Favorite Quotes

"Once you walk into a courtroom, you've already lost. The best way to win is to avoid it at all costs, because the justice system is anything but" Sydney Carton, Attorney. "There is no one in the criminal justice system who believes that system works well. Or if they are, they are for courts that are an embarrassment to the ideals of justice. The law of real people doesn't work" Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Secret Service/DHS attempted to use a fake warrant to enter home of Obama critic

TN - Nashville's police chief is raising stunning new allegations regarding the U.S. Secret Service, saying local agents once asked his officers to fake a warrant.
Even more disturbing, Chief Steve Anderson said he complained to top Secret Service officials in Washington, and they did not seem to care.
The  reason why Secret Service officials don't care about ignoring our rights is much more disturbing. DHS is running the Secret Service, DHS has a long history of targeting innocent Americans.
Click here,  here & here to read how DHS targeting of Obama critics is worse than you can imagine.
For more see the videos below: 
The allegations regarding the January 2013 incident are contained in a letter that Anderson sent to several members of the House Committee on Oversight. That's the congressional committee that has spearheaded the on-going investigation into the Secret Service. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was recently forced to resign as a result of that scandal.
"There's already a lot of fodder to attack the Secret Service with, and this will be more," said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee, who was among the committee members who received the letter.
In the Nashville case, a Secret Service agent made a frantic call for backup to Nashville police after he and another agent went to the home of a Nashville man, investigating threatening comments on Facebook about the President. The man who posted them had refused to let the agents into his house.
"He shoved the door in our face and went around the corner. Looks like, we're not sure if he ... possibly he had a gun in his hands," the agent told a 911 operator.
In a letter that he first sent to Secret Service headquarters, the Nashville police chief recounted what happened.
"The resident refused to come outside and shouted back, 'Show me your warrant,'" Anderson wrote.
So "one of the agents then asked a police sergeant to 'wave a piece of paper' in an apparent effort to dupe the resident into thinking that they indeed had a warrant."
Anderson demanded a meeting with bosses inside the Secret Service's Nashville office.
He recalled asking, "Do you think it is appropriate to wave a piece of paper in the air and tell him you have a warrant when you do not have a warrant?"
"Answer: 'I don't know. I'm not a lawyer.'"
The legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Thomas Castelli, called the incident an "absolutely appalling" violation of basic constitutional principles.
"If this is something that not all law enforcement -- and I'm talking about from the cop patrolling the streets in our smallest town in Tennessee all the way up to the Secret Service and the FBI -- if this is not something that they're taught, then that's a big problem," Castelli said.
Police said the resident had not actually committed a crime.
Police use the "Glomar response" to justify withholding documents:
NY - Many a reporter has been stymied by the "Glomar response," as it's known, since 1975, when it was first established as a permissible answer to a federal Freedom of Information Act request. (The backstory, as recounted in this Radiolab segment, involves a sunken Russian nuclear submarine, a Cold War pissing contest, and a company called "Global Marine" -- hence Glomar.)
