Carey tried to ram a White House gate or barrier with her car, but the initial police report did not mention an attempt to ram anything;
  • The police report said Carey tried to make a U-turn after arriving at a White House checkpoint;
  • She apparently broke no laws until fleeing after being confronted by heavily armed guards;
  • Police justified the shooting out of fear Carey might be a terrorist, but Sanders pointed out, if officers feared Carey had a bomb, that would be reason not to shoot at her;
  • Additionally, WND found information that officers would have known within minutes that Carey was not a terrorism threat;
  • Sanders and law enforcement experts also told WND the policy of most major police departments is to never shoot at moving vehicles;
  • Non-lethal means, such as tire spikes, apparently were not used to try to stop the car;
  • Non-lethal means, such as pepper spray or a Taser, apparently were not used to subdue Carey before officers shot her to death;
  • Video showed officers shooting at Carey in a crowded public space at least seven times after officers inexplicably failed to block her car at a traffic circle.

 

Miriam Carey

In announcing the $75-million lawsuit, the Carey family apparently grew tired of waiting for the release of the official investigation conducted by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police.

That investigation has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney at the Justice Department for review, which, the department tells WND, is standard practice for investigations that include officer-involved shootings.

When two months had passed, Sanders told WND it was not an unusual length of time for such a multifaceted investigation involving more than one law-enforcement agency. But, when five months had passed, the family apparently had exhausted its patience.

“The Carey Family calls for immediate identification and termination of all police officer, supervisors, managers and other related employees’ involved in this matter who failed to order the immediate termination of pursuing Miriam and failed to establish firearms control; thereby, collectively causing the avoidable death of Miriam,” said the attorney.

Sanders said, unless authorities are seriously considering criminal charges, they should have taken what they have learned from the Carey case on car stops, vehicle pursuits and the use of force and announced policy changes to the public.

“These public disclosures are absolutely necessary because Miriam’s death unfolded right before the international community via live television,” said Sanders.

Sanders wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder to request a civil rights investigation, but he told WND he never received a response.

Valarie has been calling for a congressional investigation.

“The United States Congress using its legislative powers must investigate Miriam’s death. It is in the public’s interest to ensure our government acted responsibly not only from a criminal or a civil perspective but from an internal agency perspective. It is also in the public’s interest avoid a similar tragedy in the future,” she said.

WND has contacted dozens of lawmakers in Congress for comment on the case but has not received a single reply.

Meanwhile, police have virtually admitted they have video of law enforcement officers shooting to death the unarmed 34-year-old woman, but they’re deliberately withholding it from the public.

WND attempted to obtain video of the shooting death of Carey by filing a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request. The request was denied by Metro Police. By telling WND that releasing the video might adversely affect any criminal proceeding, police have essentially admitted such video might cast a bad light on the conduct of officers and agents. The withholding of the video also confirmed that authorities are at least considering the possibility of pressing charges against officers and agents involved in the shooting.

A WND investigation revealed the presence of at least seven security cameras in positions to capture video of the shooting at Constitution Avenue NE & 2nd Street. The incident was also likely captured by numerous dash-cams on police cruisers.

WND has appealed the denial of its FOIA request for the video to the office of Vincent Gray, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and had also filed a FOIA request seeking the forensics report on the shooting but received no reply to multiple inquiries regarding the status of the request.

 

Miriam Carey shooting press conference. WND photo by Garth Kant.

Meanwhile, police departments in other major cities such as Philadelphia and Las Vegas have released videos of officer-involved shootings before their investigations were complete.

The Secret Service, Capitol Police, Washington Metro Police and U.S. Attorney have withheld virtually all details of the shooting from the family of Carey and the public. The details include forensics reports that would show how many times Carey was shot, her cause of death, the position of the body at the time of death, video and photos, multiple eyewitness accounts and an explanation as to why police believed deadly force was necessary to subdue her while she was unarmed and had her infant daughter with her.

WND confirmed the existence of video of the shooting by approaching the guard shack where Carey was shot, about a block from the Capitol dome, and asking a U.S. Capitol police officer on duty a few simple questions:

If a major crime such as a rape or murder were to happen within blocks of the Capitol, would there be video of it?

