Category Archives: Police State/Big Brother USA

DHS Tells Firefighters, Paramedics Medical Treatment Provides an Opportunity to Identify Extremists

From Public Intelligence:

DHS-FBI-NCTC-MedicalTreatmentExtremists‘A joint bulletin released in March by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and National Counterterrorism Center instructs firefighters and paramedics to use emergency medical treatment as an opportunity to identify violent extremists.  The March 2014 bulletin obtained by Public Intelligence titled “Emergency Medical Treatment Presents Opportunity for Discovery of Violent Extremist Activities” is part of the Fire Line series distributed to firefighters, emergency medical service personnel and other first responders around the country.

The bulletin states that efforts to “gain expertise with explosive, incendiary, and chemical/biological devices may lead to injuries and emergency treatment, which may provide potential indicators of violent extremist activities to responding emergency medical service (EMS) personnel.”  An initial “size-up” of the scene and “patient assessment” provide first responders with the ability to “evaluate whether an injury is a genuine accident or related to violent extremist activity.”  For example, “hastily or expediently treated injuries” observed by first responders “may be an indicator of illicit activity as actors injured in nefarious activity are often not inclined to seek legitimate medical attention, or use efforts that are designed to mislead or obscure the genuine nature of the injury.”  Other indicators include “shock or infection accompanying healing wounds, or corrective treatment for healed wounds” often without plausable explanation “may be signs of suspicious activity.”’

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Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux report for The Intercept:

‘The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place entire “categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

Over the years, the Obama and Bush Administrations have fiercely resisted disclosing the criteria for placing names on the databases—though the guidelines are officially labeled as unclassified. In May, Attorney General Eric Holder even invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent watchlisting guidelines from being disclosed in litigation launched by an American who was on the no fly list. In an affidavit, Holder called them a “clear roadmap” to the government’s terrorist-tracking apparatus, adding: “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.”’

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Occupy Silicon Valley & the Facebook Cop: Interview with Robbie Martin

Abby Martin speaks with journalist and host of Media Roots Radio, Robbie Martin, going over why Facebook is hiring police officers to aid in surveillance, as well as why more people aren’t outraged about private sector surveillance.’ (Breaking the Set)

Porn Sniffing Police Dogs

HRW Report: U.S. government agents ‘directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots

Spencer Ackerman reports for the Guardian:

FBI‘Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says. Some of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants”, bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system’s ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots. “In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report alleges.’

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US terrorist database growing at rapid rate

Matthew Barakat reports for the Associated Press:

‘The U.S. government is rapidly expanding the number of names it accepts for inclusion on its terrorist watch list, with more than 1.5 million added in the last five years, according to numbers divulged by the government in a civil lawsuit.

About 99 percent of the names submitted are accepted, leading to criticism that the government is “wildly loose” in its use of the list.

Those included in the Terrorist Screening Database could find themselves on the government’s no-fly list or face additional scrutiny at airports, though only a small percentage of people in the database are actually on the list.’

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Anti-drone activist and grandmother sentenced to prison for photographing protest

Jeff Stein writes for the Ithaca Voice:

‘Gasps filled the courtroom when the sentence for drones protester Mary Anne Grady Flores was announced last Thursday. An onlooker let out an astounded, “No!” Someone else whistled in disbelief. Others looked away.

Grady Flores, of Ithaca, pursed her lips and slowly nodded her head. The judge read aloud the rest of the sentence — one year in jail, the maximum punishment possible for violating an order of protection. The lawyers for each side made a few more requests. Then it was time for Grady Flores, 58, to be taken away. Some of her supporters started crying. They began singing a Christian peace song.

The handcuffed grandmother of three was escorted out by a sheriff’s deputy. Right before they disappeared into a back-room, Grady Flores turned to her friends and family. She was smiling.’

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Drunk man posing as TSA agent pats down women down at San Francisco airport

David Edwards reports for Raw Story:

TSA at Gate B9‘A San Francisco man has been accused of getting drunk and posing as a Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) agent so he could pat down women.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the man was seen at the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport at around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday “wearing khaki pants, a blue polo shirt and blue rubber gloves.” Passengers may have mistakenly thought the man was an agent because screeners working for private security company Covenant wear a similar uniform.’

