Posts Tagged ‘abuse of power’

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.

 

“Some criminal in the upper midwest is still running around with the selective-fire M4 that an ATF agent left in his G-ride while doing the horizontal bop with another ATF agent, unbeknownst to either’s spouse. No ATF employee was ever investigated on that case, either. Brandon’s answer? More power to the lawless agents that released that firearm into the wild.”

RTWT @ Weaponsman here

 

By John W. Whitehead
June 28, 2016

“Our carceral state banishes American citizens to a gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens… When the doors finally close and one finds oneself facing banishment to the carceral state—the years, the walls, the rules, the guards, the inmates—reactions vary. Some experience an intense sickening feeling. Others, a strong desire to sleep. Visions of suicide. A deep shame. A rage directed toward guards and other inmates. Utter disbelief. The incarcerated attempt to hold on to family and old social ties through phone calls and visitations. At first, friends and family do their best to keep up. But phone calls to prison are expensive, and many prisons are located far from one’s hometown… As the visits and phone calls diminish, the incarcerated begins to adjust to the fact that he or she is, indeed, a prisoner. New social ties are cultivated. New rules must be understood.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

In a carceral state—a.k.a. a prison state or a police state—there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords.

In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite.

In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.

With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, “we the people”—the prisoners of the American police state—are being pushed that much further into a corner, our backs against the prison wall.

This concept of a carceral state in which we possess no rights except for that which the government grants on an as-needed basis is the only way I can begin to comprehend, let alone articulate, the irrational, surreal, topsy-turvy, through-the-looking-glass state of affairs that is being imposed upon us in America today.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we who pretend we are free are no different from those who spend their lives behind bars.

Indeed, we are experiencing much the same phenomenon that journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates ascribes to those who are banished to a “gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens” : a sickening feeling, a desire to sleep, hopelessness, shame, rage, disbelief, clinginess to the past and that which is familiar, and then eventually resignation and acceptance of our new “normal.”

All that we are experiencing—the sense of dread at what is coming down the pike, the desperation, the apathy about government corruption, the deeply divided partisanship, the carnivalesque political spectacles, the public displays of violence, the nostalgia for the past—are part of the dying refrain of an America that is fading fast.

No longer must the government obey the law.

Likewise, “we the people” are no longer shielded by the rule of law.

While the First Amendment—which gives us a voice—is being muzzled, the Fourth Amendment—which protects us from being bullied, badgered, beaten, broken and spied on by government agents—is being disemboweled.

For instance, in a recent 5-3 ruling in Utah v. Strieff, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for police to stop, arrest and search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, effectively giving police a green light to embark on a fishing expedition of one’s person and property, rendering Americans completely vulnerable to the whims of any cop on the beat.

In a blistering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor blasted the court for holding “that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.” Sotomayor continued:

This Court has allowed an officer to stop you for whatever reason he wants—so long as he can point to a pretextual justification after the fact. That justification must provide specific reasons why the officer suspected you were breaking the law, but it may factor in your ethnicity, where you live, what you were wearing, and how you behaved. The officer does not even need to know which law you might have broken so long as he can later point to any possible infraction—even one that is minor, unrelated, or ambiguous.

The indignity of the stop is not limited to an officer telling you that you look like a criminal. The officer may next ask for your “consent” to inspect your bag or purse without telling you that you can decline. Regardless of your answer, he may order you to stand “helpless, perhaps facing a wall with [your] hands raised.” If the officer thinks you might be dangerous, he may then “frisk” you for weapons. This involves more than just a pat down. As onlookers pass by, the officer may “‘feel with sensitive fingers every portion of [your] body. A thorough search [may] be made of [your] arms and armpits, waistline and back, the groin and area about the testicles, and entire surface of the legs down to the feet.’”

If you still can’t read the writing on the wall, Sotomayor breaks it down further: “This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong… So long as the target is one of the many millions of people in this country with an outstanding arrest warrant, anything the officer finds in a search is fair game for use in a criminal prosecution. The officer’s incentive to violate the Constitution thus increases…”

Just consider some of the many other ways in which the Fourth Amendment—which ensures that the government can’t harass you, let alone even investigate you, without probable cause—has been weakened and undermined by the courts, the legislatures and various government agencies and operatives.

Breath tests, blood draws: Americans have no protection against mandatory breathalyzer tests at a police checkpoint, although mandatory blood draws violate the Fourth Amendment (Birchfield v. North Dakota).

Ignorance of the law is defensible if you work for the government: Police officers who violate the law can be granted qualified immunity if they claim ignorance of the law (Heien v. North Carolina). That rationale was also applied to police who clearly used excessive force when they repeatedly tasered a pregnant woman during a routine traffic stop and were granted immunity from prosecution (Brooks v. City of Seattle).

Highspeed car chases: Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits (Plumhoff v. Rickard).

Noknock raids: Police can perform a “no-knock” as long as they have a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile or give occupants a chance to destroy evidence of a crime (Richards v. Wisconsin). Legal ownership of a firearm is also enough to justify a no-knock raid by police (Quinn v. Texas).