“Oh yeah,” he answered, nodding his head vigorously.

What about the shooting of Miriam Carey, is there video of that?

“Yes,” he said without hesitation, while adding he had not seen it personally.

Apparently no one has seen it, other than perhaps a few select members of law enforcement.

Police could be reluctant to release that video because it might confirm what legal experts and civil libertarians from both left and right sides of the political spectrum have told WND, that they believe Carey was, in effect, murdered by police.

After Sanders previously called upon Congress to investigate the shooting death, he told WND no members of Congress have contacted the family.

In fact, lawmakers, who were told that police fired because of concerns of terrorism, congratulated officers for shooting the young, unarmed mother with a 30-second standing ovation shortly after her death.

Sanders is also calling for the firing of the officers who shot at Carey, as well as their supervisors.

An unknown number of Secret Service officers and two U.S. Capitol Police officers involved in the shooting of Carey has been shifted to desk work while the incident is under investigation.

“While we understand police shootings must be carefully investigated because of their social and political ramifications, by now, there should have been a preliminary analysis released in the public venue,” explained the attorney.

Sanders said many “troubling” questions remain, but the main question is whether federal law enforcement officers were justified in firing at Carey.

The U.S. Capitol Police and the uniformed division of the Secret Service have not made public their “Use of Force” policies.

Sanders believes that is “absolutely necessary” now, particularly regarding the policies on firing upon moving vehicles, “because Miriam’s death unfolded right before the international community via live television.”

As WND reported, officers fired at Carey on at least two occasions during the car chase that began at the White House. At least seven shots fired in a crowded public space can be heard on a video recording after officers failed to stop Carey’s car at a traffic circle just south of the Capitol.

A few minutes later, Carey crashed her car a block northeast of the Capitol.

Did police murder Carey?

First Amendment expert Nat Hentoff told WND the evidence that officers killed recklessly was strong.

“[T]his is a classic case of police out of control and, therefore, guilty of plain murder,” he said.

Constitutional law expert John Whitehead, president and founder of the nonprofit civil-liberties organization the Rutherford Institute, agreed, telling WND that from what he’d seen, it looked like murder.

Press waiting for a police statement. WND photo by Garth Kant.

Political activist and former Graham County, Ariz., Sheriff Richard Mack called it “sloppy” police work and saw “no justification whatsoever” for the use of deadly force against Carey.

Dan Bongino, former Secret Service agent and author of the New York Times bestseller, “Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away From It All,” was reluctant to second-guess the actions of law-enforcement officers in a fast-moving and confusing situation and loath to evaluate their decisions in hindsight.

But even he felt the situation, involving Secret Service agents at the White House, could have been handled better and doubted that those involved, or their superiors, would dispute that.

Saying the incident was absolutely not handled effectively, Bongino predicted it would lead to changes, including retraining and security modifications.

Serious questions from the start

WND reported from the scene of the shooting that there were immediately serious questions as to how Carey ended up dead.

Carey was initially portrayed in the media as a national security threat, but when that proved not to be true, she was characterized as mentally unstable.

Major media outlets such as the New York Times, NBC and ABC News all reported that Carey tried to ram a White House gate or checkpoint.

However, as WND noted, the police report never mentioned a White House gate, a barrier or any attempt to ram anything.

The report described the location as “a vehicle checkpoint to the White House” and said the driver “refused to stop at the vehicle checkpoint and made a U-turn and began to flee.”

The report did say a Secret Service officer “attempted to block the vehicle with a bicycle rack, however, the vehicle pushed over the bicycle rack, knocking the officer to the ground.”

Bongino believes the problem actually originated almost 200 years ago because the South entrance to the White House, although secure, was designed in the early 1800s.

He thinks there will be “a serious remodel” of some of the security on the South side of the White House, following the incident. The former protector of the president didn’t want to divulge too much about security measures there, but he said there did appear to be an access-control issue.

 

Amy, Valarie and Miriam Carey

“She turned into a little pocket there, and anybody can turn in there,” he said. “She got caught up and sped off. You wouldn’t be able to do that at another secure government building. They use vehicle traps.”

Bongino had tremendous empathy for his former colleagues in the uniformed branch of the Secret Service and declined to second-guess their split-second decisions in a confusing situation.