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TSA whistleblower says new phone rule is more security theater, will make fliers less safe

Steve Watson writes for Prison Planet:

TSA Whistleblower: New Phone Rule Is More Security Theater, Will Make Fliers LESS Safe TSA‘A former TSA agent has described the new rule mandating fliers to power up electrical devices at the TSA’s behest as “absurdist” and “theatrical”, saying it will not prevent any terrorist wanting to set off a bomb, and will likely make it easier to do just that.

Writing in the London Guardian, Jason Edward Harrington, a former TSA agent at Chicago’s O’Hare International, notes how he knew this rule may come into effect, and even wove it into a satirical piece he wrote on the TSA a year ago.

Now a whistleblower and a blogger, Harrington writes “I knew a checkpoint power-up directive was not at all outside the realm of airport-security possibility, because I was a TSA agent for six years – and the TSA can be as reactionary and absurd as it is technologically inept.”

“It should come as no surprise to you when this new measure joins the never-ending parade of blanket security directives that may actually make us less safe.” Harrington adds.’

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Coming Soon: TSA Mind Reading Scanners to Catch Terrorists

Editor’s Note: The clip is taken from an episode of Futurescape entitled I Know What You’re Thinking on the Discovery Channel: “Imagine you’re going to the airport – TSA could figure out whether you’re a terrorist a not… Because you see in the future, not even our thoughts will be free from search and seizure. Is it the ultimate invasion of privacy? Yes, But it could also clear your good name or maybe even save your life.”

Lawsuit: Americans Put On Terror Database For Buying Computers, Waiting For Relatives At Train Stations

Steve Watson reports for Prison Planet:

‘Five Californians are fighting the Department of Justice in court over the fact that they have been entered into a terrorism database over entirely innocent activities such as taking photographs, buying a computer, and even waiting for relatives to arrive at a train station.

Court House News reports that the ACLU and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus are representing the plaintiffs, who have been entered into a “Suspicious Activity Reports” (SAR) database, and could remain on it for decades to come.

The database is part of a federal government program which encourages local and state law enforcement to report any “suspicious activity” they believe could be related to terrorism. The database is just one of many managed through the Department of Homeland Security’s controversial fusion centers. According to a government report, over 35,000 names had been added to the database by 2013.’

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Heavy Homeland Security presence outside Greenville court “part of community outreach to let people know they’re in the area”

Josh Birch reports for WNCT 9:

‘Several Homeland Security cars were stationed outside of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Greenville today, sparking some concern there might be danger.

But Homeland Security officers told 9 On Your Side they were there as part of their community outreach to let people know they are in the area.

They also said they were there to remind people that if they see something, say something, especially around federal buildings.’

Militarized Homeland Security Invasion of Town Was Over Downloading of Indecent Images

Paul Joseph Watson reports for Prison Planet:

‘The Department of Homeland Security’s militarized invasion of a small town in Illinois was not in response to a gang of dangerous drug dealers or an armed assailant, but in order to bust a single man accused of downloading indecent images to his home computer. As we reported last week, federal agents swarmed the town of Livingston, IL., population 850, in an unannounced show of force that culminated in a local school field being used as a staging ground for a phalanx of heavy duty equipment and weaponry.

The school superintendent was given no notice of the feds’ decision to use school land and local residents told news channel KTVI that the sudden sight of armored SWAT vehicles made them nervous.With authorities initially refusing to explain the reason behind the show of force, it later emerged that a raid had been carried out on a house three miles away in order to apprehend Robert E. Godsey, who is being charged with, “receipt, possession and distribution of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”’

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How the War on Drugs and the War on Terror Merged Into One Disastrous War on All Americans

Alex Kane writes for Alternet:

‘It was 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one in the United States.” With those words, Nixon ushered in the “war on drugs,” the attempt to use law enforcement to jail drug users and halt the flow of illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine.