The justification behind a Glomar response is that, in some cases, simply confirming the existence of certain records would be enough to undermine government interests. If a reporter asked the CIA for any records, say, about a secret CIA time machine project, even acknowledging that there are records fitting that description might be enough to jeopardize secrecy in meaningful ways. Such records would also be indisputably awesome.
The dread Glomar has always been a dodge available to the feds but not to local police, who have wide latitude to deny access to records but generally, under a state freedom-of-information law, have to give some sort of reason for withholding them -- thus acknowledging their existence.
A recent court ruling might bring the legal principle involved into New York State for the first time.
The case involves a Harlem-based imam, Talib Abdur-Rashid, who sued the city to find out whether he and his mosque had been under surveillance by the NYPD. There are strong suggestions that Abdur-Rashid, who has for years preached a politically charged brand of Islam, may have been a target of the department's "demographics unit," which embarked on broad-based surveillance of Muslim groups in the years after 9-11.
As the Associated Press first reported in a Pulitzer Prize-winning series in 2011, Muslim groups as well as Arab and South Asian immigrant communities were for years targeted in a potentially illegal dragnet, one that penetrated mosques and aggressively monitored organizations and individuals based, in some cases, on constitutionally protected speech. (The NYPD initially denied this all rather flatly, and only admitted later that the demographics unit did indeed exist at one time. It has since reportedly been disbanded.)
According to Enemies Within, a book on the demographics unit written by then-AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Abdur-Rashid was one of 26 people placed on a "watch list" by the department in 2004. His "views on the wars in the Middle East" were what attracted the cops' attention, as well as his anti-Semitic remarks and other comments that were "distasteful," in the authors' characterization, but not illegal.
In 2012, Abdur-Rashid demanded all records related to any investigation of him by the NYPD. Briefs flew back and forth. In February 2013, the department asked a judge to allow them to offer a "Glomar response," rather than refusing to release the records under New York's version of the Freedom of Information Act, which would normally require them to admit, at least, that such records exist.
Their argument in this brief was that merely revealing whether or not the NYPD was spying,  could disclose sensitive information about the department's investigative techniques. The department's lawyers admitted that it was an "issue of first impression," and that they were asking the judge to reach beyond state court precedent, essentially deciding the issue based on federal legal doctrine, which would normally have no bearing on a case in state court.
Meanwhile police in DC are using the secretive 'Stingray' cell phone tracking tool.
Back in 2003, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, DC was awarded a $260,000 grant from DHS to purchase surveillance technology called Stingray — a contraption the size of a suitcase that simulates a cell phone tower and intercepts mobile phone calls and text messages.
The rationale behind the DHS grant to MPD and other law enforcement agencies was to help them secure new antiterrorism technology from private corporations. But the grant fell a little short, because the MPD couldn't come up with the extra several thousands dollars it needed to train officers how to use and maintain Stingray — so the device sat unused in an "Electronic Surveillance Unit equipment vault" at the department for more than five years.
The details of the MPD's use of Stingray have been shrouded in secrecy. Although there was suspicion the department was utilizing the technology, documentary evidence to support the notion never surfaced.
Click here & here to read more.
Charlotte police cellphone surveillance collects data from innocent people.
Click here to read more.

