April 16, 2012
By Jennifer Lynch
“If you thought survelliance drones were only used by the federal government, think again.” –KTRN
EFF recently received records from the Miami-Dade Police Department in response to a Public Records request for information on its drone program. These records provide additional insight into domestic drone use in the United States, and they reinforce the importance of public access to information on who is authorized to fly drones inside US borders.
The records the Miami-Dade PD released include the Federal Aviation Administration-issued Certificate of Authorization (COA) to fly the MDPD drones. This appears to be the first time a law enforcement agency has made its COA available to the public without redactions.
The COA and the other records EFF received show that Miami-Dade’s drone program is quite limited in scope. The two small drones the MDPD is flying—Honeywell T-Hawks—are able to fly up to 10,000 feet high, can record video or still images in daylight or infrared, and can “Hover and stare; [and] follow and zoom,” (pdf) according to the manufacturer. However, the COA limits their use to flights below 300 feet. The drones also must remain within visual line of sight of both a pilot and an observer and can only be flown during the day. They cannot be flown within the Miami city limits or over any high-rise buildings, populated beaches, outdoor assemblies of people, or heavily trafficked roadways (which seems to severely limit their range). Also, the MDPD has stated it doesn’t use the drones to record incidents or store image files and that the drone is set up to “clear the picture upon the next picture being captured.” (It is not clear from MDPD’s records whether the department has another system set up to retain the image files.)
April 16, 2012
“If anyone needs more evidence of how the cops are out of control, here you go.” –KTRN
April 13, 2012
End The Lie
By Madison Ruppert
“If the police weren’t doing something wrong, why would they care if you filmed them?” -KTRN
Professional photojournalist Philip Datz has had a long and tumultuous history with the Suffolk County Police Department and finally Datz has moved to file a lawsuit against the County of Suffolk and Sergeant Michael Milton in the United States District Court, Eastern District, New York.
This is part of a much larger and thoroughly troubling trend of Americans being beaten, arrested and harassed for exercising their right to legally film police, which is just part of the growing American police state and the general erosion of our most essential liberties.
The lawsuit surrounds an incident on July 29, 2011, which was caught on film and has gained a considerable amount of notoriety for the clearly absurd actions of Sergeant Milton.
Watch the events below:
April 11, 2012
By Madison Ruppert
“The future is here. The robots are coming.” –KTRN
Last year I reported on the Pentagon’s 1033 Program, wherein local law enforcement agencies can obtain surplus military hardware through a website, only having to pay to pick up the equipment.
Now, according to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), law enforcement will be even further militarized through the use of hundreds of military robots acquired by the Department of Defense over the past decade.
According to the head of the eastern team of DLA’s disposition services office, Dan Arnold, the older and more heavily used items will likely be robots for explosive ordnance disposal and surveillance, although some of the hardware is nearly brand new and never been deployed overseas.
According to National Defense, Arnold said to the attendees of the GovSec conference in Washington, D.C., that these robots are just one instance of the surplus equipment that will likely become available as the conflict in Afghanistan supposedly winds down.
These items will be available to absolutely any law enforcement agency, be they federal, state or local, so long as they have a counter-narcotics or counterterrorism mission of some kind.
Arnold said that they are still working out the final details with the Army’s Tank Automotive, Research and Development Command out of Warren, Michigan.
Your Cell Phone Makes You A Prisoner Of A Digital World Where Virtually Anyone Can Hack You And Track You
April 9, 2012
By Michael Snyder
If you own a cell phone, you might as well kiss your privacy goodbye. Cell phone companies know more about us than most of us would ever dare to imagine. Your cell phone company is tracking everywhere that you go and it is making a record of everything that you do with your phone. Much worse, there is a good chance that your cell phone company has been selling this information to anyone that is willing to pay the price — including local law enforcement. In addition, it is an open secret that the federal government monitors and records all cell phone calls. The “private conversation” that you are having with a friend today will be kept in federal government databanks for many years to come.
The truth is that by using a cell phone, you willingly make yourself a prisoner of a digital world where every move that you make and every conversation that you have is permanently recorded. But it is not just cell phone companies and government agencies that you have to worry about. As you will see at the end of this article, it is incredibly easy for any would-be stalker to hack you and track your every movement using your cell phone. In fact, many spyware programs allow hackers to listen to you through your cell phone even when your cell phone is turned off. Sadly, most cell phone users have absolutely no idea about any of this stuff.
Your phone company knows where you live, what websites you visit, what apps you download, what videos you like to watch, and even where you are. Now, some have begun selling that valuable information to the highest bidder.
April 6, 2012
“Even though NYC decriminalized pot in 1977, that hasn’t stopped the cops.” –KTRN
Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders.
Under New York law, possession of 25g or less of marijuana [merely] brings a $100 fine. Only when the drugs are in public view are the police permitted to make an arrest for drug possession. One in three respondents said police had forced them to take the marijuana out of pockets or from under clothes and produce it into public view.
In September last year, Kelly issued an order to officers not to arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana. But the number of those arrested increased after the order was made. In all, about 50,000 people were arrested in 2011 for marijuana possession.
April 3, 2012
“Orwellian’s 1984 is slowly becoming reality.” –KTRN
Unpaid parking tickets? That’s a strip search. And no leash on your doggie? That’s a strip search too. It might sound weird, and a wee bit terrifying, but that’s the verdict out of the United States Supreme Court this week.
The US Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 vote made Monday that law enforcement officials have the right to conduct invasive strip searches on any arrested persons, no matter how minor the alleged offense might be. The decision comes after the highest court in America examined an earlier case in which a man was wrongly arrested due to a processing error over an unpaid fine and then brought to two separate holding facilities where he was subjected to searches he says were“humiliating.”
Albert Florence was arrested in New Jersey back in 2005 after his pregnant wife was pulled over for driving their car above the posted speed limit. Responding officers identified Mr. Florence on the scene in the passenger seat and discovered a warrant for his arrest stemming from unpaid fines. An investigation would later reveal that the fines in question had indeed been paid in full, but before law enforcement could come to that conclusion, Mr. Florence spent a week behind bars. While detained, Florence was forced to strip naked, squat and manipulate his genitals twice for inspecting officers examining him for contraband, gang-related markings and communicable diseases.
Florence would go on to argue that the way he was handled over a minor (and incorrect) offense violated his rights under both the Fourth and Fourteen Amendments of the US Constitution, an argument a Federal District Court agreed with during an initial hearing. A Third Circuit Court would later rule, however, that strip-searching nonindictable offenders without reasonable suspicion was not a constitutional violation, which in turn brought the case to the Supreme Court. On Monday, five justices sided with the appeal and agreed that any detained alleged criminal, regardless of the crime, could be strip searched if deemed necessary by law enforcement.
April 2, 2012
By Tony Cartalucci
An attempted color revolution backed by Wall Street unfolded in Bangkok, Thailand in 2010, leaving 91 dead. Since then, Wall Street as well as its proxies inside of Thailand have attempted to blame all 91 deaths on the Thai military despite overwhelming evidence proving armed militants were involved in the protests — this foreshadowed the techniques now being used on a larger scale in Syria.
High profile deaths including those of foreign journalists caught in the crossfire have become political points of leverage for Wall Street’s media machine (a technique also reused in Syria) and their Thai proxy, billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. Unfortunately the same craven political stunt employed at the expense of fallen Reuters journalist Hiro Muramoto who was killed during the April 10, 2010 night ambush of Thai troops, is now being used regarding the death of an Italian journalist by the Thai police currently headed by Thaksin Shinawatra’s own brother-in-law.
Police General Priewpan Damapong was appointed as head of Thailand’s police shortly after Thaksin’s own sister took office last July, with much support from Wall Street & London and demonstrating a breathtaking display of third-world nepotism. Damapong, it should be noted, also just recently, and very eagerly, backed claims by both the US and Israel regarding the false flag Bangkok bombing pinned on Iran – illustrating just how interconnected these geopolitical ploys are regardless of geographic distance.
Claims regarding “new evidence” that Italian journalist Fabio Polenghi was killed by a high-velocity bullet during 2010′s unrest, and not an M-79 grenade as previously thought, and therefore “clearly” implicating government troops, echos of similar claims by Thaksin’s associates in regards to Muramoto’s death and conveniently ignores the fact that both government troops and Thaksin’s militants employed not only assault rifles firing high velocity bullets, but both fielded weapons that fired the exact same 5.56mm rounds claimed by Thaksin and his opposition to only have been used by government troops.
April 2, 2012
“Shouldn’t there be free speech everywhere? Watch the video below. The man interviewing the cop should be given a medal.” –KTRN
The “free speech zone,” despite being anathema to the U.S. Constitution, has been used intermittently since the Vietnam War protests. Their use has expanded ever since to actually hide protesters, as they did during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2004. Under the guise of “public safety” and well-contrived property rights, municipalities are attempting to circumvent the fact that all of America is a free speech zone for those who wish to engage in the political discourse determining their future.
These zones have now become nothing more than a political tool used to alter the perception of media coverage, as supporters are routinely allowed a front-row seat in full view of cameras, while protesters are housed in cages sometimes blocks away from the actual event. Activists have even faced felony charges for their refusal to permit their rights to be violated.
Free speech zones continue their incremental march across America in a variety of locations, as evidenced in the following video from Mesa, AZ where those who wish to express their political views outside the GOP debate are corralled and harassed. However, reporter Shelton Obadiah (4409) doesn’t make it easy for the bureaucrats and petty tyrants he faces:
April 2, 2012
“If the police weren’t up to something, why would they care if someone took their picture?” –KTRN
A student in Philadelphia has been arrested for taking photos of a traffic stop outside his house. That’s despite of the fact that police officers were specifically instructed that people can take pictures of their activity in public.
Ian Van Kuyk, a Temple University photojournalist student, has been charged with obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. All for simply trying to do his course assignment.
Van Kuyk relates the story. He was sitting on the porch stairs of his home when police pulled a vehicle to the side of the street. As he was tasked with a night-photography assignment, Van Kuyk decided to use the moment, grabbed his camera and began shooting photos.
A police officer then told Van Kuyk to move away from the scene, and the student followed the order but continued shooting. However, an officer soon demanded that Van Kuyk stop taking photos. When the student asserted his rights to film on public domain, an officer reportedly said: “Public domain, yeah we’ve heard that before!” Van Kuyk says the officer then started shoving him.
“He was pushing me, and I kept taking pictures and he didn’t like it, and he … got real aggressive and threw me to the ground,” the student recalls.
Van Kuyk was then arrested. Police reportedly threw his camera, which was university property, on the ground. Meghan Feighan, Van Kuyk’s girlfriend, tried to pick up the camera to save it but was herself arrested. Van Kuyk was held in custody for 24 hours, while Feighan was under arrest for 18 hours.
Six days after the event, Feighan settled the case by agreeing to pay a $200 fine and do 12 hours of community service.