Archive for the ‘police state’ Category

h/t Curtis @ Mojave Desert Patriot

 

“The government prosecutors have said that there has been no evidence presented that the BLM showed or used force, and Judge Gloria Navarro agreed. She has ruled that the defense cannot present testimony that the BLM overstepped their bounds or used unnecessary force, such as the testimony of Margaret Houston.

Judge Navarro has also ruled that evidence of Dave Bundy’s arrest will not be allowed. Neither will the evidence of the BLM tazing Ammon Bundy repeatedly, or the evidence of the BLM killing the Bundy cattle.

Navarro also reiterated that Special Agent Dan Love will not be called to testify, and his current investigation into his illegal activities while in charge of the operations in Nevada were not to be brought into court.”

Shutting Down The Defense – UPDATES on Bunkerville Trial

Judge Openly LAUGHS At Defendants Rights

“Judge Navarro then backed up the prosecution when they threatened witnesses by naming them as “UNindicted Co-conspirators”. Navarro allowed this bullying, and took part in it herself.”

“Navarro also stated in the courtroom that no one is guaranteed their first amendment rights or their second amendment rights. Additionally, she told everyone that there is Never a time when anyone is allowed to defend themselves against a Law Enforcement Officer, even if they caught him breaking into their home. If he even sees a gun near them, they are guilty of assaulting him.

The defense had plans to call numerous witnesses, including Carole Bundy, Shawna Cox, Michele Fiore and more. Judge Navarro refused to allow them to testify because she feels their testimony might risk her jury to nullify.

Jury Nullification is her worst fear. She continues to tell the defense that she will not allow them to put on any defense that might sway her jury to nullify. This includes any information of why these men came to Bunkerville, the abuses of the BLM agents, and more.

Judge Navarro is quoted as saying, “The risk of jury nullification… for the jurors to hear about different defense witnesses, that can’t happen!” Navarro mentioned this at least three times during the day.”

Judge Openly LAUGHS At Defendants Rights

“And the truth is very subjective in her courtroom. She spent most of the morning going over jury instructions. She intends to instruct the jury that just carrying a holstered weapon can be a criminal act. She also does not intend to allow the jury to hear that there is a “Right To Carry” law in Nevada.”

“After the prosecution had extended time, over five weeks, and the defense has yet to be allowed to call any witnesses, the Judge asked the defense if they were ready to rest their case tomorrow”

Judge Navarro Pushes Defense To Rest Case in Bunkerville Trial

There’s much more on the trial,and the sleazy bullshit the feds are doing at the linked site.

 

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By John W. Whitehead
January 17, 2017

“There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In the first—the Orwellian—culture becomes a prison. In the second—the Huxleyan—culture becomes a burlesque. No one needs to be reminded that our world is now marred by many prison-cultures…. it makes little difference if our wardens are inspired by right- or left-wing ideologies. The gates of the prison are equally impenetrable, surveillance equally rigorous, icon-worship pervasive…. Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours…. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”— Professor Neil Postman

Donald Trump no longer needs to launch Trump TV.

He’s already the star of his own political reality show.

Americans have a voracious appetite for TV entertainment, and the Trump reality show—guest starring outraged Democrats with a newly awakened conscience for immigrants and the poor, power-hungry Republicans eager to take advantage of their return to power, and a hodgepodge of other special interest groups with dubious motives—feeds that appetite for titillating, soap opera drama.

After all, who needs the insults, narcissism and power plays that are hallmarks of reality shows such as Celebrity Apprentice or Keeping Up with the Kardashians when you can have all that and more delivered up by the likes of Donald Trump and his cohorts?

Yet as John Lennon reminds us, “nothing is real,” especially not in the world of politics.

Much like the fabricated universe in Peter Weir’s 1998 film The Truman Show, in which a man’s life is the basis for an elaborately staged television show aimed at selling products and procuring ratings, the political scene in the United States has devolved over the years into a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population.

Indeed, Donald Trump may be the smartest move yet by the powers-that-be to keep the citizenry divided and at each other’s throats, because as long as we’re busy fighting each other, we’ll never manage to present a unified front against tyranny in any form.

This is the magic of the reality TV programming that passes for politics today.

It allows us to be distracted, entertained, occasionally a little bit outraged but overall largely uninvolved, content to remain in the viewer’s seat.

The more that is beamed at us, the more inclined we are to settle back in our comfy recliners and become passive viewers rather than active participants as unsettling, frightening events unfold.

Reality and fiction merge as everything around us becomes entertainment fodder.

We don’t even have to change the channel when the subject matter becomes too monotonous. That’s taken care of for us by the programmers (the corporate media).

