What I Don’t Like About Life in the American Police State

militarized police

The Rutherford Institute
By John W. Whitehead

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”Edward Abbey, American author

There’s a lot to love about America and its people: their pioneering spirit, their entrepreneurship, their ability to think outside the box, their passion for the arts, etc.  Increasingly, however, as time goes by, I find the things I don’t like about living in a nation that has long since ceased to be a sanctuary for freedom are beginning to outnumber the things I love.

Here’s what I don’t like about living in the American police state: I don’t like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds. I don’t like being viewed as a consumer and bits of data. I don’t like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy, especially in my own home.

I don’t like government officials who lobby for my vote only to ignore me once elected. I don’t like having representatives incapable of and unwilling to represent me. I don’t like taxation without representation.

I don’t like being bullied by government bureaucrats, vigilantes masquerading as cops, or faceless technicians. I don’t like being railroaded into financing government programs whose only purpose is to increase the power and wealth of the corporate elite. I don’t like being forced to pay for wars abroad that serve no other purpose except to expand the reach of the military industrial complex.

I don’t like being subjected to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA. I don’t like VIPR raids on so-called “soft” targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes. I don’t like fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.

I don’t like being treated like an underling by government agents who are supposed to be working for me. I don’t like being threatened, intimidated, bribed, beaten and robbed by individuals entrusted with safeguarding my rights. I don’t like being silenced, censored and marginalized. I don’t like my movements being tracked, my conversations being recorded, and my transactions being catalogued.

I don’t like how the presidency has developed into a neo-monarchy replete with all the luxury and lasciviousness of the feudal lords of old.

I don’t like politicians who spend most of their time running for office, fundraising and enjoying being feted by lobbyists and corporations alike. I don’t like being kept at a distance from my elected representatives, including the president (a.k.a. the Emperor). I don’t like free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws that restrict Americans’ First Amendment rights.

I don’t like laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at home, growing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater. I don’t like the NDAA, which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely. I don’t like the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

I don’t like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has become America’s standing army in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country. I don’t like military weapons such as armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like being used against the American citizens. I don’t like government agencies such as the DHS, Post Office, Social Security Administration and Wildlife stocking up on hollow-point bullets. And I definitely don’t like the implications of detention centers being built that could house American citizens.

I don’t like the fact that since President Obama took office, police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”

I don’t like America’s infatuation with locking people up for life for non-violent crimes. There are over 3,000 people in America serving life sentences for non-violent crimes, including theft of a jacket, siphoning gasoline from a truck, stealing tools, and attempting to cash a stolen check. I don’t like paying roughly $29,000 a year per inmate just to keep these nonviolent offenders in prison.

I don’t like having my hard-earned taxpayer dollars used against me.

I don’t like the partisan nature of politics today, which has so polarized Americans that they are incapable of standing in unity against the government’s abuses. I don’t like the entertainment drivel that passes for news coverage today.

I don’t like the fact that those within a 25-mile range of the border are getting a front row seat to the American police state, as Border Patrol agents are now allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.

I don’t like public schools that treat students as if they were prison inmates. I don’t like zero tolerance laws that criminalize childish behavior. I don’t like a public educational system that emphasizes rote memorization and test-taking over learning, synthesizing and critical thinking.

I don’t like police precincts whose primary purpose—whether through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, or red light cameras—is making a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect. I don’t like militarized police and their onerous SWAT team raids.

I don’t like Department of Defense and DHS programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. I don’t like government programs that reward cops for raiding homes and terrorizing homeowners. I don’t like local police dressing and acting as if they were the military while viewing me as an enemy combatant.

I don’t like being treated as if I have no rights.

I don’t like cash-strapped states cutting deals with private corporations to run the prisons in exchange for maintaining 90% occupancy rates for at least 20 years. I don’t like the fact that American prisons have become the source of cheap labor for Corporate America.

I don’t like feeling as if we’ve come full circle back to a pre-Revolutionary era.

I don’t like answering to an imperial president, who operates above the law. I don’t like the injustice that passes for justice in the courts. I don’t like prosecutors so hell bent on winning that they allow innocent people to suffer for crimes they didn’t commit.

I don’t like the double standards that allow government officials to break laws with immunity, while average Americans get the book thrown at them. I don’t like cops who shoot first and ask questions later. I don’t like police dogs being treated with more respect and afforded more rights than American citizens.

I don’t like living in a suspect society. I don’t like Americans being assumed guilty until they prove their innocence. I don’t like the fact that 38 states require that a property owner prove his innocence when police have laid claim to it in a civil forfeiture proceeding, whether or not that individual has done anything wrong.

I don’t like technology being used as a double-edged sword against us. I don’t like agencies like DARPA developing weapons for the battlefield that get used against Americans back at home. I don’t like the fact that drones will be deployed domestically in 2015, yet the government has yet to establish any civil liberties protocols to prevent them from being used against the citizenry.

Most of all, I don’t like feeling as if there’s no hope for turning things around.

Now there are those who would suggest that if I don’t like things about this country, I should leave and go elsewhere. And there are certainly those among my fellow citizens who are leaving for friendlier shores. However, I happen to come from a long line of people who believe in the virtue of hard work and perseverance and in the principle that nothing worthwhile comes without effort.

So I’m not giving up, at least not anytime soon. But I’m also not waiting around for the government to clean up its act. I’m not making any deals with politicians who care nothing about me and mine. To quote Number Six, the character in the British television series The Prisoner: “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own!”

I plan to keep fighting, writing, speaking up, speaking out, shouting if necessary, filing lawsuits, challenging the status quo, writing letters to the editor, holding my representatives accountable, thinking nationally but acting locally, and generally raising a ruckus anytime the government attempts to undermine the Constitution and ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re at a crisis point in American history. If we don’t get up off our duffs and get involved in the fight for freedom, then up ahead the graveyard beckons. As Martin Luther King Jr. warned, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”

The Rutherford Institute

The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Naked Truth About the American Police State

militarized police

Rutherford Institute
By John W. Whitehead

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.”
—H.L. Mencken, American journalist

It’s vogue, trendy, and appropriate to look to dystopian literature as a harbinger of what we’re experiencing at the hands of the government. Certainly, George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm have much to say about government tyranny, corruption, and control, as does Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report. Yet there are also older, simpler, more timeless stories — folk tales and fairy tales — that speak just as powerfully to the follies and foibles in our nature as citizens and rulers alike that give rise to tyrants and dictatorships.

