All entries for May 2008
May 03, 2008
Federal law enforcement agencies co-opted sheriffs offices as well state and local police forces in three states last weekend for a vast round up operation that one sheriff's deputy has described as "martial law training".
Law-enforcement agencies in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas took part in what was described by local media as "an anti-crime and anti-terrorism initiative" involving officers from more than 50 federal, state and local agencies.
Given the military style name "Operation Sudden Impact", the initiative saw officers from six counties rounding up fugitives, conducting traffic checkpoints, climbing on boats on the Mississippi River and doing other "crime-abatement" programs all under the label of "anti-terrorism".
WREG Memphis news channel 3 reported that the Sheriff's Department arrested 332 people, 142 of whom were fugitives, or "terrorists" as they now seem to be known.
Hundreds of dollars were seized and drugs recovered, and 1,292 traffic violations were handed out to speeding terrorists and illegally parked terrorists.
Click here to watch a WREG Memphis news report
The authorities even raided businesses and store owners, confiscating computers and paperwork in an effort to "track down possible terrorists before something big happens".
The Sheriff's Department is determining if and when they plan another round-up.
The operation, which involved police, deputies, the FBI, drug agents, gang units and even the coast guard, is just one example of how law enforcement at the state and local levels is being co-opted and centralized by the Department of Homeland Security via massive federal grants.
It also highlights how the distinction between crime and terrorism is becoming irrelevant.
An Infowars reader called in to the Alex Jones show yesterday to alert us to the story and explain that he had gleaned the information from a his friend, a sheriff's deputy in Memphis, who had described the operation as "training for martial law in America".
Forget innocent until proven guilty, you are now a terrorist suspect until you are told otherwise.
It is now the norm to consider everybody equally likely to be guilty of something than innocent. This is proactive policing, not preventative or reactive policing, and is widely indicative of a society that is NOT free.
This form of proactive policing is a phenomena indicative of a once free state rapidly declining into a authoritarian police state.
If there was a real terror threat in these states, it would surely make sense to for law enforcement agencies to target known trouble areas, and follow up on already existing leads. Instead we are seeing local police and the coast guard being recruited to randomly target anyone in any area as possible terrorists.
Surely if there was a real terror threat, this activity would harm the effort to combat it.
Of course, such activity is clearly not related to a real and tangible terror threat, it is related to the ongoing effort to vastly increase the size and scope of the federal government and increase the power it has over American citizens.
The information and intelligence from the operation will be collated and routed through federally funded state-run fusion centers, which are working in conjunction with the military arm of the DHS, NORTHCOM.
We recently reported on the fact that after 9/11 the Justice Department advised the Bush administration that it was able to effectively suspend the Fourth Amendment where domestic counter terrorism operations are concerned.
In light of this, and given that the government has begun to class any crime as terrorism and set local and state police to work on "anti-terror" operations, it is clear that the protections provided by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are under direct threat.
We have seen how new provisions will effectively nullify the U.S. constitution, and a recent spate of executive orders, in particular PDD 51, outline preparations for the implementation of open martial law in the event of a declared national emergency.
Centralized and federally coordinated law enforcement programs complement nationwide FEMA programs to train Pastors and other religious representatives to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to "obey the government" in preparation for the implementation of martial law, property and firearm seizures, mass vaccination programs and forced relocation. The effects of this particular program have already been witnessed.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The threat of terrorism at the 2012 London Olympics is being hyped up in order to justify a vast increase in the surveillance powers of the British state.
According to a memo leaked to the Daily Telegraph, Home Office officials are planning to expand the police DNA database to identify suspects and use greater powers to track individuals through advanced closed circuit television (CCTV) technology and the Oyster card used by millions of people on London’s bus and rail network.
The memo discusses different means the government could use to persuade the British public to accept these measures. It asks, “To what extent should the expectation of liberty be eroded by legitimate intrusions in the interests of security of the wider public?” and concludes, “Increasing [public] support could be possible through the piloting of certain approaches in high-profile ways such as the London Olympics.”
To that end, ministers, police chiefs and officials have stepped up their demands for more security measures, utilising the Games. Last month, Lord Dear, the former Scotland Yard head of operations, made a public announcement expressing his doubts over present police capabilities to deal with the event. He said that the police force is too short of manpower to deal with the extra security needed and likened it to a “Sixties car in the 21st century,” adding, “If the model is flawed now, it will certainly be flawed in four years’ time.”
“It’s fairly obvious to anyone that major terrorist groups will not be particularly interested in attacking the Beijing Olympics,” Dear said. “But in four years’ time they will have the London Olympics as a target and we need to be best positioned to counter that well in time.”
Dear’s announcement was made despite the fact that there are a record 140,000 police officers in service and the Olympics security budget has risen sharply by £238 million in the last few months. At the end of last year, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell released figures that showed that the initial security budget of £200 million in 2005 had spiralled to more than £1 billion.
Dear’s comments reflect those of the most senior officers in the police. The head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, has also expressed concern over existing security arrangements and outlined a plan for them to be beefed up in readiness for the games. He has also said that special security and training will be required for athletes and the 200 heads of state expected for the opening ceremony. These proposals will inevitably involve extending the budget still further.
As well as increasing the number of police, the proposed scheme involves an elaborate and sophisticated security system spanning the whole of London. According to a BBC report last month, the Metropolitan Police Service wants to pool its 10,000 existing cameras with the thousands of traffic and congestion cameras already in operation across the city.
This would give the police control over a vast network of up to half a million CCTV cameras, making it the largest of its kind in the world. The network would then be controlled by a central £100 million bomb-proof command bunker operated jointly by the military, police and intelligence services brought together under the umbrella of the Olympic Security Directorate.