Noting the unique nature of the White House, he pointed out how agents working up to 20-hour days are surrounded by threats.

The White House is a big target, he explained. The president is an even bigger target.

“When the president’s in the White House, it’s even worse,” he said. “You’re constantly on edge.”

Still, Bongino conceded that the authorities may have overreacted.

“The libertarian in me thinks this was a very dangerous incident for civil liberties,” he said. “The fact you could have, perhaps, a condition and an extremely bad day and wind up dead, of course, should bother all of us.”

A WND review of the known facts revealed police may have posed a greater threat to public safety than Carey did. It appears she never violated any law until police began pursuing her car. Officers, on the other hand, fired numerous shots at her in a crowded public space near the White House, as the video above shows.

“What happened to this woman is an extraordinary example of how police have no limits when they get into this sort of situation,” maintained Hentoff.

Mack and Whitehead both strongly believe the police should have handled the car chase much differently and that they ignored a number of non-lethal alternatives.

Bongino felt it wasn’t a black-and-white situation.

“When you watch that video … you see that car being whipped around,” he said. … [I]t should be obvious to anyone watching that a car is a weapon like anything else. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s even more dangerous a weapon than a firearm, especially when you don’t know who is behind the wheel.”

So, why is Miriam Carey dead?

Valarie insisted “deadly force was not necessary.”

“They could have rammed the car or disabled the car. But in this incident, they used very, very poor judgment,” she said. “And this is something those officers will have to live with.”

Sanders wondered, “How do you shoot at a person who is unarmed, sitting in a car?”

The day after Sanders held a press conference announcing he was calling for the Justice Department to look into the death of Miriam Carey, the attorney was arrested.

The New York Post reported Sanders was arrested after a judge had decided the attorney had missed too many payments owed to a former employee.

When WND asked Sanders if he felt his arrest was an attempt to either silence or intimidate him, the attorney laughed aloud.

“Of course I think it was! I can’t prove it,” he said. “I loved the timing of it – the day after our press conference. Exactly one day after I said don’t trust the government.”

Sanders added: “I am clean. That’s the way I was as a cop. That’s the way I am as an attorney. I was a police officer in New York. I’ve never been arrested in my life. The questions is, why was I picked up?”

See these other WND stories on the Miriam Carey Mystery:

Cops opt for ‘the fix’ after mom’s puzzling death
Covering chaos: The Capitol Hill Shooting
Why did Capitol cops cut down ‘innocent’ woman?
Legal Experts: D.C. cops murdered woman
Famous Security Expert: Was this Murder?
Missing! Video of mother killed by police
Cops knew suburban mom was no terrorist
Ex-NYPD cop hunts for truth on mom slaying

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Suburban Cop Charged In Death Of 95-Year-Old WWII Vet

April 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

CHICAGO (CBS) – A suburban police officer has been charged with reckless conduct, in the death of a 95-year-old World War II veteran who was shocked with a stun gun and shot with beanbag rounds at a Park Forest nursing home last year.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office confirmed Park Forest Police Officer Craig Taylor, 43, was charged with one count of reckless conduct in the death of John Wrana, who died following a confrontation with police at the Victory Centre nursing home on July 26, 2013.

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CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.

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DHS (Homeland CONTROL) Buying Off local PD to Construct a Nationwide Standing Army / Panopticon

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

TELL YOUR CITY COUNSILS / MAYORS TO JUST SAY NO! TO DHS GRANTS! (or… YOU will say NO to their re-selection)

 

Why Is Homeland Security Paying to Put Cities Under Surveillance?

 

The drive to use of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to convert local law enforcement into heavily armed battalions of a nationwide standing army under the command of federal officers marches on.

VIA The New American

A quick survey of some of the police departments being outfitted by the federal government will expose the extent of the coast to coast effort to obliterate local accountability of law enforcement and to make those officers dependent on the largesse of their federal benefactors.

First, the Santa Monica, California, Police Department received nearly $800,000 from DHS days ago. A March 28 Santa Monica Mirror story on the “donation” reveals the earmarks for the funds.

