Shared posts

22 Feb 22:45

3D tile editor, in your browser. Give it a go!

Kevinrenfrow

A fun little procedural building game. I wish the building space was larger, but it's a cool Unity demo.









3D tile editor, in your browser. Give it a go!

17 Mar 02:43

“Naked American Hero” goes to court

by Edward Hasbrouck
Kevinrenfrow

Glad to see this case is finally gaining traction again. The TSA is a colossal waste of money and it needs to be dissolved immediately. It is security theatre at best and is the embodiment of bad government waste.

John Brennan, the “Naked American Hero” who took off all his clothes at a TSA checkpoint at the Portland, Oregon airport, will finally have his day in a Federal court more than three years later. Mr. Brennan was (falsely) arrested by Portland city police, acting at the behest of the TSA checkpoint staff, on April 17, [...]
07 Nov 14:01

Want to Know Why The TSA Needs to “Touch Your Junk?” Sorry, That’s Classified!

by tsaoutofourpants

Grumpy Cat with SSIIn 2010, the TSA implemented a radically invasive search program that transformed the agency from a mere inconvenience to the most despised agency in the country. Late that year, the nude body scanners and enhanced pat-down procedures were rolled out as primary screening, ensuring that the TSA would either look at or touch every inch of your body. The pat-down involves a TSA screener literally putting their hands in your pants (they call it a “waistband check”), in the name of your safety.

Is all this really necessary? For what purpose does the TSA require a hand on your genitals? Internal TSA documents leaked by a federal court a couple weeks ago provide some insight on the matter (that I’ve been ordered not to discuss, so you’ll have to click the link to find out why!), but my lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of “scope-and-grope” forces the TSA to explain itself in writing. The time has finally come, and their answer?

Sorry, that’s classified!

The TSA filed on Tuesday a motion to submit their brief — the one that explains why they “must” abuse travelers in airports nation-wide — under seal and ex parte because it will contain information administratively classified as “Sensitive Security Information.” “Under seal” means the public doesn’t get to see it, and “ex parte” means that the other side of the case (me) doesn’t even get to see it. (They were nice enough to offer to send me a redacted copy at some point, which I’m sure will resemble a stack of black construction paper.)

The TSA is, essentially, saying to the public: “Trust us, we need to use scanners to conduct a virtual strip search, touch your body anywhere we like, and anything else we deem necessary, but we can’t tell you why because then the terrorists would win.” At this point, does anyone still believe them?

Corbett v. DHS – Motion to File Under Seal (.pdf)


Donate to support the last remaining lawsuit against TSA body scanners!
PayPal or Bitcoin: 15ftA2938sp7Mnsi8U7wYVmEtd4BRbFnkT

05 Nov 18:02

Innocent man given forcible 14-hour anal cavity search, X-rays, colonoscopy after rolling through a stop sign

by PSUSA
(Source: KOB4)

(Source: KOB4)

DEMING, NM — A man has filed a lawsuit stating that a traffic stop led to a series of forced medical procedures when a police officer thought he was clenching his butt cheeks.  His lawsuit says that without his consent, he was taken to a medical facility and where he was forcibly X-rayed multiple times, sedated, given several enemas, required to give multiple stool samples, subjected to fingers penetrating his anus during multiple cavity searches, followed by an actual colonoscopy where cameras probed his intestines for drugs.   The startling 14-hour ordeal failed to find any contraband inside his body.

The incident happened on January 2, 2013, when David Eckert says he had just wrapped up shopping at a Wal-Mart store in Deming.  As he pulled out of the parking lot, his vehicle allegedly did not stop completely at the posted stop sign.  Deming police promptly stopped his car and began fishing for charges that they could apply to him.

While stopped, Eckert was required to exit the vehicle by police officers intent on searching his car.  Police claimed that a dog told them that Eckert’s seat smelled like narcotics and claimed that his butt cheeks appeared to be clenched.

Eager to get an arrest, police conspired to search Eckert’s anus for contraband.  They took him into custody and got a judge to stamp out a search warrant for Eckert’s intestines.

Police were turned away at a Deming emergency room, after a doctor told him that the search was “unethical.”  But that jarring statement wouldn’t be enough to sway police officers from seeking another place to violate Eckert’s body in the name of prohibition.

Medical professionals at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City were more than happy to comply with the police in their hunt for drugs.  After a few hours, Eckert was admitted to the hospital and a grueling series of examinations began.

According to medical records and the lawsuit examined by KOB4 Eyewitness News, the Eckert’s captors performed the following procedures on him:

  1. Doctors X-rayed Eckert’s abdominal area.
  2. Doctors performed a finger penetration exam of Eckert’s anus.
  3. Doctors performed a finger penetration exam of Eckert’s anus for a second time.
  4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.
  5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.
  6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.
  7. Doctors then X-rayed Eckert again.
  8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines.

At no point was any evidence of narcotics found.  The humiliating procedures took 14 hours, according to KTVU.

“It’s a nightmare, its unfathomable. You could never anticipate this happening in the United States of America,” said Shannon Kennedy, the victim’s lawyer, adding that in 18 years of practicing civil rights law, “this may be the most egregious case I have ever seen with law enforcement abuse.”

“This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees,” said Kennedy.

America’s Drug War practices may sound like science fiction but it is indeed a disturbing reality that citizens can be raped by the state — figuratively or literally — in the name of finding drugs.  Unfortunately things have sunk that far.

The DOJ’s own definition makes this a very clear case of rape.   But somehow a piece of paper signed by a judge makes it a “legal” and acceptable practice.

Rape is:  “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

U.S. Department of Justice

Any protesting or resisting on the part of the victim could have resulted in the use of violence on him and punishing legal charges.   Eckert was forced to endure more than half a day of demented torture because of a suspected victimless crime.

According to Kennedy, the search warrant had multiple problems that may prove favorable to her client’s case.  Not only was the search warrant overly broad and lacking in probable cause, but it was also only valid in Luna County, where Deming is located and Eckert was arrested.  The hospital where his anal probe took place is in the town of Gila, located in neighboring Hidalgo County.

Additionally, the search warrant expired at 10 p.m., while doctors didn’t even begin prepping Eckert for the colonoscopy until 1:00 a.m. the following morning.

“What is so strange about this case is they held him with no evidence,” Kennedy said. “They seized him to collect evidence, to go on a fishing expedition on someone’s body.”

The police K-9 that signaled on Eckert’s car, named Leo, gives wrong signals “pretty often,” reported KOB4 Eyewitness News.  The dog wasn’t even certified in the state of New Mexico, and his certification had been expired since April 2011 — well past the annual re-certification requirement.

Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco and Robert Chavez (Image source: KOB-TV)

Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco and Robert Chavez (Image source: KOB-TV)

It would seem that the faulty use of the search warrant, the use of an unqualified dog, and the egregiousness of the cavity search would have led to some disciplinary action within the police department.  How were the conspirators disciplined?  Rather than getting fired and arrested, Detective Sergeant Bobby Orosco was promoted to patrol captain following the incident.

The doctors’ compliance to these disturbing orders reflects the outcome of the Milgram experiment, in which unwitting research participants were able to be convinced by a figure of authority to participate in a staged electrocution of an innocent person.  As Stanley Milgram demonstrated in 1961, the vast majority of people can be led to commit atrocities if the “authorities” compel it.  Even respected and educated members of the community will violate a person for hours, if a man with a badge tells them its OK.

After hosting the medical rape session, the Gila Regional Medical Center billed Eckert $6,000.00 for the trouble and is threatening to take him to collections if he doesn’t pay.

It should come as no shock that Eckert isn’t the only person to have been raped in this manner.  KOB4 uncovered another victim with a nearly identical story.  Timothy Young was pulled over for failure to use his blinker properly.  Literally the same dog, Leo, signaled positively on Young’s vehicle.  Young was then taken to the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, and subjected to medical procedures including x-rays of his stomach and an anal exam.  No drugs were found; Young was innocent.

The wild-goose chases for drugs in the anuses of innocent drivers is only one of the more visible injustices in a broader menace: the deadly and oppressive War on Drugs.  Are body cavity searches really any more insane than having masked men raid homes at 3:00 a.m. to find plants and substances?   The situation has been out of control for a long time.  The perpetual quest to stop people from getting high has proven over and over how quickly men can be turned into monsters, and well-meaning laws ultimately result in tyranny.  Economically, politically, and socially, the Drug War is far worse than problem it purports to solve.

 

{ Support Police State USA }

Earnest thanks goes to all those who have contributed to the operation of this website. We are committed to covering
stories that remain conspicuously ignored by the national mainstream media, and your generous support is essential
to effectively distributing this message. Many victims of government-sanctioned violence offer their gratitude.

 

Here is the text of the lawsuit:  Case 2:13-cv-00727-CG-WPL

Here is KOB4′s interview with the police department:


Accountability CheckAlert_HandBlinking

Only public outcry can reverse this trend in the legal system.

 

Named in the lawsuit: Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco, Robert Chavez and Officer Hernandez.

Deming Police Department
700 E. Pine Street, Deming NM 88030
Phone: (575) 546-3012
Chief Brandon Gigante: ext. 14
Captain Glenn Chadborn: ext. 16
Captain Robert Orosco: ext. 20

 

Named in the lawsuit:  Hidalgo County Deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Green.

Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department
720 E. 2nd Street, Lordsburg, NM 88045
Phone:  (575) 542-3833
Email:  s.madero@aznex.net  (Sheriff Saturnino Madero)

 

Named in the lawsuit:  Gila Regional Medical Center including Robert Wilcox, M.D. and Okay Odocha, M.D.

Gila Regional Medical Center
1313 E 32nd Street, Silver City, NM 88061
Phone:  (575) 538-4000
Email:  Contact Us
Facebook:  GRMC

 

Named in the lawsuit:  Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty.


The post Innocent man given forcible 14-hour anal cavity search, X-rays, colonoscopy after rolling through a stop sign appeared first on Police State USA.

31 Oct 04:21

Government moves to ban the word “government” from trial

by Aaron Jones
Kevinrenfrow

It gets comical at the end of page 2.


Small-town Tennessee Defense Lawyer’s Response to Prosecution’s Motion to Prevent defense from referring to Them as “the Government.” It’s not every day that you find a court motion that is this fun to read…

Response to Government Moving to Ban the Word “Government.” by renardthecrocs

29 Oct 20:12

One Area the NSA And I Can Agree: Obama Is A Cowardly, If Shrewd, Politician

by John Glaser

p101813ps-0012.1_0

The actual details of the NSA’s expansive surveillance programs are infuriating enough on their own. Civil libertarians and ordinary Americans are and should be angry at the NSA’s disrespect for the law, the Fourth Amendment, and privacy rights in general.

It’s interesting to juxtapose this anger and frustration felt throughout the population with the anger and frustration now being felt by the intelligence community. They are really angry. They hate having their secrets exposed. They hate increased scrutiny. They hate that the journalists to whom Edward Snowden leaked continue to publish details they want desperately to be kept secret.

But the intelligence community is angry for another reason, too. And while it pains me to say it…I think I agree with them

In addition to the lawlessness and tyranny of the NSA’s spying activities, it makes my blood boil that President Obama is trying to wiggle out of all responsibility for this. I never thought I’d share a contention with DNI James Clapper or Gen. Keith Alexander. But I share this one.

From the beginning of the Snowden disclosures, officials at the NSA have been unsatisfied with the extent of President Obama’s defense of these spying programs. They have felt they’ve been left out to dry as far as the public defense of these programs.

