Former Federal Agent Expounds on Illegal Means Used to Frame Targets

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The content below was shared by an individual who wished to remain anonymous, but who recognized the need to inform others of the tactics used by some unsavory characters working in concert.

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I am a former federal agent who worked for one of the big three letter agencies for several years I was also a state investigator for 2 years prior to joining the feds. I am avid follower and supporter of Copblock for several reasons, much of reason being because of the things I saw and then personally experienced while working as a federal agent who was then “turned on” by own former agency and colleagues. However, the story of what was done to me is a very long, complex story that could easy fill its own book.

I wanted to write this email to clarify some things that are already out there in the media and on the net and to further expand on how they are used to violate people’s rights and in fact throw many people in jail essentially using illegal means to “frame them”.

To start, if one was to do an internet search on “SOD” or “SOD NSA” they would probably get back a small story from a few years ago about how SOD (Special Operations Division) is a secret DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) program designed to essentially lauder intelligence gained from warrantless wiretaps to be used for purposes of Parallel Construction in DEA drug cases. The reporter who originally reported this only displayed a small part of the truth, probably because they did not have knowledge or documentation really showing what SOD actually is and what it does.

RELATED: from EFF.org – DEA and NSA Team Up to Share Intelligence, Leading to Secret Use of Surveillance in Ordinary Investigations

First explaining exactly what SOD is, because up until previously it was only ousted as being a sub-unit within the DEA. Special Operations Division is actually known by a few other names, most likely for reasons of plausible deniability, when someone asks someone in the NSA if they are spying on American’s without warrants they can “truthfully” say no because SOD an essentially separate agency is doing it. I have also heard it referred to as SOU (Special Operations Unit) and SAU (Special Activities Unit), it is much more than a single part of the DEA. In actuality it is a “mixed” agency made up of mainly of intelligence agents of the NSA but also from the CIA, FBI, DIA, DEA, ATF, ICE, USSS and pretty much every federal intelligence and federal law enforcement agency. Thus their “scope” is far, far greater then drug related activities. This is that “big brother” arm of the NSA that specializes in the all warrantless wiretapping Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and William Binney have been talking about.

Let me provide a simple example of how Parallel Construction might work for the federal agencies (or local police). Say I am a federal narcotics agent working along the US/Mexico border. One day I get a duty call from the checkpoint at the border crossing that a vehicle coming into the United States was found to have narcotics in it after a drug sniffing dog “hit” on the vehicle. So the vehicle and the driver are both detained. Regardless of what happens with that suspect who was originally with the vehicle, I have all his property, and usually there is a cell phone (or 10) that, the person had on them at the time of detention. Well even if we don’t for some reason actually arrest this person, like the amount of narcotics was too low for federal prosecution or say there was a mistake and he/she didn’t even have narcotics. At a border checkpoint federal agents can still search everything in your possession at the time of crossing, including your electronics. I then use a “Cellbrite” machine to extract ALL of the data off his phone (assuming it isn’t encrypted) photo’s, texts, call logs, video, browsing history… everything. So now I have all of the contacts and all the information on this person’s life that was in their phone.

Now even if there isn’t anything in there that I find to be incriminating, even if I really don’t have any real reason to think this person or their associates are up to criminal activity, I can now take their phone number and any or all of the phone numbers of their contacts and forward them up to SOD so that SOD will put warrantless wiretaps on all of them. This could be any or all the numbers that were in that person’s phone book; their grandmother, their aunts and uncles, their cousin’s ex-wife’s sister… anyone.

Now say that one of these people is a small time marijuana dealer, not something the feds are typically interested in, but SOD may still get in contact with me and provide me (in a classified document envelope) the transcripts from those conversations. Perhaps one of the conversations talks about someone buying some marijuana at some specific location at some specific time, well now I can call up the local police (because I know the local prosecutors will take any drug case no matter how small) and we can just “happen to have” a marked police car pull over the person at said location after the deal goes down. Assuming I had the phone numbers of the people involved it might have involved a little bit of work but I probably could have identified not only their names but also their vehicles by this point (and probably a lot more).

Now, if the case goes to court and trial if the defense attorney asks the officer who pulled over the person why they did it. The officer usually will just make up something simply to justify reasonable suspicion to pull the person over (they crossed the line in the road, they didn’t signal, they were going a few miles above the speed limit, or they had complaints of drug activity in the area, or they could just say they were in the area and witnessed what they thought was illegal activity) either way it’s just to legally cover the tracks of how these officers “knew” to pull this particular person over. Fact is they still pulled him over and we assume they were able to find the drugs.