Officially approved as part of the City Council’s consent calendar agenda at its Tuesday meeting, the grant money would, according to City staff, be used “to purchase equipment and training that supports regional homeland security goals.”…

“Funds were requested to purchase equipment and training that supports regional homeland security goals, specifically an automated license plate reading system for the Police Department, terrorism liaison officer training, hazardous material (HazMat) training and equipment, urban search and rescue (USAR) training and equipment and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) training and equipment for the Fire Department,” City staff stated.

Notice the mention made of surveillance equipment (license plate tracking system), terrorism, and urban riot preparedness. Hardly the bailiwick of a local police department.

Next, the headline of a story out of Wisconsin is enough to invoke the ire of constitutionalists in the Badger State: “State cops can track residents’ cellphones.”

The story under that headline, from the Fond du Lac Reporter, demonstrates the immense capacity of cops to violate the Fourth Amendment:

Police in Wisconsin have at least two devices that secretly track cellphone locations in real time to target suspects or missing persons — technology that simultaneously mines data from hundreds or thousands of unsuspecting people nearby.

Such sophisticated surveillance equipment doesn’t come cheap. The Reporter writes:

The suitcase-sized Stingray masquerades as a cell tower to trick cellphones into connecting to it. It can show police phones within a mile or more, depending on terrain. Records show the DOJ Stingray cost more than $150,000, and the DOJ and Milwaukee police both purchased upgrade packages that topped $100,000.

In fairness, it’s not just Wisconsin law enforcement using this technology to track citizens. As noted by the Reporter:

An investigation by USA TODAY and Gannett media around the country found at least 25 police departments outside Wisconsin own a Stingray. More than 30 other agencies refused to say whether they own one.

Tracking cellphones without warrants is just the beginning of the monitoring in Milwaukee. The Fox TV channel in Milwaukee reports that the city is being equipped with surveillance cameras mounted on buildings and in other locations. Why do the nearly 600,000 residents of Wisconsin’s largest city need to be under the watchful eye of government? Common Council President Michael J. Murphy explained:

It is now quite commonplace in business and commercial districts across the U.S. and the world to have mounted surveillance cameras monitoring activity, because they have proven very effective in helping to deter crime and also helping to solve crimes.

Really? Consider this report published by The New American in January covering a similar deployment of surveillance cameras in Houston, Texas, and Evanston, Illinois:

Perhaps citizens [of Houston] should overlook their elected leaders’ acceptance of such federal largesse, given that the 900 or so surveillance cameras already in place have had such a favorable effect on crime rates in the city.

Not so much.

… From [local CBS affiliate] KHOU: “Officials say data is not kept to determine if the cameras are driving down crime.”

If the cameras aren’t being used to reduce crime, just what are they being used for?

“We also know from experience and from recent events that the government will inevitably abuse its use of personal information attained by spying on us. Houston needs to re-think and reject this proposal,” [regional director Amin] Alehashem [of the Texas Civil Rights Project-Houston] said in his press release.

Precisely. These cameras — thousands upon thousands attached to poles and buildings from coast to coast — are not about crime reduction, but about liberty reduction.

Residents of Evanston, Illinois, seem to see the surveillance that way, too.

Over 100 citizens of this Chicago suburb have signed petitions requesting that the city council publicize all the information regarding a proposal to add “3.7 miles of surveillance cameras” along city streets.

Evanston’s plan to expand its surveillance capabilities has a couple of things in common with the Houston program.

First, there is the lack of evidence that the cameras make residents safer. Consider this report published … in a local news blog:

Evanston resident Bobby Burns, who is collecting signatures online and in person in the neighborhood around the high school, told Patch he believes the city council does not have enough research to back up the surveillance camera proposal.

“If these cameras are really about student safety, there should be credible data that clearly supports the need,” he wrote in an e-mail. “If this is about youth homicides, protecting senior citizens, or keeping an eye on police [officers], let’s respect the importance of those issues and discuss them individually with care and consideration.”

So, just like the cameras in Houston, the cameras in Evanston (population 75,430) don’t seem to reduce crime or make anyone safer.

They are likewise unlikely to make Milwaukee safer, either.

Why the move to constant monitoring, then?

In Logan, Utah, the police took money from the feds to keep their communications secret, scrambling them so as not to be detectable by civilians. HJNews.com reports:

The Logan City Police Department has officially received grant money allowing them to purchase software that will encrypt scanner radio traffic in high-risk situations.