Thirty years later, another president, George W. Bush, declared war on another word: terrorism. But the war on drugs hadn’t ended yet.  Instead of one failed war replacing another soon-to-be-failed war, both drugs and terrorism remain targets for law enforcement and military action that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and have cost billions of dollars.

In fact, the war on terror and the war on drugs have merged to form a hydra-headed monster that rapaciously targets Americans, particularly communities of color. Tactics and legislation used to fight terrorism in the U.S. have been turned on drug users, with disastrous consequences measured in lives, limbs and cash. And money initially used to combat drugs has been spent on the war on terror. From the Patriot Act to the use of informants to surveillance, the wars on drugs and terror have melted into one another.’

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Security, Refugees, and Profit at the U.S. Border: Interview with Todd Miller

Todd Miller: As record numbers of child migrants from Central America arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, the crisis should be a treated as a refugee issue, not a security issue (The Real News)

Working Mother Arrested for Letting Her 9-Year-Old Play Alone at Park

Conor Friedersdorf reports for The Atlantic:

‘In South Carolina, a 46-year-old black woman has been arrested for letting her daughter play in a nearby park while trying to earn a living. “The mother, Debra Harrell, has been booked for unlawful conduct towards a child,” a local TV station reports. “The incident report goes into great detail, even saying the mother confessed to leaving her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she went to work.”‘

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66% of Americans Now Live in a Constitution-Free Zone

Todd Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation reports for TomDispatch:

‘[...] Imagine the once thin borderline of the American past as an ever-thickening band, now extending 100 miles inland around the United States—along the 2,000-mile southern border, the 4,000-mile northern border and both coasts—and you will be able to visualize how vast the CBP’s jurisdiction has become. This “border” region now covers places where two-thirds of the US population (197.4 million people) live. The ACLU has come to call it a “constitution-free zone.” The “border” has by now devoured the full states of Maine and Florida and much of Michigan.

In these vast domains, Homeland Security authorities can institute roving patrols with broad, extra-constitutional powers backed by national security, immigration enforcement and drug interdiction mandates. There, the Border Patrol can set up traffic checkpoints and fly surveillance drones overhead with high-powered cameras and radar that can track your movements. Within twenty-five miles of the international boundary, CBP agents can enter a person’s private property without a warrant. In these areas, the Homeland Security state is anything but abstract. On any given day, it can stand between you and the grocery store.’

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45,000 SWAT Raids Are Terrorizing Families Every Year in the US

Editor’s Note: Less than a day after this segment was broadcast, the home of a Breaking the Set producer was raided by a SWAT team in yet another case of “mistaken identity”. To learn about the history of the growing militarisation of American police forces, I would highly recommend reading Radley Balko’s “Rise of the Warrior Cop“.

Abby Martin reports on the 45,000 SWAT raids that occur in the US every year, as well as the growing militarization of local police forces, and calls for support of the ACLU’s push to have our elected officials oppose the emerging police state.’ (Breaking the Set)

Albuquerque Police, repeatedly accused of excessive force, purchasing 350 AR-15 assault rifles

German Police Fired 85 Bullets in One Year, U.S. Police Use 90 on 1 Person

 

Latest NSA leaks show extent to which ordinary Web users are caught in the surveillance net

Barton Gellman, Julie Tate and Ashkan Soltani report for The Washington Post:

‘Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post. Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.

Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or “minimized,” more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans’ privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or U.S.residents. The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public. There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the intercepted messages — and collateral harm to privacy on a scale that the Obama administration has not been willing to address.’

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TSA targets mobile phones and electronics in new security policies

Jon Swaine reports for the Guardian:

Transportation Security Administration screeners check passengers as they prepare to board flights. tsa‘Passengers using airports that offer direct flights to the US may be forced to switch on their mobile phones and other electronic devices to prove to security officials that they do not contain explosives, it was announced on Sunday.

“During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones,” the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a post on its website. It warned: “Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.”