For instance, before we could get too worked up over government surveillance, the programmers changed the channels on us and switched us over to breaking news about militarized police. Before our outrage could be transformed into action over police misconduct, they changed the channel once again to reports of ISIS beheadings and terrorist shootings. Before we had a chance to challenge what was staged or real, the programming switched to the 2016 presidential election.

“Living is easy with eyes closed,” says Lennon, and that’s exactly what reality TV that masquerades as American politics programs the citizenry to do: navigate the world with their eyes shut.

As long as we’re viewers, we’ll never be doers.

Studies suggest that the more reality TV people watch—and I would posit that it’s all reality TV—the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between what is real and what is carefully crafted farce.

“We the people” are watching a lot of TV.

On average, Americans spend five hours a day watching television. By the time we reach age 65, we’re watching more than 50 hours of television a week, and that number increases as we get older. And reality TV programming consistently captures the largest percentage of TV watchers every season by an almost 2-1 ratio.

 

This doesn’t bode well for a citizenry able to sift through masterfully-produced propaganda in order to think critically about the issues of the day, whether it’s fake news peddled by government agencies or foreign entities.

Those who watch reality shows tend to view what they see as the “norm.” Thus, those who watch shows characterized by lying, aggression and meanness not only come to see such behavior as acceptable and entertaining but also mimic the medium.

This holds true whether the reality programming is about the antics of celebrities in the White House, in the board room, or in the bedroom.

It’s a phenomenon called “humilitainment.”

A term coined by media scholars Brad Waite and Sara Booker, “humilitainment” refers to the tendency for viewers to take pleasure in someone else’s humiliation, suffering and pain.

Humilitainment” largely explains not only why American TV watchers are so fixated on reality TV programming but how American citizens, largely insulated from what is really happening in the world around them by layers of technology, entertainment, and other distractions, are being programmed to accept the brutality, surveillance and dehumanizing treatment of the American police state as things happening to other people.

The ramifications for the future of civic engagement, political discourse and self-government are incredibly depressing and demoralizing.

This not only explains how a candidate like Donald Trump with a reputation for being rude, egotistical and narcissistic could get elected, but it also says a lot about how a politician like Barack Obama—whose tenure in the White House was characterized by drone killings, a weakening of the Constitution at the expense of Americans’ civil liberties, and an expansion of the police state—could be hailed as “one of the greatest presidents of all times.”

This is what happens when an entire nation—bombarded by reality TV programming, government propaganda and entertainment news—becomes systematically desensitized and acclimated to the trappings of a government that operates by fiat and speaks in a language of force.

Ultimately, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the reality shows, the entertainment news, the surveillance society, the militarized police, and the political spectacles have one common objective: to keep us divided, distracted, imprisoned, and incapable of taking an active role in the business of self-government.

If “we the people” feel powerless and apathetic, it is only because we have allowed ourselves to be convinced that the duties of citizenship begin and end at the ballot box.

Marching and protests have certainly been used with great success by past movements to foment real change, but if those marches and protests are merely outpourings of discontent because a particular politician won or lost with no solid plan of action or follow-through, then what’s the point?

Martin Luther King Jr. understood that politics could never be the answer to what ailed the country. That’s why he spearheaded a movement of mass-action strategy that employed boycotts, sit-ins and marches. Yet King didn’t march against a particular politician or merely to express discontent. He marched against injustice, government corruption, war, and inequality, and he leveraged discontent with the status quo into an activist movement that transformed the face of America.

When all is said and done, it won’t matter who you voted for in the presidential election. What will matter is where you stand in the face of the injustices that continue to ravage our nation: the endless wars, the police shootings, the overcriminalization, the corruption, the graft, the roadside strip searches, the private prisons, the surveillance state, etc.

Will you tune out the reality TV show and join with your fellow citizens to push back against the real menace of the police state, or will you merely sit back and lose yourself in the political programming aimed at keeping you imprisoned in the police state?

November 02, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. —The Rutherford Institute has asked a federal appeals court to safeguard the right of citizens and journalists to record police in public without fear of retaliation. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that the First Amendment protects the right of citizens to make audio or video recordings of public law enforcement activities.

The brief was filed in a consolidated appeal of two cases in which a federal district court ruled that police and the City of Philadelphia could not be sued by persons who were arrested or physically assaulted by officers allegedly because they had made video recordings of police engaged in quelling disturbances.