In the latest example, NSA is attracting nation-wide and world-wide criticism for its spying on allied countries and their leaders, namely Germany, France, Spain, Mexico, and others. The White House came out and said they didn’t even know this was going on. In this LA Times article, unnamed U.S. intelligence officials are calling bullshit.

The White House and State Department signed off on surveillance targeting phone conversations of friendly foreign leaders, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said Monday, pushing back against assertions that President Obama and his aides were unaware of the high-level eavesdropping.

Professional staff members at the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies are angry, these officials say, believing the president has cast them adrift as he tries to distance himself from the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have strained ties with close allies.

Not only is Obama vaguely denying full knowledge of the spying on allied foreign leaders and populations, but he is refusing to defend the validity of some of the more high-profile activities, like the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. On that issue, the White House has said such surveillance will not continue, which implicitly repudiates its validity in the first place.

Obama isn’t the only one wiggling out of political culpability. Even some of the NSA’s most ardent supporters in Congress, like Senator Dianne Feinstein, are leaving the NSA out to dry. LA Times:

“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies — including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany — let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” said Sen.Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers,” she said in a statement.

Feinstein said the Intelligence Committee had not been told of “certain surveillance activities” for more than a decade, and she said she would initiate a major review of the NSA operation.

“We’re really screwed now,” one NSA official told The Cable. “You know things are bad when the few friends you’ve got disappear without a trace in the dead of night and leave no forwarding address.”

As much as I enjoy seeing the leadership at the NSA squirm, I’m offended that Obama isn’t catching more direct flack over this in the public mind. He is dodging scrutiny the same way he always has: ruthless politicking for the sake of his own stature and reputation.

Obama is even less trustworthy than the NSA, it seems.

26 Oct 21:59

Photos from today’s Stop Watching Us Rally in DC

by James Bovard

Hundreds of folks turned out today in DC to protest NSA surveillance.   The sign makers outdid themselves for this worthy cause –
[[ on Twitter - @jimbovard ]]

Marching from Union Station to the base of Capitol Hill…

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Plenty of “Thank You Snowden” signs in today’s crowd…

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DSC_0727

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Kelley Vlahos, the only journalist adept enough to write for both Fox News & Antiwar.com -

KDSC_0054

25 Oct 22:26

Police perform “simulated drug raid” on 5th graders; child attacked by police dog

by PSUSA

AttackDogBRAZIL, IN — Children were subjected to a “simulated raid” of a party so they could witness police searching citizens with dogs and look for reasons to arrest them in a “drug awareness” event.  The idea went from bad to worse when one of the children was attacked by the police dog as it sniffed them for drugs.

This week is apparently “Red Ribbon Awareness week,” in which children across the country are told how important it is to keep up the status quo with drug prohibition.  The Clay County Courthouse set up a police state demonstration for a group of 5th graders which involved a simulated police raid of a party involving searches and seizures using a vicious police dog.

With the goal of “educating the Clay County fifth-graders on drug awareness,” police crashed into a simulated party to search the attendees for narcotics.  The children involved were told to hold very still while they were searched by police and their K-9.

Brazil Police Chief Clint McQueen revealed that police deliberately planted drugs on an 11-year-old boy in order to make the raid appear more realistic.  According to the Brazil Times:

McQueen said a very small amount of illegal drugs were hidden on one of the juveniles to show how the dogs can find even the smallest trace of an illegal substance. He added all this was done “under exclusive control and supervision of members of the court and law enforcement.”

Dog handler, Ray Walters, issued a report that described the event that resulted in his dog attacking the 5th grader’s leg.

“As I got closer to the actors, Max [the dog] began searching the juveniles,” wrote Walters. “The first male juvenile began moving his legs around as Max searched him. When the male began moving his legs, (this is what) I believe prompted Max’s action to bite the male juvenile on the left calf.”

The unnamed boy was transported by ambulance to St. Vincent Clay Hospital for puncture wounds on his leg from where the police K-9′s fangs had ripped his skin open.

“It wasn’t the dog’s fault and it wasn’t the kid’s fault. But my gosh the kid is gonna carry those memories for a long time,” Clay County resident Ron Pell said.

If this show of incompetence wasn’t enough, police went forward with one last drill as the young boy was being carted away in an ambulance.  There were 4 “scenarios” carried out that day.

What was pitched as a “drug awareness” event was in reality more of a “police state conditioning” drill.  Young, impressionable kids were subjected to witness first-hand one of America’s most offensive policies: cops crashing into private parties to arrest citizens for possessing a plant or a substance without permission.  The kids were being conditioned to accept that getting searched by police dogs without cause is normal behavior that should be supported.

The prohibitionists’ indoctrination plan may have backfired this time, with the children being taught an unintended lesson: that the police can be more dangerous than the drugs.

 

{ Support Police State USA }

Earnest thanks goes to all those who have contributed to the operation of this website. We are committed to covering
stories that remain conspicuously ignored by the national mainstream media, and your generous support is essential
to effectively distributing this message. Many victims of government-sanctioned violence offer their gratitude.

 


Accountability Check

Share your feedback with the department.

Brazil Police Department
Phone:  (812) 446-2211
Facebook:  Brazil Indiana Police Dept


The post Police perform “simulated drug raid” on 5th graders; child attacked by police dog appeared first on Police State USA.

23 Oct 00:00

Stop Watching Us: The Video

by Belligerent Act

Dear US Government,

It’s totally not OK for you to listen, watch, monitor, or otherwise surveil our clearly defined and 100% constitutionally protected private lives. Totally not OK as in REVOLUTIONARILY not OK.

STOPWATCHING.US

24 Oct 02:20

13-year-old shot to death by police for open-carrying a toy rifle

by PSUSA
The scene of Andy's slaying.  (Source: Conner Jay, Associated Press)

The scene of Andy’s slaying. (Source: Conner Jay, Associated Press)

SANTA ROSA, CA — An innocent boy faced a deadly encounter with police when they thought he was exercising the right to bear arms.  Deputies shot the young teen several times because they thought he was holding an “assault weapon” — something that the government elites believe they have the exclusive right to carry.  It turned out that he was only holding a phony plastic toy.  The eighth grader was pronounced dead in a grassy field that he was crossing on his way home.

(Source: Associated Press)

(Source: Associated Press)

At about 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22, Andy Lopez, age 13, was walking home from playing with his friends.  He and his buddies liked to play with air-powered pellet guns, and he was carrying one he had borrowed.

As Andy journeyed home, he was spotted by two hoplophobic predators employed by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.  They spotted what he was carrying.

Male subject bearing arms in my sector.  Lock and load.

Themselves armed to the teeth, the deputies moved in with their tax-subsidized vehicle to enforce some life-destroying, unconstitutional gun control measures.

The deputies called for backup and allegedly ordered Andy to drop his gun as he walked through a field of dry grass.

“At some point immediately thereafter, the deputies fired several rounds from their handguns at the subject, striking him several times,” Lt. Dennis O’Leary said. The boy fell to the ground, he said, and “landed on top of the rifle he was carrying.”

Deputies leapt on top of the boy and handcuffed him.  Shot 7 times, he was unresponsive, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“First I heard a single siren and within seconds I heard seven shots go off, sounded like a nail gun, is what I thought it was,” said Brian Zastrow, a neighboring resident, to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “After that I heard multiple sirens.”

Predictably, police claimed that Andy turned toward them and aimed his rifle at him.  The Press Democrat reports the police version of the story.

The veteran deputy, one of the department’s training officers, told investigators that after he ordered the boy to drop the gun, Lopez began turning toward him and raised the gun’s barrel in his direction, police officials said.

Imagine walking home and strange men start barking orders at you.  Would the natural reaction be to turn toward them?  Andy didn’t stand a chance.

(Source: Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, AP)

(Source: Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, AP)

Police later described the toy as a “replica of an assault weapon” with a large ammunition magazine.  Very scary sounding.  In a twisted double-standard, anyone seen carrying a firearm in California is subject to certain harassment and possible death, unless that is, you are government employee.  The privileged caste can parade around carrying real assault weapons, donning badges, and terrorizing anyone who dares to exercise one of America’s most fundamental freedoms.

This was the 3rd fatal shooting committed by Bay-area police in 24 hours.  The deputies have been placed on administrative leave.  Their names have not been released.

A toy pistol was placed at his memorial, tied in a red bow, as his friends and family gathered.

One of Andy’s friends, Gabriel Roque, said, “I’m devastated. There’s a difference between a cold-hearted killer walking down the street with a gun than a little kid walking down the street with a BB gun. There’s something wrong.”  His mother called the deputies “trigger happy.”

“He was a great boy and I treated him like he was my son,” said grief-stricken family friend Alma Galvan. “Why did they have to kill him?”

Andy liked to play basketball and play the trumpet.  “Andy was a very loved student, a very popular, very handsome young man, very smart and capable,” said assistant principal Linsey Gannon of Lawrence Cook Middle School.  “Our community has been rocked by his loss.”

His father, Rodrigo Lopez last saw his son before work that morning.  “I told him what I tell him every day,” he said in Spanish. “Behave yourself.”

(Source: Bridgett Roque)

(Source: Bridgett Roque)

“Why did they kill him?” cried Andy’s mother, Sujey Annel Cruz Cazarez.  “Why??”

Why?

The root cause of Andy Lopez’s death is the fact that police felt compelled to approach him at all.

The fact is that every single encounter with the police — big or small — can result in life-changing outcomes or death.  From a traffic stop to a wellness check, interacting with the government is inherently dangerous.  Any flinch could be deemed a threat.  Failure to react to their demands could provoke deadly consequences.  Being armed or challenging their authority could be a death sentence.   Its impossible to know if you’re beings stopped by Officer Friendly or Judge Dredd.

The solution is to leave people alone.  Had Andy been left to walk home in peace, he’d still be alive today.  In a free society, people would be allowed to carry a firearm without teams of hypocritical bullies accosting them.  Police interactions would be limited to cases of violence.  And no, holding an arbitrary tool or object is not tantamount to committing violence.

In a free society, the right to keep and bear arms would be respected.  It would not confined to keeping guns locked in a vault in your home, only if they look a certain way, only after paying the government for a permission slip, and only after giving them details about everything you own.  What citizens own, and the manner in which they carry it, is not the government’s business.

Open carry is legal in the majority of U.S. states.  California has some of the most draconian gun control laws in the nation.  And once again, a life is ruined because of “common sense” regulations that naive statists have eagerly embraced.

Andy should have been left alone.   How many more have to die because of gun control zealots and their efforts to “keep us safe”?


UPDATE:  8/28/2013

Gelhaus peeks out of an armored vehicle.  (Source: Modern Service Weapons)

Gelhaus peeks out of an armored vehicle. (Source: Modern Service Weapons)

The officer who shot Andy Lopez has been revealed to be 48-year-old Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Gelhaus is a 24-year veteran of the department, an Iraq combat veteran, a firearms instructor, and a prolific writer and commenter on the internet.   He served in the Army National Guard from 2004 to 2010, and testified about dealing with insurgents in Iraq.  He advocates an aggressive, combat-like view of law enforcement.

He participates as a moderator on The Firing Line, an online forum for gun enthusiasts hosted by S.W.A.T. Magazine. There Gelhaus uses his real name and gives his opinions about a wide variety of law enforcement topics, touting his experience in combat.

He wrote for S.W.A.T. in 2008 that among the things he tells his trainees early on is that “Today is the day you may need to kill someone in order to go home.”