The police department received $26,812 from the Utah Department of Homeland Security, enough to put encryption software on 30 police radios.

According to Asst. Police Chief Jeff Curtis, about half of those radios will go to police officers who are assigned to the SWAT team. The others will be spread out among administrators, negotiators, select paramedics and dispatch.

It seems that if local police were determined to protect and serve the citizens of Logan, they would be best served by allowing those citizens access to information regarding crime. To keep such communications secret is not only contrary to peace and order, but to principles of local control over law enforcement, as well.

Finally, St. Louis citizens will soon be subject to surveillance by local police equipped with DHS-provided facial recognition software. The story in KMOV quotes a local official justifying the acceptance of the federally funded technology:

“If someone robs a bank and cameras capture that face we then take that picture, put it into a computer system through a scanning system and that goes through the existing mug shot data basis looking for known criminals that would match that picture,” he said. “It’s no different than a detective or a victim going through binders of pictures looking for a match of that individual.”

In fact, it is significantly different. Mug shot binders are full of photos taken by police after a person has been arrested. Cameras equipped with facial recognition software will record the faces of everyone who comes within the scope of their lenses without regard to warrants or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Unlike mugshots, the pictures of the faces of people living in or visiting St. Louis will be recorded just in case they are ever needed. This is a search and seizure made in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and it should concern the nearly 3,000,000 residents of the metropolitan area, as well as the millions of tourists who visit the city annually.

All the foregoing is evidence that Americans are witnessing (often mutely) the rapid establishment of a federal police force built upon the foundation of formerly free local law enforcement and equipped with technology, tactics, and weapons of immense power.

 

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at jwolverton@thenewamerican.com.

 

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Kansas Considers A “Punish Complainers & Silence Critics” Bill

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

Just to review, in Kansas you can be SWAT-raided and never be permitted to learn the basis for the warrant. This means the police can get a warrant for bogus reasons and reasonably expect that, if their victims are innocent, they will never be able to call them into an account.

So naturally, the Kansas state legislature has decided to add official protections to the police so that they are still more invulnerable to public scrutiny.

The bill is, thankfully, stalled at the moment, but it is not dead. It is called the “filing false complaints against a law enforcement officer” bill.

Filing a false complaint is already a crime under civil law.  This bill, however, not only adds the new felony definition, but it makes several other changes. Here is TechDirt’s list (my bullet points).

I’m not as certain as Tim Cushing at TechDirt that forbidding anonymous complaints is a bad thing, though it is certainly wrong to give the accusers name and contact data to the accused police officer(s).

Hopefully, this bill is stalled because everyone realizes how bad it is. Ironically, the sponsors of the bill are not named because an entire committee proposed the law. As Cushing remarks, “safety in numbers.”

I realize that police can be falsely accused. But I have to balance that consideration with this basic question: How often does a police officer get held accountable for making a false accusation against a non-police officer?

In my view, the answer is almost never. This bill needs to be trashed, not passed.
Read more at Political Outcast

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US Gestapo to Disarm Legal Gun Owners with Nighttime No-Knock SWAT Raids ?

March 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

 

Hundreds of thousands, probably millions of Americans have said that they will not willingly give up their guns.  They vow to protect their Second Amendment rights to bear arms.  If necessary, patriotic Americans have promised that there will be a bloodbath before they relinquish their guns.

Our socialist president has tried to pass restrictive gun control laws, but his efforts have been thwarted by Republicans and even some Democrats.  Obama and other liberals have pushed hard for universal gun registration that would include every gun in existence in the US.  Hitler did the same thing just before his Gestapo and other forces systematically confiscated most of the firearms owned by German citizens.

So what does a socialist tyrant do when he can’t obtain a list of who owns what guns?  He turns to liberal judges and law enforcement to do his dirty work for him in the form of no-knock SWAT raids.

Last summer I reported on such a raid that happened to John Gerald Quinn of Texas.  The police had obtained information that suggested that Quinn’s son was involved with illegal drugs.  They followed the law in obtaining a search warrant for Quinn’s home.  When the SWAT team arrived, they did not knock on the door or announce their presence when they forcibly burst through the door to conduct their search.  Against normal police protocol, they executed a no-knock raid on the home.