“Police body cameras will never serve as an effective check on police misconduct as long the cameras can be turned on and off at will and the footage remains inaccessible to the public. However, technology makes it possible for Americans to record their own interactions with police and they have every right to do so without fear of arrest or physical assault,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People.  “The ability to record police interactions in public provides for greater accountability when it comes to police interactions with the citizenry and should be preserved as a necessary right of the people.”

In September 2012, Amanda Geraci, a legal observer who monitors police interactions with citizens at protests or demonstrations, attended a protest against fracking at the convention center in Philadelphia. When police arrested one of the protesters, Geraci moved to a spot where she could better observe and make a video recording of the incident. According to Geraci, a city police officer subsequently attacked her by physically restraining her against a pillar and preventing her from videotaping the arrest.

In a separate incident, Temple University student Richard Fields was walking on Broad Street in Philadelphia when he saw about 20 police officers standing outside a house that was hosting a party. Fields took a photograph of the scene with his cell phone. An officer then approached Fields, asked if Fields “likes taking pictures of grown men,” and ordered him to leave. When Fields refused, the officer handcuffed and arrested him, searched his belongings, and charged him with obstructing a public passage. That charge was eventually dropped. Both Geraci and Fields filed lawsuits asserting that the police retaliated against them for exercising their First Amendment right to record police activities in public.

In ruling on the lawsuits, a federal district court declared that there was no clearly established right under the First Amendment to record police activities and that a person only has the right to record police in public if they can assert there was some “expressive” purpose for the recording. In weighing in on the cases before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Rutherford Institute attorneys point out that the district court’s decision conflicts with numerous rulings from other courts that have affirmed a First Amendment right to collect information about government activities, and specifically to record police carrying out their duties in public.

In ruling on the lawsuits, a federal district court declared that there was no clearly established right under the First Amendment to record police activities and that a person only has the right to record police in public if they can assert there was some “expressive” purpose for the recording. In weighing in on the cases before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Rutherford Institute attorneys point out that the district court’s decision conflicts with numerous rulings from other courts that have affirmed a First Amendment right to collect information about government activities, and specifically to record police carrying out their duties in public.

Affiliate attorneys Jason P. Gosselin and Christopher F. Moriarty assisted The Rutherford Institute advancing the arguments in the Fields and Geraci brief.

Via The Rutherford Institute here

REUTERS

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency’s request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified

Reuters was unable to determine what data Yahoo may have handed over, if any, and if intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo with this kind of request.

According to two of the former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc.

“Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States,” the company said in a brief statement in response to Reuters questions about the demand. Yahoo declined any further comment.

Through a Facebook spokesman, Stamos declined a request for an interview.

The NSA referred questions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which declined to comment.

The request to search Yahoo Mail accounts came in the form of a classified edict sent to the company’s legal team, according to the three people familiar with the matter.

U.S. phone and Internet companies are known to have handed over bulk customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen either such a broad demand for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program.

“I’ve never seen that, a wiretap in real time on a ‘selector,'” said Albert Gidari, a lawyer who represented phone and Internet companies on surveillance issues for 20 years before moving to Stanford University this year. A selector refers to a type of search term used to zero in on specific information.

“It would be really difficult for a provider to do that,” he added.

Experts said it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand, since they evidently did not know what email accounts were being used by the target. The NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI, so it is hard to know which agency is seeking the information.

Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft Corp, two major U.S. email service providers, separately said on Tuesday that they had not conducted such email searches.

“We’ve never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: ‘No way’,” a spokesman for Google said in a statement.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement, “We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo.” The company declined to comment on whether it had received such a request.

CHALLENGING THE NSA

Under laws including the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, intelligence agencies can ask U.S. phone and Internet companies to provide customer data to aid foreign intelligence-gathering efforts for a variety of reasons, including prevention of terrorist attacks.

Disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and others have exposed the extent of electronic surveillance and led U.S. authorities to modestly scale back some of the programs, in part to protect privacy rights.

Companies including Yahoo have challenged some classified surveillance before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret tribunal.

Some FISA experts said Yahoo could have tried to fight last year’s demand on at least two grounds: the breadth of the directive and the necessity of writing a special program to search all customers’ emails in transit.

Apple Inc made a similar argument earlier this year when it refused to create a special program to break into an encrypted iPhone used in the 2015 San Bernardino massacre. The FBI dropped the case after it unlocked the phone with the help of a third party, so no precedent was set.

“It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court,” Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Some FISA experts defended Yahoo’s decision to comply, saying nothing prohibited the surveillance court from ordering a search for a specific term instead of a specific account. So-called “upstream” bulk collection from phone carriers based on content was found to be legal, they said, and the same logic could apply to Web companies’ mail.

As tech companies become better at encrypting data, they are likely to face more such requests from spy agencies.

