Monica Davis
Before It’s News
June 12, 2011

Ah, the Internet. So much attention is being paid to the glory of this military invention. We base revolutions on access to the Internet. We base civil rights progress on the ability of the Internet to foster communication across vast distances, enabling freedom fighters to connect, interact and tear down the walls of oppression. While we view any threat to the Internet as a threat to global freedom of speech and liberty, some mistakenly ignore repression at home.

Florida’s governor just signed a law that basically says if the cops shoot and kill someone, the records of that incident are exempt from Open Records Laws. In other words, police killiings are none of the public’s business.

While we are on guard for a possible future shut down of the Internet, and as we become distracted by the machinations of various dictators and elites from around the world, the real, actual and ongoing threat our liberties get shoved to the backburner. The real threats to our human rights, and to our freedom of speech, freedom of movement, the real dangers to our freedom from unwarranted and warrant less intrusions, searches and illegal takings are shoved to the back burner, minimized by media hype and diversions.

Tin foil hat wearing ‘activists’ dream of all kinds of things the government and its often careless minions could do to turn the Constitution into a roll of wet toilet paper. The government “could” shut the Internet down; the government “could” herd the population to some No Man’s Land on prisoner transport trains. The government “could” wipe out 90 percent of the population on orders on some real or imagined elite.

Let’s stop focusing on the possibilities and look at the realities. Lets look at some of the ways out of control cops, officials and unindicted civil serpents walk all over our civil rights right now—and think it is their right to do so. Let’s look at the mindset that says any threat to the way police and government officials “do their jobs” is a threat to the very foundations of the government itself.

Yes, let’s look at that great distraction, and insidious way that our government officials and their minions are destroying our civil rights.

The fears generated by hacking, cracking and information warfare continue to suborne our rights. This paranoia is creating a repressive environment where fascist behavior comes out of the closet and rides its pale horse right across the very foundations of our civil liberties. In terms of “cyber war,” a great deal of the vulnerabilities of our global computer and information networks is due to the fact that many governments and companies do not repair computer program vulnerabilities—and, even worse, many computer program developers do not repair known vulnerabilities.

Yet, instead of beefing up security on its networks, some of  the unindicted felons in and out of government want to shut the Constitution down.   Basically, we pay for the consequences of their negligence with our freedoms.

This is comparable to leaving the door open to your business at all hours, not investing in security guards, locks and security systems—and then wanting the government to eliminate human rights and civil liberties of all citizens in order to “protect your business.”

This is often a case abusing our civil rights to protect the careless businesses which leave themselves open to industrial espionage and robbery. This is a case of eliminating the Bill of Rights in order to protect government civil servants who allegedly work for us.

Why should citizens be treated like thieves and criminals because governments, corporations and businesses want to shut the barn door after their carelessness allowed the horse to escape?

Responding to an increase in the number of attacks against computer systems in Great Britain George Osborne,, a government official said

Clearly up-to-date security software has an important part to play in all this, but I would recommend that the British government also takes a close look at its computers and applications to ensure that they are properly patched against vulnerabilities.

In his keynote address on cyber security. ‘George Osborne MP, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said that British government computers are on the receiving end of over 20,000 malicious email attacks every month.” MORE

In an analysis of the diametrically opposed concepts of civil liberty and computer security, Kate Martin wrote

When United States national security objectives include the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, the development of both international law and national laws respecting human rights become matters of national security concern. In this context, the Internet will play an important role in influencing the development of international law and of national laws on national security, free expression and privacy

First, other countries increasingly look to legal approaches to the Internet taken in the United States as a model for their own policies. U.S. government regulation of the Internet, or lack thereof, serves as a vivid demonstration to the world of what one democratic constitutional regime of surveillance and free speech looks like. This regime includes tolerance of extremist speech, using the Internet to counter disinformation by more information, and respecting the privacy of individual communications. At the same time, there is no doubt but that restrictive U.S. actions regarding the Internet will be looked to around the world in order to justify such restrictions in other countries. For example, Ukraine, which is barely emerging from the shadow of totalitarianism and recognized to be of strategic importance to the United States, has recently decreed that Internet connections by all state institutions must be arranged through the three state-owned servers. While the precise scope of this arrangement is unclear, many more Internet users are affected by this requirement than would be the case in other countries because many institutions in Ukraine, such as universities, are still defined as state institutions. Human rights activists in Ukraine are quite concerned that the intent and effect of this edict is to allow censorship of Internet content, both entering and leaving the country, and interception of individual messages. This is a concrete example of how the national security interests of the United States in promoting democracy and stability in Ukraine may be affected by developments on the Internet.

Second, the Internet makes information about U.S. legal models — including information about restrictions on individual liberties approved in the name of national security — much more easily, inexpensively and widely available. Should we be concerned about exporting our models without a full consideration of how those models will work in countries without the historical experience of and a legal culture based on respect for individual rights?

Finally, by transcending national borders, the very nature of the Internet seems to call for a multi-national, rather than unilateral, approach to many of these issues. Martin Bangemann of the European Commission recently called for an international charter regulating the Internet rather than country-by-country laws.(17) Whether such a charter will be developed and what aspects of the Internet would be covered are all questions of paramount importance for worldwide human rights and civil liberties. What restrictions on human rights principles for national security reasons, if any, should be included in any such charter? MORE

There are no easy answers. Civil liberties, computer espionage and computer security remain a confusing jumble of corporate wish lists, reactionary police activity, government crackdowns and global protests. And, as is their wont, institutions, whether government or corporate, view the world in terms of their own wants, wishes and desires. Corporations create vulnerable computer products—and then don’t want to incur the expense of fixing program or network security problems. Governments respond to internal organizational and network vulnerabilities by either denying the possibility that they are vulnerable, or running roughshod over the civil rights of individuals to protect real, or imagined vulnerabilities.

On the nation’s streets, and in its alleys, police officers confiscate cameras and video equipment of film crews and activists. In the real world, cell phones are confiscated and video tapes are destroyed by police officers who want their version to be the only version the world sees. They fear the consequences of their actions being recorded. Unlike in the past, in today’s world, law enforcement has lost the automatic approval of their communities.

When it comes to automatic approval of police actions, people have long since lost their virginity. In a world where police testimony is not as revered as it once was, actual video-recording gives suspects and those taken into custody a voice that they otherwise would not have. Those recordings often are at odds with the “official police version” of events, as is the case below.

Miami Beach police allegedly confiscated video-recording equipment from at least one member of the public and a TV photojournalist after both witnessed officers shooting and killing a suspect on a public street.

Benoit told reporters that police officers — after realizing he had footage of the shooting — forced him and Erika Davis, his girlfriend who was also in the car, to the pavement with guns pointed at their heads. He said officers handcuffed him while they took his cell phone, smashed it on the ground and placed it in his back pocket. He also alleges he saw officers intimidate other witnesses and take their cell phones as well. footage that 35-year-old Florida resident Narces Benoit captured on his cell phone has attracted much attention on YouTube. The video shows a group of Miami Beach police officers fatally shooting Raymond Herisse, a 22-year-old accused of using his car as a weapon against police during a traffic stop. Following the shootout, which occurred on Memorial Day, video footage shows police officers noticing Benoit and telling him to move away. After Benoit retreated to his car with the video still rolling, officers are shown approaching him with their guns pointed directly at the camera.

The above-mentioned event is Florida highlights the problem. When police officers believe their actions should not be subject to recording by either citizens or reporters, and when official recordings of the event are restricted from the public, what record will be available to the public?

And the problem will worsen because the governor of Florida just signed a law which exempts official video and audio recordings of police killings of civilians from open public records laws. In other words, the public recordings and videos will not be available to the public, and the police are confiscating and destroying media and civilian recordings.

In addition, public-access advocates said another issue that has arisen out of the Miami Beach incident is that the public may have known little about the shooting if it were not captured on video by Benoit. Under a new Florida law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott on June 2, photographs, video and audio recordings depicting or recording the “killing of a person” are now exempt from the state’s public records disclosure laws. MORE

In the wake of the media and Internet-assisted revolution in Egypt, and other ongoing human rights movements in the Middle East, it is no wonder that the Miami Beach incident has infuriated civil rights activists—including the vaunted American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Press Photographer’s Association.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, sent a letter to Police Chief Carlos Noriega, saying officers violated the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and First Amendment rights to record in a public place.Osterreicher copied Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower on the letter.

“While it may be understandable that your officers had a heightened sense of tension after the shooting of Raymond Herisse that is still no excuse for them to allegedly harass, intimidate, threaten or attack those taking photographs/video on a public street,” Osterreicher said. “Recently in Egypt, Syria and Libya citizens and photojournalists have risked, and in some cases given, their lives to provide visual proof of repressive governmental activities. It is truly a shame that what is viewed abroad as heroic is considered as suspect at home.”  MORE

Kurt Nimmo
June 11, 2011

No longer is there an excuse. If you elect to fly, you are endorsing the sort of behavior the man below suffered. If you fly because your business requires it, I feel sorry for you. But if you fly because it is more convenient than driving or taking a train or a bus, you’re encouraging the TSA to abuse the mentally disabled and molest six year olds.

This will not stop until the airlines fear bankruptcy due to lost business. Millions of people must refuse to fly and look for other ways to travel. Faced with going out of business, the airlines will refuse to allow the feds to run their Gestapo humiliation program.

If you continue to fly, you are to blame for the TSA abusing the mentally disabled, pregnant women, and children.

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Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
June 12, 2011

“Totalitarianism is patriotism institutionalized.”
Steve Allen

“Patriotic” Americans are still berating me for “demeaning” my son’s “sacrifice.” A typical message goes something like this:

“Your son died to give you the right to spew your filth against this country. If it wasn’t for the military and people like your son, you wouldn’t have the freedom to protest.”

Oh, really? If I have the “freedom to protest” then why have I been arrested so many times and why did I have a four-month restraining order from protesting near the White House last year that would have landed my buns in jail for six-months if I violated it? Why are activists still being arrested for solely exercising what used to be our fundamental rights?

In fact, attorney, Bill Quigley has documented that more than 2600 activists have been arrested since Obama was sworn in 2009.

The Constitutional Lawyer turned POTUS is committing atrocities against peace, justice and human rights at a pace that Bush and Cheney only dreamed possible. If Obama can’t have one of us arrested or executed on his orders, then he will gladly diagnose our principled questioning as a mental disorder. Obama even told Steve Pelley of 60 Minutes that if any American dare question his obvious lies around the re-death of Osama bin Laden, then he/she should have “their heads examined.”

I find it extremely interesting that the fundamental values of peace, truth, and justice have been turned into a mental disorder by the POTUS who, as I have pointed out before, has committed innumerable atrocities against these values. However, what I am finding increasingly alarming is the USA’s rapid descent into a police state.

On June 7th, my sister and I were driving from Sacramento to Los Angeles on I-5—this is a trip that both she and I have made dozens of times since my family moved near Sacramento in 1993. We almost immediately noticed the elevated presence of cop ‘copters hovering over the interstate and over nearby communities. Neither of us had ever witnessed so many military convoys and such a police presence in any of the previous times we made the trip. We speculated what it could be all about and I even had to come to a complete stop on I-105 when it looked like a Los Angeles Sheriff’s ‘copter was about to land on the roof of my car. Hmm, there is definitely a shift happening, but it’s often hard to pin things down.

Well, the very next day, I learned about two events that shocked even me—I thought the Empire couldn’t shock me, but I was wrong.

The very day that my sister and I were traveling the length of our gorgeous state, a Stockton, California man was having his door broken down by what he thought was a S.W.A.T.  Goon Squad.

According to Kenneth Wright, a single father of three young children ages, 3, 7 and 11; he heard some commotion outside his Stockton home, so he looked out his upstairs window and saw 15 cops that looked like members of S.W.A.T. Before he could get downstairs to the door, they had battered it down and entered his home. Wright spent the next six hours handcuffed in the back of a cop car with his three frightened children.

Is Kenneth Wright the alleged murderer of thousands of brown people in the Middle East and North Africa? Has this scoundrel cheated millions of people out of their retirement/life savings? Did Mr. Wright authorize the use of torture, or even invade one country illegally?

No, of course not. It turns out that the cops who broke down Mr. Wright’s door brutalizing him and traumatizing his children weren’t local or state law enforcement, but an Education Goon Squad that had been granted some kind of vicious police state authority because Mr. Wright’s ex-wife allegedly committed “fraud” on her student loans. How many of us have student loans that are in danger of being defaulted on because we can’t find a job? The primary question is, though, why do most of us have to commit ourselves to years of debt to get a University education which should be free in the most wealthiest country in the world?

The scandal of the rising cost and increasing inaccessibility of higher education can be directly related to the oppression and exploitation of the people that handle Obama like the Marionette that he is.

If the above story doesn’t terrify you, then what about this one:

In the wee hours of Memorial Day, cops in Miami were involved in a high-speed chase that ended with the injuries of four innocent bystanders and the shooting execution of the SUSPECT. Witnesses to the crimes of the P.D. videotaped the entire incident and were then, themselves subjected to police brutality as the Miami cops held guns to their heads and smashed their cell phones. Luckily, one of the victims had the presence of mind to secure the sim card of his phone in his mouth.

Ask yourself: “How terrified would I be if I just witnessed cops brutally shooting a man to death, then holding a gun to my head?”

Incidentally, the Miami PD has also recently been involved in arresting activists from the organization Food Not Bombs for having the audacity to feed the area’s homeless.

The Robber Class obviously doesn’t want hungry people fed, sick people healed, uneducated people schooled, homeless people housed, or poor people prosperous. Their agenda is total domination of the world’s resources and complete income inequality in our own country.

The next time you fly and either have to subject your body to unacceptable levels of radiation in one of the Pervo-Scanners or get molested by TSA—think to yourself: “This is how it starts—my nation is being turned into a police state with nary a whimper.”

At least I loudly protest these violations when I fly and I educate everyone within earshot (including the TSA) that Michael Chertoff (former director of the NSA under Bush) profits from the full-body X-ray machines in airports. The last time I was being illegally molested by a TSA agent because I refused to go through one of the Pervo-Scanners, she said: “Am I hurting you?” And I answered: “Yes, you are beating the crap out of my 4th Amendment.”

The above stories illustrate that we no longer even have the pretense to the rights to privacy or against illegal search and seizure. Even if the state grants warrants, or passes laws that our privates are now fair game for government perversity, oftentimes these laws directly contravene the Constitution.

However, with the recent reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT ACT, the Constitution has again been rendered “null and void.”

The obvious solution to what ails our nation is to end the wars and invest part of the money in education—forgive student loans and provide free/low cost university education to everyone in this country. Ending the wars will not only have a positive effect on our economy, but we won’t be creating enemies faster than we can kill them, so all of this jack-booted police state thuggery would not be necessary.

With the profit motive being so tempting to the Robber Class, it seems like one of the only recourses left to us now is to film everything that happens around us and hide the sim cards of our phones in one of our body’s crevices—we can at least be witnesses to and document Obama’s rush to total totalitarianism.