One such tale, Hans Christian Andersen’s fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, is a perfect paradigm of life today in the fiefdom that is the American police state, only instead of an imperial president spending money wantonly on lavish vacations, entertainment, and questionable government programs aimed at amassing greater power, Andersen presents us with a vain and thoughtless emperor, concerned only with satisfying his own needs at the expense of his people, even when it means taxing them unmercifully, bankrupting his kingdom, and harshly punishing his people for daring to challenge his edicts.

For those unfamiliar with the tale, the Emperor, a vain peacock of a man, is conned into buying a prohibitively expensive suit of clothes that is supposedly visible only to those who are smart, competent and well-suited to their positions. Surrounded by yes men, professional flatterers and career politicians who fawn, simper and genuflect, the Emperor — arrogant, pompous and oblivious to his nudity — prances through the town in his new suit of clothes until a child dares to voice what everyone else has been thinking but too afraid to say lest they be thought stupid or incompetent: “He isn’t wearing anything at all!”

Much like the people of the Emperor’s kingdom, we, too, have been conned into believing that if we say what we fear, if we dare to suggest that something is indeed “rotten in the state of Denmark,” we will be branded idiots and fools by the bureaucrats, corporate heads, governmental elites and media hotshots who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo—or who at least are determined to maintain the façade that is the status quo. Yet the truth is staring us in the face just as surely as the fact that the Emperor was wearing no clothes.

Truth #1: The US is on the brink of bankruptcy, as many economists have been warning for some time now, with more than $16 trillion in debts owned by foreign nationals and corporations. As one financial news site reports: “Internationally, the world is fed up with The Fed and the US government’s unabashed debt growth. China, Russia, Iran, India and a host of other countries are establishing trade relationships that are bypassing the US dollar altogether, a move that will soon see the world’s reserve currency lose purchasing power and status. In anticipation of this imminent collapse gold is being hoarded by private and public entities from Berlin to Beijing in an effort to preserve wealth before the Tsunami hits.”

Truth #2: We no longer have a government that is “of the people, for the people and by the people.” What we have now is a feudal monarchy, run by wealthy overlords and financed with the blood, sweat and labor of the underclasses who are kept in check by the increasingly militarized police. This sorry state of affairs is reinforced by a study which found that average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process. A similar study published by the Political Research Quarterly revealed that members of the US Senate represent their wealthiest constituents while ignoring those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder.

Truth #3: Far from being a benevolent entity concerned with the well-being of its citizens, whether in matters of health, safety or security, the government is concerned with three things only: power, control and money. As an often quoted adage says, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Unfortunately, the master-servant relationship that once had the government answering to “we the people” has been reversed. Government agents now act as if they are the masters and we are the servants. Nowhere is this more evident than in the transformation of police officers from benevolent keepers of the peace to inflexible extensions of the military hyped up on the power of their badge.

Truth #4: Our primary use to the government is as consumers, worker bees and bits of data to be collected, catalogued, controlled, mined for information, and sold to the highest bidder. Working in cahoots with corporations, the government has given itself carte blanche access to our phone calls, emails, bank transactions, physical movements, even our travels on foot or in our cars. Cybersecurity expert Richard Clarke envisions a future where data about every aspect of our lives will be collected and analyzed. Thus, no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court might have said to the contrary, the government no longer needs a warrant to spy on your cell phone activity or anything else for that matter. As the Washington Post recently revealed, 9 out of 10 people caught up in the NSA’s surveillance net had done nothing wrong to justify such intrusions on their privacy. Clearly, the government now operates relatively autonomously, answering only to itself and unbridled by the courts, Congress, the will of the people or the Constitution.

Truth #5: Whatever problems we are grappling with in regards to illegal immigrants flooding over the borders has little to do with the fact that the borders are porous and everything to do with the government’s own questionable agenda. How is it that a government capable of locking down roads, open seas, and air routes is unable to prevent tens of thousands of women and children from crossing into the US illegally? Conveniently, the Obama administration is asking Congress for $3.8 billion in emergency funding to send more immigration judges to the southern border, build additional detention facilities and add border patrol agents. The funds would be managed by the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State and Health and Human Services, the very same agencies responsible for bringing about a rapid shift into a police state.

Truth #6: The US government is preparing for massive domestic unrest, arising most likely from an economic meltdown. The government has repeatedly made clear its intentions, through its US Army War College report alerting the military to prepare for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,” through its ongoing military drills in cities across the country, through its profiling of potential homegrown “dissidents” or extremists, and through the proliferation of detention centers being built across the country.

Truth #7: As Gerald Ford warned, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” Too often, Americans have fallen prey to the temptation to let the government take care of whatever ails them, whether it be financial concerns, health needs, childcare. As a result, we now find ourselves caught in a Catch-22 situation wherein the government’s so-called solutions to our problems have led to even graver problems. In this way, zero tolerance policies intended to outlaw drugs and weapons in schools result in young children being arrested and kicked out of school for childish behavior such as drawing pictures of soldiers and crying too much; truancy laws intended to keep students in school have resulted in parents being arrested and fined excessively; and zoning laws intended to protect homeowners have been used to prosecute residents who attempt to live off the grid.

Truth #8: The US is following the Nazi blueprint to a “t,” whether through its storm trooper-like police in the form of heavily armed government agents, to its erection of an electronic concentration camp that not only threatens to engulf America but the rest of the world as well via NSA surveillance programs such as Five Eyes. Most damning of all is the Department of Homeland Security’s self-appointed role as a national police force, a.k.a. standing army, the fundamental and final building block for every totalitarian regime that has ever wreaked havoc on humanity. Indeed, just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to police agencies in the form of grants.