“If you cannot turn on the ‘Mean Gene’ for yourself, who will?” he wrote. “If you find yourself in an ambush, in the kill zone, you need to turn on that mean gene.”

Erick Gelhaus (Source: Gunsite)

Erick Gelhaus (Source: Gunsite)

Gelhaus writes that he is able to survive the “kill zone” by thinking of his family.  He summons his “mean genes” in order to make the split-second decisions while dealing with insurgents — in this case, children in residential California.

The deputy describes the job as his “calling” and loves participating in the “contact sport” of law enforcing.

He’s given verbose details about how to react in self-defense situations (using that term loosely here).  Prior to the killing of Andy Lopez, Gelhaus wrote about how to handle the aftermath of killing a person with a BB-gun.  The Press Democrat reported:

In one revealing thread, forum members debated whether the use of force is justified if someone brandishes or fires a BB gun at another person.

Gelhaus chimed in, writing that “It’s going to come down to YOUR ability to articulate to law enforcement and very likely the Court that you were in fear of death or serious bodily injury.”

“I think we keep coming back to this, articulation — your ability to explain why — will be quite significant,” Gelhaus wrote.

Gelhaus clearly knows the drill.  When shooting another person, no matter what the situation, one must convincingly articulate how much fear was felt during the time in the kill zone.  Whether those fears were honest and reasonable is anybody’s guess.

Let’s be clear:  There are situations when a person holding a toy gun could be viewed to be a deadly threat.  If an individual on the street actually points a perceived weapon at someone else, self-defense could be warranted by any reasonable standard.  The situation becomes very volatile when cops are paid to get confrontational with people who have literally done nothing except walk down the street with an item that scares them.  The innocent blood lies on the hands of the gun controllers and the enforcers who perpetuate gun control.

 

 { Support Police State USA }

Earnest thanks goes to all those who have contributed to the operation of this website. We are committed to covering
stories that remain conspicuously ignored by the national mainstream media, and your generous support is essential
to effectively distributing this message. Many victims of government-sanctioned violence offer their gratitude.


 Alert_PoliceLightsAccountability Check

Tell the department to leave open-carriers alone and clean up their trigger-happy ranks.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department
Phone Directory:  Contact Us
Questions regarding the ongoing investigation contact Lieutenant Paul Henry:  707-543-3668.
Questions regarding the administrative process contact Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas:  707-565-2781.
Facebook: Sonoma.Sheriff

 


 

The post 13-year-old shot to death by police for open-carrying a toy rifle appeared first on Police State USA.

24 Oct 00:49

Jeff Gray Arrested for Recording Cops Days After Becoming PINAC Partner (Updated IV)

by Carlos Miller

The good news is that Jeff Gray and Joel Chandler are now officially part of Photography is Not a Crime after having accepted my invitation to become partners, a move that will bolster the site to unprecedented levels in the ensuing months as we incorporate and expand our resources to continuing ensuring government transparency.

The bad news is that Gray is now sitting in jail after having recorded a traffic stop on his way back home to St. Augustine from Miami this afternoon, charged with obstruction of justice.

Clearly, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office just stepped into a huge pile of PINAC Precedent because they have no idea what’s in store for them.

Gray’s dash cam video, which was uploaded by his wife, Teresa, shows he was nowhere near the traffic stop when he was arrested. In fact, she had to turn the dash cam to capture his arrest.

The arrest begins at 2:00.

Teresa tried to use her phone to record the deputy, but he ordered her to “get that camera out of my face,” so she placed it on her lap and continued recording.

The deputy gave Teresa the old sob story as how their jobs are so dangerous that citizens must scurry away as they conduct traffic stops in order not to make them fear for their lives.

“He was walking around the deputy, making him nervous, there’s no reason for that, do you understand how dangerous traffic stops are?” the deputy told Teresa.

But Gray was walking nowhere near the deputy as the video will show.

Teresa said her husband began recording the traffic stop from beside his vehicle in a parking lot, but deputies in an unmarked car ordered him out of the parking lot, so he moved to the green space between the lot and the street, at least 200 feet from the traffic stop.

But that was enough to strike fear in the hearts of deputies.

“(The deputy) has an obligation to that citizen in that car and his family to go home to today,” the deputy told Teresa,  the irony that her husband would like to enjoy his Constitutional right to record cops and a night with his own family completely lost on him.

The deputy then ordered Teresa to leave, telling her, “take this vehicle and leave this parking lot, you’re not free to be on the roadway, county right-of-way or this parking lot,” perhaps expecting her to hover her way out of the area, refusing to even tell her where the jail was located.

smallsheriffportrait1editfinal

Brevard County Sheriff Wayve Ivey

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens to call or email them on a page they title “How Are We Doing?”

Call them at (321) 264-5201.

Or post on their Facebook page.

They are also hosting an open town hall meeting on October 29, so that might be a good time to question their unconstitutional tactics.

BCSO town hall

We will be providing more details about the partnership once we get past this issue.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Teresa who said he is being charged with two counts of resisting arrest without violence and one count of trespassing. He is still in jail.

UPDATE II: Teresa paid the bail about an hour or so ago, only to be told it could be two to eight hours for him to be released.

UPDATE III: Jeff Gray was released from jail. Teresa captures it all on camera.

UPDATE IV: Jeff said that they refused to release his iPhone and other body-worn cameras he was wearing at the time, holding them as “evidence.”

Obviously, evidence against their Constitutional violations.

The post Jeff Gray Arrested for Recording Cops Days After Becoming PINAC Partner (Updated IV) appeared first on Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC.

23 Oct 19:43

Great Write-Up of My TSA Case & The Leaked Documents

by tsaoutofourpants

Today is Day 5 of the TSA’s censoring of my speech after the Court accidentally leaked a brief of mine containing administratively classified information embarrassing to their cause. Courthouse News put out an excellent summary of both my case and the circumstances of the leaked brief, as well as a text version of the leaked brief itself. Since I’m not allowed to speak, I’ll let them speak for me:

> Courthouse News: Defense of Airport Body Scanners Undermined


Want to donate to the fight against TSA assholery? PayPal or Bitcoin: 15ftA2938sp7Mnsi8U7wYVmEtd4BRbFnkT
23 Oct 14:52

Rand Paul Proposes Silly Constitutional Amendment to Apply Laws Equally to Citizens and Government

by John Glaser

06paul-blog480

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced an interesting Constitutional amendment this week:

‘Section 1. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.

‘Section 2. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to the executive branch of Government, including the President, Vice President, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and all other officers of the United States, including those provided for under this Constitution and by law, and inferior officers to the President established by law.

‘Section 3. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, including the Chief Justice, and judges of such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

I view this as a superficial attempt to simultaneously throw red meat to Paul’s libertarian and populist Tea Party followers. First of all, the proposed amendment is unlikely to be successful, given the notorious difficulty of passing Constitutional amendments, which require two-thirds of both houses of Congress and then ratification by at least three-fourths of the states (or, 38 out of 50).

And secondly, while it may sound nice to say that not even the government will be above the law, that is the system we’re already supposed to have, yet it is largely a farce. Even if this actually became an amendment, it would be mostly symbolic.

The government is constantly breaking the law and taking actions that are clearly illegal for ordinary citizens to take.

To take just one example, the Supreme Court in 2010 decided that “material support” laws Congress passed to criminalize aiding terrorist groups includes “Advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization.” Yet this didn’t seem to apply to scores of current and former U.S. politicians that advocated for and got paid to speak on behalf of the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which was on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations until September 2012.

Here’s what former Governor Ed Rendell told journalist Daniel Denvir when confronted about his illegal support for MEK:

“If you indict me, I hope you know, you have to indict 67 other Americans who did the same thing, including seven generals … [who] served in Iraq. You’d have to indict James Jones, President Obama’s first NSC chief adviser, you’d have to indict former Attorney General [Michael] Mukasey, former FBI Director Louis Freeh … the whole kit and caboodle.” That caboodle is voluminous and high-powered, including Tom Ridge, UN Ambassador John Bolton, Rudolph Giuliani and Howard Dean, among others.

Or, take an example straight from the Executive Branch. In September, President Obama unilaterally waived the ban on supplying lethal aid to terrorist groups “to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to ‘vetted’ opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad,” the Washington Examiner reported. If Presidents can simply waive laws they know they’ll soon be in violation of, an amendment like Paul’s is worthless.

Or what about the NSA’s lawlessness under the Executive Branch? Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee and has access to classified information about the NSA’s surveillance practices, said this month that even with the overly broad statutory powers granted to the NSA, “the rules have been broken, and the rules have been broken a lot.”

A recently declassified FISC ruling found that the NSA “frequently and systematically violated” statutory laws governing how intelligence agents can search databases of Americans’ telephone communications and that NSA analysts deliberately misled judges about their surveillance activities in order to get court approval.

Going back a little further, President Bush flagrantly violated the law when he secretly authorized the NSA to perform warrantless surveillance on phone calls, including American communications.

I could go on and on (torture, indefinite detention, war crimes, etc. etc.)

If Paul wants laws to be applied equally, why haven’t I heard him call for indictments against the Obama and Bush administrations, not to mention the leadership of the NSA?

Probably because this is for political show. The truth is, being in the Executive Branch or in Congress is basically a get out of jail free card. If Joe Schmoe steals $50 out of the cash register of his local convenient store, he’ll be in big trouble. If the U.S. government supports terrorism, wages illegal war, and systematically violates the Fourth Amendment in complete secrecy…no problem.

21 Oct 21:18

New UN Report Highlights How US Drone Policy Violates International Law

by Cathy Reisenwitz

The United Nations General Assembly just released the latest Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The report is necessary, in part, because “There is… a notable lack of consensus on how to apply the rules of international law that regulate the use of force to drones.”

The report provides a framework to help states ensure their fatal drone strikes are conducted in line with existing international law. Evaluating US drone strike policy in light of these recommendations, it is clear that the United States is not currently in line with international law concerning targeted killings, first and foremost regarding transparency.

The recommendations include an exhortation for states to be transparent about not just their use of drones, but how they develop them and acquire them as well.

[States] must publicly disclose the legal basis for the use of drones, operational responsibility, criteria for targeting, impact (including civilian casualties), and information about alleged violations, investigations and prosecutions.

The Obama Administration is in clear violation of this recommendation. The United States’ first fatal drone strike killed an American citizen in 2002. But it wasn’t until May of 2013 that the Obama Administration acknowledged that drone strikes have killed at least 4 Americans. In fact, Obama joked about killing a Jonas Brother with a Predator drone while refusing to formally acknowledge the drone war in Pakistan to the press.

The Obama Administration has actually blocked lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights to delve into, for instance, how targeting American citizens for death without a trial does not violate the Constitution. The administration has consistently shot down Freedom of Information Act lawsuits which request the documents which would explain the legal basis for targeting and killing people.

We’re also in clear violation when it comes to oversight. “Drone operators must not be placed within a chain of command that requires them to report within institutions that are unable to disclose their operations.”

The Central Intelligence Agency runs the United States drone war. the CIA is the definition of an institution which is unable to disclose its operations, as those operations are formally classified.

The other recommendations include exhortations to consider people who states cannot confirm are enemy combatants civilians, and not kill them accordingly. States should also investigate drone use and hold people who misuse them accountable. In addition, capture should be used when feasible, leaving killings for use only as a last resort.

Unfortunately, whether United States drone policy conforms to the rest of the recommendations is unknowable because of the secrecy in which the government conducts targeted killings.