This is a very, very simple example of how a parallel construction case might look. It gets a lot more complex than that depending on the scale and scope of what the government is trying to do.

Of course originally this was sold as to be used for purposes related to international terrorism, but it has become something far more sinister. It is used for every imaginable purpose ranging from the political to the most “hushed up” “pre-criminal enforcements”. They justify much of this under the guise of terrorism, simply and easily because you can ask what exactly is terrorism? Much of what some federal agencies consider terrorism might at the absolute most be considered potentially violent acts. I stress potentially, since much of what SOD does it roam people’s phone calls listening in for “angry, violent speech” trying to decide if a person is a threat based upon essentially how they express themselves.

Information from SOD can also be fed in directly to the national “Fusion Centers” (if you are not familiar with what these are they are worthy of an entire article themselves) whereby local law enforcement agencies can now have access to whatever federal agencies might scoop up regarding some of your personal information, details or concerns they have about you.

Now apart from how wrong it is legally but also morally that these programs are being used as mechanisms of political control and vengeance is the fact that people who go on angry tirades on their private phone calls may now be subject to arrest and prosecution for FELONY charges. Because what SOD does to someone who they deem as a threat is they use any and all information from that persons calls, texts and emails to manipulate and twist whatever they might be doing (even normal everyday activities) and turn them into felony charges. And they are not at all hesitant to go as far as blackmailing someone the target might know into filing a false charge against the person just so they can hold them on something. Since they have access to the phone calls, texts and emails of everyone the targeted person might associate with its not hard to see that some person might have something they really don’t want known publicly.

Now you say, still if they have no solid proof even if they do frame me, and blackmail someone into filing a false charge, they still have to prove it in front of a jury so I can beat it in court yes? Well, the answer is maybe you can. But it’s not a sure thing by a long-shot. What they like to do, and it’s something they use quite commonly, is they will force a plea. They do this by having the judge set your bond super, duper high… even if the charge is completely non-violent, and you have no history of violence. All it takes is a phone call by the district attorney/prosecutor at your arraignment to turn a low level felony that usually
has a $5,000 bond into no-bond or a $1,000,000 bond. Then assuming they don’t think they have a real case to charge you federally with terrorism (like say you just made an angry comment, and you don’t have any plans on your computer detailing a plot or bomb making materials laying around) and they know they can’t prove terrorism, or even really prove the bogus charge they arrested you on, now they hold you for a few months and offer a low plea deal; a few years of probation maybe. If you decline to accept the offer because you’re a righteous person and believe in the law and justice well guess what? The prosecution will just delay the case for more time, in essence punishing you into accepting the plea, all the while your bond stays really high because by this time the judge who sets your bond is “in on it”, fixed so to speak. (federal intelligence agencies have a way of scaring even judges) Time to trial has quadrupled in the past 50 years in this country.

So you can sit in jail or plea out (confess to something you didn’t do) and go free, sounds a lot like authoritarian/totalitarian eh? Now for arguments sake and I know this is very rare, but say you are ultra-tough minded and don’t have anything better to do then sit in jail. All this time (possibly a year or two) the feds have been digging through your life with a fine toothed comb looking at anything they can use or twist into a being a crime, now they don’t care if they won’t charge you with it, they’ll just use the local police who usually operate a lot more “loosely” and usually have no problem using garbage evidence or false charges on someone, after-all the original bogus charge was probably a state charge to begin with.

For example, say you get framed for something bogus, because you said “I really want to kill such and such person” on your private phone and a search warrant is done on your house/apartment and all your property. While their searching they are obviously looking for weapons of any sort but their also looking for any other contraband and also anything they can use to make you look like a mean horrible person.