Friday, October 17, 2014

COPS/DHS report claims 'Stop-And-Frisk' should be reviewed & refined for community policing

Supported by a DOJ/DHS grant, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) report
COPS claims the report was assembled to help guide "law enforcement on how to conduct pedestrian stops in a manner that promotes crime control objectives while minimizing negative outcomes that can ultimately undermine police effectiveness."
The picture below, used by COPS or should I say DHS shows a black police officer searching a smiling black kid, while two white girls look on.
Nancy La Vigne of the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center explained that the volume was based on a roundtable discussion held in 2011, when "stop, question and frisk" was a widely used, and hotly disputed, practice under then-New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, working for then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio campaiged against the practice, and the number of stop-and-frisk incidents has dropped dramatically under his police commissioner, William Bratton.

The Urban Institute report noted that stop-and-frisk can be done legally and can have an impact on crime, but "given the recent wave of protests, public backlash, court cases, and new laws attacking stop-and-frisk, this policing strategy is at a critical juncture."

The Urban Institute/DHS says 'stop-and-frisks' can be done legally! What a load of B.S. 'stop-and frisks' are illegal and in direct defiance of the 4th. Amendment.
The Urban Institute report said it is an open question whether the "widespread application of stop and frisk, which may target individuals based on the color of their skin and their presence on the street," is constitutional. (The de Blasio administration in New York City dropped an appeal of a federal judge's ruling that New York officers violated many citizens' rights as they practiced stop-and-frisk.)
The institute said that little research had been done on the impact of stop-and-frisk, but it is clear that the practice has "the potential for stop and frisk to influence attitudes toward the police in a negative manner." The report said that, "Individuals’ perceptions of the police may be particularly at risk in minority communities, which have a long history of tense relations with law enforcement."
Study links Stop-And-Frisk to trauma & anxiety In young men:
A new study suggests that aggressive policing likely has an adverse effect on the mental health of young men -- particularly young men who are black or brown.
The study, released Thursday by the American Journal of Public Health, appears to show higher rates of feelings of stress, anxiety and trauma in young men who experienced multiple or intrusive stop and frisk encounters with police than among young men who had fewer or no such encounters.
"Our findings suggest that proactive policing tactics have the potential to negatively impact the relationship between the community and police, as well as the mental health and well-being of community members," Amanda Geller, a professor at New York University and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
The study surveyed more than 1,200 men between the ages of 18 and 26 in New York during a six-month period straddling 2012 and 2013. "Respondents reported high rates of police contact," the study says. "Although 80% of respondents reported being stopped 10 times or fewer, more than 5% of respondents reported being stopped more than 25 times, and 1% of respondents reported more than 100 stops."
Those who experienced the harshest and most intrusive police stops self-reported higher levels of trauma and stress, the study says, although even those who faced less intense encounters with police also reported symptoms.
"Most of the police encounters our respondents described didn't include an arrest or incarceration, yet they still reported associated mental health symptoms," Geller said in the statement. "This tells us that even the low levels of interaction that many urban residents experience may have consequences."
The following links show COPS/DHS disturbing relationship as they push for a national Stop & Frisk program.
Homeland Security training through community policing:
Community Policing as the Primary Prevention Strategy for Homeland Security at the Local Law Enforcement Level:
Page 12 - Recommendations to DHS on Community Policing:
"DHS should work closely with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to better incorporate the concept of community-oriented policing into programmatic and policy efforts associated with homeland security preparedness.
Increased resources should be made available (funding, training, technical assistance) to state and local authorities.
Establishing information-driven community-based violent crime reduction capabilities should be considered a preparedness priority by DHS.
Community-oriented policing costs should be included as an allowable expense within DHS grant programs."
Policing After 9/11: Community Policing in an Age of Homeland Security:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What you need to know about EZ-Pass & privacy

Melissa Parrish, a Forrester VP and research director, told the story about how her father (we’ll call him Bob), who lives in New Jersey, was rattled by NJ’s E-ZPass system. “There’s no way I’m giving them my personal information so I can get a pass!” he told his daughter.
Bob had been traveling the toll roads to his NY job for decades, and he had no interest in getting an E-ZPass electronic tag in his car. Yet later, when Bob went to Disney World in Orlando with the grandchildren, he was delighted with Disney’s new MagicBand, and couldn’t stop raving about it.
Given Melissa’s deep knowledge of customer data and how it’s used, she didn’t understand why her father was not okay sharing his personal data with the NJ Turnpike Authority—even though it meant he would save time and money on his daily commute. Yet, Bob was more than willing to let Disney track his every move, check-in to FastPass+ rides, buy food, and get in and out of the park and hotel—all with the swipe of the band on his wrist.
This is the dilemma we all face: How much personal information are we willing to give up to enjoy some of the conveniences offered by technology today? And at what point does cool (like Disney’s MagicBand) cross the line and become creepy (like NJ’s E-ZPass)?
Companies and individuals we do business with have been collecting our personal information for decades – either on paper or electronically. Technically speaking, they’ve been collecting our “small” transactional data (and in some cases, a lot of it). “Big” data has changed this data playing field. “We the people” are now generating an exponential amount of data with all our Facebook photos, Twitter updates, YouTube videos, smartphones, GPS tracking devices, FitBits, and smart home appliances and devices. And yes, even with our E-ZPass electronic tags and MagicBands.
New York drivers recently learned that the E-ZPass devices on their windshields were being used for more than toll booths.
“Puking Monkey,” the internet handle of a New Jersey resident concerned with the loss of privacy on the road, also happens to be an electronics junkie — a dangerous combination for Big Government.
He hacked his RFID-enabled E-ZPass to set off a light and a “moo cow” every time it was being read. Then he drove around New York. His tag got milked multiple times on the short drive from Times Square to Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan.
Officials from the New York Department of Transportation offered an explanation for the E-ZPass trackings.
“This measure is part of the Department of Transportation’s overall initiative to bring more live, real-time travel information to the public,” the Department said.