The TSA did not disclose which airports would be conducting the additional screening. It was reported last week that passengers at British airports travelling to the US were facing extra checks on phones. Belgian officials said passengers there would also have devices checked. Britain’s Department for Transport (DfT) advised that the new restriction meant any electronic device with a flat battery would not be allowed on flights, the Press Association reported.’

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Corporations Making a Killing As Billions Are Poured Into Border Enforcement: Interview with Todd Miller

11 Shocking Facts About America’s Militarized Police Forces

Alex Kane writes for Alternet:

‘The “war on terror” has come home–and it’s wreaking havoc on innocent American lives.  The culprit is the militarization of the police.

The weapons used in the “war on terror” that destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq have made their way to local law enforcement. While police forces across the country began a process of militarization complete with SWAT teams and flash-bang grenades when President Reagan intensified the “war on drugs,” the post-9/11 “war on terror” has added fuel to the fire.

Through laws and regulations like a provision in defense budgets that authorize the Pentagon to transfer surplus military gear to police forces, local law enforcement are using weapons found on the battlefields of South Asia and the Middle East.’

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Video Shows California Officer Repeatedly Hitting Woman In The Head

Beverly White, Andrew Blankstein and Tena Ezzeddine report for NBC Los Angeles:

Cell Phone Video Shows CHP Officer Hitting Woman‘The California Highway Patrol is investigating after cellphone video captured an officer repeatedly hitting a woman in the face as she lay flat on her back just off a Los Angeles freeway.

The video titled “Police Brutality?” was shot Tuesday evening from a vehicle entering the eastbound 10 Freeway near La Brea Avenue and posted on YouTube the following day. It runs for 1 minute, 30 seconds and includes footage of the incident in real time and in slow-motion.’

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Cop Violently Pushes Man Out Of Wheelchair Because He Ran Over His Foot

Virginia High Schooler Threatens Suicide, Police Arrive and Kill Him

NYPD brutally arrest man on subway ‘for sleeping on way from work’

From RT:

‘A video has recorded a violent altercation erupting between a man on a New York City subway and police officers, who apparently arrested him for the crime of nodding off while commuting home for work.

The incident occurs at the 57th street station stop in Manhattan in a mostly-empty carriage.

The video posted to YouTube on Tuesday does not show what sparked the police confrontation, though from the man’s reaction and those who viewed and filmed the scene, he was confronted by police for sleeping on the train.’

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Can Someone Be Too Smart To Be A Cop?

Katie Rucke writes for Mint Press News:

NATO SUMMIT DEMONSTRATION IN CHICAGO‘It turns out that those who have cursed at a police officer for apparently not using his or her brain or said an officer was being “stupid” may not be as far off the mark as the American public might hope. Although it’s not widely known, federal courts have ruled since 2000 that police departments can legally opt to not hire someone simply because he or she scores too high on an intelligence test. The millenium ruling followed a lawsuit filed in 1999 by Connecticut resident Robert Jordan, who was told by the New London Police Department that they only interview candidates who score 20 to 27 points on an intelligence test.

Jordan, a 48-year-old college graduate with a degree in literature, had scored 33 points when he took the Wonderlic Personnel Test in 1996, giving him an IQ of around 125. His score was well above the 21 to 22 points that officers score on average, which reflects a slightly above-average IQ of around 104. (Interestingly, the Wonderlic test recommends that insurance salespeople score at least 22 points and that police officers score at least 21 — meaning that at least according to the test, it requires more intelligence to sell insurance than to solve crimes.) The test, which is used by other employers, not just law enforcement, poses questions such as: “In the set of words below, what word is different from the others? A. Beef. B. Mackerel. C. Veal. D. Bacon E. Lamb.” Based on his Wonderlic test score, Jordan was qualified to become a lawyer, but he was too smart to be considered for a position with the New London Police Department.’

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Editor’s Note: The below video is just one (fairly mild) example of how dumb the modern cop can be:

‘Black & Blue': Film to Exposes Rise of Militarized Police in US: Interview with Dylan Avery

Abby Martin features an exclusive interview with activist and filmmaker Dylan Avery, discussing his new film “Black and Blue” a look at the growing militarization of America’s police forces.’ (Breaking the Set)