Warrantless searches by police: Police can carry out warrantless searches on our homes based on a “reasonable” concern by police that a suspect (or occupant) might be attempting to destroy evidence, fleeing or hurt, even if it’s the wrong house (Kentucky v. King). Police can also, without a warrant, search anyone who has been lawfully arrested (United States v. Robinson) as well as their property post-arrest (Colorado v. Bertine) and their vehicle (New York v. Belton), search a car they suspect might contain evidence of a crime (Chambers v. Maroney), and search a home when the arrest is made on its premises (Maryland v. Buie).

Forced DNA extractions: Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime. Innocent or not, your DNA will then be stored in the national FBI database (Maryland v. King).

Strip searches: Police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the “offense” (Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington). This “license to probe” is now being extended to roadside stops, as police officers throughout the country have begun performing roadside strip searches—some involving anal and vaginal probes—without any evidence of wrongdoing and without a warrant.

Seizures: For all intents and purposes, you’re “seized” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment from the moment an officer stops you (Brendlin v. California).

Search warrants on a leash: Police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes,” justifying any and all police searches of vehicles stopped on the roadside (Florida v. Harris), but the use of a K-9 unit after a reasonable amount of time has passed during a stop does violate the Fourth Amendment (Rodriguez v. United States).

Police and DUI Checkpoints: Police can conduct sobriety and “information-seeking” checkpoints (Illinois v. Lidster and Mich. Dept of State Police v. Sitz).

Interrogating public transit passengers: Police officers are free to board a bus, question passengers, and ask for consent to search without notifying them of their right to refuse (U.S v. Drayton).

Warrantless arrests for minor criminal offenses: Police can arrest you for minor criminal offenses, such as a misdemeanor seatbelt violation, punishable only by a fine (Atwater v. City of Lago Vista).

Stop and identify: Refusing to answer when a policeman asks “What’s your name?” can rightfully be considered a crime. No longer do Americans, even those not charged with any crime, have the right to remain altogether silent when stopped and questioned by a police officer (Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada).

Traffic stops: As long as police have reasonable cause to believe that a traffic violation occurred, they may stop any vehicle (Whren v. U.S.). If probable cause justifies a vehicle search, then every part of the vehicle can be searched (U.S. v. Ross). A vehicle can be stopped even if the driver has not committed a traffic offense (U.S. v. Cortez).

Anonymous tips, careful driving, rigid posture and acne: Police officers can stop cars based only on “anonymous” tips (Navarette v. California). Police can also pull you over if you are driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and have acne (U.S. v. Westhoven).

What many Americans fail to understand is the devastating amount of damage that can be done to one’s freedoms long before a case ever makes its way to court by government agents who are violating the Fourth Amendment at every turn. This is how freedoms, long undermined, can give way to tyranny through constant erosion and become part of the fabric of the police state through constant use.

Phone and email surveillance, databases for dissidents, threat assessments, terror watch lists, militarized police, SWAT team raids, security checkpoints, lockdowns, roadside strip searches: there was a time when any one of these encroachments on our Fourth Amendment rights would have roused the public to outrage. Today, such violations are shrugged off matter-of-factly by Americans who have been assiduously groomed to accept the intrusions of the police state into their private lives.

So when you hear about the FBI hacking into Americans’ computers without a warrant with the blessing of the courts, or states assembling and making public terror watch lists containing the names of those who are merely deemed suspicious, or the police knocking on the doors of activists in advance of political gatherings to ascertain their plans for future protests, or administrative government agencies (such as the FDA, Small Business Administration, Smithsonian, Social Security, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Mint, and Department of Education) spending millions on guns and ammunition, don’t just matter-of-factly file it away in that part of your brain reserved for things you may not like but over which you have no control.

It’s true that there may be little the average person can do to push back against the police state on a national level, but there remains some hope at the local level as long as we retain a speck of our independence and individuality—as long as we can resist the defeatist sense of double-consciousness (a phrase coined by W. E. B. Du Bois in which we view ourselves as inferior through the prism of our oppressors)—as long as we continue to cry out for justice for ourselves and those around us—as long as we refuse to be shackled and made prisoners—and as long as we continue to recognize that the only way the police state can truly acquire and retain power is if we relinquish it through our negligence, complacence and ignorance.

Unfortunately, we have been utterly brainwashed into believing the government’s propaganda and lies. Americans actually celebrate with perfect sincerity the anniversary of our independence from Great Britain without ever owning up to the fact that we are as oppressed now—more so, perhaps, thanks to advances in technology—than we ever were when Redcoats stormed through doorways and subjected colonists to the vagaries of a police state.

You see, by gradually whittling away at our freedoms—free speech, assembly, due process, privacy, etc.—the government has, in effect, liberated itself from its contractual agreement to respect our constitutional rights while resetting the calendar back to a time when we had no Bill of Rights to protect us from the long arm of the government.

Aided and abetted by the legislatures, the courts and Corporate America, the government has been busily rewriting the contract (a.k.a. the Constitution) that establishes the citizenry as the masters and agents of the government as the servants. We are now only as good as we are useful, and our usefulness is calculated on an economic scale by how much we are worth—in terms of profit and resale value—to our “owners.”