Truth #9: Not only does the US government perpetrate organized, systematic violence on its own citizens, especially those who challenge its authority nonviolently, in the form of SWAT team raids, militarized police, and roaming VIPR checkpoints, but it gets away with these clear violations of the Fourth Amendment because the courts grant them immunity from wrongdoing. Expanding its reach, the US also exports its violence wholesale to other countries through armaments sales and the use of its military as a global police force. Yet no matter how well trained, well equipped and well financed, America cannot police the world. As history shows, military empires, once over extended, inevitably collapse into chaos.

Truth #10: As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the United States of America has become the new battlefield. In fact, the only real war being fought by the US government today is the war on the American people, and it is being waged with deadly weapons, militarized police, surveillance technology, laws that criminalize otherwise lawful behavior, private prisons that operate on quota systems, and government officials who are no longer accountable to the rule of law.

So there you have it: facts rather than fiction, so naked that a child could call it for what it is, and yet so politically inconvenient, incorrect and uncomfortable that few dare to speak of them.

Even so, despite the fact that no one wants to be labeled dimwitted, or conspiratorial, or a right wing nut job, most Americans, if they were truly paying attention to what’s been going on in this country over the past few decades and willing to be truthful, at least to themselves, would have to admit that the outlook is decidedly grim. Indeed, unless something changes drastically for the good in the near future, it looks like this fairytale will not have a happy ending.

Rutherford Institute

What Your “Startlingly Intimate, Voyeristic” NSA File Looks Like

Zero Hedge

A few days ago, we asked a simple rhetorical question: “Are you targeted by the NSA?

The answer, sadly for those reading this, is very likely yes, as it was revealed that as part of the NSA’s XKeyscore program “a computer network exploitation system, as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering nearly everything a user does on the internet” all it takes for a user to be flagged by America’s superspooks is to go to a website the NSA finds less than “patriotic” and that user becomes a fixture for the NSA’s tracking algos.

So assuming one is being tracked by the NSA – or as it is also known for politically correct reasons “intercepted” – as a “person of interest” or worse, just what kind of data does the NSA collect? The latest report by the WaPo titled “In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are” sheds much needed light on just how extensive the NSA’s data collection effort is.

According to WaPo, the files on intercepted Americans “have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless.”

The Post reviewed roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.

Remember when the NSA said they only target foreigners, and only those who are of particular actionable interest? They lied.

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.

Going back to “your” file:

Taken together, the files offer an unprecedented vantage point on the changes wrought by Section 702 of the FISA amendments, which enabled the NSA to make freer use of methods that for 30 years had required probable cause and a warrant from a judge. One program, code-named PRISM, extracts content stored in user accounts at Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and five other leading Internet companies. Another, known inside the NSA as Upstream, intercepts data on the move as it crosses the U.S. junctions of global voice and data networks.

It gets worse, because that bed-wetting habit you kicked in the 2nd grade? The NSA knows all about it.

Among the latter are medical records sent from one family member to another, résumés from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren. In one photo, a young girl in religious dress beams at a camera outside a mosque.

 

Scores of pictures show infants and toddlers in bathtubs, on swings, sprawled on their backs and kissed by their mothers. In some photos, men show off their physiques. In others, women model lingerie, leaning suggestively into a webcam or striking risque poses in shorts and bikini tops.

How many Americans may be tracked by the NSA at any one time? Turns out ther answer is lots:

The Obama administration declines to discuss the scale of incidental collection. The NSA, backed by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., has asserted that it is unable to make any estimate, even in classified form, of the number of Americans swept in. It is not obvious why the NSA could not offer at least a partial count, given that its analysts routinely pick out “U.S. persons” and mask their identities, in most cases, before distributing intelligence reports.

 

If Snowden’s sample is representative, the population under scrutiny in the PRISM and Upstream programs is far larger than the government has suggested. In a June 26 “transparency report,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that 89,138 people were targets of last year’s collection under FISA Section 702. At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowden’s sample, the office’s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts, targeted or not, under surveillance.

And tangentially, for those who are urging the NSA to release Lois Lerner’s emails, all it would take are a few keystrokes:

If I had wanted to pull a copy of a judge’s or a senator’s e-mail, all I had to do was enter that selector into XKEYSCORE,” one of the NSA’s main query systems, [Edward Snowden] said.

What the file would likely reveal is all the dirt the US intelligence apparatus had on said (Supreme Court) judge or senator, or IRS employee. After all, what better way to keep the system of “checks and balances” in check than to have dirt on all the key places of leverage.

The WaPo has released a sterilized example of what a “target package” looks like for any given individual.

All of the above would be stunning… if it wasn’t for a culture in which FaceBook has made the exhibitionist stripping of one’s privacy and disclosure of every last piece of “intimate” personal information a daily chore. It is in this world, sadly, where the most recent confirmation of just how expansive Big Brother is, will merely be granted with a yawn by the vast majority of the population.

Finally, here’s a thought for the cash-strapped US government: when the Fed is no longer able to monetize the US deficit, the NSA can just hire Goldman to IPO the NSA “social network.” It should raise at least a few hundred billion in cash.

Zero Hedge

NSA Targets As “Extremists” Americans Who Simply Wish to Protect Themselves from Oppression

watching-eye-400

Washington’s Blog

Like a Cancer that Treats Any Immune System Response as a Threat to Be Challenged

In the wake of revelations about the extent of mass surveillance by the NSA and other agencies, people are trying to protect themselves by adopting encryption and other privacy tools.

The Guardian reported in January:

The gathering crisis of trust around consumer web services and the fallout from Edward Snowden’s revelations is fuelling a significant uptake in anonymity tools, new research shows, as internet users battle censorship and assert their right to privacy online.

Globally, 56% of those surveyed by GlobalWebIndex reported that they felt the internet is eroding their personal privacy, with an estimated 415 million people or 28% of the online population using tools to disguise their identity or location.