As the report states:

The modern concept of human rights is based on the fundamental principle that those responsible for violations must be held to account. A failure to investigate and, where applicable, punish those responsible for violations of the right to life in itself constitutes a violation of that right.

Legal and political accountability are dependent on public access to the relevant information. Only on the basis of such information can effective oversight and enforcement take place. The first step towards securing human rights in this context is transparency about the use of drones.

The US conducts, on average, one drone strike every four days. This is literally a matter of life and many, many deaths. In these matters transparency is absolutely essential. The United States absolutely must get our drone policy in line with these recommendations to ensure we are following existing international law.

Cathy Reisenwitz is a Young Voices Associate and a D.C.-based writer and political commentator. She is Editor-in-Chief of Sex and the State and her writing has appeared in Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, Reason magazine, Talking Points Memo, the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, XOJane, The Freeman, the Individualist Feminist and Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist.

22 Oct 07:53

Judge demands mother split from her breastfeeding infant so she can serve as a juror

by PSUSA
Laura Trickle could face penalties for putting her role as a mother before her obedience to the state. (Source: Jill Toyoshiba / Kansas City Star

Laura Trickle could face penalties for putting her role as a mother before her obedience to the state. (Source: Jill Toyoshiba / Kansas City Star

JACKSON COUNTY, MO — A woman is facing legal penalties because of placing her role as a mother before her obedience to the state.  Not wanting to interrupt her infant son’s breastfeeding schedule, she says she is unable to serve as a juror unless her little boy comes with her.  But according to state law and a presiding county judge, if she doesn’t make arrangements for child care and comply with mandatory jury duty, she could be fined or arrested.

“The issue is the timing,” said Laura Trickle, of Lee’s Summit, MO. “I just can’t do it right now.”

Trickle is the stay-at-home mother of an infant son, Axel, who was born in March and depends on her to eat.  “Axel doesn’t take a bottle,” Trickle said.

According to the Kansas City Star, after being summonsed on August 9th for jury selection, she informed the court of her situation, to no avail.  The court demanded that she show up and arrange for child care.

So on September 3rd, Laura Trickle showed up for jury selection — with her son.

According to the court order that soon arrived, she “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child.”

Now Trickle will face Jackson County Presiding Judge Marco Roldan this Thursday at a hearing at the Jackson County Courthouse downtown.  There she could be fined or jailed for her “contempt.”

Missouri is one of 39 states that does not exempt breastfeeding mothers from compulsory jury duty.

In a free and voluntary society, jury duty would not need “exemptions”.  It would not be compulsory for any reason.  If people decline to participate, they should be dismissed immediately.  There should be no need for anyone to plea for an exemption, or to purposely say controversial things in an attempt to be dismissed.  Juries should be completely voluntary.

Jury duty should be a privilege for citizens to participate in a process that could either penalize a predator or vindicate an innocent person.

JudgesGavelIn a society plagued by onerous prohibitions, freedom-depleting mandates, nanny state regulations, and all other manners of tyrannical legislation, freedom advocates should be leaping at the opportunity to serve on a jury.  There, we as jurors can utilize a powerful tool to counter the police state:  Jury Nullification.

Jury Nullification is the process whereby a jury in a criminal case effectively nullifies a law by acquitting a defendant regardless of the weight of evidence against him or her.  No matter how the trial goes, or what the judge claims, each juror is free to use his conscience in determining his vote.  A judge cannot bully a juror into voting for a conviction.  A juror has the obligation to consider not just the facts of the trial, but the merit of the law itself.  If the law is unjust, the jurors should vote their conscience and release the defendant — regardless if he “broke the law” or not.  This is an essential check and balance in the system that the establishment doesn’t want people to exercise or even know about.  Jury Nullification is perhaps the last peaceful line of defense against tyranny.   No one can be oppressed if juries refuse to convict.

Corrupt, liberty-hating prosecutors and judges don’t want people to know about their rights as jurors.  The system prefers ignorant, compliant jurors who can be convinced to punish their fellow citizens to the fullest extent for breaking any of the countless laws on the books.  The mere mention of jury nullification in a courtroom could get a potential juror dismissed.  Some subtlety needs to be exercised by nullifiers.

If the public was educated and aware of Jury Nullification, we would live in a very different society.  Groups like the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) dedicate their efforts toward making people aware of their rights as citizens serving on a jury.  With your help they could reach more people.

Laura Trickle, and any other person who wishes to be dismissed from a jury, should be released without penalty.  Pro-liberty activists should be lining up and volunteering.  Just remember: “No Victim, No Crime.”

 

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Accountability Check

Tell the judge to use some common sense and dismiss Laura Trickle.

Judge Marco Roldan, Presiding Judge, Circuit Court Div. 16
Jackson County Courthouse
415 E 12th Street  - 5th Floor
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone:  816-881-4416
Fax:      816-881-3378


Jury Nullification Resources

Jury Nullification: What lawyers and judges won’t tell you about juries

Examples of Jury Nullification Throughout History

Join the Fully Informed Jury Association
www.fija.org
Fully Informed Jury Association | Facebook


The post Judge demands mother split from her breastfeeding infant so she can serve as a juror appeared first on Police State USA.

22 Oct 23:03

Jay Carney Refers Obamacare Questions to HHS 10 times

by Washington Free Beacon Staff

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney referred reporters’ questions regarding Obamacare to the Department of Health & Human Services 10 times Tuesday in the White House press briefing.

An exasperated White House press corps was continually stymied by Carney in their attempts to extract any information about what is being done to fix healthcare.gov.

At one point, a reporter asked Carney whether HHS would actually be able to answer the questions that the White House press secretary had directed to the federal agency. Predictably, Carney referred the reporter to HHS.

In a scene indicative of the frustration among the press corps, Carney concluded the briefing by ignoring a final Obamacare question, at which point another reporter chimed in “Couldn’t we just have a rep [from HHS] come to the press briefing?”:

 

22 Oct 20:59

VICTORY! Federal Appeals Court Rules Warrant Required for GPS Tracking

by By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project

Today the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that law enforcement agents must obtain a warrant based on probable cause to attach a GPS device to a car and track its movements. The case, United States v. Katzin, is the first in which a federal appeals court has explicitly held that a warrant is required for GPS tracking by police. The ACLU submitted an amicus brief in the case (joined by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) and presented oral argument to the court in March.

In this case, police suspected three brothers, Harry, Mark, and Michael Katzin, of robbing several pharmacies. Without getting a warrant from a judge, FBI agents attached a GPS tracking device to Harry Katzin's car in order to follow its movements. The government used the GPS device to track the Katzins as they drove to and from another pharmacy, and arrested them as they drove away. Before trial, the Katzins argued that police had violated their Fourth Amendment rights by using the GPS tracker without a warrant, and the district court agreed. Today's ruling affirms that decision.

Last year, in United States v. Jones, the Supreme Court unanimously held that attaching a GPS tracker to a car to follow its movements is a search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court did not decide whether police need a warrant to conduct such a search, however, and the government argued in this case that an exception to the usual requirement of a warrant should apply. The Third Circuit rejected the government's arguments, explaining that GPS tracking is a "vastly broader endeavor" than the kinds of limited searches that courts have allowed without warrants. In particular, the court held that the "automobile exception" to the warrant requirement does not apply to GPS tracking. The exception is designed to permit warrantless searches of cars to reveal contraband before the cars can drive away. But, as the court explained, that narrow exception does not "permit [police] to leave behind an ever-watchful electronic sentinel in order to collect future evidence" without judicial oversight.

The court also rejected a second argument made by the government: that the so-called "good faith" exception should permit use of evidence derived from the GPS tracking, even if it violated the Fourth Amendment. Because the GPS tracker was attached to the Katzins' car before the Supreme Court decided Jones, and before the Third Circuit had addressed the issue, the government argued that FBI agents couldn't have known that a using a GPS device might raise questions under the Fourth Amendment, and therefore they acted in good faith by choosing not to seek a warrant. The court explained that this does not excuse police from the requirement of getting a warrant:

Where an officer decides to take the Fourth Amendment inquiry into his own hands, rather than to seek a warrant from a neutral magistrate — particularly where the law is as far from settled as it was in this case — he acts in a constitutionally reckless fashion. Here, law enforcement personnel made a deliberate decision to forego securing a warrant before attaching a GPS device directly to a target vehicle in the absence of binding Fourth Amendment precedent authorizing such a practice. . . . Excluding the evidence here will incentivize the police to err on the side of constitutional behavior and help prevent future Fourth Amendment violations.

Today's opinion offers a full-throated defense of the Fourth Amendment, and installs an important safeguard against unjustified government surveillance. As courts around the country consider challenges to warrantless location tracking by police (whether using GPS devices or cell phone signals), they would do well to follow the Third Circuit's lead.

22 Oct 22:51

The Weird Obamacare Deadline Glitch May Get Fixed

by Garance Franke-Ruta
Mike Segar/Reuters

One aspect of the Obamacare rollout that seems most like a bait-and-switch is that although the open-enrollment period is often described as being six months long, users actually only have four and a half months to buy insurance if they wish to avoid paying a fine for being uninsured.

While the Affordable Care Act only assesses penalties on those who fail to secure insurance by March 31 of each year—or who are uninsured for more than three months later in the year—to actually get insurance during the Obamacare open-enrollment period you need sign up by February 15.

As Consumer Reports put it, that's "the last date you can purchase insurance if you want to avoid being fined for not having insurance in 2014 .... to avoid the penalty, you need to have insurance in place by the end of March and not a day later. In order to do that, you’ll need to purchase coverage by Feb. 15. If you wait until Feb. 16 or later, coverage won’t start until April 1—one day over the three-month grace period."

So which is it: February 15 or March 31?

In a welcome sign of movement on this front, the Department of Health and Human Services told The Atlantic that it is working to put the open-enrollment deadline and the tax-penalty deadline in sync, so that people who purchase insurance before the March 31 deadline won't have to pay a penalty, even if their policy doesn't take effect immediately.

"There is a disconnect between the open-enrollment and individual-responsibility timeframes in the first year of the Marketplace only," an HHS official said. "The administration is working to align those policies and will issue guidance soon."

"We are exploring options currently," the official said.

A senior administration official told reporters Monday that "The law as written provides a great deal of flexibility to make sure that no one who is trying to get insurance or can't get insurance" will pay a penalty. Another emphasized the many penalty exemptions in the law. White House press secretary Jay Carney emphasized that point repeatedly during Monday's briefing, saying, "The law makes clear that people who do not have access to affordable care due to a state not expanding Medicaid or other factors will not be penalized."

A tax-penalty exemption for people who can prove they signed up and paid for insurance through the exchanges by March 31, even if they're not effectively insured until April 1 or later, would solve the disconnect.


    






22 Oct 04:00

October 22, 2013


I warned you the comics would be getting dorkier over time. I WARNED YOU.

Also, have I mentioned lately that my choose your own adventure book is available in APP form?
21 Oct 21:18

Leaked TSA document causing trouble for Jon Corbett

by Lisa Simeone

JonCorbett
Our buddy Jon Corbett is back in the news again.

You may recall that Corbett, who has written for us here at TSA News, was the first person in the country to sue the TSA on the grounds that its strip-search scanners and body groping are violations of the 4th Amendment. Corbett also demonstrated, in a widely disseminated video, that the scanners are worthless pieces of junk.