Like angry texts, emails or documents on your computer. Because yes of course their going to seize all of that and do computer forensics on it. As I mentioned previously they will also intimidate people into estifying against you, any person they can find who might have a grudge against you (and yes they will talk to everyone who you might have called or texted going back several years), just to make you look like you’re a dangerous, evil, insane person. Even if the person doesn’t really want to get involved… some encouragement with prosecutorial threats almost always does the trick. Then it’s up to the prosecutor if it goes to trial to convince the jury that you’re a threat to the natural world even if the facts of the case don’t really add up 100 percent. Somewhat of a roll of the dice, if the prosecution has a parade of people coming into court to defame you and talk bad about you… they’re also going to attack your “psychological state” traditionally an easy and favorite tactic of the government. All in an effort to deny you of your freedom with probation and take away your 2nd amendment right to bear arms, because at the end of the day that’s what this is really all about, controlling people and denying people the NSA thinks might be a threat, of legal access to firearms by using felony charges. Forget the reasons you said what you said, perhaps someone screwed you out of a job, money, business deal went horribly wrong or a love interest conflict. Nope, in their eyes if you say things they don’t like you might as well be the next public enemy number one.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the government can’t “warn” (threaten) people with criminal prosecution, so since we already know their doing things like warrantless wiretaps which is in fact strictly prohibited by the law, of course their going to be doing things that are not legally prohibited by law no matter if they may violate legal ethics.

The saving grace for the general public is that, yes most of you can still say whatever you want on your phone calls because there just simply isn’t the man-power to put an actual person behind a desk to listen to everyone’s phone calls day in and day out. It’s not feasible. You should however be mindful, because as it is already widely know everything (calls, texts, emails, all electronic transactions connected to any networked system) is being recorded going back several years and sitting in digital storage out in the Utah Data Center. Also they are working on digital keyword analysis software along with software designed to “gauge” a person’s “state of mind” based on how they are speaking. So if for some reason you draw their attention or ire (if someone in the federal government has an issue with you *Eliot Spitzer*) they can open up their digital treasure chest on you and see what’s going on. And if they don’t like it… even if it’s not illegal, well… you’ll find out just how free we really all are.

Editors Note: The author was asked if s/he was aware of apps or online programs that folks could use for more privacy, and this response was shared:

I recommend encryption just as Snowden has. Using the Tor Browser, and encrypting your hard drives and physical devices like your cells phones, tablets, computers and thumb drives. There are some back doors available to the high end intelligence agencies, but even in my agency we couldn’t crack basic cell phone encryption and any method an intelligence agency used to crack encryption would be legally controversial so it probably wouldn’t stand-up in court (at least not yet). Also many of the SIM cards we got out of even encrypted cell phones were not encrypted themselves so be wary of this.

There are several apps I have heard of including Redphone for encrypting voice calls but it can be difficult to use for some users not because its technical but more so call connectivity and no end-to-end encryption unless both parties are using it. For texts you have essentially the same thing. Phone number spoofers help because those even trick the phone companies records into recording a false called-from number but it won’t mask your conversation. But for legal reasons could be helpful.

Recommended Smartphone Apps: CopBlock.org/Apps

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Former Federal Agent Expounds on Illegal Means Used to Frame Targets is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Jackson, MS Injustice System Makes Clear Its Own Are Above the Law

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Jason Baronich shared the information below about a corrupt sheriff who was later protected by friends in the injustice system.

Date of Incident: 2010 through 2014
Individual Responsible: Mike Byrd
Outfit: Jackson County (MS) Sheriff’s Department
Phone: (228) 769-3024

Mike Byrd, sheriff of Jackson County, MS was indicted on 29 felonies:

  • 10 Fraud
  • 10 Embezzlement
  • 2 Hindering prosecution in 2nd degree
  • 2 Witness tampering
  • 1 Perjury
  • 2 Subornation of perjury
  • 2 Intimidating an officer in the discharge of his duties
  • 2 Extortion

Read the 15-page indictment > http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wlox/Byrd%20Indictment.pdf

Extortion, embezzlement, witness tampering, kicked a man in the nuts while handcuffed on the car captured on dash cam destroying computer so it cant be evidence, doing a fundraiser for a choir that didn’t exist and pocketing the money, conducting surveillance on those who threatened his illegal operation, and numerous other charges.

Byrd, accompanied by lawyer Joe Sam Owen, went to court and got six months house arrest – tell me that’s fair.

Related

Mississippi Based Police Accountability Groups

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San Fran Undercovers Stare Down Woman For ???

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Princess M. Jacob-Fambro shared the video below via CopBlock.org/Submit, which details a couple standoffish, unprofessional individuals who wear badges emblazoned with “San Francisco Police.” It’s hard to imagine anyone in that community would choose to pay for such a “service.”

Date of Interaction: August 19, 2014
Individuals Involved: Fergus, Bangas
Outfit: San Francisco Police Department
Phone: 415-553-0123

My Daughter and I was standing at the bus stop, when a undercover car pulled over and four officers jumped out and walked directly up to us and harassed us FOR NO REASON.