Aggregating market research data from 170,000 internet users worldwide, GWI found that 11% of all users claim to use Tor, the most high profile for anonymising internet access.

Tor was created – largely with funding from the U.S. government – in order to allow people who live in repressive authoritarian regimes to communicate anonymously on the Internet.

So it is ironic that the NSA targets as “extremists” (the word the U.S. government uses for “probable terrorists”) anyone who uses Tor or any other privacy tool … or even searches for information on privacy tools on the Internet.

Jacob Appelbaum and other privacy experts explain at Das Erste:

  • Merely searching the web for the privacy-enhancing software tools outlined in the XKeyscore rules causes the NSA to mark and track the IP address of the person doing the search. Not only are German privacy software users tracked, but the source code shows that privacy software users worldwide are tracked by the NSA.
  • Among the NSA’s targets is the Tor network funded primarily by the US government to aid democracy advocates in authoritarian states.

***

The NSA program XKeyscore is a collection and analysis tool and “a computer network exploitation system”, as described in an NSA presentation. It is one of the agency’s most ambitious programs devoted to gathering “nearly everything a user does on the internet.” The source code contains several rules that enable agents using XKeyscore to surveil privacy-conscious internet users around the world. The rules published here are specifically directed at the infrastructure and the users of the Tor Network, the Tails operating system, and other privacy-related software.

***

The former NSA director General Keith Alexander stated that all those communicating with encryption will be regarded as terror suspects and will be monitored and stored as a method of prevention, as quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in August last year. The top secret source code published here indicates that the NSA is making a concerted effort to combat any and all anonymous spaces that remain on the internet. Merely visiting privacy-related websites is enough for a user’s IP address to be logged into an NSA database.

***

The comment in the  source code above describes Tails as “a comsec mechanism advocated by extremists on extremist forums”. In actuality, the software is used by journalists, human rights activists, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who merely wish to protect their privacy.

***

Tor Project’s Roger Dingledine stated the following: “We’ve been thinking of state surveillance for years because of our work in places where journalists are threatened. Tor’s anonymity is based on distributed trust, so observing traffic at one place in the Tor network, even a directory authority, isn’t enough to break it. Tor has gone mainstream in the past few years, and its wide diversity of users – from civic-minded individuals and ordinary consumers to activists, law enforcement, and companies – is part of its security. Just learning that somebody visited the Tor or Tails website doesn’t tell you whether that person is a journalist source, someone concerned that her Internet Service Provider will learn about her health conditions, or just someone irked that cat videos are blocked in her location. Trying to make a list of Tor’s millions of daily users certainly counts as wide scale collection. Their attack on the bridge address distribution service shows their “collect all the things” mentality – it’s worth emphasizing that we designed bridges for users in countries like China and Iran, and here we are finding out about attacks by our own country.

If you read Linux Journal – or even read extremely popular sites like Boing Boing – the NSA will target you.

Reddit and other popular websites have promoted privacy tools. 6% of all American adults – and 15% of males aged 18-29 – use Reddit. Are they targeted as well?

If you think we’re exaggerating the threat to privacy from the NSA, remember that the Department of Homeland Security called DHS’ own privacy office “terrorists”.

And the Department of Justice blacked out words in a document saying their disclosure would pose a “grave threat” to national security. The words? The Fourth Amendment.

This flies in the face of American values.  After all:

  • The Founding Fathers valued privacy over safety. Indeed, the Revolutionary War was largely started to stop the use of spying by the British. Background here. In other words, the Founding Fathers gave up their safe life with little freedom to strive for real freedom.

And it shows an authoritarian mindset of treating any attempt to resist their power as terrorism.

Indeed, it is like a cancer that treats any immune system response as a threat to be taken out.

Examples are – sadly – widespread in modern America:

  • Protesting against the government’s claimed power to indefinitely detain anyone without charge … could result in your getting detained

Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department’s use of force guidelines, said … After reviewing the video [of the pepper spraying of UC Davis students] he observed at least two cases of “active resistance” from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.

“What I’m looking at is fairly standard police procedure,” Kelly said.

Of course, NSA apologists will pretend that targeting privacy tool users is necessary to stop the bad guys.  This argument is demolished by the fact that for 5,000 years straight, mass surveillance has always been used by tyrants to crush dissent.

Washington’s Blog

Report: Militarized Police Treating Citizens as “Wartime Enemies”

militarized police

The New American
by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.

As the number of troop-heavy foreign interventions decreases, the warcraft and weaponry used in battle are now being deployed in neighborhoods as members and machines of law enforcement become increasingly indistinguishable from those of the military.

This is the situation as revealed in a new report published by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) entitled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.”

A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2 year-old son” is perhaps the best example of a headline announcing the horrific impact this conversion can have when left unchecked.

As reported by The New American, a toddler is in a medically induced coma after a Cornelia, Georgia, SWAT team tossed a flash-bang grenade into his crib during the execution of a “no-knock” warrant.

Bounkham Phonesavanh is 19 months old and was asleep in his crib when police broke down the front door in the early morning hours on May 28 and threw the grenade into the front room. His mother, father, and three sisters were in the room as well.

Earlier this week, the baby’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, described the ordeal in detail, including the relevant account of the near fatal blurring of the line between soldier and cop:

Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns.

The ACLU provides a brief history of the creation and transformation of SWAT:

SWAT [Special Weapons And Tactics] teams were created in the late 1960s as “quasi-militaristic” squads capable of addressing serious and violent situations that presented imminent threats such as riots, barricade and hostage scenarios, and active shooter or sniper situations. The first SWAT team, at the Los Angeles Police Department, was developed in the wake of a series of emergency situations in which local police felt unable to respond as swiftly or as effectively as was necessary. SWAT teams have since expanded in number, and are used with greater frequency and, increasingly, for purposes for which they were not originally intended — overwhelmingly to serve search warrants in drug investigations.