Former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker said email providers “have the power to encrypt it all, and with that comes added responsibility to do some of the work that had been done by the intelligence agencies.”

SECRET SIPHONING PROGRAM

Mayer and other executives ultimately decided to comply with the directive last year rather than fight it, in part because they thought they would lose, said the people familiar with the matter.

Yahoo in 2007 had fought a FISA demand that it conduct searches on specific email accounts without a court-approved warrant. Details of the case remain sealed, but a partially redacted published opinion showed Yahoo’s challenge was unsuccessful.

Some Yahoo employees were upset about the decision not to contest the more recent edict and thought the company could have prevailed, the sources said.

They were also upset that Mayer and Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell did not involve the company’s security team in the process, instead asking Yahoo’s email engineers to write a program to siphon off messages containing the character string the spies sought and store them for remote retrieval, according to the sources.

The sources said the program was discovered by Yahoo’s security team in May 2015, within weeks of its installation. The security team initially thought hackers had broken in.

When Stamos found out that Mayer had authorized the program, he resigned as chief information security officer and told his subordinates that he had been left out of a decision that hurt users’ security, the sources said. Due to a programming flaw, he told them hackers could have accessed the stored emails.

Stamos’s announcement in June 2015 that he had joined Facebook did not mention any problems with Yahoo. (bit.ly/2dL003k)

In a separate incident, Yahoo last month said “state-sponsored” hackers had gained access to 500 million customer accounts in 2014. The revelations have brought new scrutiny to Yahoo’s security practices as the company tries to complete a deal to sell its core business to Verizon Communications Inc for $4.8 billion.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Tiffany Wu)

source

 

Via THE RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE

PORTLAND, Oregon — Citing a lack of evidence, federal prosecutors have dismissed the government’s conspiracy charge against radio shock jock Pete Santilli, a new media journalist who was arrested and charged in connection with his reporting on the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon. The dismissal came on the eve of Santilli’s trial.

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute advised Santilli’s court-appointed attorney, Thomas Coan, on the First Amendment protections for Santilli’s activities as a journalist. Santilli is the only journalist among those who were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers from discharging their duties by use of force, intimidation, or threats. However, Santilli was charged solely as a reporter of information and not as an accomplice to any criminal activity.

In coming to Santilli’s defense, Institute attorneys warned that Santilli’s case followed a pattern by the government of intimidating journalists whose reporting portrays the government in a negative light or encourages citizens to challenge government injustice and wrongdoing.

The Rutherford Institute’s memorandum on the First Amendment rights of journalists and the government’s complaint regarding Santilli are available at www.rutherford.org.

“The FBI’s prosecution of this radio shock jock has been consistent with the government’s ongoing attempts to intimidate members of the press who portray the government in a less than favorable light,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “This is not a new tactic. During the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, numerous journalists were arrested while covering the regions’ civil unrest and the conditions that spawned that unrest. These attempts to muzzle the press were clearly concerted, top-down efforts to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press. Not only does this tactic silence individual journalists, but it has a chilling effect on the press as a whole, signaling that they will become the target of the government if they report on these events with a perspective that casts the government in a bad light.”

In early January 2016, a group of armed activists, reportedly protesting the federal government’s management of federal lands and its prosecution of two local ranchers convicted of arson, staged an act of civil disobedience by occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon. Broadcaster Pete Santilli, who has covered such protests in the past, including the April 2014 standoff in Nevada between the Bundy ranching family and the federal government over grazing rights, described himself as an embedded journalist reporting on the occupation in Burns. Santilli did not participate in the takeover of the refuge, nor did he reside on the grounds of the refuge.

However, as a self-described “shock jock” who uses “colorful language,” Santilli was vocal about his commitment to exercising his First Amendment rights in a nonviolent, peaceful fashion and the need for others to do so as well. When asked to clarify his role in relation to the occupation, Santilli declared, “My role is the same here that it was at the Bundy ranch. To talk about the constitutional implications of what is going on here. The Constitution cannot be negotiated.” Santilli also took pains to emphasize during his broadcasts that the only weapon he is using is the First Amendment: “I’m not armed. I am armed with my mouth. I’m armed with my live stream. I’m armed with a coalition of like-minded individuals who sit at home and on YouTube watch this.” In the wake of a roadblock that resulted in the arrests of several key leaders of the occupation and the killing of another, Santilli was arrested and eventually indicted with conspiracy to impede federal officers.

This press release is also available at www.rutherford.org.

By Thomas S. Neuberger
April 7, 2016

In July 2015, I reported on and analyzed the FBI’s Communities Against Terrorism Program and concluded that it made every adult citizen a terrorism suspect. In January 2016, the FBI announced that it wants to make every high school teacher, administrator and student in America a spy to report to it or local State police suspicious words or activity by any teenager attending our schools. The FBI was not satisfied with its 2012 Communities Against Terrorism Program which asks our neighbors to read any of 25 widely circulated posters and then to report us if we act in certain suspicious ways. Now the FBI has widened its net to over 15 million teenagers in our high schools.

As I explained previously, the dangerous speech which the FBI wanted our neighbors to report included, for example, (1) posting anti-government or environmental slogans, banners, or signs that imply violence; (2) spraying anti-government graffiti; (3) downloading material of an extreme or radical nature with violent themes, or preoccupation with press coverage of terrorist attacks; (4) making unusual anti‑U.S. comments; or (5) making extreme racist or religious statements coupled with sentiments which appear to condone violence. As can be seen from this list of overbroad, vague and legally protected activities or speech which the FBI claims are red flags for terrorism, the FBI has little concern for our Bill of Rights, such as the right to speak freely or to read what we want.

And now, with a little sugar coating and Orwellian new speak, there is a dire warning that without this new program a student out there may detonate a “weapon of mass destruction” on all of us. So in January the FBI went after all our high school students when it issued its Preventing Violent Extremism In Schools Guidelines. Specifically, the FBI wants its spies to report any “statements or actions” which “cause concern.” “Schools should focus on a student’s behaviors and communications,” such as supporting “domestic extremist movements,” international terrorist organizations or hate crimes.

Within its category of “domestic terrorists,” the FBI identifies several violent extremism movements, “including but not limited to animal rights and eco‑terrorists, and anti‑government or radical separatist groups.” There it is again, “anti-government” speech, just like in the widely circulated FBI posters. The FBI puts such domestic groups right up there with ISIS and Al Qa’ida, as those who “decry western policies” or mistrust the government. Indeed, the FBI also identifies as needing watching teenagers with unacceptable “religious or cultural biases” after being raised in families outside the mainstream of society.

Now to keep a classmate from eventually using that ever useful propaganda tool known as a “weapon of mass destruction,” what will your average non-lawyer teachers do when “anti-government” words come out of the mouth of a student who opposes an oil pipeline or wants to “save the whales”?  Call the FBI, of course.  Will they err on the side of safety or let youthful exuberance slide?

The core problem here is that “the FBI defines violent extremism as encouraging, condoning, justifying, or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social or economic goals.” But its premise is wrong that suspicious comments against government or vague or cryptic warnings that suggest or appear to endorse the use of violence in support of a cause are grounds to consider someone a potential terrorist. Remember Patrick Henry’s Revolutionary War cry – “Give me liberty or give me death.” If ever there was a statement endorsing violence, this is it, but he was a patriot. And I emphasize that the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that government, and this includes the FBI, cannot “forbid or prescribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Brandenburg v. Ohio  (1969). So reporting students for “encouraging, supporting or justifying” violence as a means to social goals is clearly illegal. In a classic case, this must lead to the investigation of students reading about or discussing revolution, Marxism, Communism or whatever failed doctrine is still out there, even the radical theories behind the American Revolution in 1776 or the French Revolution a few years later.

Writing for the Rutherford Institute, constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead has pointed out the conflict here with our own early history: “Try suggesting, as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin did, that Americans should not only take up arms but be prepared to shed blood in order to protect their liberties, and you might find yourself placed on a terrorist watch list and vulnerable to being rounded up by government agents,” he notes. Declared Jefferson, “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” Observed Franklin, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well‑armed lamb contesting the vote!” So what if a well-read student suggests in class, as Thomas Paine, Marquis de Lafayette, and John Adams did, that Americans should, if necessary, defend themselves against the government if it violates their rights.  He or she may be labeled a domestic extremist for such “anti-government” sentiments.

So if our public, private or religious schools anywhere in the United States give in and spy on over 15 million students, do the new Guidelines say anything about protecting the freedoms our fathers in World War II died to preserve? Buried in 28 pages we do find a paragraph containing a long mouthful of legalese which claims to recognize the “difference between protected speech and illegal incitement” and concedes that “espousing anti‑U.S. sentiment or extremist rhetoric is not a crime.” Educators are advised that “the issue is not if the individual voiced his/her support, but rather has advocated imminent violence in support of an extremist organization and that violence is likely to occur as a result.” For example, students consuming “violent propaganda” may result “in a strengthening of beliefs and aid development of radical views or a willingness to use violence in support of an ideology.” Again, what will a non-lawyer administrator do in light of these long equivocating statements and the possible threat of mass destruction? He or she will err on the side of safety which, I expect, is the real purpose behind the FBI’s Guidelines.