None of this, of course, has made a dent in the armor of the blue-caped crusaders. Corbett’s lawsuit is ongoing, as is the money being sucked out of his pocket. He’s a modern-day hero, fighting not only for his rights but for those of his fellow Americans too gutless to fight for themselves. But I digress.

In the most recent development, our incompetent “security” overlords accidentally published a portion of Corbett’s lawsuit that was supposed to be kept under seal. I’ll let Jon tell the story:

I received a call from the clerk’s office of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stating that opposing counsel (the government) has complained to the Court that I am violating the order sealing the documents upon which my brief is based by talking about their contents — even though the contents of those documents were (accidentally) published by the Court, and then reproduced in the media. I called the attorney on the case, Sharon Swingle of the U.S. Department of Justice, who confirmed that the government’s position is that I have violated the court order and must take down the blog post in question.

I tried explaining to Ms. Swingle that the document had been published by a third party and that I was simply discussing that now-public document. I tried explaining to Ms. Swingle how absurd it would be to say that any third party can talk about anything in that document they wanted, but that I was somehow barred. I tried explaining to Ms. Swingle the Streisand Effect, and that she will now be drawing more attention to the documents that the government wants hidden from the public. Ms. Swingle continued to insist that the government’s position was that I must take the comments down, and so I have.

Since Jon will get nowhere trying to talk sense and logic to the authorities, it’s left to the rest of us to disseminate this information, which some news sources, such as Techdirt and Frequent Business Traveler, are already doing.

The most revealing — and unsurprising — part of the supposedly redacted document is the following (please try to ignore the retch-inducing term “Homeland”):

“As of mid-2011, terrorist threat groups present in the Homeland are not known to be actively plotting against civil aviation targets or airports; instead, their focus is on fundraising, recruiting, and propagandizing . . . there have been no attempted domestic hijackings of any kind in the 12 years since 9/11.”

In other words, the TSA itself admits what some of us have been saying for years: the agency is security theater, designed to placate people and make them think that Something Is Being Done.

Hell, we’ve only written hundreds of posts at TSA News saying so and presenting empirical evidence to that effect. But meh, facts schmacts.

Who knows — perhaps whoever “accidentally” released this document was pulling an Edward Snowden and doing us all a favor. Not that it’ll make any difference. The credulous will remain credulous, the fear-loving won’t give up their fear, the profiteers making billions off that fear won’t quit lobbying, Congress won’t dismantle the TSA, the criminal agency won’t change.

Good luck, Jon. You’re doing God’s work. Too bad so many of your fellow citizens couldn’t care less.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

18 Oct 22:59

TSA air marshal taking pix up women’s dresses

by Lisa Simeone

AdamJosephBartsch
Gee, why am I not surprised?

Just another criminal in the already criminal ranks of the TSA.

Adam Joseph Bartsch, a Baltimore-based air marshal, was arrested in Nashville yesterday for taking pictures up women’s dresses. FYI, air marshals are TSA employees.

Well, why not? The TSA does more than just take pictures of women’s privates; they grope women’s — and men’s — privates. So what’s a little more indecency here and there?

Notice that he’s been charged only with “disorderly conduct.” Touch a TSA agent in self-defense and you’ll be charged with assault, a felony. But this guy is charged with a misdemeanor.

These are the people — paid by your tax dollars — charged with keeping you “safe.”

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

18 Oct 21:01

In Reversal, DOJ Poised to Give Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping

by By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project

On Wednesday evening, the New York Times reported that for five years the Department of Justice had a policy that deprived criminal defendants of notice that they had been surveilled under the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) — the 2008 law that authorized the NSA's warrantless wiretapping of Americans' international communications. This policy contradicted assurances made by the government in our constitutional challenge to the FAA, that it would notify criminal defendants if it ever intended to use evidence derived from FAA surveillance against them. (The Supreme Court repeated that argument in its opinion dismissing our challenge on standing grounds.) According to the article, after the Solicitor General learned this summer of the DOJ's policy, he concluded that it "could not be legally justified" and pushed to have it reversed.

Now that the government reportedly intends to comply with its legal obligation to notify criminal defendants of FAA surveillance, an obvious question arises: In which cases did the government use FAA surveillance? We're hoping that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request we filed in March will help answer that question.

Yesterday, we filed a lawsuit to enforce that FOIA request, which sought policy guidance and legal memoranda related to the DOJ's provision of notice in criminal prosecutions, as well as records identifying the criminal prosecutions in which the government has used evidence derived from surveillance authorized by the FAA. The lawsuit aims to reveal how the government has, for years, justified keeping criminal defendants in the dark about evidence derived from NSA surveillance and what the government's policy is today.

Importantly, while the DOJ's no-notice policy has apparently been reversed (some five years too late), the government still has not told a single defendant that he or she was surveilled under the FAA. But, according to the New York Times, the DOJ intends to provide notice of FAA surveillance to a criminal defendant in the coming weeks — thereby setting up a potential constitutional challenge to the law. That challenge, of course, would come in a case handpicked by the DOJ to suit its interests, but it would be the first case to test the legality of the government's warrantless wiretapping program.

It is difficult to predict which pending prosecution the government might choose — and even more difficult to understand why the DOJ still has not provided notice of FAA surveillance to every defendant who is entitled to it by law — but a number of pending cases are likely candidates. Government officials have specifically referenced at least a dozen prosecutions in connection with testimony defending the FAA, and some of those cases remain underway. Likewise, the DOJ has filed notices of traditional foreign-intelligence surveillance in a number of other ongoing prosecutions, one of which might now be supplemented with the first-ever notice of FAA-derived evidence. While the first chart below is not meant to be exhaustive, it reflects the prosecutions we've been able to identify as possibilities.

Beyond the impending constitutional challenge, the revelation that the DOJ has for five years deprived criminal defendants of notice to which they were legally entitled is sure to have other consequences. For one, it will almost certainly set off a series of post-conviction challenges — brought by criminal defendants who never had the opportunity to test whether the government's surveillance evidence was obtained in violation of the Constitution. To understand where these motions for a new trial or habeas petitions might appear, we have also compiled a list of closed cases mentioned by officials in connection with the FAA, as reflected in the second chart below.

The DOJ's no-notice policy has been a failure on many fronts. It has systematically violated the rights of criminal defendants, leaving behind a mess for the federal courts. It has put the Solicitor General in a difficult position, one where it is incumbent on him to correct the record in the Supreme Court. And it has prevented any court from publicly reviewing the constitutionality of a surveillance law that affects millions of Americans.

PENDING CASES:

Prosecution

Status/Notes

United States v. Zazi

E.D.N.Y.

No. 09-00663

Referenced by FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce in June 18, 2013 testimony. Zazi has pled guilty, but has not yet been sentenced. He has entered into a cooperation agreement with the government.

United States v. Daoud

N.D. Ill.

No. 12-00723

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony. FISA notice filed.

United States v. Qazi

S.D. Fla.

No. 12-60298

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony. FISA notice filed.

United States v. Gojali

C.D. Cal.

No. 12-00092

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony. FISA notice filed.

United States v. Osmakac

M.D. Fla.

No. 12-00045

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony. FISA notice filed.

United States v. Muhtorov

D. Colo.

No. 12-00033

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony. FISA notice filed.

United States v. Khan

D. Ore.

No. 12-00659

FISA notice filed.

United States v. Hussein

S.D. Cal.

No. 13-01514

FISA notice filed.

United States v. Kurbanov

D. Idaho

No. 13-00120

FISA notice filed.

United States v. Tounisi

N.D. Ill.

No. 13-00328

FISA notice filed. Related to United States v. Daoud.

United States v. Fishenko

E.D.N.Y.

No. 12-00626

FISA notice filed.

CLOSED CASES:

Prosecution

Status/Notes

United States v. Headley

N.D. Ill.

No. 09-00830

Referenced by FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce in June 18, 2013 testimony.

United States v. Ouazzani

W.D. Mo.

No. 10-00025

Referenced by FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce in June 18, 2013 testimony. No FISA notice filed.

United States v. El Khalifi

E.D. Va.

No. 12-00037

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony.

United States v. Nafis

E.D.N.Y.

No. 12-00965

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony.

United States v. Arbabsiar

S.D.N.Y.

No. 11-00897

Referenced by Senator Feinstein in Dec. 27, 2012 testimony.

United States v. El-Hanafi

S.D.N.Y.

No. 10-00162

Related to United States v. Ouazzani. No FISA notice filed. Defendant Wesam El-Hanafi has pled guilty but is appealing his sentence.

United States v. Khan

S.D. Fla.

No. 11-20331

FISA notice filed. Defendant Hafiz Muhammad Sher Ali Khan convicted at trial; appeal pending.

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18 Oct 16:49

Dallas cops shoot mentally ill man, lie about him charging with a knife

by PSUSA
(Source: YouTube)

(Source: YouTube)

DALLAS, TX — Disturbing video evidence contradicts a pair of Dallas police officers in their account of shooting a supposedly knife-wielding man.  A residential surveillance camera shows the mentally ill man standing in the middle of a cul-du-sac, with his arms hanging at his sides, making no motions towards officers, when they shot him for no apparent reason.

On Monday, October 14, two Dallas police officers pulled into a cul-du-sac to deal with a man who was seen sitting in a rolling swivel chair in the middle of a neighborhood cul-du-sac.  The man was 52-year-old Bobby Gerald Bennett, who lived on the street and allegedly suffered from mental illness — schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The two officers parked their car and walked toward the man.  Bennett can be seen on video rolling his chair about ten feet backwards and then standing straight up.  Video of the incident shows that his arms were at his sides and he was just standing, facing officers from a distance of roughly 15 feet.

Officer Cardan Spencer raised his gun and shot Bennett 4 times in the abdomen.  Bennett collapsed to the ground.

The officers had been on the scene for only a matter of seconds before killing Bennett.  The video documents it all.  At roughly 0:05 the officers emerge from their vehicle and casually walk toward Bennett as he sat in his chair.  At 0:17, Bennett stands up and the officer raises his weapon.  At 0:22, Bennett was on the ground.

It took officers about 17 seconds to shoot Bennett.

All of this took place in front of onlooking neighbors and surrounded by houses.  Bullets whizzed into windows of one neighboring house.
“Had someone been in that home, they could have been shot as well or maybe killed,” said Joyce Jackson, the victim’s mother.

A disputed police report

The official police report states that Bennett took “several steps toward them with the knife raised in an aggressive manner.”

Claiming to be“in fear” for his and his partner’s safety, Spencer “fired his duty weapon four times,” striking Bennett in the abdomen, the affidavit states.

But the video does not appear support their claim.

The man who recorded the event — Maurice Bunch, Bennett’s neighbor — witnessed the shooting first hand and saw no knife, no aggression, and no charging towards officers.

Bunch said in dallasnews.com, “They were coming at him and he just scooted his chair back. He stood up. At that point, they drew their weapons and said, ‘Freeze.’ They may have said ‘Drop the knife.’ They just waited for about four or five seconds and they just opened fire on him… They were trying to kill him.”

Officer Spencer claimed that Bennett told them, “You all are gonna need more officers out here.”

But Bunch emphatically says that didn’t happen.  He watched all 17 seconds that police were on the scene.

“That’s a lie,” he said. “They were trying to kill him.”

Bennett survived the attack and is recovering in the hospital.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown says that the incident is in the “very early stages” of investigation. Spencer has been put on administrative leave.

“It’s the officers that need something done to them,” said Jackson. “This is not right. Any way I see this is wrong.”