New York is not the only state reading the tags for traffic.
CBS13, a local news provider in Portland, Maine, did a bit of digging to uncover a few other ways E-ZPasses are being used for non-toll purposes.
They had no idea their New York authorities were using their EZ-Pass to spy on them!

"Are you kidding? Do you know how much people are keeping an eye on us today? It's the way of the world today. It's not going to change," tourist Bonnie said.

It had us wanting to know where else in the network of 15 E-ZPass states, including Maine, the little device was being used in this big way.

Maine Turnpike Authority Spokesman Dan Morin told us, "Not here."

"We only know when you're going through specific toll plazas; that's it," Morin said.

So for example, if you get on the turnpike in Kennebunk, and off in Portland, Morin says, they can only track you to those two spots and nowhere in between.

"The E-ZPass is dormant when you're driving down the Maine Turnpike until you approach a certain area around the toll plazas," Morin said.
Here’s what WGME13 found:

You can pay for parking at an Amtrak station in Massachusetts with your E-ZPass and at several airports in the New York area.

Toll records have been court ordered in criminal and civil cases, including divorces
McDonald’s has even experimented with E-ZPass payment options at some drive through locations.
E-Z Pass scammers run tolls, send innocent drivers the bill.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mass collection of Americans phone records violates the Fourth Amendment

ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo: "Here's what it looks like to live in a society of mass surveillance.
Every time you place or receive a call, the government knows who you talked to, when the call started, and how long it lasted.
The government knows:
(1) every time you called your doctor, and which doctor you called;
(2) which family members you stay in touch with, and which you don't; and
(3) which pastor, rabbi, or imam you talked to, and for how long you spoke.
The government knows whether, how often, and precisely when you called the abortion clinic, the local Alcoholics Anonymous, your psychiatrist, your ex-boyfriend, a criminal-defense attorney, and the suicide hotline.
If you called someone today — by tomorrow morning, the government will have a record of that call.
It will keep that record for the next five years. And it is doing the same for every one of your calls, and for every one of the calls of millions of other Americans who have done nothing wrong."
Some say that mass collection of U.S. phone records is a gross invasion of privacy. Others say that it is necessary to keep us safe.
But what does the U.S Constitution say?
"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."
 Is collection of phone records a "search" or "seizure"?
 If so, is it "unreasonable"?
Does it require a particularized warrant and probable cause?
Electronic mass surveillance – including the mass trawling of both metadata and content by the NSA– fails drastically in striking the correct balance between security and privacy that American officials and other proponents of surveillance insist they are maintaining.
A new report titled 'Surveillance: Ethical issues, legal limitations, and efficiency' shows how mass surveillance fails drastically.
The FBI's 'Biographic Entity Resolution' plan to destroy privacy:
The FBI isn't afraid to publicly admit that “data aggregation” is a central goal at the bureau’s IT department. They have so much data, and they are daily acquiring more and more kinds, but they don’t yet know exactly how to process it. Enter "identity resolution" and "record linkage."

According to an internal power point presentation, the FBI’s Data Aggregation Working Group (DAWG) is working to build a Data Aggregation Reference Architecture (DARA) that will “define a reference architecture that enables entity resolution and data correlation, and disambiguation across multiple data aggregation investments.” The goal is to “develop a reference architecture to support a consistent approach to data discovery and entity resolution and data correlation across disparate datasets.”