Under the new terms of this one-sided agreement, the government and its many operatives have all the privileges and rights and “we the prisoners” have none.

As Sotomayor concluded in her ringing dissent in Utah v. Strieff:

By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged. We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.

This commentary is also
available at www.rutherford.org.

fbi-terrorist-plotBy William N. Grigg

The FBI once again appears to have averted a terrorist plot of its own manufacture by arresting 57-year-old William Keebler, a man from Stockton, Utah described in press accounts as a militia organizer exhibiting an “extreme hatred” for the federal government. A vociferous critic of the federal Bureau of Land Management who was present during the April 2014 standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, Keebler was a close friend of the late LaVoy Finicum. FBI agents arrested  Keebler in Nephi, Utah Wednesday morning after he allegedly attempted to bomb a vacant cabin owned by the BLM.

According to a federal charging document, for the past several months FBI undercover operatives have been members of Keebler’s militia, the Patriots Defense Force, which met at his home in Stockton, Utah. On many occasions, he expressed the entirely reasonable view that “the BLM was overreaching their authority to implement grazing restrictions on ranchers” and insisted that state and local governments, rather than Washington, should be in charge of public lands in the western States.

Predicting that future confrontations with the Feds might make violent resistance necessary, Keebler reportedly conducted training exercises and “talked about gathering intelligence on potential targets,” such as the BLM office in Salt Lake City. He made it clear, however, that “he didn’t plan on blowing people up for now”; the federal probable cause affidavit characterizes Keebler’s attitude as wanting his group “to be prepared to escalate things, and take people out if necessary.”

Last April, a federal informant “tasked with building Keebler an explosive device” — the charging document, significantly, doesn’t specify by whom the informant had been “tasked” — showed the subject a video of “a 6-inch pipe bomb blowing up some abandoned furniture in the mountains of southern Utah.” That overt act, which was carried out by a federal asset without (as far as the available evidence shows) Keebler’s approval, advance knowledge, or involvement, is described as an act in which he “maliciously damage[d]” and “destroy[ed] … personal or real property.

A few weeks later, Keebler allegedly selected the abandoned BLM cabin in Arizona as a target. The FBI-controlled informant produced what he described as two pipe bombs — one to be placed at the target and detonated via remote control, the other “was to be used against law enforcement” in the event this was necessary. Late Tuesday night (June 21), someone — the document doesn’t specify who it was — placed “an inert explosive device … against the door of one of the BLM cabins in Mount Turnbull. After the device was placed against the door, Keebler was handed a remote detonation device. Keebler then pushed the detonator button multiple times in order to remotely detonate the inert explosive.” He then departed for Utah, where FBI agents arrested him several hours later.

Keebler spent 13 days in Bunkerville and spent time in the company of the late LaVoy Finicum, whose funeral he attended in Kanab, Utah last February. Significantly, Keebler and several members of his militia were in attendance at an April 1 event in Orem, Utah featuring speeches by Finicum’s widow and Shawna Cox, who was an eyewitness to Finicum’s killing. That event was attended by hundreds of people whom the Feds would characterize as “anti-government extremists.”

“Some people who were with [Keebler] were videotaping all of the speakers with very expensive, professional-grade equipment,” a Utah broadcaster who attended the event told The Free Thought Project. “They were walking the room taking note of everybody who was there.”

According to the timeline described sketchily in the federal probable cause affidavit, it was at about this time that the FBI’s Homeland Security Theater Troupe was finishing its scheme to snare Keebler in a bogus bombing plot.

One likely purpose of this FBI-scripted operation is to depict the late LaVoy Finicum — who has emerged as a folk hero for many residents of the rural West — as a would-be terrorist bomber. The arrest affidavit takes great care to accuse Finicum of scouting out the location eventually used in the FBI-controlled false flag attack. That allegation, which Finicum is no longer alive to dispute, is already being retailed by some progressive media outlets.

One’s personal feelings on the unfoldings in Oregon earlier this year are irrelevant when considering the reality of the situation. This attempted ‘bombing,’ like the overwhelming majority of FBI-foiled terror plots, was little more than a staged scene with easily manipulated actors — being entirely scripted, directed, and produced by the federal government. Though this was theater on a virtually fictional scale, the fruits of the federal government’s success in thwarting their own scheme will be the loss of liberty for all — in spite of the current target only being ‘preppers’ and ‘anti-government constitutionalists.’

William N. Grigg writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

Since December 2010 the government program known as Operation Fast and Furious has morphed into a program that could be accurately labeled as Operation Slow and Tedious. The objective is to delay exposure of the truth until that exposure has no political or personal impact on the various players involved.

Efforts to get at the truth of the scandal got a boost in January when an Obama-appointed federal judge ruled that thousands of documents subpoenaed by congressional investigators could not be withheld under claims of executive privilege. In keeping with the Slow and Tedious strategy, the Department of Justice finally released a large block of the documents three months later on a Friday afternoon in April but continues to withhold many others.