In the case of Bounkham Phonesavanh, SWAT team members executed the no-knock warrant after receiving a tip from an informant that he had bought methamphetamine from a man named Wanis Thometheva earlier that day. Precisely the perversion of the power documented in the ACLU report.

“War Comes Home” observes 818 SWAT operations from July 2010 to October 2013. These operations were carried out by more than 20 law enforcement agencies in 11 states.

The 96-page report reveals that the increasingly militaristic police — forces equipped, trained, and often outfitted by the Pentagon — are behaving with a belligerence more at home on the battlefield in the face of an armed enemy than in neighborhoods while performing routine duties once accomplished with little more than a squad car and a badge.

The sources of the funds that equip formerly cash-strapped towns and cities are also covered in the ACLU report. As the organization writes:

Law enforcement agencies have become equipped to carry out these SWAT missions in part by federal programs such as the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, the Department of Homeland Security’s grants to local law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.

“Neighborhoods are not war zones, and our police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies,” the ACLU says.

The authors of the study recognize that their findings are not new, but only another brick of evidence in the wall of proof incriminating the police for treating Americans as suspects, rather than as fellow citizens.

“This report provides a snapshot of the realities of paramilitary policing, building on a body of existing work demonstrating that police militarization is a pervasive problem,” the paper explains.

In order to combat the militarization of police, the report recommends more local oversight.

“Local police departments should develop their own internal policies calling for appropriate restraints on the use of SWAT and should avoid all training programs that encourage a ‘warrior’ mindset,” the report suggests.

Finally, the ACLU report notes that “if the federal government gives the police a huge cache of military-style weaponry, they are highly likely to use it, even if they do not really need to.”

This analysis of human nature is not unique to the ACLU. Another expert agrees: Jim Fitzgerald worked for eight years as a vice and narcotics squad detective in Newark, New Jersey, before joining the staff of The John Birch Society. He is point man for the conservative organization’s “Support Your Local Police” initiative.

In an interview with The New American, Fitzgerald said there is “virtually no use” for the military-grade equipment being bought by local law enforcement with DHS grant money.

“The only reason to have this equipment is to use it,” Fitzgerald said, and it is likely it would be used against local citizens who have risen up and created some sort of civil disorder.

Paradoxically, the police’s push to be prepared and trained to quell civil unrest is fomenting the feelings that could create such an uprising. Americans are tired of reading reports of law enforcement behaving less like the police and more like the gestapo, less like servants of the law and more like servants of the state, deployed with the training, technology, tactics, and weapons capable of enforcing the increasingly unconstitutional edicts of the ruling regime.

The New American

Obama Civilian Security Force Takes Control of Migrant Internment Camps: “Abide By Brown Shirts Law”

SHTFplan
by Mac Slavo

brown-shirts

In the run up to the 2008 Presidential election Barack Obama promised he would work to implement a domestic security force which would rival that of the U.S. military. It was an idea heavily criticized by his opponents because of fears that such an organization would bear similarity to World War II era spying groups that policed the citizens of Nazi Germany.

Many dubbed Obama’s proposed force the “Brown Shirts,” a term often used to describe a Nazi assault force and one that has repeatedly been associated with extremist nationalists for their unwavering willingness to take and execute orders without question or contemplation. Brown shirt brigades were tasked with, among other things, arresting dissidents, silencing criticism and wholesale executions of those who could not be reeducated.

For the majority, the notion that such a force would be assembled in the United States was nothing but another conspiracy originating from the lunatic right wing. But in October of 2012 the Department of Homeland Security quietly graduated their first corp of civilian responders under the new program. And since then it is likely that thousands more have been trained and deployed across the country to be called upon in the event of an emergency.

And if there were ever an emergency that required a military level response in the United States, many believe it is happening right now on the Southern border as hundreds of thousands of migrants make their way illegally into America. Because of the sheer number of people heading to the U.S. and the complete failure, whether by chance or by design, of the Obama administration to secure the border, America is now faced with housing, feeding, clothing and providing medical care for more people than it was prepared to handle.

In response, rather than deploy Homeland Security or the National Guard to stop the migration at its source, the Administration has instead set up makeshift internment camps, some of which put scores of people in a room the size of a studio apartment. As a result, disease has spread and civilian emergency personnel have been tasked with providing care.

But among the doctors and caregivers is also a private security force that has been hired to keep the peace. And according to several people working inside the camps, the security groups have turned their attention not towards keeping peace between the migrants, but rather, at keeping the goings on of the facilities completely secret from the general public.

According to the unnamed source, who could not provide video documentation of these events because cell phones are not allowed in the facility, the security force is reportedly calling itself the “Brown Shirts.” The insider says they have been given orders to arrest anyone speaking to the public or using cell phones, and have implemented what is being referred to as “Brown Shirts Law.”

“There were several of us who wanted to talk about the camps, but the agents made it clear we would be arrested,” a psychiatric counselor told me.

“We were under orders not to say anything.”

The sources say security forces called themselves the “Brown Shirts.”

“It was a very submissive atmosphere,” the counselor said.

“Once you stepped onto the grounds, you abided by their laws – the Brown Shirt laws.”

She said the workers were stripped of their cellphones and other communication devices. Anyone caught with a phone was immediately fired.

“Everyone was paranoid,” she said. “The children had more rights than the workers.”

She said children in the camp had measles, scabies, chicken pox and strep throat as well as mental and emotional issues.

Fox News via Drudge

The U.S. Government has spent billions of dollars preparing a wide variety of protocols to respond to domestic emergencies. In addition to the Brown Shirt security teams currently in operation at migrant internment camps, the government has also stockpiled billions of rounds of ammunition, rifles, riot gear, armored vehicles, military drones and is believed to have set up hundreds of detention camps around the country in anticipation of events ranging from widespread civil unrest to natural disasters.

In the event of an emergency, the President, having authorized himself by Executive Doomsday Order, will have access to military assets, law enforcement, homeland security, and now a civilian policing force that is, apparently, ready to perform its job without questioning their complicity in covering up the spread of disease and who knows what else.

