January 13, 2010
By Daniel Rowinski
Simon Glik, a lawyer, was walking down Tremont Street in Boston when he saw three police officers struggling to extract a plastic bag from a teenager’s mouth. Thinking their force seemed excessive for a drug arrest, Glik pulled out his cellphone and began recording.
Within minutes, Glik said, he was in handcuffs.
“One of the officers asked me whether my phone had audio recording capabilities,’’ Glik, 33, said recently of the incident, which took place in October 2007. Glik acknowledged that it did, and then, he said, “my phone was seized, and I was arrested.’’
The charge? Illegal electronic surveillance.
Jon Surmacz, 34, experienced a similar situation. Thinking that Boston police officers were unnecessarily rough while breaking up a holiday party in Brighton he was attending in December 2008, he took out his cellphone and began recording.
Police confronted Surmacz, a webmaster at Boston University. He was arrested and, like Glik, charged with illegal surveillance.
There are no hard statistics for video recording arrests. But the experiences of Surmacz and Glik highlight what civil libertarians call a troubling misuse of the state’s wiretapping law to stifle the kind of street-level oversight that cellphone and video technology make possible.
“The police apparently do not want witnesses to what they do in public,’’ said Sarah Wunsch, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, who helped to get the criminal charges against Surmacz dismissed.
Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll rejected the notion that police are abusing the law to block citizen oversight, saying the department trains officers about the wiretap law. “If an individual is inappropriately interfering with an arrest that could cause harm to an officer or another individual, an officer’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the situation,’’ she said.
In 1968, Massachusetts became a “two-party’’ consent state, one of 12 currently in the country. Two-party consent means that all parties to a conversation must agree to be recorded on a telephone or other audio device; otherwise, the recording of conversation is illegal. The law, intended to protect the privacy rights of individuals, appears to have been triggered by a series of high-profile cases involving private detectives who were recording people without their consent.
In arresting people such as Glik and Surmacz, police are saying that they have not consented to being recorded, that their privacy rights have therefore been violated, and that the citizen action was criminal.
“The statute has been misconstrued by Boston police,’’ said June Jensen, the lawyer who represented Glik and succeeded in getting his charges dismissed. The law, she said, does not prohibit public recording of anyone. “You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want; you can do that.’’
Ever since the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991 was videotaped, and with the advent of media-sharing websites like Facebook and YouTube, the practice of openly recording police activity has become commonplace. But in Massachusetts and other states, the arrests of street videographers, whether they use cellphones or other video technology, offers a dramatic illustration of the collision between new technology and policing practices.
“Police are not used to ceding power, and these tools are forcing them to cede power,’’ said David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Ardia said the proliferation of cellphone and other technology has equipped people to record actions in public. “As a society, we should be asking ourselves whether we want to make that into a criminal activity,’’ he said.
In Pennsylvania, another two-party state, individuals using cellphones to record police activities have also ended up in police custody.
January 08, 2010
By Kurt Nimmo
The corporate media is making a big deal out of the wrong-way guy and his female companion caught on a Continental Airlines surveillance video at Newark Liberty International Airport during the holiday.
“The video, released by the office of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., shows an unidentified man standing for several minutes near Checkpoint 1 in the Newark airport’s Terminal C, apparently waiting for a woman at around 5:20 p.m. The Transportation Security Administration officer assigned to the post appeared to be aware of the man’s presence, and at one point the officer instructed the man to move back,” reports ABC News.
In a statement, Lautenberg said the release of the video will help authorities find the guy and punish him for his wrong-way criminal activity.
Regardless of Lautenberg’s statement, the real purpose behind the release of the video is to juice up the propaganda effort now underway by the government in cooperation with the corporate media to manufacture a hysterical pretext to increase Gestapo tactics in airports (and eventually everywhere else).
Obama’s top White House aide on defense and foreign policy issues, James Jones, said Americans will feel “a certain shock” when they read an account being released later today “of the missed clues that could have prevented the alleged Christmas Day bomber from ever boarding the plane.”
Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., added that a “very comprehensive no-fly list” would be “the greatest protection our country has.” In an interview, she said the definition of who can be included should be expanded to include anyone about whom there is “a reasonable suspicion.”
As of July, 2008, over a million people were considered suspicious. “The nation’s terrorist watch list has hit one million names, according to a tally maintained by the American Civil Liberties Union based upon the government’s own reported numbers for the size of the list,” the ACLU noted. “Members of Congress, nuns, war heroes and other ’suspicious characters,’ with names like Robert Johnson and Gary Smith, have become trapped in the Kafkaesque clutches of this list, with little hope of escape,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Congress needs to fix it, the Terrorist Screening Center needs to fix it, or the next president needs to fix it, but it has to be done soon.”
Instead, in the wake of the Christmas day false flag event, Congress will expand it.
Neocon bloggers and pundits — most notably the concentration camp apologist Michelle Malkin — are calling for profiling Muslims in response to the obviously staged Christmas non-bombing. Israel is cited as the example to follow, according to The Financial Times. “Countries such as Israel that use profiling say it is not used on a racial basis but anecdotal evidence suggests south Asian and Middle Eastern people are far more likely to be stopped.”
In addition, government officials and “experts” are demanding full body scanners be installed in every airport and all air travelers be subjected to the dangerous machines that violate child pornography laws.
Finally, it is interesting that the Newark video was released in short order and yet the video that would put to rest the “sharp-dressed man” controversy surrounding the Christmas day event has not been released by officials in Amsterdam.
Kurt Haskell, an eye witness to the boarding of patsy Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab in Amsterdam, has demanded that video of the event be made public. On January 6, Dutch authorities announced that Mutallab acted alone with no accomplices at the Amsterdam airport.“I’m not surprised, we expected this,” Haskell told Big Government.
Mr. Haskell appeared on the Alex Jones Show and voiced his concerns over government behavior in the case. Haskell told Alex Jones the FBI has changed its story about the event on numerous occasions.