The recent document dump supports speculation that then-Attorney General Eric Holder knew more about the ill-conceived gunwalking operation than he has claimed, and that he and other high-level DOJ officials actively worked to conceal details of the operation from Congress and the public. Emails released earlier in the investigation indicate that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett gave guidance in the coverup, but so far, none of the recent documents provide a direct link to the White House. What they do show is a concerted effort to keep the details of the operation under wraps for political purposes.

Had these documents been made public when they were originally subpoenaed, they could have had a serious negative impact on Obama’s re-election campaign and might have prevented implementation of new regulations requiring gun dealers in border states to report information about purchasers of semi-auto rifles. By delaying the release until now, those political consequences have been avoided, but there are other potential consequences the administration is continuing to try and avoid. Recent criminal charges filed against government officials in the Flint, Michigan, water scandal are a reminder that politicians and bureaucrats might not be beyond the reach of the law. So far, no one has paid a significant price for their roles in Fast and Furious, and the administration clearly wants to keep it that way.

It has been more than five years since the tragic death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry at the hands of Mexican bandits. The bandits were armed with guns acquired with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – the agency tasked with enforcement of federal gun control laws. In January of 2011, just one month after Agent Terry’s death, I asked the question in this column whether the Obama administration had intentionally allowed guns to be smuggled to Mexican drug gangs as a way of boosting the administration’s gun control agenda. That column was based on the investigative reporting of citizen-journalists David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh, who developed the story from sources within the BATF and worked tirelessly to bring it to the attention of Congress and “mainstream” reporters. The WND column was the first mention of the scandal in a major national media outlet. That was followed in late February with a report by Cheryl Atkisson on CBS News in which she interviewed one of Codrea and Vanderboegh’s BATF sources. After that, other reporters slowly started mentioning the growing scandal, and Congress intensified its investigation.

Fast and Furious was the codename given to a still-unexplained program under which the BATF instructed certain gun dealers to go ahead with firearm and ammunition sales to suspected Mexican arms traffickers. Once the sales were made, BATF agents were ordered to break off surveillance of the suspects, and no effort of any kind was made to track the suspects or the guns they possessed. BATF officials – and the media – continue to refer to the program as a “botched sting,” or a “failed attempt to track guns to Mexican drug cartels,” but those labels don’t come close to fitting the program. The only monitoring that was done – or even possible under the plan – was to trace serial numbers of guns found at crime scenes.

That information provides no actionable intelligence, and only marginally enhances the prosecution of low-level, straw buyers. When Agent Terry was killed, both guns recovered at the scene turned out to have come from the Fast and Furious program. That resulted in the program being quickly shut down and swept under the rug. Had it not been for Vanderboegh noticing an off-hand comment on a BATF employee gripe site, and following up on the comment, the whole Fast and Furious debacle might have never been made public.

Codrea and Vanderboegh never got the credit they deserved for breaking the story, but they weren’t in it for the notoriety; they just wanted the truth to be known. Vanderboegh, a prolific blogger and rabble-rouser, is currently dealing with serious health issues and is sadly not expected to be with us much longer. As cantankerous and disagreeable as he can be, he has done the republic a great service by challenging authority and exposing the threads of truth in this case. Readers are encouraged to remember him and his family in their current struggles.

After the story started gaining legs in 2011, the administration, the Department of Justice and the BATF hierarchy disavowed any knowledge of the program. They pointed fingers at local agents and made some superficial changes. The acting head of BATF was laterally transferred to a new position, as were the supervisory agents in charge of the operation. A politically connected federal prosecutor in Arizona and a DOJ deputy resigned, and the agents who blew the whistle on the operation faced career-ending retribution. No other consequences have resulted from the ill-conceived program except hundreds of dead and injured in Mexico.

For now, Operation Slow and Tedious drags on. Attorneys for Congress continue to battle attorneys for the administration over release of the remaining documents, but the public’s interest is waning, and the trail is growing cold. Slow and tedious is once again proving to be a successful strategy for consequence avoidance in Washington.

©2016 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement. www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

h/t Wirecuter

Forget that “war on cops.” Unaffordable penalties, incompetent courts, and heavy-handed tactics are all evidence of an official assault on regular Americans.

 The cops raided my wife’s pediatric practice looking for a fugitive, last week.

Actually, let’s put the word “fugitive” in quotes. The story is an eye-opening tale in itself. It’s also a glimpse at how business-as-usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people’s lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.
My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic’s parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it’s a small town so we’ll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.