I was afraid for my daughter and myself.

I believe that if I hadn’t kept REPEATING that I was Running For President 2016,  me and my daughter would have became the next MIKE BROWN. I’ve seen police murder innocent people for no reason all my life….PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO so that we can End Police Brutality!!!

Editors Note: It’s unclear, why Fergus, Bangas, and their two colleagues felt it worth their time to surround and surveil Jacob-Fambro and her daughter – perhaps because she’s gives her affiliation for her presidential run as being with The Revolutionary Party? Regardless, the real issue is why such actions by self-described “public officials” is considered appropriate.

RELATED

This dismal service from San Francisco police employees seems to be the norm:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheCopBlock/search?query=san+francisco

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San Fran Undercovers Stare Down Woman For ??? is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Tacoma Copblockers Question Identity of Electronic Device Found on Truck

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

This content was shared by those involved with Tacoma Cop Block via CopBlock.org/Submit to solicit input from with tech-knowledge.

An individual known to those involved with Tacoma Cop Block reached out after discovering a device attached via magnet to the frame of his truck. That individual was rightly was surprised/shocked, as its believed it may be some sort of tracking device. The unit was actually discovered months ago, but since no one has yet contacted that individual about the device, this information is being made public in an attempt to help ascertain its functionality and perhaps, who may employ to such technology.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. An attorney associated with Tacoma Cop Block is having it inspected as well.

Editors Note: Per the window/lens mentioned in the video, that is on the same side as the magnets – one person suggested that if the unit wasn’t placed in another mode prior to being removed from the vehicle, the introduction of light could trigger a wipe of the collected data.
 

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Tacoma Cop Block

Tacoma Copblockers Question Identity of Electronic Device Found on Truck is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Checkpoint Copblocked in Napa, California

Monday, September 1st, 2014

This video and text were shared by Napa Cop Block via CopBlock.org/Submit

On August 23, 2014 my friend and I went through a checkpoint in Napa, California. They have these checkpoints listed as DUI / Driver license checkpoints, which, as Copblockers, we all know is not legal. We went through it and proceeded to inform the officers that we do not have to present any form of ID.

It was amazing how uninformed these officers were when it came to this issue. A highway patrol officer even had the audacity to say he could pretty much make us do whatever he wanted with or without reasonable suspicion.

It is sad that those who are paid to uphold the law do not know the law. There were many other problems with this checkpoint but I feel this video speaks for itself.

Get informed and hold police accountable. Contrary to popular belief, and the belief of the officer in this video, they can’t do whatever they want.

RELATED

CopBlock.org/FilmThePolice
CopBlock.org/KnowYourRightsCopBlock.org/Groups

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Checkpoint Copblocked in Napa, California is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Kelly W. Patterson of NVCopBlock On Non Partisan Liberty For All

Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Beware of Local Gang Members in the Las Vegas Area

Beware of Local Gang Members in the Las Vegas Area

This was originally posted at NVCopBlock.org and written by Kelly W. Patterson of Nevada Cop Block.

Recently, I did an interview for an internet radio show on Block Talk Radio. The show is entitled “Non Partisan Liberty for All” and is hosted by Dave Bourne. While it can be heard everywhere (except most of China and sometimes parts of San Francisco) via the internets, it is based locally here in Las Vegas.

The main reason I came on was to discuss the article I had just posted about the suspicious events surrounding the hit and run incident I was involved in back in March and the chances that it was an intentional act committed in retaliation for my opposition to and exposure of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Department”s corruption and other crimes, including the murder of Stanley Gibson by Jesus Arevalo and complete lack of accountability for abuses committed against other local residents. In the process, we discussed my own history and how I originally got involved in activism.

Among other things, I spoke about how I evolved from someone who believed in the basic philosophy of Anarchism, but didn’t think of it as a viable, real world possibility into someone that believes in and advocates for an Anarchist society. I also discussed my personal history with the Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe and Charles (RadGeek) Johnson, my initial meetings with Cop Block founders Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman and how the harassment of homeless people and peaceful activists that I witnessed while working with Food Not Bombs Las Vegas helped to shape my anti-police brutality based activism and ultimately the founding of Nevada Cop Block.

