"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.
Friday, April 27, 2012
One of TSA's security Initiatives is a national pilot program that questions & searches Americans on public transportation.
The security initiative, described as part of a national counterterrorism pilot program, netted 14 arrests, half of which were for prostitution, Metro spokeswoman Carolina Mendoza said. http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/tsnm/mass_transit/index.shtm
81 police officers saturated Houston bus stops and routes last Friday. Most were from METRO, but some were from the federal Transportation Security Administration, as well as HPD.
Frequent Metro rider Derrick Broze referenced his Fourth Amendment rights and criticized what he said was local and federal officers' questioning of riders during the April 13 sweep, asking where the riders were coming from and whether they often rode the bus they were on.
A friend of Broze took pictures of the bus-safe exercise that he says show TSA agents and METRO police asking riders where they're going as they get off the bus and how often they ride that route. "METRO and TSA were going onto the buses and questioning people about their normal routes and their normal behavior, and it just kind of creates an atmosphere of fear," Broze said.
"We are here to loudly condemn METRO's recent violations of the United States constitution," Houston lawyer Robert Fickman said.
"You've gone one step too far by bringing the TSA into our house," another concerned resident said.
"In my opinion, the METRO board doesn't get it," said another.
On April 13, the METRO Police Department invited TSA to be a part of its bus-safe exercise. METRO said then and repeated for days afterwards there would be random searches of bus and train passengers' bags.
"I don't feel like by purchasing a ticket or riding a bus that I have to forfeit my Constitutional rights and my protections and be subject to search or seizure," Broze told Metro board members at their regular monthly meeting. "We don't plan on letting this issue die if the TSA stays in our city."
"To get inside my bag, it's my personal items. I am not going to let you in my bag unless you have a warrant," concerned resident Keith Francis said.
After an uproar, METRO says it never did any bag searches and never intended to, that the official METRO blog saying so was just a mistake.
"There was never an intention to do bag searches," METRO President and Chairman George Grenias said.
But for METRO rider Broze, it's not enough.
"I don't feel that by purchasing a ticket or riding a bus, I have to forfeit my constitutional rights to my protections and be subject to search or seizure," Broze said.
"The good citizens of Houston are not stupid enough to believe Metro was actually expecting to find terrorists at a bus stop here. Instead, it was used as a pretext to harass people," said Robert Fickman, past president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. "Metro police can do all the police exercises they want on each other: They can sic dogs on each other, they can Taser each other, they can throw rocks at each other for all I care. What Metro cannot do is practice their police exercises … on innocent Houstonians who just happened to be riding bus or rail."
Earl Musick, current president of the criminal lawyers group, presented the board with a copy of the Constitution, to loud applause from much of the crowd.
Amtrak forms new department to be headed by former FEMA official, signals tighter integration.
Amtrak is working with closely with the child agencies of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which has been steadily expanding outside of the confines of airports.
Of course one of the other most well known child agencies of the behemoth DHS is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is where the head of Amtrak’s new emergency management and corporate security department comes from.
The leader of this new department will be Susan Reinertson, the former regional director of FEMA Region X in Seattle.
She was appointed in 2006 and was responsible for coordinating FEMA’s mitigation, preparedness, disaster response and recovery efforts for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Why is this at all important or newsworthy, you ask? Well, it shows that Amtrak – like many other companies – is becoming increasingly tight with federal agencies working under DHS.
Amtrak is already fully compliant with – or some might say they regularly capitulate to – the DHS and child agencies, as evidenced not only by the TSA teams which swoop in on their trains but also by the case I reported on recently in which a college student was detained for quite a while, interrogated and harassed simply for being in Islamic Studies.
Of course, since the train crossed a border they are essentially forced to comply with whatever the Customs and Border Protection (CBP, another DHS agency) officers want to do, but regardless they seem to have no problem with subjecting their passengers to the thuggish behavior of federal goons.
I suspect that this will only increase with a former FEMA regional director heading up one of their departments, since now the DHS will have a high-level former official to leverage.
Amtrak states that their new department will integrate their company-wide efforts into a solitary and cohesive unit.
They claim that this will allow them to more effectively prepare for emergencies and disasters, as well as to mitigate the effects of emergencies and disasters while allowing for faster and more efficient response and recovery.
“The new team will identify opportunities to strategically coordinate, train and put into practice consistent and efficient response and recovery efforts to better ensure the safety and security of our customers and employees,” said Amtrak president and chief executive officer Joe Boardman, according to Government Security News.
Read more: http://endthelie.com/2012/05/01/amtrak-forms-new-department-to-be-headed-by-former-fema-official-signals-tighter-integration/#axzz1tXGA8QYm
Posted by mapi at 7:58 AM