When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops—12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies—in plain view at the rear corner of the building. The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.
“Who’s in charge here?” she asked, demanding that they move the Fallujah reenactment out of view.
“We were already in the process of moving the vehicles at this time,” Cottonwood Detective Sergeant Tod Moore insisted in a statement to me. “It should be noted only 1 marked police unit was in the main parking lot area of the business.” (The clinic’s staff dispute that point.) Moore also claimed that only 10 officers were present. They included three detectives dressed in civilian clothes—and tactical vests—who arrived to initiate the arrest, joined by seven additional officers, including SWAT members, who transported another suspect with them on the trip to deliver the arrest warrant that the detectives hadn’t brought along.
C.H.’s crime? It was an eight-year-old “amended charge of 28-1381A1 DUI to the Slightest Degree,” according to Court Clerk and Associate Magistrate Anna M. Kirton. Kirton signed C.H.’s release order after my wife paid $1,300 to spare her employee 26 days in jail. More accurately, C.H. was arrested for making only partial payment of the fines and fees she’d been assessed, and for missing a court appointment that she never knew about.
“I was young and stupid,” C.H. told me about the day in 2008 when her 21-year-old self was pulled over for a broken license plate light. She and her friends had open beer bottles in the car, and a marijuana pipe that C.H. claims wasn’t hers, but which ended up in her purse. The original arrest, then, was for open containers and “drug paraphernalia,” which was pled down to an even lesser charge.
After a night in jail, C.H. went to court, only to discover that there was no record of her arrest or charge to face, so she was sent home.
Years later, she was pulled over again and arrested on the original charge after the court got its paperwork in order. As Kirton told me, “On January 19, 2011, the Defendant entered into a plea with the State. She plead guilty to an amended charge of 28-1381A1 DUI to the Slightest Degree, (13-3415A was dismissed per the plea).  She was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence required by law in the State of Arizona. Part of this sentence included fines and fees totaling $2005.00.”
Actually, that was all of the sentence—provided she made her payments.
That’s where things get a bit fuzzy. C.H. tells me she thought she paid in full. The court says otherwise. C.H. got married at that time, so things may have fallen through the cracks in the confusion. Court records show an official notice to C.H. returned because of a bad address on September 24, 2012 and a failure to appear recorded against her the next day. A warrant for her arrest was issued a week later.
The “bad address” in the court files is C.H.’s mother’s house. It was the first place the police looked for her last week, so they have it accurately recorded somewhere as the place to find her. That house stopped being her official mailing address sometime last year, but it remains a convenient place to contact her—it was her mom who told police about C.H.’s job.
For whatever reason, the court notice of a command appearance never reached C.H., she remained unaware that the county thought she still owed $1,300, and last week a small army showed up to collect.
For all of its drama, the arrest was nothing special, in itself—just part of a regular bureaucratic spring cleaning. In response to my (very pointed) query, Detective Sergeant Moore wrote, “a Verde Valley Wide Warrant Sweep was conducted by members of the Cottonwood Police Department to include SWAT Members, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, PANT [Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking], GIITEM [Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission], Camp Verde Marshall’s Office, Clarkdale Police Department, US Marshall’s Office and HSI [Homeland Security Investigations]. The purpose of this sweep was to try and reduce the large number of outstanding warrants currently held by the numerous agencies listed.”
But why the small army? (Neither the U.S.Marshals Service nor Homeland Security responded to queries by press time.)
“The teams were tasked to apprehend people who had a variety [of] offenses,” Cottonwood Patrol Division Commander Jody Makuch said in an email. “While we cannot predict the behavior of the people who fail to meet their obligations, we do have to be prepared for a worst case scenario to protect the public and the officers.”
They had a quota to meet, so they went with one-size-fits-all.

Read the rest here

Conclusion: This attack on dissent is serious. Educate your family and friends about what’s going on. Do not be fooled by their propaganda, but beware of the risks of speaking out too freely.

Believe in conspiracy theories? You’re probably a narcissist: People who doubt the moon landings are more likely to be selfish and attention-seeking … Psychologists from the University of Kent carried out three online studies … -UK Daily Mail

We are seeing an increasing number of academic studies analyzing the psychology behind “conspiracy theorists” and those who question government propaganda. The idea being that people who don’t trust government may be mentally ill.

These analyses are published in prominent publications in the UK and are building a “scientific” literature revolving psychological dysfunction and “conspiracy theory.”

More:

Do you think the moon-landings were faked, vaccines are a plot for mind control, or that shadowy government agencies are keeping alien technology locked up in hidden bunkers?

If so, chances are you’re a narcissist with low self-esteem, according to psychologists. In the internet age conspiracy theories can incubate in quiet corners of the web, but it may be psychological predispositions of believers which keep them alive, rather than cold hard facts.

The article goes on to explain that researchers at the University of Kent have used online studies  from hundreds of people to generate the study’s conclusions.

The findings appeared in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science with the suggestion that those who adopt conspiracy theories have “outwardly inflated self-confidence” but may be “overcompensating for a lack of belief in themselves.”

The article mentions a previous study conducted by Oxford’s Dr. David Robert Grimes.

From what we’ve written on this study:

Grimes had the idea that mathematics could prove or disprove certain conspiracy theories. A physicist, he “developed a mathematical equation to derive the truth of conspiracy theories,” according to the Christian Science Monitor …

Grimes calculated that the moon landing and climate change conspiracies “would require about 400,000 secret-keepers each, the unsafe vaccination conspiracy would involve 22,000 people, and the cancer cure conspiracy would involve over 710,000 people.”  Even with the utmost secrecy, Grimes reports, his equations show within four years the conspiracies would be exposed nonetheless.