FEMA camps, believed to exist as a last resort in case the government has to round up and detain tens of thousands of people under a martial law declaration, will require very similar logistics as the existing migrant internment camps.

Now we know that, should you ever reside in a detention camp, there will be no information making its way in or out unless the message has been officially approved for dissemination. Anyone who fails to follow the rules and abide by Brown Shirts Law could have their career destroyed, be arrested or worse yet, charged under terrorism laws that, as the Brown Shirts of old may have referred to it, allow for a “final solution.”

SHTFplan

‘Smart’ Street Lights to “Track Everything We Do All the Time”

InfoWars
by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON

CBS News report touts benefits of new LED technology

Smart street lights that “track everything we do all the time” are on the horizon according to a CBS News report which touted the environmental benefits of new LED systems that also feature an array of surveillance capabilities.

The lights are being marketed as a fantastic energy saving device because they have motion sensors which detect foot traffic, allowing them to switch on and off only when required.

A CBS News report showcases the smart lights in action at Newark Airport and at an underground parking lot, while imagining that all 4 billion outside street lights may eventually all be “connected in one global network.”

A “seamless grid” of smart lights networked with surveillance cameras also provides security for a parking lot outside a Silicon Valley building, tracking an individual’s “every move” while also utilizing license plate recognition technology to store data about vehicles.

“The future is limitless for this technology,” asserts Shorenstein Engineering manager Kevin Kirk.

“In the future, the smart network could track every place we go, everything we buy, everything we do all the time,” states reporter Bill Whitaker.

Responding to the charge that such a scenario “sounds Orwellian,” Hugh Martin, Chairman and CEO of Sensity Systems, cited the necessity to protect schools by using the smart system to detect guns, while denying that the technology was racing ahead of policy makers’ ability to control its reach.

What the CBS report failed to mention is that some of the “high-tech add ons” being included in smart street lights include technology that can record conversations.

Last year we reported on how Illuminating Concepts, the company behind Intellistreets, bragged on their website that their smart LED system, which is being rolled out in major cities like Las Vegas, has the capability of analyzing voices and tracking people, features that will aid the Department of Homeland Security in “protecting its citizens.”

A page on the Intellistreets website (since removed) which highlighted “benefits and applications” featured a section on security admitting that the hi-tech system includes “voice stress analyzers,” amongst several other sophisticated sensors that “assist DHS in protecting its citizens and natural resources.”

Authorities in New York City announced last year that they would be replacing the city’s 250,000 street lights with new LEDs by 2017, although it is not known how many of these will feature “smart” technology.

While the CBS report raises a few token privacy questions, the tone of the piece is undoubtedly positive, touting the brightness, longevity, security and environmental benefits of the new street lights. At the end of the report, one of the studio anchors alongside Charlie Rose glibly exclaims, “Big Brother is watching,” as if it’s a good thing.

InfoWars

Police State America: Will the US Supreme Court Apply Cell Phone Privacy to NSA Metadata Collection?

Global Research
By Marjorie Cohn

metadata-nsa-cell-phone-spying

In one of the most significant Fourth Amendment rulings ever handed down by the Supreme Court, all nine justices agreed in an opinion involving two companion cases, Riley v. California [PDF] and United States v. Wurie, that police generally need a warrant before reading data on the cell phone of an arrestee. This decision may well presage how the court will rule on the constitutionality of the National Security Agency (NSA) metadata collection program when that issue inevitably comes before it.

Warrants Needed to Search Cell Phone Data

There has always been a preference for search warrants when the police conduct a Fourth Amendment search or seizure. But, over the years, the court has carved out certain exceptions to the warrant requirement, including the search incident to a lawful arrest. The 1969 case of Chimel v. California defined the parameters of this exception. Upon a lawful arrest, police can search the person of the arrestee and areas within his immediate control from which he could secure a weapon or destroy evidence. Four years later, in United States v. Robinson, the court confirmed that the search incident to a lawful arrest is a bright-line rule. These types of searches will not be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. If the arrest is lawful, a search incident to it needs no further justification. It does not matter whether the officer is concerned in a given case that the arrestee might be armed or destroy evidence.

In Riley/Wurie, the court declined to apply the search incident to a lawful arrest exception to searches of data contained on an arrestee’s cell phone. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that the dual rationales for applying the exception to the search of physical objects—protecting officers and preventing destruction of evidence—do not apply to the digital content on cell phones: “There are no comparable risks when the search is of digital data.”

Moreover, “[m]odern cell phones, as a category,” Roberts noted, “implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse.” Responding to the government’s assertion that a search of cell phone data is “materially indistinguishable” from searches of physical items, Roberts quipped, “That is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon.” Indeed, Roberts observed, the search of a cell phone would typically provide the government with even more personal information than the search of a home, an area that has traditionally been given the strongest privacy protection. Modern cell phones, Roberts wrote, “are now such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.” Roberts was referring to the ubiquitous presence of cell phones appended to our ears as we walk down the street.

But the court held that while a warrant is usually required to search data on an arrestee’s cell phone, officers could rely on the exigent circumstances exception in appropriate cases. For example, when a suspect is texting an accomplice who is preparing to detonate a bomb, or a child abductor may have information about the child’s location on his cell phone, or circumstances suggest the phone will be the target of an imminent attempt to erase the data on it, police may dispense with a search warrant.

Metadata Collection Implicates Similar Privacy Concerns

The Riley/Wurie opinion provides insights into how the court will decide other digital-era privacy issues. Roberts was concerned that

“[a]n Internet search and browsing history, for example, can be found on an Internet-enabled phone and could reveal an individual’s private interests or concerns—perhaps a search for certain symptoms of disease, coupled with frequent visits to WebMD.”

The Chief Justice could have been describing the NSA metadata collection program, which requires telecommunications companies to produce all of our telephone communications every day. Although the government claims it does not read the content of those communications, it does monitor the identities of the sender and recipient, and the date, time, duration, place and unique identifiers of the communication. As Roberts pointed out in the cell phone case, much can be learned from this data. Calls to a clinic that performs abortions or visits to a gay website can reveal intimate details about a person’s private life. A URL, such as www.webMD.com/depression, can contain significant information, even without examining the content. Whether we access the Internet with our cell phones, or with our computers, the same privacy considerations are implicated.