Scott Crow will be in Vegas Monday, May 19th

Scott Crow Will be in Las Vegas Again Monday, May 19th from 6-8pm at Reclaimed Art Suppliez

Another reason I came on was to announce Scott Crow‘s upcoming talk on Monday, May 19th, from 6 to 8 PM at Reclaimed Art Suppliez, which is located in Downtown Las Vegas, within the Arts district. Scott Crow, author of “Black Flags and Windmills” and one of the founders of the Common Ground Collective, is an excellent speaker and Anarchist organizer. His talk, entitled “What Me Worry? The Rise of the Surveillance State & What We Can Do About It” promises to be excellent and very relevant to Las Vegas activists.

Although Dave has only been doing this show for about a month (as of mid-May 2014), it’s a good show and he’s a great host. I’m looking forward to doing future appearances with the show and very much encourage Cop Block fans and others interested in liberty and freedom to tune in. In fact, you never know when other awesome Cop Block contributors, such as MO/KC Cop Block‘s (and Women of Cop Block, too) Janel Florez might put in an appearance or when Deo from Greater Cleveland Cop Block might call in to talk about awesome videos the crew out there in Ohio have made.

And before you go, don’t forget to head over to the NVCopBlock shop to get your Official Cop Block Press Pass and/or a Nevada Cop Block T-Shirt. In fact, in honor of the Cop Block Press Passes Facebook Page going over 1,000 “likes” a couple days ago, anything in the Nevada Cop Block shop is 10% off until May 22nd (2014) if you use coupon code “1kLikes” in the cart.

Listen to NVCopBlock.org’s Own Kelly W. Patterson on “Non Partisan Liberty For All”

Listen To Politics Internet Radio Stations with Non Partisan Liberty For all on BlogTalkRadio

Kelly W. Patterson of NVCopBlock On Non Partisan Liberty For All is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Troy Police Default to Near-Lethal Force Against the Unarmed

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Troy, New York is home to a legally insulated street gang that has drawn increasing attention for their history of violence against the civilians. In early 2014, these issues were brought to a head when surveillance footage captured in the Kokopellis night club showed multiple police officers using baton strikes to the head against individuals who do not appear to be offering any physical resistance. With no allegations of the use of weapons or other rejectviolence_troynyhazards by the parties being assaulted by the police, officers in this case use what can potentially result in death or serious brain damage in an unwarranted show of force. Incidents involving the use of violence by police against non-aggressive individuals have been documented by the Troy Community Alliance Against Police Brutality, in an article wherein the author concludes, “…Troy Police use deadly force as standard practice against unarmed people of color, in situations where the threat level is inappropriate to justify such tactics.” Before an investigation into the Kokopellis incident could even be organized, the sitting mayor and police chief were quick to provide institutional support to the dangerous individuals wielding badges and weapons on behalf of the city.

Fortunately, there are those in the community who are standing up and speaking out. A playlist organized on the BreathingPlanet youtube channel features footage from panels, public forums, and other discussions being fostered in response to the visible violence exposed in recent months. For those outside of the community looking to pressure Troy Police into taking responsibility for their official actions a petition has collected 774 signatures to date on Change.org, and public contact information for the department is listed below:
Troy Police Department – Main Station
55 State Street
Troy NY 12180
Non-emergency phone: (518) 270-4411

Troy Police Default to Near-Lethal Force Against the Unarmed is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Police body worn cameras – not the panacea they are claimed to be

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

The text below was posted to Netpol.org on November 19, 2013. It is reposted here as this is a timely conversation and the view presented is one that should be given thought by advocates of police accountability. The fact that the article focuses on police in the UK only makes clear that this struggle from oppression is one that unites us all (at least those of us not seeking to control others via coercion).

I tend to agree with the perspective outlined – while police worn body cams sound good its face, as I noted in a post about Houston police employees donning body cams, I don’t believe it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

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via Netpol.org

police-body-cams-uk-netpol-copblockA number of police forces have recently announced that they hold large scale trials of body worn video cameras for all officers on patrol. These cameras will be attached to police uniforms, and can be switched on or off at the discretion of officers. The reaction from civil liberties organisations have been muted, but Netpol has spoken out publicly against the routine use of bodycams, and the implications of further extending police surveillance capacity.

Staffordshire police has now joined Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Thames Valley and Avon and Somerset police forces in the use of body cams, having issued 530 cameras at a reported cost of £660 per camera. The chief constable of Scotland’s single police service has said he wants every officer north of the border issued with a body-worn video camera Not all forces share this stance, however – Peter Fahy of Greater Manchester Police has been more circumspect, suggesting that routine police filming could cause ‘distress’ to the public, who may have concerns about where their data will ultimately end up.