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This video gives a glimpse into what multiple police officers are willing to say in an official police report in order to justify a shooting.  We will have to wait to see how the department handles this — and what charges are levied — to determine how well Dallas PD cleans up its trigger-happy ranks.


Accountability Check

Dallas Police Department
Facebook:  Dallas PD


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18 Oct 03:30

Police kill innocent 80-year-old man in his bed after claiming his house smelled like meth

by PSUSA
80-year-old Eugene Mallory (Source: KTLA.com)

80-year-old Eugene Mallory (Source: KTLA.com)

LOS ANGELES, CA — A raid team was sent to break into a home after allegedly smelling chemicals outside the building.  Instead of the the meth lab they were hoping to find, deputies barged in on a sleeping 80-year-old man with poor vision.   The retired engineer was shot to death while still in his bed, as the invaders searched the home hoping to enforce prohibition laws.

In the remote desert area of Littlerock, in unincorporated Los Angeles county, the property of Eugene Mallory and Tonya Pate was drawn under fire when local police thought they smelled chemicals associated with making methamphetamines on the property.   On the morning of June 27th, 2013, a raid team was sent to the property to serve a no-knock search warrant.

At around 7:30 a.m., prohibition-enforcement agents barged into the ranch through an unlocked front door.  They quickly made their way to the master bedroom where Eugene Mallory, 80, resided.   Hearing unwelcome strangers in his house, the octogenarian had allegedly picked up a pistol.  Police saw the armed homeowner and shot him dead, fearing for their safety.   Six rounds struck and killed him while still in bed.

Mallory — the “gunman” as NBC Los Angeles labeled him — was pronounced dead at the scene.  The actual shooters were not injured; Mallory had not fired a shot.

Police claimed that Mallory raised his weapon at them.  But the only witnesses were the killers themselves, and his family will never know for sure.  Dead men tell no tales.

Its easy to imagine why Mallory might have raised his pistol.  A man of his years must have realized that virtuous members of the community do not break into the homes of strangers while they sleep.  A man’s natural reaction to hearing intruders is to attempt to defend your life and your family.  And in a groggy split-second decision, who could possibly discern the intentions of masked men entering your bedroom?  His wife pointed out that he hadn’t even had time to pick up his glasses, which were sitting on the nightstand next to his bullet-riddled corpse.  Mallory suffered from poor vision and would have had no way to positively identify that the strangers were actually police officers.

“He was shot in his bed before there was any warning given,” said James Bergener, who is representing his widow.

Mallory was shot while still in bed.  (Source: KTLA.com)

Mallory was shot while still in bed. (Source: KTLA.com)

Disappointed deputies found no meth on the property, but they did confiscate Mallory’s two pistols.  In another part of the property — a trailer where his wife’s 22-year-old son lives — police confiscated a small amount of medical marijuana from the son’s bedroom.  They touted this as a successful outcome to their aggressive raid.  They had cleared the streets of some life-destroying plants.

“The truth of the matter is it was a narcotics search warrant. And what did they find on the premises? They found marijuana and they found a full grow operation that was producing the marijuana on site,” gloated sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.

This “grow operation” that the killers were touting could have been as simple as a pot and a watering can.  Instead of admitting their mistake and begging the family’s forgiveness, the department redoubled its efforts to make criminals out of the family.

“There was a drug operation that was certainly going on in this house,” Whitmore declared.

Tonya Pate, the victim’s 48-year-old wife, described the accusations of their home being a drug operation as “a total lie… so wrong.”

“He would never point a gun at officers.  He respected law [enforcement] and fire[fighters], and always gave them thumbs-up,” said Pate.  “Every day I stay in that house with that bloody bedroom … where I know he was taken from me for no reason.”

“All we know is we have a dead innocent man — a law-abiding, high security clearance gentleman, electrical engineer, fixture in the community dead, leaving a grieving widow…no evidence of any meth ever on that property,” said attorney Mark Algorri.

Pate is suing Los Angeles County for $50 Million in a wrongful death claim.

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The brutal raid tactics only further to put innocent homeowners in no-win situations;  forced to decide in a moment’s notice whether to defend themselves from criminals or submit to police officers.  Choosing the wrong decision in that dazed instant can ruin an innocent person’s life.

Mallory’s death is but another in a long, gruesome list of casualties caused by the War on Drugs.  The violence spurred as a direct result of the prohibition laws themselves is far beyond any negative consequence of just leaving people alone to pursue their own desires.


Accountability Check

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
4700 Ramona Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Complaints:  (800) 698-8255

 


 

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10 Oct 02:46

Chelsea Manning Rejects Antiwar, Conscientious Objector, and Peace Activist Labels (and That’s Okay)

by Lucy Steigerwald

It must be strange to be Chelsea Manning. The former Army Private (previously known as Bradley Manning) did a very decisive thing by leaking thousands of documents to Wikileaks. In spite of some initial suggestions that she did this in some apolitical — possibly mentally ill — fashion (Ann Coulter’s particularly asshole-ish summation was that Manning leaked while in a bad gay snit), it eventually became clear that agree or not, Manning had leaked for some very clearly principled reasons. Turns out she was damned articulate even.

But this decisive action turned into (relatively) passive captivity the moment she was arrested in 2010. It was mostly left to other activist to take up the banner and turn Manning from a whistleblower to the subject of various activist campaigns; well-intentioned and heroic campaigns, but that turnaround may well be frustrating to someone with only a limited ability to communicate her views for the past several years.

Credit: William Hennessy/AP

Credit: William Hennessy/AP

And today — two months after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison — Manning delivered her first official statement (besides announcement of her gender identity) since her sentencing. The content of the letter might bewilder some. Within it Manning clarified that she didn’t leak for any kind of explicitly pacifistic reasons. And she definitely wasn’t “overwhelmed” to have the 2013 Sean MacBride peace award accepted on her behalf last month by Ann Wright, a peace activist and retired Army Colonel.

Manning’s letter said that she considers herself first and foremost a “transparency activist.” “I don’t consider myself a ‘pacifist,’ ‘anti-war,’ or (especially) a ‘conscientious objector.’ “Now – I accept that there may be ‘peaceful’ or ‘anti-war’ implications to my actions – but this is purely based on your [Wright’s] subjective interpretation of the primary source documents released in 2010-11.”

Neither Wright — who apologized for misinterpreting Manning’s wishes — nor the International Peace Bureau were alone in perhaps overstating Manning’s peacenik bonafides. It’s difficult not to see the release of hundreds of thousands of documents, including detailed war logs on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the infamous “Collateral Murder” video, as furthering the cause of peace and antiwar activism. But Manning’s stressing of the transparency angle of her actions is not new. In February, when she plead guilty to some of the crimes for which she was later convicted, Charlie Savage of The New York Times wrote:

Pfc. Bradley Manning on Thursday confessed in open court to providing vast archives of military and diplomatic files to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, saying that he released the information to help enlighten the public about “what happens and why it happens” and to “spark a debate about foreign policy.”

Appearing before a military judge for more than an hour, Private Manning read a statement recounting how he joined the military, became an intelligence analyst in Iraq, decided that certain files should become known to the American public to prompt a wider debate about foreign policy, downloaded them from a secure computer network and then ultimately uploaded them to WikiLeaks.

Later in the piece, Savage describes Manning’s dislike of many aspects of the war in Iraq while seeing them in-country, but the idea of the public’s right to know reads as the most fundamental motivation — even when what the public doesn’t know is war crimes, torture, and other dirty-dealings.

Manning also wrote in her statement today that “I believe it is also perfectly reasonable to subjectively interpret these documents and come to the opposite opinion and say ‘hey, look at these documents, they clearly justify this war’ (or diplomatic discussion, or detention of an individual).” That’s a bit of a stretch. But there is a type of hawk who will at least rhetorically admit that war ain’t pretty, but will then brush off critiques of it based on such “emotional” pleas as, say, a bunch of dead civilians. So, not having combed though all 700,000 documents Manning leaked, perhaps she is not entirely wrong there.

Fundamentally, we may disagree on the interpretation of Manning’s actions, but she definitely knows her own motivations, opinions, and feelings best. She doesn’t need to be the antiwar martyr now suffering for our sins. It would be great if she went full-on libertarian peacenik tomorrow, but she helped show us what war looks like. And she has proven how harshly the government will come down on anyone who dares to tell its secrets. She wrote today, ” I feel that the public cannot decide what actions and policies are or are not justified if they don’t even know the most rudimentary details about them and their effects.” That’s a hell of a start. And it may prove a better avenue to stopping wars than most.

Additionally, in respect to whispers that Manning might get the Nobel Peace Prize (she was nominated with 258 other individuals) — well, that would be a pleasant turnaround, considering that historical choices for that dubious honor include Barack Obama, Henry Kissinger, and Woodrow Wilson. But if Manning’s document leak says nothing inherently antiwar, winning the Nobel Peace Price would say even less. She definitely deserves better that that insult.

09 Oct 23:43

T-Mobile Announces Free, Unlimited Roaming in 100 Countries

by Whitson Gordon

T-Mobile Announces Free, Unlimited Roaming in 100 Countries

Starting October 31st, T-Mobile users will be gain unlimited texts and data in over 100 countries, at no additional cost. That's right—if you're on a supported Simple Choice plan, you no longer have to worry about exorbitant roaming charges when you travel.

Read more...


    






09 Oct 20:55

Foreign tourists, senior citizens treated to “Gestapo tactics” while touring America’s national parks

by PSUSA
Park rangers barricade access to a park in an act of protest to federal furloughs.  (Source: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images )

Park rangers barricade access to a park in an act of protest to federal furloughs. (Source: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images )

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can.
It’s disgusting.”

That’s what one National Park Service ranger told the Washington Times.

With the recent furlough of “nonessential” federal workers, the White House has been attempting to artificially inflate the impact of the absence of 800,000 bureaucrats.  They’ve been accomplishing this by barricading national parks, kicking veterans out of monuments, forcing people out of their homes, locking down agency websites, and other unnecessary measures that do not reflect cost savings, only spite.  Americans are quite capable of walking through wooded national parks and viewing statues without the federal government holding their hands.  The Regime is on a purely political mission to put pressure on Congress to reinstate the full bureaucracy; attempting to thwart efforts to downsize the central government.

The instructions to make life difficult for people, combined with the already thuggish demeanor of many of the federal government’s Pretorian caste, has left a volatile situation for many people in the midst of this “shutdown.”

(Source: doi.gov)

(Source: doi.gov)

Last week, thousands of tourists were subjected to “harsh treatment” by the federal agents who were instructed to kick everyone out of National Parks.  Tour buses were loaded up and ejected, people were bullied for taking photographs, some groups were even detained for hours under armed guard.

One 41-passenger tour bus partaking in a 9-day visit to various western national parks told of the hostile tactics used on them while in Yellowstone National Park.  The group was lodged at the Old Faithful Inn and had planned to visit the famous “Old Faithful” geyser on the afternoon of October 1st.  The hotel was within walking distance of the geyser, but federal enforcers had barricaded all of the boardwalks and access points to it and even forced people to go back inside the hotel and wait, under penalty of arrest.

The tour director, Gordon Hodgson of Utah, was upset that his passengers — many of them elderly or foreign — were being frightened, detained, and even led to believe that they were under arrest.  Montana’s Livingston Enterprise interviewed Hodgson, who said:

“[The federal agent] told me you need to return  to your hotel and stay there.  This is just Gestapo tactics. We paid a lot to get in. All these people wanted to do was take some pictures.”