The reason police gave for the no-knock raid was that they suspected that there might have been an AK-47 in the house.  Quinn believes that the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights by executing the no-knock raid based solely on suspicion that there was a gun in the house.

If law enforcement suspects that you or someone in your house may have committed a crime and if they suspect that there might be a firearm in the house, they are carrying out no-knock raids, generally in the middle of night when you are asleep.  If you react like I probably would and think that someone is breaking into your house and you reach for a gun to defend yourself, you will be shot.  And if they find any firearms or ammunition in the house during the raid, they will be confiscated and your chances of ever getting them back are next to none.

Back in 2008, Tracey Ingle was shot over nine times with bean bag rounds at close range when law enforcement carried out a midnight no-knock raid on his house.  Without any announcement, they burst through the front door and bedroom and entered through the bedroom window.  When Ingle reached for a gun, that turned out to be a non-working gun, they opened fire him.  He was hit in the chest, calf, arm and hip.  He suffered a shattered leg bone.  Only then did the SWAT team discover that he was Tracey and not Michael.  They raided the wrong home and violated Ingle’s 2nd Amendment right to self-defense, his 4th Amendment right of private property and his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty which involved his 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment rights.

If you think no-knock raids are rare, Cato Institute place the number at 40,000 a year back in 2006 and they have steadily increased in frequency.  Every year, thousands of law abiding Americans are having their constitutional rights violated and weapons confiscated by SWAT teams executing no-knock raids.  All they need is the suspicion of a crime and suspicion of a weapon and you too may be the host of a violent nighttime raid.  This all sounds eerily similar to Nazi Germany in the 1930s and early 1940s.  Back then they were called Gestapo or SS.  Today we call them SWAT.
Read more at Godfather Politics

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Chicken Thieves: Police Raid Home, Confiscate Poultry & Destroy Them; No Charges Filed

March 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

Competition?

For some reason the New Bern police decided that a guy with a lot of chicken and roosters must be engaged in illegal cockfighting. That is how it looks from this news story anyway. They were serving a drug warrant and then took almost sixty chickens and roosters “as part of an investigation.”

The owner was never charged, and he never got his property returned to him.

Copblock reports:

The station reports officers also seized training muffs, a vest, syringes and antibiotics [in addition to poultry].

Byrd told the station in January that he hadn’t done anything wrong. “They’re show birds,” he said. “I show them at the fair.” He also explained that the muffs were used for breeding and the vest was actually a beer holder.

Earlier this month, the station reported that District Attorney Scott Thomas said there was not enough evidence to charge Byrd and he gave the go-ahead for the chickens to be returned, passing the buck to Animal Control.

“They were my pets,” he said. “The birds mean everything to me.”

Before he could get them back, some of the birds allegedly contracted “a contagious disease.” Some died. The rest were killed by the county government.

Scott Harrelson, county health director, said that the chickens were already sick when they were taken into custody, but Byrd denies that claim.

Byrd is requesting $50,000 in damages, for the birds and the cages that were ripped open during the raid.

The station reports that a police spokesperson says there is no plan to compensate Byrd for his losses.

As Copblock points out, no matter who is at fault, the police or animal control, the taxpayers are the ones on the hook. The police are given the luxury of risk-free raids and risk-free property seizures. When they take property for no justifiable cause, and some victimized citizen manages to take them to court and win, only the taxpayers are billed to compensate that victim.
Read more at Political Outcast

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Cops Gun Down Homeless Man For “Illegally Camping” (Graphic Content)

March 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

 

James Boyd was reportedly gunned down in the Sandia Foothills outside Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m. last Sunday after being confronted by officers for sleeping in an unauthorized area. Despite Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden’s insistence that the recent officer involved shooting in the foothills was justified, it’s already under attack. KRQE News 13 showed the shooting video to an attorney and to a civil rights leader who both closely watch APD’s use of force. After watching the entire video, “I’m shocked, I’ve never seen a murder captured on videotape before,” said Joe Kennedy. Kennedy is an attorney who teamed with his wife Shannon to win a $10 million verdict against the city for APD’s wrongful shooting death of Kenneth Ellis in 2010.