And this will take us one step further down the road to a police state with our neighbors, teachers and others monitoring our thoughts, speech and communications for disfavored ideas.  And then there will be the knock at the door demanding to question our son or daughter because someone has turned them in to have their thoughts, tweets, Facebook posts,  reading material or speech reviewed before federal or local police.

The FBI is making us into a nation of spies and informers at the cost of our heritage and freedoms. It is behaving as the feared Stasi in Communist East Germany, the secret police in Stalin’s Soviet Russia, or Hitler’s dreaded Gestapo, turning every neighbor into a spy on the other.  For the FBI most of us incorrectly fit the bill as extremists or terrorists. But again, recall our Colonial ancestor Patrick Henry, who argued about the value of potential violence in 1788, “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.” The FBI wants to question every student voicing similar sentiments.

That is plainly un-American and should not be permitted in any public, private or religious school.

source

Via John Whitehead @ The Rutherford Institute

We want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.”—President Harry S. Truman

Don’t Be a Puppet” is the message the FBI is sending young Americans.
As part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the nation’s de facto secret police force is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist.”
Using the terms “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably, the government continues to add to its growing list of characteristics that could distinguish an individual as a potential domestic terrorist.
For instance, you might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you:

  • express libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers)
  • exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views (NRA or gun club membership)
  • read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books
  • show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)
  • fear an economic collapse
  • buy gold and barter items
  • subscribe to religious views concerning the book of Revelation
  • voice fears about Big Brother or big government
  • expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties
  • believe in a New World Order conspiracy

Despite its well-publicized efforts to train students, teachers, police officers, hairdressers, store clerks, etc., into government eyes and ears, the FBI isn’t relying on a nation of snitches to carry out its domestic spying.
There’s no need.
The nation’s largest law enforcement agency rivals the NSA in resources, technology, intelligence, and power. Yet while the NSA has repeatedly come under fire for its domestic spying programs, the FBI has continued to operate its subversive and clearly unconstitutional programs with little significant oversight or push-back from the public, Congress or the courts. Just recently, for example, a secret court gave the agency the green light to quietly change its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans’ international communications.
Indeed, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the FBI has become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be easily corrupted and abused.
When and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America.
Owing largely to the influence and power of the FBI, the United States—once a nation that abided by the rule of law and held the government accountable for its actions—has steadily devolved into a police state where justice is one-sided, a corporate elite runs the show, representative government is a mockery, police are extensions of the military, surveillance is rampant, privacy is extinct, and the law is little more than a tool for the government to browbeat the people into compliance.
The FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, harassment and indoctrination, governmental overreach, abuse, misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property.
And that’s just based on what we know.
Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government; recruiting high school students to spy on and report fellow students who show signs of being future terrorists; or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.
The FBI was established in 1908 as a small task force assigned to deal with specific domestic crimes. Initially quite limited in its abilities to investigate so-called domestic crimes, the FBI has been transformed into a mammoth federal policing and surveillance agency. Unfortunately, whatever minimal restrictions kept the FBI’s surveillance activities within the bounds of the law all but disappeared in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The USA Patriot Act gave the FBI and other intelligence agencies carte blanche authority in investigating Americans suspected of being anti-government.
As the FBI’s powers have grown, its abuses have mounted.
The FBI continues to monitor Americans engaged in lawful First Amendment activities.
COINTELPRO, the FBI program created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government considers politically objectionable, was aimed not so much at the criminal element but at those who challenged the status quo—namely, those expressing anti-government sentiments such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon. It continues to this day, albeit in other guises.
The FBI has become a master in the art of entrapment.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the FBI has not only targeted vulnerable individuals but has also lured them into fake terror plots while actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward leaning—preventative—prosecutions.”
FBI agents are among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers.
In addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts. USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day. Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.
The FBI’s powers, expanded after 9/11, have given its agents carte blanche access to Americans’ most personal information.
The agency’s National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose the demands. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread violations.
The FBI’s spying capabilities are on a par with the NSA.
The FBI’s surveillance technology boasts an invasive collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls.  In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.”
The FBI’s hacking powers have gotten downright devious.
FBI agents not only have the ability to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world, but they can also control that computer and all its stored information, download its digital contents, switch its camera or microphone on or off and even control other computers in its network. Given the breadth of the agency’s powers, the showdown between Apple and the FBI over customer privacy appears to be more spectacle than substance.
James Comey, current director of the FBI, knows enough to say all the right things about the need to abide by the Constitution, all the while his agency routinely discards it. Comey argues that the government’s powers shouldn’t be limited, especially when it comes to carrying out surveillance on American citizens. Comey continues to lobby Congress and the White House to force technology companies such as Apple and Google to keep providing the government with backdoor access to Americans’ cell phones.
The FBI’s reach is more invasive than ever.
This is largely due to the agency’s nearly unlimited resources (its minimum budget alone in fiscal year 2015 was $8.3 billion), the government’s vast arsenal of technology, the interconnectedness of government intelligence agencies, and information sharing through fusion centers—data collecting intelligence agencies spread throughout the country that constantly monitor communications (including those of American citizens), everything from internet activity and web searches to text messages, phone calls and emails.
Today, the FBI employs more than 35,000 individuals and operates more than 56 field offices in major cities across the U.S., as well as 400 resident agencies in smaller towns, and more than 50 international offices. In addition to their “data campus,” which houses more than 96 million sets of fingerprints from across the United States and elsewhere, the FBI is also, according to The Washington Post, “building a vast repository controlled by people who work in a top-secret vault on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington. This one stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.”
If there’s one word to describe the FBI’s covert tactics, it’s creepy.
The agency’s biometric database has grown to massive proportions, the largest in the world, encompassing everything from fingerprints, palm, face and iris scans to DNA, and is being increasingly shared between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to target potential criminals long before they ever commit a crime.
This is what’s known as pre-crime.
If it were just about fighting the “bad guys,” that would be one thing. But as countless documents make clear, the FBI has no qualms about using its extensive powers in order to blackmail politicians, spy on celebrities and high-ranking government officials, and intimidate dissidents of all stripes.
It’s an old tactic, used effectively by former authoritarian regimes.
In fact, as historian Robert Gellately documents, the Nazi police state was repeatedly touted as a model for other nations to follow, so much so that Hoover actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police. As Gellately noted, “[A]fter five years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Nazi police had won the FBI’s seal of approval.”
Indeed, so impressed was the FBI with the Nazi order that, as the New York Times revealed, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen, brought them to America, hired them on as spies and informants, and then carried out a massive cover-up campaign to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. Moreover, anyone who dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.
So not only have American taxpayers been paying to keep ex-Nazis on the government payroll for decades but we’ve been subjected to the very same tactics used by the Third Reich: surveillance, militarized police, overcriminalization, and a government mindset that views itself as operating outside the bounds of the law.
This is how freedom falls, and tyrants come to power.
The similarities between the American police state and past totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany grow more pronounced with each passing day.
Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. These are the hallmarks of every authoritarian regime from the Roman Empire to modern-day America.
Yet it’s the secret police—tasked with silencing dissidents, ensuring compliance, and maintaining a climate of fear—who sound the death knell for freedom in every age.

source

By William N. Grigg

Douglas County, GA — Bobby Daniels was a peace officer by trade – a private security guard employed at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta. When he learned that his emotionally troubled 25-year-old son Bias had suffered a breakdown and was holding a fellow security guard at gunpoint in a mobile home part in Douglasville, Bobby raced to the scene. Using the skills of persuasion and patient de-escalation upon which a private peace officer must rely, Bobby persuaded his son to relinquish his handgun and place it on the hood of a car.

Just seconds later, Daniels was fatally shot – not by his mentally ill son, but by the sheriff’s deputies who had arrived on the scene.

In familiar fashion, law enforcement officials insist that the victim of this police shooting – at least the 960th to occur in 2015 – was to blame, and they have provided contradictory accounts as to how it happened.

“I think that he could have been trying to help the situation instead of hurting it, but when he pointed the gun at the officers, he was shot,” asserted Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller in remarks to reports at the scene shortly after the December 21 incident.

A different official account provided by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation claims that as Bobby and Bias struggled over control of the gun, deputies attempted to incapacitate the younger man with a taser.

“As the fight continued between Bias and Bobby, the handgun was pointed at the deputies, at which point one of the deputy [sic] fired, striking and killing Bobby,” according to the GBI.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that my officer thought his life was in danger, and he did what he thought he had to do,” insists Sheriff Miller, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/private-peace-officer-defused-hostage-situation-shot-killed-cops-late-help/#4j9RtgQtBVLMb487.99

 

 

 

Conflict of Interest? The US Navy Has a Base in a Brutal Dictatorship with Ties to ISIS

Why Does the US Navy Have a Base in a Repressive Dictatorship Whose Govt Officials are ISIS Members?