At the time, we commented on Grimes’s apparent “earnestness” in struggling to “understand how people can even engage in conspiratorial thinking to begin with.” We made this comment in relationship to yet a third article on the psychology of conspiracy.

This commentary appeared in the Guardian and, as we pointed out, “argued against conspiratorial thinking based on a new book, Suspicious Minds … written by Rob Brotherton.”

Basically, the idea is that people are naturally prone to conspiracy theories because of the way their brains have evolved. “Identifying patterns and being sensitive to possible threats,” the article explains, “is what has helped us survive in a world where nature often is out to get you.”

Brotherton explains in the article that he decided that the best way to present his thesis was to avoid confronting conspiracy theories head on. Instead, he wanted to explain how people adopted such theories for psychological reasons.

“I wanted to take a different approach, to sidestep the whole issue of whether the theories are true or false and come at it from the perspective of psychology. The intentionality bias, the proportionality bias, confirmation bias. We have these quirks built into our minds that can lead us to believe weird things without realising that’s why we believe them.”

So here we have three explanations of conspiracy theories presented by major publications in less than three month’s time. And, who knows, perhaps there were more.

In the conclusion to our Grimes’ analysis, we noted that: “It looks as if a more powerful and disciplined program may be underway. Something to ponder along with a further moderation of certain public declarations.”

By “public declarations” we meant those of individuals prone to mentioning conspiracy theories in non-appropriate contexts. As it turns out, we anticipated the current news cycle only by a couple of months.

Just this week, in fact, Attorney General Loretta Lynch attended a Senate Judiciary Hearing and acknowledged discussions at the Department of Justice of taking civil action against “climate change deniers.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) questioned her on the issue and drew comparisons between such deniers and the tobacco industry that claimed for decades that the tobacco was not proven to cause ill health.

The Clinton administration eventually brought a successful civil suit against Big Tobacco. And Whitehouse suggested that civil or criminal charges might be brought against “anti-warmists.”

The forces of intolerance are gathering in the US, just as overseas.

We have urged in the past that people pay close attention to these growing trends. By turning statements of opinion into a psychological condition they are trying to discredit anyone who speaks out against the government.

In the Soviet Union, people who spoke out against government policies were often placed in mental asylums. At the time, concerned citizens in the West protested such incarcerations as barbaric abuses. Yet now, if our supposition is correct, these practices are about to expand in the West as well.

Conclusion: This attack on dissent is serious. Educate your family and friends about what’s going on. Do not be fooled by their propaganda, but beware of the risks of speaking out too freely.

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Cyber security expert and Libertarian presidential candidate John McAfee is alarmed at the potential implications from Apple being forced to create a virtual backdoor to their encrypted system. In an enlightening op-ed, McAfee blasts the FBI for its ineptitude, while exposing the archaic hiring practices of the Feds that create a technology gap between FBI and private sector capabilities. McAfee makes clear that if the government gains access, privacy, as we know it, will fail to exist.+

“No matter how you slice this pie, if the government succeeds in getting this back door, it will eventually get a back door into all encryption, and our world, as we know it, is over,” McAfee writes.

The tech guru offers his teams hacking services to the FBI free of charge, as a means of allowing the phone in question to be accessed – without allowing the government to have a backdoor into all iPhones. McAfee would provide the FBI with the information they claim to seek, while at the same time allowing for secure encryption to continue to exist – of course there is a distinct possibility that the actual intention of forcing Apple to create a backdoor isn’t to access this particular phone, but as a means of breaking encryption on a global basis.

Read McAfee’s op-ed to the FBI below:

Using an obscure law, written in 1789 — the All Writs Act — the US government has ordered Apple to place a back door into its iOS software so the FBI can decrypt information on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

It has finally come to this. After years of arguments by virtually every industry specialist that back doors will be a bigger boon to hackers and to our nation’s enemies than publishing our nuclear codes and giving the keys to all of our military weapons to the Russians and the Chinese, our government has chosen, once again, not to listen to the minds that have created the glue that holds this world together.

This is a black day and the beginning of the end of the US as a world power. The government has ordered a disarmament of our already ancient cybersecurity and cyberdefense systems, and it is asking us to take a walk into that near horizon where cyberwar is unquestionably waiting, with nothing more than harsh words as a weapon and the hope that our enemies will take pity at our unarmed condition and treat us fairly.

Any student of world history will tell you that this is a dream. Would Hitler have stopped invading Poland if the Polish people had sweetly asked him not to do so? Those who think yes should stand strongly by Hillary Clinton’s side, whose cybersecurity platform includes negotiating with the Chinese so they will no longer launch cyberattacks against us.

The FBI, in a laughable and bizarre twist of logic, said the back door would be used only once and only in the San Bernardino case.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, replied:

The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.

The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.

No matter how you slice this pie, if the government succeeds in getting this back door, it will eventually get a back door into all encryption, and our world, as we know it, is over. In spite of the FBI’s claim that it would protect the back door, we all know that’s impossible. There are bad apples everywhere, and there only needs to be in the US government. Then a few million dollars, some beautiful women (or men), and a yacht trip to the Caribbean might be all it takes for our enemies to have full access to our secrets.