Bodycams can have an alienating impact, making people less likely to approach the police – perhaps to ask for help or report an incident. In communities where there are already tensions and lack of trust in the police, this effect may be amplified, potentially deterring victims of crime from coming forward.

Nevertheless, the College of Policing say they are conducting large scale trials with five police forces, on the basis that they will be “beneficial in reducing police use of force.” This claim is based on findings of a trial of police worn cameras in Rialto, California, which is claimed to have achieved am 88% reduction in police use of force, and 60% reduction in complaints of police misconduct. While the US experience is being hailed and heralded, there is a lack of equivalent information coming from the UK forces who already use this technology – perhaps because they have not experienced the same effect.

The deployment of bodycams in the UK has received significant political support, as politicians look for a convenient ‘policy’ to deflect criticism at the decline of public trust in the British police. Theresa May and previous privacy advocate David Davis have championed their use, on the basis that they will increase police accountability and avoid further ‘plebgate’ incidents. They should perhaps, take a lesson from the experience of the police complaints process. Systems to control police behaviour are seldom effective when they are controlled by the police themselves.

Police body worn cameras, and the footage that results from them, are controlled by the police from beginning to end. It is the police that decide when and if the camera is turned on, which direction it is pointing in, and who it is focused on. It is also the police that decide whether or not to mark the resulting images as of evidential or intelligence value, thus enabling them to be retained for years rather than the standard 31 days. The Home Office guidance on the use of bodycams lauds what it calls a ‘flexible policy’ on the retention of data, which in practice means there is little to prevent bodycam images ending up on intelligence databases. Finally, it is the police that decide how that information is used, and with whom it is shared.

There are particular issues about the use of bodycams in stop and search operations. ‘Section 60’ searches, routinely used by police in a variety of situations, enable the police to stop and search people without any need to suspect them of an offence. Although the law does not allow the police to demand a name and address, the police can be extremely persuasive. If bodycams are put into this mix, the police will have access to a convenient head and shoulders or full body image to go along with that name and address and the range of other data about associates, clothing, movements and attitudes, which can also be recorded. Young people from working class areas, particularly black working class areas, will already be wearily familiar with the format.

The police do not have a great track record in relation to their data – there is growing evidence that the police systematically gather and retain data on people who have committed no criminal offence but are guilty of being part of a community that is viewed as suspect – black communities, Muslim communities, Kurdish or Tamil communities, protesters, even football fans and journalists. This data can be used for various forms of analysis – the Met’s geotime software, for example, can use data from multiple sources (including social media) to visually present the movements, communications, meetings and connections of ‘target’ groups. Images and data identified as being useful for policing purposes (a frighteningly vague concept) will be kept for seven years, and longer, if that is what is decided. There is no need for any substantive evidence that the individuals concerned have committed any criminal offence.

While the need to prevent police from using unnecessary or disproportionate force is both real and urgent, the use of police worn bodycams is unlikely to be the answer. These cameras point outwards, not inwards, and are concerned with surveillance of the public, not the police.

_______________________

Agree with the article? Disagree? Have other thoughts? Get others thinking. Share them via http://copblock.org/submit

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Police body worn cameras – not the panacea they are claimed to be is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

It’s Time to Accept that America is a Police State

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

This post by Andrea Dantzer was originally published at TheStateWeekly.com. I think the article speaks for itself. -Kate

These days, it doesn’t seem to take too long to find yet another example of the rising police state in America. However, that assertion is often met with resistance and the claims that calling the US a police state is just fear-mongering, and after all, we are still the freest nation in the world. But, are we? Is calling the United States a police state just anti-government rhetoric used to incite fear against the government or are there legitimate signs and warning signs that the police state is here and only going to get worse?

So, that there is no confusion in looking at the signs and so that everyone is on the same page, here are some definitions that will shed light on the way in which the police state is defined.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a police state as one in which a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.

Arbitrary: 1: depending on choice or discretion; specifically : determinable by decision of a judge or tribunal rather than defined by statute. 2  a: (1) : arising from unrestrained exercise of the will, caprice, or personal preference : given to expressing opinions that arise thus (2) : selected at random or as a typical example b : based on random or convenient selection or choice rather than on reason or nature.

From Wikipedia: The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive. 

Totalitarianism means: 1 a : of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy …
b : of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life …. 