The FBI calls this process “resolving identities.” At a basic level, it will enable “the process of determining whether two or more references to real-world objects such as people (individuals), places, or things are referring to the same object or to different objects. This concept is sometimes referred to as Entity Correlation, Entity Disambiguation, or Record Linkage, and includes related concepts such as Identity Resolution.” It will also enable the creation of “identity maps”: “Complete enriched entity data that includes the linkage of relationships between people, places, things, and characteristics of data resulting from an entity resolution process.”
Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Police state Amerika video: Private security guards now search inside concert/venue goers pants

In a nation fully immersed in its growing police state presence, even venturing to see a local show now subjects you to unnecessary and dehumanizing search and seizure that was once “reserved” to help “fight the war on terror.”
Even at the lowest levels within the bureaucracy-based establishment system, we are all systematically targeted as terrorists — and the reach is growing further.
I was amazed this past week to witness one of the largest concert venues in Texas, which sits just outside of Houston, completely change their security policies to virtually mimic that of the TSA’s. In less than a year, this venue went from the typical ‘glance and go’ security that was once standard at many establishments to a full protocol that includes the removal of shoes, emptying of pockets, lifting (and sometimes removing) shirts, and even a flashlight search inside of your pants.
Upon arriving at the “security checkpoint,” I was ordered to wait for the next “agent” in line to conduct his search. After being told to empty my pockets and show them the bottoms of my pocket linings, the “agent” instructed me to lift up my shirt and allow him to use his flashlight to search down my pants. Due to my cooperation with the highly necessary procedure that I am entirely sure leads to the detainment of numerous ISIS operatives (as they meanwhile can openly cross the border with zero response from the United States), I was allowed to keep my shoes on.
Security guards are trained & hired by DHS:
"The RAND Police Recruitment and Retention Clearinghouse. The RAND Center on Quality Policing, is a web-based resource that serves as a "one-stop-shop" for information about recruitment and retention specifically designed for the law enforcement community. Its purpose is to promote evidence-based personnel planning by making information on police staffing readily available for police decisionmakers in an easy to use, searchable form.
This project utilizes an interactive map to model the number of police and other "security workers" that are expected in each block group in the United States based on that area's characteristics. Police departments may be able to use this data to focus their employee recruiting activities where they will be most effective.
A quick look at Rand's recruitment page reveals close ties to COPS & DHS. Click here & here to find out more about Rand's close ties to DHS.
Rand has a searchable state database to recruit police and security.
Select a location from the list below. The map will appear first, followed by a color-coded layer a few seconds later. Clicking on the map will display each block group's actual number of security workers, the predicted number, and the population. Drag the map or zoom in to find a specific location.
Here's a few of Rand's/DHS's recruitment articles:
1) Police Recruitment and Retention for the New Millennium
2) Recruiting and Retaining America's Finest
3) Improving Police Recruitment and Retention
Each year DHS and RAND select a senior DHS analyst to work and study for up to a year at the RAND Corporation. The DHS Fellowship is co-sponsored by RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment (JIE) and the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).
"The Rand Corporation & DHS's national police recruitment program"
Another story, reveals sports teams want to spy on concert, sports goers every movement:
"New spying app developed by VenueNext will track your every movement during a concert or sporting event:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Massachusetts wants students to become anonymous spies