Cook said:

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

The fundamental question is this: Why can’t the FBI crack the encryption on its own? It has the full resources of the best the US government can provide.

With all due respect to Tim Cook and Apple, I work with a team of the best hackers on the planet. These hackers attend Defcon in Las Vegas, and they are legends in their local hacking groups, such as HackMiami. They are all prodigies, with talents that defy normal human comprehension. About 75% are social engineers. The remainder are hardcore coders. I would eat my shoe on the Neil Cavuto show if we could not break the encryption on the San Bernardino phone. This is a pure and simple fact.

And why do the best hackers on the planet not work for the FBI? Because the FBI will not hire anyone with a 24-inch purple mohawk, 10-gauge ear piercings, and a tattooed face who demands to smoke weed while working and won’t work for less than a half-million dollars a year. But you bet your ass that the Chinese and Russians are hiring similar people with similar demands and have been for many years. It’s why we are decades behind in the cyber race.

Cyberscience is not just something you can learn. It is an innate talent. The Juilliard school of music cannot create a Mozart. A Mozart or a Bach, much like our modern hacking community, is genetically created. A room full of Stanford computer science graduates cannot compete with a true hacker without even a high-school education.

So here is my offer to the FBI. I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team. We will primarily use social engineering, and it will take us three weeks. If you accept my offer, then you will not need to ask Apple to place a back door in its product, which will be the beginning of the end of America.

If you doubt my credentials, Google “cybersecurity legend” and see whose name is the only name that appears in the first 10 results out of more than a quarter of a million.

Make no mistake that this is one of the most epic battles in the history of privacy, as the decisions that are reached in this case will reverberate throughout the world and have far reaching consequences. There is a fundamental battle taking place as to whether an individual has a right to privacy or, if as the U.S. government is asserting; privacy is a privilege bestowed upon individuals at the behest of the government.+

Ironically, privacy is considered a fundamental human right as recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in many other international and regional treaties. Privacy is the lynchpin of human dignity and many other key values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech have their roots in privacy.

When the U.S. government works to undermine what is considered a fundamental human right by most of the world, perhaps it’s time to seriously question why those elected to represent the people are actively working to undermine the rights of those that put them in office.


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One would get the impression listening to gun control advocates or, indeed, to President Obama and those Democrats vying to succeed him that the United States is in the midst of an epidemic of violence; awash in blood with murderers and mass killers roaming the streets carrying guns they’ve bought at gun shows, over the Internet or from crazed neighbors. In fact, many Americans share this view. A recent Pew poll asked respondents if they believe the U.S. homicide rate has gone up or down over the last twenty years. Fifty-six percent of those polled said it has gone up and only twelve percent believed we are safer today than two decades ago.

The perception here and abroad has little to do with reality and a lot to do with political grandstanding. In fact, over the last twenty years or so the U.S. homicide rate has not just receded, but has been cut in half. The United States does indeed have a higher homicide rate than some industrialized nations in Europe and Japan, but is very, very different in size and complexity to those nations usually cited by those who wish to blame guns for the differences.

Here is one simple fact for those who blame firearms ownership and availability in this country for the murder and violent crime rate that plagues some of our major cities: while crime and violence were being cut in half, gun ownership was doubling.

It is too simple to claim that there is less violence in the United States today because more of our citizens are armed, but it is clear that there is no correlation between the number of guns in private hands with either the murder or violent crime rates as claimed by most gun control advocates.

The president likes to talk about ‘gun violence’ which is something that includes firearms accidents, suicides and those killed with guns. There are statistically very few firearms accidents in this country thanks to safety training and common sense. Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides and while some claim that making it more difficult for potential suicides to get guns would decrease the total number of suicides, international data suggest otherwise. That leaves two additional categories although former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s groups lump those killed by police and even the death of the Boston Marathon Bomber as a firearms homicide. They are criminal gun violence and so-called mass shootings.

Criminals using firearms are the biggest problem, but it is a problem we as a society know how to handle. If a thug walks into a convenience store with a gun and robs it, he has committed both a state and federal crime. Robbery is a state crime, but committing a felony with a firearm is a federal crime and prosecutable as such with a five year minimum sentence. A felon in possession of a gun is also prosecutable and can get five to ten years for having one in his possession.

Back in the nineties, the NRA partnered with law enforcement officials and prosecutors in Richmond, Virginia, which was at that time listed as America’s murder capital. The message was simple. Use a gun to commit a crime and you will get five years in a federal penitentiary with no possibility of a plea bargain. The murder rate dropped 32 percent the first year and another 20 percent the next, but the U.S. attorney who participated in what came to be known as “Project Exile” was criticized by Eric Holder, then Deputy Attorney General, for wasting prosecutorial resources.

Today felons or criminals using firearms are rarely prosecuted by the federal government. In fact, today’s U.S. murder capital is Chicago, the jurisdiction with the lowest rate of such prosecutions. Before President Obama issued his recent series of “Executive Orders” on gun violence, it was suggested that they would include instructions to U.S. prosecutors to begin charging gun criminals under existing law. That idea was dropped in favor of actions that don’t target criminals, but will make it harder for non-criminals to buy firearms.