Often times, people think of a police state as one in which martial law as been declared, or that a 24-hour lockdown in place. Many others think of Nazi Germany when they hear the term, but think it can’t happen in a modern-day ‘democratic’ country (just for clarification, the Founding Fathers designed this country to be a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy). However, police states do not just happen overnight, a country does not go from being free, or relatively free, to a police state in a day. The noose just gets tighter and tighter slowly enough until one day, you run out of air and realize you are at the mercy of a totalitarian regime.

But, is that really happening in America? Here are just some, but certainly not all, of the many signs and warning signs that indicate we may be approaching full police statehood.

 

Sign: Whistleblowers are killed, jailed or have to seek asylum in non-extradition countries

 

Occurrences in the USA: Here are just six of the many whistleblowers that have been charged with violating the espionage act since Obama has taken office.

 

  1. Thomas Drake – Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency (NSA), and was charged with violating the Espionage Act after going through the proper legal channels to disclose widespread domestic illegal surveillance, mismanagement of funds in the billions, gross waste of taxpayer money and massive corruption. Drake, at one point was facing up to 35 years in prison. The government ended up dropping all of the charges against Drake and in return for Drake’s agreement to plead guilty to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system, agreed not to seek any jail time. Drake was sentenced to one year of probation and community service. The judge hearing the case called the actions of the government “unconscionable”.
  2. Stephen Jin-Woo Kim – In 2010, Kim was indicted on charges of making false statements and disclosing unauthorized information on matters of national defense. Kim is accused of violating the Espionage Act when he worked for the State Department as an adviser on nuclear proliferation and gave classified information about North Korea to Fox News reporter James Rosen. He has been indicted by a federal grand jury, but his case is still currently pending.
  3. James Hitselberger – Hitselberger, a Navy contract linguist, was charged under 18 USC 793(e) with unauthorized retention of national defense information while serving in Bahrain. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, and is currently in jail as his trial continues.
  4. Bradley Manning – Pfc Manning is a US soldier who was accused of leaking over 700,000 classified documents, battlefield videos, files and cables. Manning was found guilty of 20 criminal counts in July, and sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013.
  5. Shami K. Leibowitz  – Leibowitz is a former FBI employee who worked as a Hebrew translator and was charged with leaking approximately 200 pages of classified documents of transcribed conversations that the FBI had obtained through wiretaps of the Israeli embassy in Washington to blogger Richard Silverstein. Silverstein noted in an interview with the New York Times that Leibowitz released the information because “of concerns about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran.” He was sentenced to twenty months in 2010.
  6. Edward Snowden – Snowden is a computer specialist who worked for the NSA and CIA; Snowden revealed several top secret government programs of the US and the UK, such as the NSA’s PRISM program to the press. Snowden has been charged with two counts of the Espinonage Act and theft of government property. Snowden fled first to Hong Kong and then went on to Russia where he received asylum for at least one year and was offered employment there as well. If found guilty, he faces up to 30 years in prison if the United States can get their hands on him long enough for a trial.

 

 

Sign: Increased Surveillance of Citizens…i.e…Big Brother is Watching You

 

Occurrences in the USA: While the fourth amendment of the Constitution states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution , there are so many examples of the violation of this to name here, there are a few glaringly obvious ones that have to be called out.

 

  1. NSA Teams up with DEA to Prosecute Citizens  – Reuters recently broke the story that the Drug Enforcement Administration is being hand-fed information obtained by the NSA and used in the arrest and prosecution of American citizens.
  2. NSA programs PRISM and BLARNEY – While many people have heard about PRISM being talked about on the news, few have heard of BLARNEY, a clandestine program that is being run concurrently and alongside PRISM. BLARNEY is NSA’s phone surveillance program which captures communicative metadata; PRISM retrieves the actual content within the communication.
  3. Internet Monitoring – From the Wall Street Journal: “The National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say. The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say. The NSA’s filtering, carried out with telecom companies, is designed to look for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the U.S. But officials say the system’s broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones.”
  4. Drones will be used for domestic surveillance – from RT News: The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday. Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft.  “Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on US soil?” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mr Mueller during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Yes,” Mueller responded bluntly, adding that the FBI’s operation of drones is “very seldom.”                     From a recent GOA report:

“Domestically, state and local law enforcement entities represent the greatest potential users of       small UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] in the near term because they can offer a simple and cost effective solution for airborne law enforcement activities”

5. RFID Chips being used to monitor students  – From US NewsA public school district in Texas can require students to wear locator chips when they are on school property, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in a case raising technology-driven privacy concerns among liberal and conservative groups alike. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said the San Antonio Northside School District had the right to expel sophomore Andrea Hernandez, 15, from Jay High School because she refused to wear the device, which is required of all students at the magnet school.