Much has been said about the most notorious dictatorship in the Middle East and close ally of the United States. Saudi Arabia, the number 1 beheader, carries out tasks such as bombing Yemen targets, including hospitals, and helping to stamp out rebellions for neighboring US-allied dictators. In exchange for this thuggery (and the flow of oil), the Saudis receive access to some of the best weapons in the world and guarantees of the monarchy’s continued existence in the face of massive discontent.

This resentment against Western puppets that rule Gulf nations is a contributing factor in the support for terrorism. Saudi Arabia is turning out to be a hotbed of support for ISIS, which also has to do with the fact that the state-sanctioned religious clergy teaches a radical form of Islam known as Wahhabism.

The U.S. government ignores these things, along with atrocious human rights records, when it has a vested interest in the country. Indeed, the U.S. has a particular liking for brutal monarchies with rich oil reserves.

The small country of Bahrain plays an incredibly large role in American military hegemony, hosting the Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Central Command.

Prison Officials Spying on Inmates to Find Net Worth, Suing Anyone Worth Over $10K for Stay in Jail

 

With the ability to read their mail and record their phone conversations, state prisons have increasingly been filing lawsuits against inmates with over $10,000 in assets. In cases of blatant retaliation, prison officials have also been targeting inmates who won civil suits against the departments for prison beatings and denying medication.

In 1846, Michigan introduced the first correctional fee law authorizing counties to charge prisoners for the cost of medical care. According to a report released earlier this year from the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 35 states are currently authorized to charge inmates for medical treatment. And at least 43 states allow officials to charge prisoners for the cost of their own imprisonment.

While incarcerated on a drug conviction, Johnny Melton received a $31,690 settlement over the wrongful death of his mother. After learning of the settlement, the Illinois Department of Corrections sued Melton and won nearly $20,000 to cover the cost of his “care, custody, treatment or rehabilitation” during his 14 months served at the state’s Logan Correctional Center.

Paroled earlier this year, Melton entered a homeless shelter and went on food stamps before a cousin offered to help him. According to his family, Melton was destitute when he died in June.

“He didn’t have a dime,” one of Melton’s sisters, Denise Melton, told the Chicago Tribune. “We had to scuffle up money to cremate him.”
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/state-prisons-sue-inmates-cost-incarcerating/#WhHuRZg3iQ9AXidB.99

Isolated Incident? Nine Officers Arrested After They Were Caught Running a Massive Drug Ring

A massive drug ring was recently raided in Florida, in which law enforcement officers were caught smuggling large amounts of opiate medication and meth.

Bradford County, FL – 50 people were arrested this week, in connection with a drug smuggling operation, where prescription opiates were transported into a Florida state prison, with the help of prison employees. In total, nine corrections officers were arrested in the operation, which lasted over 11 months and included multiple other arrests along the way.

The investigation was called “Operation Checkered Flag,” and it began late last year when local police were tipped off about drugs flowing into Bradford County prisons. Back in June, two conspirators that were thought to be at the head of the drug ring were arrested, both of them were corrections officers. Officer Dylan Oral Hilliard of Lawtey and Maj. Charles Gregory “Chicken Hawk” Combs were each arrested in June, but the smuggling operations still continued.

Deeper into the investigation, police discovered that it was a much larger scheme taking place, involving multiple other corrections officers.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/9-corrections-officers-arrested-smuggling-prescription-opiates-prison/#Cf2KyDKVSHIv0IFf.99

The number of felony suspects fatally shot by police last year — 461— was the most in two decades, according to a new FBI report.

The justifiable homicide count, contained in the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, has become increasingly scrutinized in recent months as questions continue to be raised about the use of lethal force by law enforcement.

It’s the third straight year we’ve seen an increase. If you’ve been reading The Watch regularly, you’ll know that we hit that figure in the same year that killings of police officers reached a 50-year low. Last year also saw a drop in violent crime. There are about eight to nine killings by cops for every killing of a cop. (The FBI reported 48 felonious deaths of police officers in 2012, the last year for which data were available.)

The article also mentions another problem we’ve discussed here: It’s difficult to say just how much the figure is rising because police departments are historically bad at actually reporting this data.

University of Nebraska criminologist Samuel Walker said the incomplete nature of the data renders the recent spike in such deaths even more difficult to explain.

Bottom line: We should want cops killing people less often. Instead, they seem to be killing people more, even as the threat to cops is diminishing, and society itself is getting safer. And it’s simply unacceptable that we get precise data about cops killed on the job, but only sloppy, incomplete data about who, when and how many cops kill.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/11/13/killings-by-cops-apparently-going-up-killings-of-cops-going-down/