Roberts quoted Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s concurrence in United States v. Jones [PDF], the case in which the court held that a warrant is generally required before police install and monitor a GPS tracking device on a car. Sotomayor wrote, “GPS monitoring generates a precise, comprehensive record of a person’s public movements that reflects a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.” US District Court Judge Richard J. Leon also cited that concurrence by Sotomayor in his 2013 decision that the metadata collection probably violates the Fourth Amendment (Klayman v. Obama).

And both Roberts and Leon distinguished the cell phone search and metadata collection, respectively, from the 1979 case of Smith v. Maryland, in which the court held that no warrant is required for a telephone company to use a pen register to identify numbers dialed by a particular caller. The Smith Court concluded that a pen register was not a Fourth Amendment “search,” and therefore the police did not need to use a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement. In order to constitute a “search,” a person must have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is violated. The court said in Smith that a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in numbers dialed from a phone since he voluntarily transmits them to a third party—the phone company.

Roberts stated in Riley/Wurie: “There is no dispute here that the officers engaged in a search of Wurie’s cell phone.” Likewise, Leon wrote that the issue of “whether a pen register constitutes a ‘search’ is a far cry from the issue in the [metadata collection] case.” Leon added,

“When do present-day circumstances—the evolution of the government’s surveillance capabilities, citizens’ phone habits, and the relationship between the NSA and the telecom companies—become so thoroughly unlike those considered by the Supreme Court thirty-four years ago that a precedent like Smith simply does not apply? The answer, unfortunately for the Government, is now.”

If the court is consistent in its analysis, it will determine that the collection by the government of all of our electronic records implicates the same privacy concerns as the inspection of the data on our cell phones. It remains to be seen if and when the metadata collection issue comes before the court. But the fact that the cell phone decision was 9-0 is a strong indication that all of the justices, regardless of ideology, are deeply concerned about protecting the privacy of our electronic communications.

Global Research

Top NSA Officials: U.S. Has Turned Into Stasi Germany or Soviet Union

Flag_of_the_Soviet_Union_JPG

Washington’s Blog

What the Heck Happened to America?

Senior NSA executive Thomas Drake is an expert on spying in Stasi Germany … having studied it for years.

Drake told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has adopted the Stasi model:

“Collect it all, know it all” [the NSA's model] is actually the Stasi model. It’s not just know everything; we have to be able to keep everything that we want to know, even if we don’t know it yet.

It’s a collect it all first mentality … and then we’ll get to know it all. I call it “feeding the beast”.

I keep shuddering because I’m intimately familiar with the East German surveillance state mentality.

A lieutenant colonel for the Stasi East German’s – based upon his experience – agrees. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who grew up in Stasi Germany – says the NSA is exactly the same. Top American constitutional experts also say that the Obama and Bush administration are worse than the Stasi East Germans.

Senior NSA official Bill Binney – the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s surveillance program for digital information, was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees – is an expert on Soviet spying.   Binney spent decades studying – and trying to counter – the repressive Soviet program of mass surveillance.

Binney said that – after 9/11 – America implemented the same type of system used by the Soviets.

Postscript:  Unfortunately, it’s not just spying …

In the decade after 9/11, the U.S. used specialized communist torture techniques specifically aimed at extracting  false  confessions.

Under Obama, whistleblowers and dissidents are treated as ruthlessly as in the Soviet Union.

When bad government policy leads to bad results, the U.S. government does what the Soviets did:  manipulate the data.

The Soviets had Pravda … similarly, propaganda is now being used within the U.S.  The U.S. government pumps out massive amounts of propaganda through the mainstream and “gatekeeper” alternative media, movies, video games, and other venues.

And the American economy has gone from capitalism to socialism … at least for the fatcats.

What the heck happened to American ideals?

Washington’s Blog

‘Sneak & peek’ warrants allow police to secretly enter homes without notice

Police State USA

Covert tactics have become legally accepted and increasingly popular.

Peeking burglar.

Burglar or police officer?

A little-known police tactic allows cops to covertly enter private residences, perform searches, seize property, and then leave quietly without notifying the homeowner. These searches, affectionately known as “sneak and peek” warrants, have been performed at a rapidly rising rate since 9/11.

Covert Tactics

Sneak and Peek warrants in actuality a more extreme version of the over-used “no-knock” raids that we cover so often. After seeking out a judge’s authorization, police are allowed to secretly break into private property without first announcing themselves or presenting the subject of the search with a signed warrant. Using this variety of warrant, officers intentionally wait until the subject is not present. The operations are performed covertly, and with the intention of masking the fact that any police activity took place.

The entire premise encourages government agents to adopt the tactics of criminals in order to gain access to property: breaking and entering, sneaking around, stealing, and risking a surprise confrontation with an unsuspecting civilian.

Burglar with a crowbar.

Legally acceptable in the USA.

Often, the investigators leave the property undisturbed to avoid detection. After taking what they want and/or leaving wiretaps, cameras, or other planted devices, they exit quietly so as not to raise suspicions.

Sometimes, however, the agents literally stage the scenes to resemble robberies — sneak and steal operations. In one 2010 case, federal investigators broke into an Cleveland apartment, collected evidence, and then “trashed the place to make it look like a burglary.”

The feds have used similar tactics when searching vehicles. According to a Department of Justice document, DEA agents used a delayed-notice warrant to literally steal a suspect’s car in March 2004. After following the suspect to a restaurant in Buffalo, NY, one agent “used a duplicate key to enter the vehicle and drive away while other agents spread broken glass in the parking space to create the impression that the vehicle had been stolen.” [1]

The government is supposed to eventually tell the subject that a warrant had been served on them, but that may not happen for months or sometimes more than a year. A report by the Director Director of the Administrative Office (AO) of U.S. Courts found that the period of delay in telling the suspect they had been served a warrant ranged from 1 to 455 days. The most common length of delay was 90 days [2].