6. Automated License Plate Readers – From the ACLUA little noticed surveillance technology, designed to track the movements of every passing driver, is fast proliferating on America’s streets. Automatic license plate readers, mounted on police cars or on objects like road signs and bridges, use small, high-speed cameras to photograph thousands of plates per minute. The information captured by the readers – including the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of every scan – is being collected and sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems. As a result, enormous databases of innocent motorists’ location information are growing rapidly. This information is often retained for years or even indefinitely, with few or no restrictions to protect privacy rights. 

 

Sign: Increased Militarization of Police and Police Brutality 

 

Occurrences in the USA – Again, while there is way too many to list here, here are ten examples of increasingly brutal behavior from the boys in blue.

 

  1. Police taser man to get him off a roof, choke & drag him face-down across a staircase, killing him
  2. Two Davenport Officers Beat Down Woman Shoplifting Suspect Caught on Camera
  3. Officers Kill Mentally Disabled Men, Get Away With It Due to Lack of Training
  4. Police Taser a Pregnant Woman
  5. 95 Yr Old Vet Refuses Medical Treatment, Cops Kill Him
  6. Cop Punches 14 Yr Old Mentally Disabled Girl
  7. Cop Shoots Man in Back, Claims Self-Defense
  8. Defenseless Man Beaten To Death By Cops, Witnesses Said 
  9. GRAPHIC: Officer Shot a Unarmed Man 11 Times, Cleared of Any Wrong-Doing
  10. The Beating Death of Kelly Thomas 

 

 

Sign: Powerful And Continuing Nationalism – Totalitarian regimes love their slogans, symbols and images to drill in nationalism into their subjects.

 

Occurrences in the USA: From praising Obama in schools to a small child praying to Obama, it seems like nationalism is one step away from a recognized national salute. Sieg heil, anyone?

 

Sign: Increased Restrictions Against Natural Rights -

Occurrences in the USA:

  1. Can get prosecuted for Raw Milk
  2. “Free” Speech Zones 
  3. Judge Can Force Porn Stars to Wear Condoms as its “Constitutional”
  4. Arkansas Senate Trying to Ban Certain Tattoos and Body Piercing
  5. State Threatens Jail for Nutritional Blogger
  6. San Francisco Law Fines $500 for Incorrect Recycling
  7. Happy Meal Toys – BANNED (thankfully, McD’s showed how easy it is to sidestep such a ludicrous ban by charging ten cents for the toy in banned areas)
  8. State Forced Vaccines and Increasingly Difficult to Opt Out
  9. Illegal to Collect Rain Water on Own Property in some states
  10. Illegal to Grow GardensGardens Destroyed

 

Sign: Increasing Dictatorial Behavior of Leaders

 

Occurrences in the USA:

 

  1. Third Term for Obama? – From the leftist apologist site The Daily Kos: There is a scenario — a nightmare scenario for RWNJs — under which President Obama can legally and constitutionally win a third term as President of the United States. Of course, we should know that Barack Obama is too honest and honorable a person to pursue this course of action. But do the RWNJs know that?
  2. No Term Limits for President – From Fox News Latino: Democratic Congressman José Serrano has reintroduced legislation to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would end term limits for U.S. presidents and pave the way for President Barack Obama to stay in the White House for a third time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While some claim that this will never happen and will never get passed, it should be noted that the same thing was once said about bills like the Patriot Act, NDAA and ObamaCare.
  3. President Bypassing Congress and Traditional Means of Legislation – From BenSwann.com: Obama is sidestepping Congress once again. This time, the unconstitutional act is in an effort to raise $6 Billion in new taxes to put WiFi in public schools across America. Rather than waste his time with the Constitution and Congress, Obama is going straight to the FCC to lobby for the new taxes. The new tax will apply to every American who uses a cellphone.  

While there are many, many, many more examples, this does give anyone pause to reflect on how many personal freedoms are being stripped away on a daily basis. With just the few examples given here, which are really just the tip of the iceberg, are you convinced America is or is quickly becoming a police state? Do you have other examples you think should be added?

It’s Time to Accept that America is a Police State is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

(Video) Madison, WI Citizens Arrested For Free Speech

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

 

Here’s how we deal with peaceful protesters in WI…

(Video) Madison, WI Citizens Arrested For Free Speech is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights