Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
US Drones and the secret world that revolves around them
Now Playing: Al Jazeera Drones: A deeply unsettling future
Drones: A deeply unsettling future
The rapid expansion of a drone arms race has emerged both domestically and abroad, leaving everyone vulnerable.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2011 11:54
|At least 50 countries already have unmanned aerial fleets - and that number is rising every month [EPA] |
San Francisco, California - On Sunday, Iran claimed to have taken down a US drone in Iranian airspace - not by shooting it out the sky, but with its cyber warfare team.
Reports confirm that the US believes Iran is now in possession of "one of the more sensitive surveillance platforms in the CIA's fleet", but deny Iran's involvement. Of course, Iran’s claim of overtaking the drone with its cyber warfare team should be tempered with a serious dose of scepticism, as cyber security experts say the facts may not add up. But this is just the latest story in a series of incidents that raises worrying questions about security problems caused by drones. And given the coming proliferation of drone technology both domestically and abroad, this should be a concern to citizens all over the world.
| Pakistan angry with US over deadly NATO air strike |
Two years ago the Wall Street Journal reported Iran-funded militants in Iraq were able to hack into drones' live-video feeds with "$26 off-the-shelf software". In another unnerving incident, Wired reported in October that a fleet of the Air Force's drones was infected with a computer virus that captured all of drones' key strokes. Technicians continually deleted the virus to no avail. How did the drones get infected? The military is "not quite sure". Worse, the Air Force's cyber security team didn't even know about the virus until they read about it in Wired.
Wired reported in a separate story that an upcoming Congressional report will detail how hackers broke into the US satellite system. With one satellite, hackers "achieved all steps required to command" it, "but never actually exercised control".
Last summer, a drone caused a scene in the nation's capital, when, as New York Times wrote, "fighter jets were almost scrambled after a rogue Fire Scout drone, the size of a small helicopter, wandered into Washington's restricted airspace". A similar incident took place in Afghanistan where military planes had to shoot down a "runaway drone" when pilots lost control.
The US, of course, leads the world in drone use for both surveillance and combat missions. Attacks are carried out in Pakistan every four days on average. Many times, the US isn't even sure exactly who they are killing. Despite the fact that the location of vast majority of drone bases are classified, journalist Nick Turse pieced together a startling picture of the massive US fleet. He determined that the US has at least 60 drone bases operated by either the US military or the CIA around the world, and "most of these facilities have remained unnoted, uncounted, and remarkably anonymous - until now".
But drone use is not just relegated to US military. Drone manufacturers already command a $94bn market, according to some estimates, and the drone arms race is in full swing. As the Washington Post reported, the constant buzz of drones and threats of attack now dominates the lives of civilians in Gaza. And Turkey plans to have Predator drones in operation by June 2012.
Meanwhile, Chinese contractors unveiled 25 types of unmanned aircraft last year. In all, at least 50 countries now have some sort of unmanned aerial vehicles, and the New York Times reports that "the number is rising every month". That number also includes Iran, which is seeking to upgrade its fleet. Even the Libyan rebels had their own surveillance drone - provided to them by Canadian defence contractors - before they were in full control of their own country.
The technology itself is also developing at an alarmingly rapid pace. The New York Times reports that researchers in the US are working on "shrinking unmanned drones, the kind that fire missiles into Pakistan and spy on insurgents in Afghanistan, to the size of insects", along with oversized drones that can capture video of an entire city. There are birdlike drones, underwater drones, drones within drones, facial recognition drones, and perhaps most terrifying, completely autonomous drones - currently being tested in Georgia - which will require no human control at all.
As Micah Zenko, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me last month, "It's a very impressive and responsive tool that should be used sparingly. Even if we’re responsible now, we might not be forever."
But in the US, drones will become yet another way authorities can compromise the privacy of ordinary citizens, as the FAA plans to propose new rules for their domestic flight. As Newsweek reported, police forces and border patrols in the US are buying the technology from defence contractors, and one has already been spotted flying over Houston. Police departments are already using GPS and cell phone tracking without warrants, this will another powerful surveillance weapon in their arsenal. As privacy advocates warn, "drones can easily be equipped with facial recognition cameras, infrared cameras, or open Wi-Fi sniffers". And while these drones will be used for many surveillance purposes (a scary thought in and of itself), contractors admit they are equipped to carry weapons, such as Tasers.
Whether they are being used for surveillance or all-out combat, drones will soon pose serious risks for all of the world's citizens. They can offer governments, police departments, or private citizens unprecedented capabilities for spying, and given their security vulnerabilities, the potential consequences could be endless.
Trevor Timm is an activist and blogger at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He specialises in free speech issues and government transparency.
Follow Trevor Timm on Twitter: @WLLegal
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Occupy Wall Street and Anarchy Roots connection
Now Playing: A report from Al Jazeera on Occupy Wall Street and Anarchism Roots
Topic: OCCUPY PORTLAND
OCCUPY WALL STREET AND ANARCHY ROOTS CONNECTION
Occupy Wall Street's Anarchist roots
The 'Occupy' movement is one of several in American history to be based on anarchist principles.
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2011 07:06
New York, NY - Almost every time I'm interviewed by a mainstream journalist about Occupy Wall Street I get some variation of the same lecture:
"How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership structure or make a practical list of demands? And what's with all this anarchist nonsense - the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don't you realise all this radical language is going to alienate people? You're never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this sort of thing!"
In-depth coverage of the global movement If one were compiling a scrapbook of worst advice ever given, this sort of thing might well merit an honourable place. After all, since the financial crash of 2007, there have been dozens of attempts to kick-off a national movement against the depredations of the United States' financial elites taking the approach such journalists recommended. All failed. It was only on August 2, when a small group of anarchists and other anti-authoritarians showed up at a meeting called by one such group and effectively wooed everyone away from the planned march and rally to create a genuine democratic assembly, on basically anarchist principles, that the stage was set for a movement that Americans from Portland to Tuscaloosa were willing to embrace.
I should be clear here what I mean by "anarchist principles". The easiest way to explain anarchism is to say that it is a political movement that aims to bring about a genuinely free society - that is, one where humans only enter those kinds of relations with one another that would not have to be enforced by the constant threat of violence. History has shown that vast inequalities of wealth, institutions like slavery, debt peonage or wage labour, can only exist if backed up by armies, prisons, and police.
Anarchists wish to see human relations that would not have to be backed up by armies, prisons and police. Anarchism envisions a society based on equality and solidarity, which could exist solely on the free consent of participants.
Anarchism versus Marxism
Traditional Marxism, of course, aspired to the same ultimate goal but there was a key difference. Most Marxists insisted that it was necessary first to seize state power, and all the mechanisms of bureaucratic violence that come with it, and use them to transform society - to the point where, they argued such mechanisms would, ultimately, become redundant and fade away. Even back in the 19th century, anarchists argued that this was a pipe dream. One cannot, they argued, create peace by training for war, equality by creating top-down chains of command, or, for that matter, human happiness by becoming grim joyless revolutionaries who sacrifice all personal self-realisation or self-fulfillment to the cause.
It's not just that the ends do not justify the means (though they don't), you will never achieve the ends at all unless the means are themselves a model for the world you wish to create. Hence the famous anarchist call to begin "building the new society in the shell of the old" with egalitarian experiments ranging from free schools to radical labour unions to rural communes.
Anarchism was also a revolutionary ideology, and its emphasis on individual conscience and individual initiative meant that during the first heyday of revolutionary anarchism between roughly 1875 and 1914, many took the fight directly to heads of state and capitalists, with bombings and assassinations. Hence the popular image of the anarchist bomb-thrower. It's worthy of note that anarchists were perhaps the first political movement to realise that terrorism, even if not directed at innocents, doesn't work. For nearly a century now, in fact, anarchism has been one of the very few political philosophies whose exponents never blow anyone up (indeed, the 20th-century political leader who drew most from the anarchist tradition was Mohandas K Gandhi.)
Yet for the period of roughly 1914 to 1989, a period during which the world was continually either fighting or preparing for world wars, anarchism went into something of an eclipse for precisely that reason: To seem "realistic", in such violent times, a political movement had to be capable of organising armies, navies and ballistic missile systems, and that was one thing at which Marxists could often excel. But everyone recognised that anarchists - rather to their credit - would never be able to pull it off. It was only after 1989, when the age of great war mobilisations seemed to have ended, that a global revolutionary movement based on anarchist principles - the global justice movement - promptly reappeared.
How, then, did OWS embody anarchist principles? It might be helpful to go over this point by point:
1) The refusal to recognise the legitimacy of existing political institutions.
One reason for the much-discussed refusal to issue demands is because issuing demands means recognising the legitimacy - or at least, the power - of those of whom the demands are made. Anarchists often note that this is the difference between protest and direct action: Protest, however militant, is an appeal to the authorities to behave differently; direct action, whether it's a matter of a community building a well or making salt in defiance of the law (Gandhi's example again), trying to shut down a meeting or occupy a factory, is a matter of acting as if the existing structure of power does not even exist. Direct action is, ultimately, the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free.
2) The refusal to accept the legitimacy of the existing legal order.
The second principle, obviously, follows from the first. From the very beginning, when we first started holding planning meetings in Tompkins Square Park in New York, organisers knowingly ignored local ordinances that insisted that any gathering of more than 12 people in a public park is illegal without police permission - simply on the grounds that such laws should not exist. On the same grounds, of course, we chose to occupy a park, inspired by examples from the Middle East and southern Europe, on the grounds that, as the public, we should not need permission to occupy public space. This might have been a very minor form of civil disobedience but it was crucial that we began with a commitment to answer only to a moral order, not a legal one.
3) The refusal to create an internal hierarchy, but instead to create a form of consensus-based direct democracy.
From the very beginning, too, organisers made the audacious decision to operate not only by direct democracy, without leaders, but by consensus. The first decision ensured that there would be no formal leadership structure that could be co-opted or coerced; the second, that no majority could bend a minority to its will, but that all crucial decisions had to be made by general consent. American anarchists have long considered consensus process (a tradition that has emerged from a confluence of feminism, anarchism and spiritual traditions like the Quakers) crucial for the reason that it is the only form of decision-making that could operate without coercive enforcement - since if a majority does not have the means to compel a minority to obey its dictates, all decisions will, of necessity, have to be made by general consent.
4) The embrace of prefigurative politics.
As a result, Zuccotti Park, and all subsequent encampments, became spaces of experiment with creating the institutions of a new society - not only democratic General Assemblies but kitchens, libraries, clinics, media centres and a host of other institutions, all operating on anarchist principles of mutual aid and self-organisation - a genuine attempt to create the institutions of a new society in the shell of the old.
Why did it work? Why did it catch on? One reason is, clearly, because most Americans are far more willing to embrace radical ideas than anyone in the established media is willing to admit. The basic message - that the American political order is absolutely and irredeemably corrupt, that both parties have been bought and sold by the wealthiest 1 per cent of the population, and that if we are to live in any sort of genuinely democratic society, we're going to have to start from scratch - clearly struck a profound chord in the American psyche.
Perhaps this is not surprising: We are facing conditions that rival those of the 1930s, the main difference being that the media seems stubbornly willing to acknowledge it. It raises intriguing questions about the role of the media itself in American society. Radical critics usually assume the "corporate media", as they call it, mainly exists to convince the public that existing institutions are healthy, legitimate and just. It is becoming increasingly apparent that they do not really see this is possible; rather, their role is simply to convince members of an increasingly angry public that no one else has come to the same conclusions they have. The result is an ideology that no one really believes, but most people at least suspect that everybody else does.
Nowhere is this disjunction between what ordinary Americans really think, and what the media and political establishment tells them they think, more clear than when we talk about democracy.
Democracy in America?
According to the official version, of course, "democracy" is a system created by the Founding Fathers, based on checks and balances between president, congress and judiciary. In fact, nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution does it say anything about the US being a "democracy". The authors of those documents, almost to a man, defined "democracy" as a matter of collective self-governance by popular assemblies, and as such they were dead-set against it.
Democracy meant the madness of crowds: bloody, tumultuous and untenable. "There was never a democracy that didn't commit suicide," wrote Adams; Hamilton justified the system of checks and balances by insisting that it was necessary to create a permanent body of the "rich and well-born" to check the "imprudence" of democracy, or even that limited form that would be allowed in the lower house of representatives.
The result was a republic - modelled not on Athens, but on Rome. It only came to be redefined as a "democracy" in the early 19th century because ordinary Americans had very different views, and persistently tended to vote - those who were allowed to vote - for candidates who called themselves "democrats". But what did - and what do - ordinary Americans mean by the word? Did they really just mean a system where they get to weigh in on which politicians will run the government? It seems implausible. After all, most Americans loathe politicians, and tend to be skeptical about the very idea of government. If they universally hold out "democracy" as their political ideal, it can only be because they still see it, however vaguely, as self-governance - as what the Founding Fathers tended to denounce as either "democracy" or, as they sometimes also put it, "anarchy".
If nothing else, this would help explain the enthusiasm with which they have embraced a movement based on directly democratic principles, despite the uniformly contemptuous dismissal of the United States' media and political class.
In fact, this is not the first time a movement based on fundamentally anarchist principles - direct action, direct democracy, a rejection of existing political institutions and attempt to create alternative ones - has cropped up in the US. The civil rights movement (at least its more radical branches), the anti-nuclear movement, and the global justice movement all took similar directions. Never, however, has one grown so startlingly quickly. But in part, this is because this time around, the organisers went straight for the central contradiction. They directly challenged the pretenses of the ruling elite that they are presiding over a democracy.
When it comes to their most basic political sensibilities, most Americans are deeply conflicted. Most combine a deep reverence for individual freedom with a near-worshipful identification with institutions like the army and police. Most combine an enthusiasm for markets with a hatred of capitalists. Most are simultaneously profoundly egalitarian, and deeply racist. Few are actual anarchists; few even know what "anarchism" means; it's not clear how many, if they did learn, would ultimately wish to discard the state and capitalism entirely. Anarchism is much more than simply grassroots democracy: It ultimately aims to eliminate all social relations, from wage labour to patriarchy, that can only be maintained by the systematic threat of force.
But one thing overwhelming numbers of Americans do feel is that something is terribly wrong with their country, that its key institutions are controlled by an arrogant elite, that radical change of some kind is long since overdue. They're right. It's hard to imagine a political system so systematically corrupt - one where bribery, on every level, has not only been made legal, but soliciting and dispensing bribes has become the full-time occupation of every American politician. The outrage is appropriate. The problem is that up until September 17, the only side of the spectrum willing to propose radical solutions of any sort was the Right.
As the history of the past movements all make clear, nothing terrifies those running the US more than the danger of democracy breaking out. The immediate response to even a modest spark of democratically organised civil disobedience is a panicked combination of concessions and brutality. How else can one explain the recent national mobilisation of thousands of riot cops, the beatings, chemical attacks, and mass arrests, of citizens engaged in precisely the kind of democratic assemblies the Bill of Rights was designed to protect, and whose only crime - if any - was the violation of local camping regulations?
Our media pundits might insist that if average Americans ever realised the anarchist role in Occupy Wall Street, they would turn away in shock and horror; but our rulers seem, rather, to labour under a lingering fear that if any significant number of Americans do find out what anarchism really is, they might well decide that rulers of any sort are unnecessary.
David Graeber is a Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London.
This original article can be found here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/2011112872835904508.html
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, 15 January 2012 12:04 PM PST
Monday, 24 October 2011
Survival Podcasts - Information
Now Playing: Modern Financial Survival
Episode-770- Modern Financial Survival
Yesterday I stated that we are about to in effect go into the middle of a financial war. I am not sure the analogy was fully understood it wasn’t so much about fighting the battle but more about the way that even if good is the end result how many can be harmed in the process.
This resulted in a litany of people trying to nit pick about the justification for WWII, why the US prospered after the war, etc. Such people are literalists that don’t comprehend analogies and tell “ants are socialists”, when you tell them the ant and grasshopper story.
Today I will revisit a few things people took exception to (very briefly) and will spend most of the show outlining my “modern financial survival guide” for the coming future.
Join Me Today as We Discuss…
- Is the Catholic Church calling for a “World Bank” and global tax or not
- What exactly do I mean by a financial war
- Why do I believe so emphatically that I am right about the coming collapse
- What I think you need to do to be financially prepared for the future
- Get rid of debt (especially floating rate debt)
- Try to save at least 20% of your income (6 months security)
- Know your exit points for every investment
- If you are in stocks by only the best companies
- Do not hold any and I mean any long term bonds
- Keep an eye on TIPS Bond Yields
- Remember most “experts” on TV are actually idiots
- Develop your local community
- Don’t bet on any government money (specifically @ 100%)
- Consider land as the best investment (not houses)
- Increase your financial IQ daily – start with vocabulary
- Focus on gaining some % of self sufficiency with the 5 needs
- Try to be as “cash rich” as possible
- Don’t act in fear, think before you do anything
- Do not listen to conventional wisdom during unconventional times
- Remember the prepared can always profit and prosper
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PDT
Sexual Abuse of US Refugee Detainees Pervasive
Now Playing: Sexual Abuse of US Refugee Detainees Pervasive - Article by Paul Canning
Sexual Abuse of US Refugee Detainees Pervasive
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released government documents containing 185 allegations of sexual abuse against female immigration detainees in federal detention centers since 2007.
Many of the women are refugees fleeing persecution including torture and rape.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) explicitly excludes immigration detention facilities from coverage under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).
ACLU has provided detailed narratives by three women describing sexual assaults by guards whilst they were being transported in prison vans.
Almost all US immigration detainees, including asylum seekers and refugees, are not detained in specialist facilities but in normal state prisons.
The ACLU says the 185 assaults happened all around the country, with more allegations against facilities in Texas than in any other state, but they do not represent the full scope of the problem because sexual assault is “notoriously underreported.”
Mark Whitburn, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement:
“Immigrants in detention are uniquely vulnerable to abuse – and those holding them in custody know it. Many do not speak English … and may not be aware of their rights, or they may be afraid to exercise them.”
The ACLU has launched a class-action suit in Texas on behalf of three women who are seeking asylum in the US after fleeing sexual assault in their home countries.
Lisa Graybill, legal director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement:
“The fact that these women sought sanctuary in the United States – only to find abuse at the hands of officials they thought would protect them – is wholly inconsistent with America’s self-proclaimed reputation as a beacon of human rights.”
The Texas suit names three officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a guard accused of assaulting the women and Corrections Corp. of America, the country’s largest private prisons contractor.
Donald Dunn, the guard in Texas named in the lawsuit, has pleaded guilty in state court to three counts of official repression and two counts of unlawful restraint related to assaults against five women, according to the ACLU. Dunn also faces four federal counts of criminal violations of civil rights, the ACLU said.
US Border Agents Have ‘Culture of Cruelty’
An Alternative to Alabama’s Direction on Immigration
Jail is No Place for US Immigration Detainees
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/sexual-abuse-of-us-refugee-detainees-pervasive.html#ixzz1bpZ0Chea
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2011 2:20 PM PDT
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Occupy Portland - Confronts Corporate Greed - Oct 6 12 noon
Now Playing: OCCUPY PORTLAND - in -SOLIDARITY - with - OCCUPY WALL STREET
Topic: CORPORATE CRAP
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 8:25 AM PDT
Friday, 30 September 2011
OCCUPY PORTLAND LINKS - INFORMATION
Now Playing: Occupy Portland Information Links
Topic: OCCUPY PORTLAND
PORTLAND OCCUPATION INFORMATION
On Oct. 6th, 12:00 pm, thousands will gather at the Waterfront near SW Ankeny and Naito Parkway (http://tinyurl.com/44rl474
) to march to Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:16 PM PDT
Sunday, 25 September 2011
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Passport ...Visa and some history
Now Playing: Show me your papaers - ID and the tracking of people and movement
Passport and Visa
Mises Daily: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 by Wendy McElroy
“Your papers!” In old movies, the demand is barked at trembling travelers by a Nazi with a guttural accent. If the demand is made in the opening scene, then the audience knows immediately that they watching a totalitarian state in which travelers are in danger.
“Your papers!” now rings out at every American airport and border crossing. The accent is different but travelers need to recognize with equal immediacy that a totalitarian state is playing out in front of their eyes, and they must be careful.
A passport is where the security theater begins. Indeed, without a passport those who wish to fly or cross a border are not “allowed” to be scanned, searched, interrogated, or undergo a plethora of other indignities imposed by uniformed thugs. The hoops through which passport carriers jump are all prelude to “permitting” them to exercise a right belonging to every freeborn person: the right to travel.
America and the world were not always this way. It is important to remember that there once was a world in which people traveled freely across borders without paperwork to visit families, pursue education, conduct business, and mingle. Freedom worked once. It enriched the world economically, culturally, and psychologically.
War Converts Convenience into Blatant Abuse
The modern “passport” is commonly defined as, “an official document issued by a government, certifying the holder’s identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries.” But are passport privileges to be conferred or denied by government, or are they mere conveniences that cannot be properly required for people to exercise the natural right to freedom of movement? Do they protect peaceful travelers or merely facilitate the state’s grip on the flow of people and property?
The foregoing descriptions of passports have all been true at some point in history.
Travel papers date back to antiquity and were generally intended to protect the bearer as he passed through foreign territory. The King James Bible (Nehemiah 2:7) states,
I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah.
In some areas, the issuance of letters also served as social control. According to Wikipedia, “In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was used in the form of a bara’a, a receipt for taxes paid”. Those in arrears could not travel even within the Caliphate.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2011/09/09/wendy-mcelroy-passport-to-the-total-state/
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:40 AM PDT
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Many 911 pictures
Now Playing: 911 pictures "Here is New York"
Topic: 911 TRUTH
There are many pictures here on this site
Just use the drop down box to access the file(s)
Many of these pictures I have never seen before:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 8:36 AM PDT
Filming the Police - August 2011 topic in the AP press
Now Playing: can we film the cops - I know we can - what are others saying
The Original Link Is Here:
Police vs. cameras:
Why would they object?
Published: Wednesday, August 03, 2011, 4:45 AM
By Leonard Pitts Jr.
This all started with Rodney King.
More to the point, it started with a plumber named George Holliday. Had he not been video recording from his balcony, that night in 1991 might have been business as usual for Los Angeles police who struck King, a harmless drunk, 50 times with their batons, breaking his leg, his cheekbone and his skull. Had Holliday not captured video proof to the contrary, they might have gotten away with some lame excuse: Oops, he slipped on the stairs.
But thanks to Holliday's camera, we all knew better.
Twenty years later, cameras have become ubiquitous. They have captured entertainer meltdowns, crashes, tasings, deaths and a seemingly endless carnival of police misbehavior: questionable beatings, controversial shootings and unprovoked violence by those we hire to protect and to serve.
Perhaps not surprisingly, many police now identify cameras as the enemy.
Last week, news photographer Phil Datz was arrested on Long Island for videotaping a police action on a public street. In June, a man named Narces Benoit said Miami Beach Police pulled him from his car by his hair, handcuffed him and stomped his cellphone (which police deny) after he used it to record video of a fatal police shooting. In May, a woman named Emily Good was arrested for recording a traffic stop from her own front yard in Rochester, N.Y. In March, a Las Vegas man was beaten and arrested for videotaping police from his own driveway. In March of last year, a motorcyclist was arrested for recording his own traffic stop on a Maryland highway.
According to a 2010 report on the technology blog Gizmodo, at least three states have made it illegal to record an on-duty officer. Other states use existing wiretapping laws to support their arrests, a novel and selective interpretation of those statutes. What makes it novel is that such laws are typically invoked when telephone conversations are recorded; they require that both parties are aware of, and approve, the recording. What makes it selective is that one never hears of people being roughed up and arrested for recording videos that flatter the police.
The only thing more outrageous than the behavior is the excuses used to justify it. One of the cops in Rochester claimed, obviously for the benefit of the camera, that he did not feel "safe" with Emily Good recording him. Miami Beach Police claimed they confiscated videos only to safeguard the evidence.
That stench you smell is the reek of official hypocrisy. Because the same police who so violently and vividly resist being recorded in the performance of their duties have no compunction about using the same technology against you and me, from the speed camera that catches you when you go flying through the school zone to the new gizmo that reads your license plate and checks for warrants.
If it is OK for police to use cameras to catch us in our misdeeds, why is it not OK for us to use cameras to catch police in theirs?
There is something chilling and totalitarian about this insistence that cops have the right to do as they wish without what amounts to public oversight. What is it they fear? After all, the officer who is being videotaped can protect himself by doing one simple thing:
Leonard Pitts writes for The Miami Herald.
Comments are posted on the original post website:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:00 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2011 7:53 AM PDT
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