The final category involves mass shootings such as the killing at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Washington Navy Yard. These tragedies rarely if ever involve criminals. They are invariably perpetrated by the severely and dangerously mentally ill. This category of violence is the most difficult to deter or prevent, but beefed up school security, getting the states to put the most potentially dangerous into the background check system and rebuilding the U.S. mental health system are the keys to dealing with them.

The American people are lucky in that the nation’s founders wrote the age old right of self defense into our Bill of Rights. Many nations don’t recognize such a right, but Americans do. It is estimated, in fact, that as many as 200,000 crimes are deterred in a typical year by armed potential victims. It’s why in every jurisdiction that has legalized what we call ‘concealed carry’ has seen a drop in violent crime. Burglars don’t break into a house with a Rottweiler in the yard and are reluctant to use violence against a man or woman who just might be able to fight back.

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Boise, ID – A mistrial was called in the case of police accountability activist Matthew Townsend, who faces a potential five-year prison sentence for writing a Facebook post critical of a Meridian, Idaho police officer who arrested him without justification. His new trial, which is scheduled for three days, will begin on February 29.

Trial Judge Lynn Norton prompted Assistant Ada County Prosecutor James Vogt to move for a mistrial during the opening argument of defense counsel Aaron Tribble after Townsend’s attorney mentioned that the original arrest involved an alleged jaywalking violation, and that Townsend is now charged with a felony for complaining about the arrest on Facebook.

As before Vogt stated the reasons for his objection, Norton instantly asked the prosecutor: “Are you going to move for a mistrial?” Tribble pointed out that the charge had been described as a felony, and that the size of the jury – fourteen panelists, evenly divided between male and female – made it clear that the offense being considered was a felony, rather than a misdemeanor. Vogt protested that the instructions to the jury do not permit them to be informed of, or take into account, potential sentencing options, and contended that they likewise “cannot take into account the degree of the offense.”

The Idaho Rules of Criminal Procedure do not address that question. Courtroom spectator A.J. Ellis, who recently served jury duty in neighboring Owyhee County, told The Free Thought Project that “during jury selection we were explicitly told that the case before us dealt with a misdemeanor offense.” Several trial attorneys contacted for comment by The Free Thought Project in multiple states likewise reported that a mistrial on the grounds cited by Vogt at Norton’s prompting struck them as a novelty.

Tribble’s opening argument was interrupted by objections no few than four times before Norton invited Vogt to move for a mistrial. Both the prosecutor and the clearly partisan trial judge (about whose previous behavior more will be said shortly) were visibly unhappy with Tribble’s presentation. He informed the jury that “I don’t think your time is going to be well served” by the trial, because the prosecution cannot prove a key element of the alleged offense. Specifically, that Townsend intended to prevent Corporal Richard Brockbank of the Meridian Police Department from testifying in the preliminary hearing on the misdemeanor charge.

There are nine elements to this offense,” Tribble pointed out to the jury. “The prosecution’s evidence addresses eight of them.” The ninth – intent – cannot be proven with the available evidence.

During his opening argument, Vogt repeatedly emphasized an artfully crafted and dishonestly cropped version of Townsend’s March 18, 2015 Facebook post:

Tomorrow, I go to pretrial at the Ada County Courthouse to claim that my charge of “resisting or obstructing” a supposed jaywalking investigation after Meridian Police Department – Idaho officer RICHARD BROCKBANK refused to charge me after I demanded that he charge me for the “crime” that he supposedly stopped me for, is terroristic in nature and in other ways unconstitutional and criminal.
The cop refused to charge me for said “crime” that he was accusing me of and so I walked away… and was soon after kidnapped and hauled away by several costumed State goons for my disrespect of officer Brockbank’s harassment towards me.
I’m hoping that the REAL reason I was harassed to begin with will be released by the State rather than I... we shall see. If my case isn’t dismissed tomorrow upon my request, I will begin a non-violent and legal shame campaign that will be remembered. HOA “upsets”, protests in the aggressors neighborhoods (I know where you all live- this is notification of knowledge and future protests, not a threat), mailers, door hangers, online ads, local and (hopefully) national media- I’ve done it before and I can do it again as well as other peaceful, but… annoying avenues will commence.
The State has 3 options: drop the charges and leave me alone; 2) Endure my non-violent retaliation (do you want to be the focus of my rage?); 3) Kill me and deal with those that know, love, and care about me. Make your choice.” (Emphasis added.)

That message was “tagged” to the Meridian Police Department, every media outlet in Boise, and – since Townsend didn’t know how to contact Corporal Brockbank directly – everyone with the surname “Brockbank” on Facebook.

Studiously avoiding Townsend’s explicit repudiation of violence or unlawful action, and the fact that this statement was directed not merely at Brockbank but the media, Vogt pretended that this was a direct threat to Officer Brockbank and his family. He did this by repeating, as if in a mantra: “I know where you all live … leave me alone or be the focus of my rage … kill me.”
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/idaho-activist-railroaded-court-jaywalking/#jSTQgH5AV2xUpRh0.99