Here is the full video. Warning, it contains graphic content.
Read more

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Police Keep Quiet About Cell-Tracking Technology

March 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State

Police across the country may be intercepting phone calls or text messages to find suspects using a technology tool known as Stingray. But they’re refusing to turn over details about its use or heavily censoring files when they do.

ABC

Police say Stingray, a suitcase-size device that pretends it’s a cell tower, is useful for catching criminals, but that’s about all they’ll say.

For example, they won’t disclose details about contracts with the device’s manufacturer, Harris Corp., insisting they are protecting both police tactics and commercial secrets. The secrecy — at times imposed by nondisclosure agreements signed by police — is pitting obligations under private contracts against government transparency laws.

Even in states with strong open records laws, including Florida and Arizona, little is known about police use of Stingray and any rules governing it.

A Stingray device tricks all cellphones in an area into electronically identifying themselves and transmitting data to police rather than the nearest phone company’s tower. Because documents about Stingrays are regularly censored, it’s not immediately clear what information the devices could capture, such as the contents of phone conversations and text messages, what they routinely do capture based on how they’re configured or how often they might be used.

In one of the rare court cases involving the device, the FBI acknowledged in 2011 that so-called cell site simulator technology affects innocent users in the area where it’s operated, not just a suspect police are seeking.

Earlier this month, journalist Beau Hodai and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona sued the Tucson Police Department, alleging in court documents that police didn’t comply with the state’s public-records law because they did not fully disclose Stingray-related records and allowed Harris Corp. to dictate what information could be made public.

Revelations about surveillance programs run by the federal National Security Agency have driven a sustained debate since last summer on the balance between privacy and government intrusion. Classified NSA documents, leaked to news organizations, showed the NSA was collecting telephone records, emails and video chats of millions of Americans who were not suspected of crimes.

That debate has extended to state and local governments. News organizations in Palm Springs, Calif.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif., and Pittsburgh are among those that have been denied records about Stingrays or Stingray-like devices, including details of contracts that Harris has with government agencies.

In a response to a records request from the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper about Florida’s use of cell-tracking technology, the state’s top police agency provided a four-page, heavily censored document signed by a police investigator. The newspaper reported that the document referred to guidelines concerning the purchase of items and sought the department’s agreement to the “provisions/content of the Non-Disclosure Agreement.”

The Desert Sun of Palm Springs made a similar request to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which said it had to maintain secrecy even though the newspaper found information online about cell site simulators.

And in Sacramento, the local sheriff’s office told a TV station it would “be inappropriate for us to comment about any agency that may be using the technology” in light of a Harris nondisclosure agreement.

Many of the requests were part of an effort to investigate the devices by Gannett Co. Inc., which publishes USA Today and owns other newspapers and television stations around the country.

“I don’t see how public agencies can make up an agreement with a private company that breaks state law,” said David Cuillier, the director of the University of Arizona’s journalism school and a national expert on public-records laws. “We can’t have the commercial sector running our governments for us. These public agencies need to be forthright and transparent.”

A representative for Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris Corp. declined to comment or elaborate on how the company’s agreements comport with open records laws. Court documents in Hodai’s case show Harris’ agreement required the Tucson city government not to “discuss, publish, release or disclose any information” about its products without the company’s written consent.

The agreement also required the city to contact Harris when it receives public-records requests about a “protected product,” like a Stingray, so that the company can “challenge any such request in court.” The police department declined to comment on Hodai’s lawsuit.

He had sought Harris contracts and police emails about how the technology is used. Email records show a Harris contract manager advised a Tucson police sergeant on what records couldn’t be released to the public; the manager relied on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, which governs records of the executive branch of the federal government.

Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said there’s often a distinction in public-records laws to protect bona fide trade secrets — such as circuit board diagrams — as opposed to broader information like agency policies governing a Stingray’s use or purchase agreements. He said police in Florida have declined to tell judges about the use of Stingrays because of nondisclosure agreements.

A December 2013 investigation by USA Today found roughly 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies it surveyed had performed tower dumps, and slightly fewer owned a Stingray. But the report also said 36 additional agencies refused to provide details on their use, with most denying the newspaper’s public-records requests.

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