Terminology and History

Officially, the government has termed these warrants innocuously as “Delayed-Notice Search Warrants.” Calling the tactics what they are — covert home invasions or “Sneak and Peek” searches — would not be helpful for public relations.

The man that President Obama chose to head the FBI, James Comey, once explained the etymological spin used by the government to present the tactics in a positive light:   “We in law enforcement do not call them [sneak and peek warrants]… because it conveys this image that we are looking through your sock drawer while you are taking a nap.” [3]

In private, the government once used a more honest description of the tactic — back when it was not legally recognized. They were quite literally referred to as “black bag jobs” within the FBI, as Bureau domestic intelligence head William Sullivan revealed in a declassified memo dated July 19, 1966:

“We do not obtain authorization for ‘black bag’ jobs from outside the Bureau. Such a technique involves trespass and is clearly illegal; therefore, it would be impossible to obtain any legal sanction for it. Despite this, ‘black bag’ jobs have been used because they represent an invaluable technique in combating subversive activities of a clandestine nature aimed directly at undermining and destroying our nation.” [4]

Mr. Sullivan was clearly aware that the actions were illegal, yet his memo went on to proudly admit that the tactics have been used to destroy political groups operating within the United States.

Governments have certainly been covertly sneaking and spying on their own citizens for all of history. The legal acceptance is the newer, more concerning development.

As law professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich points out, “There is no evidence of judicially-authorized covert searching, through a delayed notice warrant or any similar mechanism, in the history of search and seizure through 1791 [the drafting of the Fourth Amendment].” [6]

The professor also revealed that the first reference to a “Delayed-Notice Search Warrant” did not occur in U.S. case law until 1985 in United States v. Frietas [6].

The constitutionality of covert searches has been challenged in court several times in the modern era, and the searches were always upheld. In Dalia v. United States (1979), the U.S. Supreme Court called the 4th Amendment challenge “frivolous.” Modern courts have followed suit, holding that the tactics pose no Fourth Amendment concerns. And thus signaled the beginning to an era when “black bag” tactics became legitimate.

Although the courts had condoned the formerly dubious warrants, their issuance remained relatively low (at least searches performed on the record). The rarity of the searches changed after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The USA PATRIOT Act laid out a national standard for using Sneak & Peek tactics, and the floodgates began to open for their widespread usage.

Before the USA PATRIOT Act, only two federal circuits had ever acknowledged the practice of Delayed-Notice Search Warrants [6].

Title 18, Section 3103a provides that for any federal search warrant, “any notice required… may be delayed if… the court finds reasonable cause to believe that providing immediate notification of the execution of the warrant may have an adverse result.”

According to research done by Professor Witmer-Rich, there were only 25 DSW’s issued in 2002, and in a decade, that number had grown to 5,601 DSW’s issued in 2012 [6]. In fact, sneak and peek search warrants now constitute about 10% of all warrants served by the federal government [5].

Evidence shows that judges are rarely rejecting these warrants. Data in a U.S. Courts Administrative Office report shows that there was a 0.7% chance of a judge denying a request for a sneak and peek warrant in 2010. Out of 2,395 total DSW requests, only 16 were rejected [2].

Institutionalized Injustice

The use of these tactics opens the doors for numerous problems, corruption, and unintended consequences.

Secret searches not only reduce/eliminate the privacy and freedom of those targeted in the investigation — who are legally innocent until proven guilty — but also spurs an insecurity within the entire community. As Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor noted in a 2012 case regarding secret GPS tracking, “awareness that the Government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms.”

Another glaring problem is the risk of having police officers barging in on unsuspecting people. Despite investigators’ best efforts to avoid contact, a sneak and peek search could easily be performed while a subject or family member is still present in the house. When the police enter without notice, they will appear indistinguishable from criminal home invaders. Violent confrontations may arise, as they often do with the use of standard “no-knock” warrants.

It is also worth noting that clandestine “black bag jobs” are a perfect working environment for corrupt government agents. If their objective is to stage a robbery, they can quite literally steal property for their own benefit and never report it to the courts. Pocketing cash and valuables would be quite easy for state-sanctioned burglars operating without any witnesses. Officers also have a practically unchecked ability to plant evidence and incriminate the subject.

Indeed, the secrecy and lack of witnesses in these situations makes it incredibly difficult to hold the police accountable for any wrongdoing that might occur.

The problem of Sneak and Peek warrants has been institutionalized by the legislature, and it must be reversed there as well. The courts are unlikely to go against the precedents that have already been established. If clandestine police tactics are of concern to the public, the people must spur a legal change and push back on these advanced state powers.

SOURCES:

1. “Delayed Notice Search Warrants: A Vital and Time-Honored Tool For Fighting Crime,” U.S. Department of Justice. Web. 22 Sep. 2004. [http://www.justice.gov/dag/patriotact213report.pdf]

2. “Report of the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts on Applications for Delayed-Notice Search Warrants and Extensions,” ACLU.org. Web. Accessed 26 Jun. 2014. [https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aousc_patriot_act_section_213_sneak_and_peek_report.pdf]

3. Comey, James. “Fighting Terrorism and Preserving Civil Liberties”, 40 U. Rich. L. Rev. 403, 410 (2006).

4. Holden, Henry M. FBI 100 Years: An Unofficial History. Zenith Press. 2008.

5. Witmer-Rich, Jonathan. “Covert, Delayed Notice Searching: A Constitutional and Policy Failure — and a Solution,” AmericanBar.org. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. [http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/events/criminal_justice/Fall2012/Roundtable_WitmerRich_Covert_Searches.authcheckdam.pdf]

6. Witmer-Rich, Jonathan. “The Rapid Rise of Delayed Notice Searches, and the Fourth Amendment Rule Requiring Notice,” SSRN.com. Web. 24 Sep. 2013. [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2226977]

Police State USA