The Olympic security coordinator, Assistant Police Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, has made several statements over the last few weeks that indicate just how huge the increase in surveillance will be. Speaking at an international security conference in Abu Dhabi, Ghaffur outlined new ticketing technology to be used on the London transport system to track the movements of every individual, as well as “second-generation” computer technology that can track individuals through face recognition. The computers can use identity-recognition techniques to compare video against a database of digital faces.
A pilot scheme involving 750,000 mugshots has already been completed. Using the facial-mapping software connected to the CCTV cameras, an alert will flash up as soon as a known person appears on the screen. He added, “We will have the most secure and transparent ticketing system. Tracking technology is being developed—a spectator will be tracked from the venue to his or her home with these tickets.”
Other measures outlined by Ghaffur include dividing London into three security zones, three extra helicopters to carry out close surveillance, an increase in the automatic vehicle number plate recognition system, and checks using biometric fingerprints on the 50,000 workforce being used to build the venues.
Currently, the police can only check fingerprints and photographs from suspects after they have been arrested. Under these new powers, the police will be able to carry out these checks instantly with hand-held devices that are connected to the security database. Peter Neyroud, the chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, said, “We are trying to get a really disciplined understanding of how to use these tools before the Olympics. That is a really important time scale for us.”
As well as increasing the size of the British police force to 9,000 for the major Olympic events, there are also proposals to draft in extra manpower from private security firms and foreign armed police. Scotland Yard has called for these measures on the basis that too few British police have firearms training to cope with the events, and the costs of training them are prohibitive. The contracted armed police will be used to guard dignitaries, athletes, the main Olympic Park and other sports venues.
Ian Blair told a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority, “The principle must be that we don’t want armed foreign police, but there’s a ‘but’—and the ‘but’ is twofold. One, you may not be able to get any foreign police unless they are armed, because they won’t feel easy being unarmed in public scenarios like that. Two, do we actually have, in this case, sufficient capacity to have enough armed officers to do the job?”
All of these extra resources will mean that the security budget for the games will mushroom in the next four years. Denis Oswald, the chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s London 2012 coordination commission, has admitted that it is “impossible to predict” how much money will need to be spent when the games are still four years away. He said, “It’s a very difficult area but if we want to have occasions like the Olympic Games, where hundreds of thousands of people meet, then you have to make sure they are safe, otherwise you just give up and the terrorists will win.”
This refusal to draw up a fixed budget on the basis of a terrorist threat that is “impossible to measure” amounts to a blank cheque that Londoners and the British people will ultimately have to pay. More importantly, the machinery is being created that is necessary to impose a highly integrated police/military apparatus in Britain’s capital city, under the pretext of keeping the country safe from terrorism
May 02, 2008
Psychological influence of uniforms cited by authorities
Recent news that police in Massachusetts are to switch to black, military-style uniforms in an effort to appear more authoritative and aggressive highlights a more general move to militarize police in America and affect a "post 9/11" psychology of fear.
Last week an AP report headlined Massachusetts Police Get Black Uniforms to Instill Sense of 'Fear' detailed the move:
Sgt. John Delaney told a city council hearing Wednesday that the stark uniforms send a message to criminals that officers are serious about making arrests.
Delaney said a sense of "fear" has been missing for the past few years.
In recent years police in cities all over America have been increasingly seen in all black attire.
The introduction of black police uniforms has an ominous precedent. In 1932 Hitler's propaganda chief Heinrich Himmler famously introduced black uniforms for SS police, tailored to project authority and foster fear and respect. The choice of color was not by chance.
It is believed that the Nazis took the idea from the "blackshirts" in Italy years before the creation of the SS.
A 2001 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin has summarized research on police uniforms and noted the psychological influence they have:
Research has suggested that clothing has a powerful impact on how people perceive each other. The police officer's uniform has a profound psychological impact on others, and even slight alterations to the style of the uniform may change how citizens perceive them.
The studies cited found that black uniforms elicit emotions of anger, hostility, dominance, and aggression:
Applying the results of these studies in color to the police uniform suggests that darker police uniforms may send negative subconscious signals to citizens. A dark police uniform may subconsciously encourage citizens to perceive officers as aggressive, evil, or corrupt and send a negative message to the community.
Even more interesting are further findings that suggest both police officers and citizens are more likely to engage each other violently when the authorities come dressed in black:
The experiment with the colored jerseys also suggests that police officers in dark uniforms subconsciously may act more aggressively; therefore, departments should consider modifying police uniform colors.
The police uniform also may influence the safety level of the officer who wears it. Dark colored uniforms may elicit subconscious negative feelings from citizens, who may perceive the officer as aggressive, and subsequently, encourage them to consider violent action when confronted by the police.
Research has also shown that police uniforms with a lighter half have been ranked by citizens as "good, honest, helpful, and competent, the lighter colored sheriff's uniform rated noticeably higher for warmth and friendliness".
It is telling that police have ditched these in favor of the all black approach.
The same black uniform tactics have been adopted by police forces in the UK, who have ditched traditional uniforms in favor of black roll-necks and black combat trousers.
MPs have spoken out against the move, with David Jones, Conservative MP for Clwyd West describing the uniforms as "sinister".
"I think that the connotations of black shirts are obvious to anybody. They've got a kind of fascist, militaristic appearance." Jones commented at the time.
When the role of the police in a supposedly free country is to admittedly appear dangerous and to instill fear, in tandem with enhanced powers and more draconian practices, history tells us that something is most definitely not right.
May 01, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
"I wouldn't expect anything less than a fair and balanced coverage of my campaign."