Not seeing the logic in why a bankrupt government would blockade a forest , he continued:  “The national parks belong to the people.  This isn’t right.”

Newburyport News followed up on the story and shed some light on the hostile tactics in an interview with Pat Vaillancourt, a tourist from Salisbury.  She gave extra details about the hostile disruption to their vacation.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said, describing the agents who detained her and other tourists in a hotel. (No offense, Hulk!)  She continued, “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

In another incident, their brief attempt to photograph some wildlife was cut short by an aggressive park ranger.  As Newburyport News described:

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

Yet another incident from October 3rd left the foreign passengers vowing to never return to the United States.

As the bus made its 2.5-hour journey out of Yellowstone, the tour guide made arrangements to stop at a full-service bathroom at an in-park dude ranch he had done business with in the past. Though the bus had its own small bathroom, Vaillancourt said seniors were looking for a more comfortable place to stop. But no stop was made — Vaillancourt said the dude ranch had been warned that its license to operate would be revoked if it allowed the bus to stop. So the bus continued on to Livingston, Mont., a gateway city to the park.

Hodgson said that all their subsequent stops to nature parks had to be cancelled, and was “not a happy camper.”

And to think, these bullies were among the crop of federal workers who were deemed essential and didn’t get furloughed!

It remains unclear what gives a park ranger the authority to threaten the revocation of someone’s driver’s license.  Surely NPS supervisors will get right after that abusive report right after their paid furlough/vacation is over.

While the tactics employed may have been used in an effort to cause Americans to grieve the federal furlough, it may well accomplish the opposite.  Instead of missing the rest of the NPS staff, maybe taxpayers will realize that there is no reason that the federal government should maintain control of land it can neither afford or manage properly.  Perhaps the states should control their own parks without Washington politics getting in the way.  In the meantime, tourists had best be advised to steer clear of America’s mismanaged federal parks this season, and instead direct their dollars toward state or private destinations.

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08 Oct 17:48

Texas police shot, tasered 67-year-old Alzheimer’s patient when she wouldn’t drop letter opener

by O.D.
(Source: enquirer.com)

(Source: enquirer.com)

LEWISVILLE, TX — Police repeatedly shot and then tasered a mentally ill 67 year-old woman for not immediately complying with their orders to drop a letter opener. David and Dolores Seyfried’s already difficult life together was made that much harder when overzealous police officers violently subdued her, treating them both like unruly criminals without charging either of them with a specific crime. Her suffering was made worse, and their home was unnecessarily searched by officers whose disregard for the Fourth Amendment demonstrates a clear contempt for the very people they are charged to “serve and protect.”

David Seyfried is suing the City of Lewisville Police Department and six of its officers on behalf of his wife Dolores Seyfried, an Alzheimer’s sufferer.

According to Courthouse News Service, the civil suit alleges that police repeatedly shot and Tasered 67 year-old Alzheimer’s patient Dolores Seyfried as her husband David begged them to “put the gun away.” After Dolores was taken to the hospital by ambulance, the police “declared ‘exigent circumstance’ and searched their home against his objections.” In his complaint, David alleges that the police told him that they had “saved his ass today” by brutally subduing his wife, though she was attempting to walk away from them.

Lewisville-police (Source: classwarfareexists.com)

Lewisville Police

What led to the police to violently disregard both the individual rights and property rights of David and Dolores Seyfried?

The incident began on May 29, when Dolores, an Alzheimer’s patient, became “agitated with David and had a four [to] five-inch letter opener in her hand” at their home in Lewisville, a Dallas suburb. Though he was confident that he would be able to calm Dolores, David Seyfried called the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association seeking advice and support. The DAA’s response to the situation was to contact the Lewisville police without his consent, says Seyfried.

According to a federal lawsuit, when LPD Officers George Reed and Sgt. Courtney Letalien arrived, David and Dolores were in the backyard; Dolores was still holding the letter opener, and David was trying to calm her down. When she walked in to the yard, “(Sgt.) Letalien immediately attempted to remove David from the back yard while holding an orange shotgun in his hand,” the complaint states.

Less Lethal Shotgun (Source: pro-patria.us)

Less Lethal Shotgun
(Source: pro-patria.us)

Seyfried explained to the officers that he had not been stabbed and did not believe that Dolores posed a threat to anyone. He repeatedly pleaded with the officer to put the gun away, believing at that time that such measures were not necessary. He assured them that, given a few minutes, he was sure he could get her to calm down, even if she could not comply with their orders to drop the letter opener. Sgt. Letalien continued to force David to the front of the house so that he would not be able to witness what was happening with his wife.

It was at this point, while David was arguing with Sgt. Letalien, that Officer George reed fired upon Delores Seyfried with his Taser. He then proceeded to shoot her three times with the “less lethal” orange shotgun, possibly loaded with rubber bullets or beanbags.

“When Delores did not fall, Letalien immediately shot Delores with the less lethal shotgun at her thigh,” the complaint states. “When once again Delores did not fall or release the letter opener, Letalien shot Delores once again in the other thigh. The second round did knock Delores to the ground but she was able to get back on her feet. Defendants allege that Delores maintained her hand on the letter opener during this time. When Delores turned to walk away from the officers, Letalien shot Delores a third time in the left buttocks with the shotgun. When the third round did not cause Delores to fall, Letalien switched to his Taser and deployed a cartridge with one probe hitting Delores in the back and the other hitting her on her right buttocks. Letalien found this force to be ‘effective’ when she fell to the ground.” [source]

Officer Reed then tried to step on her wrist to handcuff her, according to David, breaking it in two places. Thinking she was resisting, Reed Tasered her a second time while on the ground.

Anatomy of a Taser (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Anatomy of a Taser
(Source: bbc.co.uk)

Doctors later closed a cut on her chin and a gash on her head, requiring 17 staples to repair the damage. After using a great deal of unnecessary violence against her, the police proceeded to further violate the Seyfried’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. Against David’s objections, the police searched their home without consent by declaring “exigent circumstances.” It was after an ambulance transported Dolores to the hospital that they then told David that they had “saved his ass,” ostensibly by violently attacking his confused, disoriented wife.

Adding insult to injury, the police then called the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association and reported that David was incapable of taking care of Dolores. “This action was unnecessary and … it was done with actual malice,” David says.

Additionally, Seyfried says, the vicious attack by police officers has “increased the severity of her Alzheimer’s and she now requires around-the-clock nursing staff.” What began as simply a husband’s effort to seek help in caring for his elderly, mentally ill wife ended with both lives being ruined at the hands of an overzealous autocrat’s pointless brutality. The worsening of her condition at the hands of remorseless police officers may have destroyed what remained of their life together.  Courthouse News Service reported that “the Lewisville Police Department sent nine squad cars to the home, but no charges were brought against Delores, her husband says.”

I am reminded again of Justice Robert H. Jackson’s position regarding warrantless searches and the Fourth Amendment:

“The point of the Fourth Amendment which often is not grasped by zealous officers is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate, instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime.”

Incidents like this demonstrate why Police can be a terrible option for dealing with nonviolent, noncompliant individuals who pose little direct threat to anyone but themselves. Increasingly, they seem ill-equipped to handle even the most mundane situations without resorting to the extreme, militaristic limits of their training. Tasers and guns are the first, not last, response to anything considered a threat, no matter how remote. Disregarding the basic human rights and property rights of those that they are sworn to protect makes the Lewisville Police Department appear less concerned with public safety than they are with wielding absolute authoritarian control over the lives of its city’s people.

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Accountability Check

Please use the contacts below to voice your concern for David and Dolores Seyfreid and for the violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.

City of Lewisville, Texas
City Departments & Services
Website:  cityoflewisville.com
City Hall Phone: 972.219.3400

Police Chief Russell Kerbow
Email: wkerbow@cityoflewisville.com
Police/Fire Non-Emergency: 972.219.3600

Lewisville Dallas Alzheimer’s Association
4144 N. Central Expwy, Ste 750
Dallas, Texas 75204
Phone: 214.540.2400
Helpline: 1.800.272.3900

 


 

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09 Oct 00:12

No good deed goes unpunished: What happened when I DIDN’T shoot my neighbor’s dogs

by Lt. Harry Thomas
Harry Thomas speaks to WTHR following the incident with Carmel Police.  (Source: WTHR.com)

Harry Thomas speaks to WTHR following the incident with Carmel Police. (Source: WTHR.com)

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished….or so the saying goes.  The reality of this old chestnut was brought home to me by a corrupt, unprofessional police department and a crooked cop.

I reside in Carmel, Indiana, a bedroom-type community just north of the I-465 loop of Indianapolis.  We’re described as one of the more livable cities in the U.S.  That may be, as long as you steer clear of the police department here.

It was a beautiful, sunny October day in 2010 when I looked out the sun porch in back toward my neighbor’s home.  He is an affable, easy-going young man with two kids who had only recently lost his wife in a tragic accident.  He is also the owner of two large dogs, brothers, that he had obtained as pups.

One of those dogs was nosing around my back yard.  This was NOT a good thing.

The two mutts had grown up inside my neighbor’s fenced yard and had grown intensely territorial.  Local residents walking for exercise had grown accustomed to the snarling dogs hurling themselves at the fence as they passed.

This was the first time in several years that I had seen one of the dogs outside that fence and I was scared silly.  My neighborhood runs heavily toward older people with lots of single women.  On such a lovely day they would be puttering in their yards, walking their dogs and engaging in other retired-lady pursuits.  A school bus would be stopping at the corner outside my home in a few minutes.  The dog was loose in a target-rich environment and something had to be done immediately.

I shouted to my wife to try to call the dog’s owner.  Being a retired police lieutenant I had witnessed the effects of vicious dog attacks and before going outside I slipped a gun into the hip pocket of the BDU’s I was wearing (I had been doing yard work), a Smith & Wesson Model 1950 Military & Police .45 revolver.  It was a damned good thing that I did.

I cautiously approached the dog trying to project an air of confidence that I certainly did not have.  He stood a few feet off, barking, but came no closer.  So far, so good.  I walked toward the fence corner between the properties and he followed.  When I got there I found the weak spot in the fence where he’d made his escape.  His brother came running to the spot to investigate my presence…and promptly squeezed through the same hole his brother had used.

GOD DAMN IT!!  BOTH dogs were now circling me and snarling.

I began walking toward the front of my house and they followed.  I had a vague idea that I might be able to trap them in my garage and await the arrival of their owner.  As I rounded the corner to the front of my home my heart sank…one my neighbor ladies with a squirrel-sized dog was walking up the street.  Both mutts shot across the street toward her like furry cruise missiles with me hard on their heels.  My wife was now standing in the front yard and she shouted, “LADY!!  PICK UP THAT DOG!!!”  The woman did so and clutched the tiny mutt to her chest as if it was made of platinum.

Why the two dogs didn’t actually attack her I can’t say, but had they done so I’d have been in big trouble.  I couldn’t possibly have employed my six-shooter with the neighbor lady in such close proximity, and I’m getting pretty long in the tooth to go hand-to-claw with even one dog.  They began circling her and barking as they had been doing with me.  I shouted and clapped my hands and they directed their attention back to me.  I continued raising a ruckus and backed across the street away from the terrified woman, decoying the dogs with me.  The lady saw her chance and scampered back up the street.

My plan to lure them into the garage came to naught; they were too wary and would have nothing of it.