Article originally written by Alex Marthews:
The “Massachusetts Task Force on School Safety and Security” released a report. As you’d expect from a report written with plenty of police input and none from the civil liberties community, it recommends changes that are highly intrusive, probably ineffective, definitely expensive, and likely to benefit police more than they benefit students.
The report recommends introducing “school resources officers” – often retired police officers – into schools to develop relationships with students, and encourages trainings that would teach “young children not to be frightened of police.” This, in a country where the police kill an absolute minimum of one American per day, and where crises like the one in Ferguson show that visible minorities’ fears of police are very well-grounded.
How about we teach kids the truth instead?
Individual police officers, like other people, are often good at heart. However, police officers in general are not legally required to protect you, and aren’t always on your side if you’re in trouble. They are allowed to lie to you and about you, and can even kill you without going to jail if they feel you’re disrespecting them. If you are stopped by the police, for your own safety, stay polite and calm. If they arrest you, invoke your right to stay silent, and say nothing till your lawyer arrives.
Adding a new, armed, expensive “school resources officer” at a school for “school safety” seems to me like adding a gun to a home for “home safety”: It increases every person’s risk of death or injury. If the armed police officer hurts or entraps or even kills your child, even by accident, will they be held accountable? Bluntly, based on how it’s gone down in other towns, probably not.
Students who “struggle socially or emotionally” will be “identified” and “intervened with.”
“Anonymous threat reporting” will allow students and citizens “to report threats of school violence”, and as we all know, kids would never ever lie about that to get someone into trouble they were bullying, didn’t like, or were biased against. Our local SWAT team, the Northeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, which is so hostile to transparency about its policies and procedures that the ACLU is suing it, will be empowered to intervene on the basis of such reports. As icing on the cake, our local infamous Fusion Centers, who were caught spying on peaceful activists, who failed to thwart the Marathon bombings, and who continue to gather mounds of unverified, often racially motivated gossip on Massachusetts residents, will be given “information on every school in the Commonwealth.”
How many of our kids will end up in the Fusion Center’s “Suspicious Activity” database? Well, how many of us did at least one thing in school that some other kid or some member of the public might conceivably find “suspicious” if they saw it? More or less all of us. In middle school, I chatted with the communists at the school gate at recess, and had long conversations for a few months with a hobo camping in the school grounds. How about you?
All they need under this new plan is an anonymous report, not reasonable suspicion, or the Fourth Amendment’s stern requirement of probable cause. And once in that database, you can’t ever get that report removed, even if the information about you is shown to be false. That’s the new world of the surveillance state: Nothing that you are alleged to have done, once digitized, can be forgotten. The inevitable result is that students who look or act “different” to others – who are poor, on IEPs, from ethnic or religious minorities, are autistic or depressed, or who simply have unusual taste in accessories, will be singled out, harassed, and written up.
Can we stop and think a moment about what this means for students who are having violent or suicidal thoughts? The incentives under this system are very clear for that student: Don’t tell anybody. Don’t try and get them resolved. If you do, you’ll be “identified” for “intervention,” be permanently flagged as “suspicious,” and have your name irreversibly added to the surveillance state’s unconstitutional thoughtcrimes haystack. Set up the incentives this way, and you will make students less safe, not more safe.
Apparently, we’re also supposed to fund lots of monthly “school safety” preparedness meetings, and no doubt slide presentations, lengthy reports, conferences, maybe even retreats. Law enforcement will rack up overtime, school administrators and teachers will be taken away from education-related activities, and both will spend time on your dime having to hyperventilate about threats that are unpreventable, highly improbable, or both. Whoever is profiting here, it’s not us.
Last, of course, every single ingress, egress and movement of adult visitors within a school building must apparently be tracked and monitored with cameras and ID cards. It will hamper every single event that any of our schools or PTAs runs. Who cares, right – it’s for “safety”! But think about it: In a school shooting or suicide situation, all cameras will do is document what happened, not prevent it.
On an everyday basis, cameras will merely encourage students to conform where the cameras are running, and do their rulebreaking elsewhere.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why is the Boston Police targeting black & brown people?

The Boston Police Department (BPD) has used racially biased policing, as shown by data from reports of 200,000+ encounters between BPD officers and civilians from 2007–2010. According to researchers, the data show that police targeted Blacks in 63.3% of encounters—while Blacks make up less than a quarter of Boston's population.
This racial disparity cannot be explained away by BPD efforts to target crime. The researchers' preliminary statistical analysis found that the racial composition of Boston neighborhoods drove police-civilian encounters even after controlling for crime rates and other factors. They also found that Blacks were more likely than whites to be subjected to repeat police-civilian encounters and to be frisked or searched, even after controlling for civilians' alleged gang involvement and history of prior arrest.
Click here to read the ACLU report "Black, Brown & Targeted'.
The bottom line is that race was a significant factor driving the BPD's stop-and-frisk practices.
• 63% of Boston police-civilian encounters from 2007-2010 targeted Blacks, even though Blacks made up less than 25% of the city's population
• Even after controlling from crime, Boston police officers were more likely to initiate police encounters in Black neighborhoods and to initiate encounters with Black people
• Boston police gave essentially no justification for 75% of these encounters, simply listing "investigate person" as the reason
• More than 200,000 encounters led to no arrest, and only 2.5% led to seizure of contraband