I was now standing on the street corner where the school bus would be shortly arriving.  I began luring the dogs back to their yard.  When we got there I began to hope that the mutts had enjoyed enough of their adventure and might be willing to go back in the yard.  Their escape point was such that they could push their way out but not voluntarily re-enter by their own efforts.  I started to pry outward on the weakened section of fence.

I was watching them closely and I saw it coming.  The nearest dog lunged at me and I jumped.  His canines scraped my left shin and closed on a mouthful of the rip-stop nylon of my BDU’s.  I shook him off and took a couple of steps back in the hope that he would stop his attack.  He didn’t.  He came at me again with exactly the same results and began whipping his head back and forth violently with my pants in his mouth.  His brother began moving in.

I had every legal and moral right to blast them, and many of my acquaintances are puzzled yet today that I didn’t.  I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t be the cause of having my neighbor’s kids come home and find their dogs in two bloody heaps by the side of the road, whether they deserved it or not.

In front of me, across the road, was a frame house.  A few degrees to the right were several new houses under construction, just framed in and swarming with carpenters.  Shooting in that direction was out of the question no matter my intent.  My gun in hand, I turned and fired a shot harmlessly into the ground, behind me.  The effect was magical.  The dogs vanished into the woods across the street as if they were genies.  My relief was tremendous.  None of my neighbor’s dog’s blood was shed, and precious little of my own.

Then I made the only serious mistake of the day.  I called and notified the Carmel Indiana Police Department of what I had done.

A Carmel police sergeant by the name of Adam Miller as well as an animal control officer arrived and between the two of them were able to return the now docile dogs to their yard.  I introduced myself to the sergeant and gave him an exact account of what had occurred.  He then told me that he was arresting me for illegally discharging a firearm within city limits.

“What?” I said, incredulous.  “You mean the city ordinance here has no exception for self-defense???”

“Yes, it does,” Sgt. Miller responded.  “But this isn’t a self-defense shooting because you didn’t kill the dogs.”  (My emphasis)  As Dave Barry always says, I am NOT making this up.

I was astonished.  During my tenure as a peace officer the idea of arresting a citizen for using a firearm to prevent bloodshed would never have even been on my radar, or that of any officer with whom I ever worked.  What was this guy’s problem?

The sergeant made out a summons and handed it to me.  Then he snarled, “If I have any more trouble out of you, I’ll have your license to carry a handgun revoked and I’ll be back here to confiscate your guns.”

How could ANY law enforcement agency employ a man like this?  I was flabbergasted.  His arrogance, his lack of good judgment, his contemptuous attitude were all intolerable in a professional lawman.  My disbelief was compounded by the fact that he held the rank of sergeant and that it was his duty to instruct and be an example to his men.  If this guy could be a sergeant in this department, what were the troops like?

I looked up the applicable city ordinance:

It is declared to be unlawful for any person, with or without malice, purposely and deliberately to point, aim or fire a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, firearm or any other dangerous or deadly weapon within the corporate limits or within the established boundaries of the City.

This section shall not affect the use of weapons which have legally been approved for such use in areas or as otherwise approved by the Metropolitan Police Department of the City nor shall such prohibit the reasonable use of weapons in the protection of human life or property, including the protection of livestock or farm animals in an Agricultural District. (My emphasis)

I was covered on two fronts.  The human life aspect is obvious.  I was also protecting property, to wit: my neighbor’s dogs.

The officer’s inadequacies and unfitness for duty included ignorance of the elements of the city ordinances he is charged to enforce.  Or worse, a willingness to ignore them in order to pursue his own prejudices.

I retained an attorney.  He listened to my tale of woe and was in no way surprised.  He was well aware of the reputation of the Carmel Police Department and informed me that he had instructed his own children to avoid any contact with its officers.  They were never to even approach them for help.

A local news station became aware of the incident and did a story.  The comments section filled with remarks from outraged citizens supportive of my actions.

My attorney called me and informed me that the city’s police department and city prosecutor’s office were furious that I had exposed their foolishness.  Instead of admitting their mistake and dismissing the charges they were more determined than ever to convict me.  We went to court.

When the arresting officer testified I learned just how desperate the police and prosecutor were to save face and pull their chestnuts out of the fire.  For the first time after having spent my own adult life in law enforcement, I witnessed a sworn law enforcement officer commit deliberate, premeditated perjury.

The officer proceeded to recount a completely fictional conversation between us in which I stated that I fired the shot not because the dogs were attacking me, but to herd them through the hole in the fence as if I was Rowdy Yates on the old Rawhide TV Western.

The strategy was clear: Had I acted this way I would have no defense under the law.  The goal was to paint a picture of me not as a responsible citizen using a handgun in self-defense, but as a reckless nut job who had fired when I was in no actual danger.  Thus the officer’s false testimony that I “confessed” that I was never in any peril.

Fortunately, the officer’s willingness to commit perjury far exceeded his ability.  The prosecution’s fanciful version of events was simply too ridiculous to be plausible.

A veteran, retired law enforcement command officer fires a shot in a suburban neighborhood without any legal justification, then calls the police on himself and reports it with the full knowledge that he’ll be arrested for it?

Uh…no.  No one in the courtroom believed it, including the judge.

My wife testified as to those events she had witnessed.  Two of my neighbors, a minister and his wife, testified as to the viciousness of the dogs and how they always crossed the street when passing their house out of fear of them, thus refuting handily the officer’s perjured testimony that the dogs were cuddly puppies that had never endangered me.  It was my turn.

I told my story, including the fact that I had chosen not to shoot the dogs and could not have done so without changing our relative positions even if I wanted to.  For some reason the city prosecutor, Thomas Perkins, thought he had found an opening.  Perkins began to argue with me concerning my refusal to fire ahead in the direction of the dogs.  He tried to make the case that there was no difference between firing in front of me or behind me.

I carefully explained that in front of me were not only an occupied residence but clearly visible innocent bystanders and that no responsible gun owner will fire under such circumstances, and that behind me there was no one.  He continued to press me trying to get me to say that there would have been nothing dangerous about spraying .45 Auto Rim slugs across the road toward the people there.  In response to his repeated questions I calmly continued to reply that it was out of the question due to the fact that it would violate the most rudimentary rules of firearms safety.  He accomplished nothing other than making me look great and making an ass of himself.

Unable to get me to say that I don’t have a problem shooting at people who get in my way, the prosecutor rested his case.

I had one more hurdle.  My case was being heard in Carmel City Court, the functional equivalent of a mayor’s court.  I had experience with such courts in my law enforcement career and it was not uncommon for such courts to have far greater interest in replenishing the village coffers than in the administration of justice.  My case was in the hands of a judge.  There was no jury nor could I request one.

My question was answered when the judge began to speak.  He efficiently and pointedly demolished the prosecution’s case.  He noted that there was nothing in the applicable law which required shedding blood to prove a case of self-defense and that the firearm use need only be reasonable under the circumstances.  His remarks made it clear that he accepted my testimony that I was under attack when I fired and believed not a word of the arresting officer’s perjured testimony.  When he was finished the police department and prosecutor stood like the Emperor bereft of his clothes, naked to the community, their lack of integrity and their lies exposed.  The Judge turned to me.

“Sir, you are free to go.”

I was elated as were my supporters, but my elation did not last.  A sworn peace officer — also a member of the Carmel SWAT team — had lied in court with the clear support of his superiors and the city’s prosecutor in order to win a case, which, in the big picture, was small potatoes, a mere city ordinance violation punishable by fine only.

What was this cabal willing to do with a serious criminal case?  The thought preyed on me.  No agency that fielded the kind of thug who had tried to victimize me had the wherewithal to deal with the investigation of serious crime.  Police work requires integrity, a factor absent in this agency.  Was subverting the criminal justice system a mainstay of their efforts?

I drafted a long letter to the Hamilton County Prosecutor, D. Lee Buckingham II, outlining in detail what had occurred.  I described my fear that there might be innocent citizens languishing in jail, convicted of crimes resulting from perjured testimony.  I requested that the prosecutor initiate a review of the officer’s cases with an eye to identifying a possible pattern of behavior similar to that which had occurred in my case.

For weeks I heard nothing.  I began sending e-mails.  I finally got a response in which the prosecutor said he would have his investigators “look into it.”  I got another rambling response regarding prosecution tactics which didn’t even make mention of the fact that I had witnessed the officer giving totally fabricated testimony.  The county prosecutor indicated he would take no action.  I asked him for a copy of his investigator’s report.  He replied that there was none…right.

I suppose it can be said that I won the battle but lost the war.  They’re still out there.  My arresting officer, fearing no retribution for his acts, is still out there writing his own laws and lying in court.  How many of his brother officers are doing the same is anyone’s guess.  The city and county prosecutors are reaping the benefits of their perjury.  After all, when cops lie in court, they lie for the prosecution, right?  A prosecution win is a prosecution win.  Who cares how you got them when you’re bragging about your record at election time?

I’d like to stop them.  I don’t know how.

{ Support Police State USA }

Media coverage from WTHR :

Post-verdict coverage from NRA News:

To shoot or not to shoot: When an aggressive dog bites | Examiner.com

UPDATE: Not Guilty verdict in dog ‘warning shot’ case | Examiner.com


The post No good deed goes unpunished: What happened when I DIDN’T shoot my neighbor’s dogs appeared first on Police State USA.

09 Oct 05:28

The NSA knows you better than you do

by Aaron Jones
Kevinrenfrow

In many ways, the metadata is more telling than the actual message contents.

What you’re about to see, below, is a powerful visual demonstration of “metadata” put together by a German website, Zeit Online. Remember all of those politicians telling you that “metadata” is “no big deal?” You be the judge:

(ZEIT ONLINE) Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet.

(iroots.org) The question burning in my mind is, “Where is the mainstream media when it comes to informing the public on information like this?” President Obama, Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein wouldn’t be able to get away with dismissing ‘metadata’ as ‘no big deal’ if America’s journalists would do their jobs! Even Rush Limbaugh has done better work on this issue, believe it or not. Here’s an informative discussion Rush had with a Telecom executive that called into his show shortly after the initial NSA revelations by Edward Snowden.

The advent of mobile phones has created a situation where a phone number equals a person, so the phone number’s a much better index for getting everything you know about a person…

RUSH: This is Matt from Miami and it says you are an exec in the telecommunications industry, right?

CALLER:  Yes, that’s right, Rush.  Thank you so much.  It’s been 15 years listening to you, and I’m thrilled that my expertise and your expertise may actually intersect and allow me to make you look good.

RUSH:  Well, thanks very much.  That is the purpose of a caller, and let’s hope you can do it.

CALLER:  Well, first off, I think it’s important to think about motivations.  Our president, like all the Democratic presidents, would love to be Bill Clinton after he leaves office, and to do that you need to have power. You need to be a kingmaker.  A database can do that.  I left a multibillion-dollar phone company to start a smaller company, and our core product is a product that looks up phone numbers instantly when people make or receive phone calls and uses that information to populate details on the screen for people to use in selling or supporting customers, like their name, their address, the value of their home, their marital status, approximate income, approximate assets, cards they have registered to the address they live at, whether they’re in foreclosure, Facebook profiles, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter profiles associated with that number.  The advent of mobile phones has created a situation where a phone number equals a person, so the phone number’s a much better index for getting everything you know about a person than something that’s less easy and less public like a Social Security number.  And so my company sells that information to companies so that they can know who’s calling and route that call better and offer appropriate products or not.

More: http://iroots.org/2013/06/13/telecom-exec-calls-rush-confirms-shocking-data-available-from-phone-numbers/