China-Mexico connection

Published on Feb 12, 2015 China is fueling meth addiction by supplying precursor chemicals to drug lords and gangs around the world. These basic chemical ingredients can be used to make Methamphetamine, and have fed a growing drug problem in … Continue reading

Published on Feb 12, 2015
China is fueling meth addiction by supplying precursor chemicals to drug lords and gangs around the world. These basic chemical ingredients can be used to make Methamphetamine, and have fed a growing drug problem in the United States through Mexican drug cartels. In recent years, Chinese authorities have launched several high-profile drug busts. But authorities are also looking the other way, or in some cases, are directly involved in synthetic drug trade. On this episode of China Uncensored, here are 11 ways that the Chinese Communist Party is breaking bad.

Bitcoin

Published on Nov 21, 2013

From obscure cryptographic experiment to multibillion-dollar virtual currency, Bitcoin’s sudden rise to fame has been steeped in controversy. As US authorities give it the green light for the first time, will Bitcoin become the foundation of a new global financial system, or will the bubble burst, proving to be one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind? Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins Oksana to discuss these issues.


Published on Oct 29, 2013

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, discuss the revolutionary solution that takes money and power from those who hate and gives it to those who will no longer wait for celebrities and pundits to cogitate, agitate and debate whether or not wristbands and hashtags – oh so quaint – can stop the plunder and pillage by the conmen, hucksters, and banksters backed by the state. Yes, bitcoin. The currency is already creating economic value across Africa, China and the developing world while Brits destroy economic value by moving their money into yet another corrupt bank. In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon of BankToTheFuture.com about peer to peer lending and the future in which the population can deploy their own capital in more productive ways.

FOLLOW Max Keiser on Twitter: http://twitter.com/maxkeiser

WATCH all Keiser Report shows here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E1-E200)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E201-E400)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E401-current)
Published time: October 26, 2013 08:57

US authorities have reported their largest-ever Bitcoin bust amounting to $28 million of the digital currency. It was seized from the owner of the controversial Silk Road website, which was shut down three weeks ago.

A Friday statement by federal prosecutors in New York details the seizure of 144,336 bitcoins, which were discovered on the computer belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Reuters reports. Ulbricht was arrested Oct. 1 in San Francisco on several charges of conspiracy.

Ulbricht’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, but the accused earlier denied all the allegations.

Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website was an anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice Department said.

The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in illegal activities.

The current bust was part of a joint civil action against Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.

Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are many more to come.”

Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched, after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic currency.

Together with the previous figure of 30,000 bitcoins, the new FBI bust puts the current value of seized currency at $33 million, the US Attorney General’s Office said. In the two years Ulbricht’s website was in operation, about $1.2 billion in bitcoins were traded. Silk Road charged between 8 and 15 percent in commissions.


Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC or XBT[8]) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority.[9] Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[10] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.[1][11][12][13]

The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology.[2] In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins.[1][14] To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.[4]

In August 2013 Germany’s Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term “unit of account”—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency.[15] Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin’s volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering

Published on Nov 21, 2013

From obscure cryptographic experiment to multibillion-dollar virtual currency, Bitcoin’s sudden rise to fame has been steeped in controversy. As US authorities give it the green light for the first time, will Bitcoin become the foundation of a new global financial system, or will the bubble burst, proving to be one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind? Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins Oksana to discuss these issues.


Published on Oct 29, 2013

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, discuss the revolutionary solution that takes money and power from those who hate and gives it to those who will no longer wait for celebrities and pundits to cogitate, agitate and debate whether or not wristbands and hashtags – oh so quaint – can stop the plunder and pillage by the conmen, hucksters, and banksters backed by the state. Yes, bitcoin. The currency is already creating economic value across Africa, China and the developing world while Brits destroy economic value by moving their money into yet another corrupt bank. In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon of BankToTheFuture.com about peer to peer lending and the future in which the population can deploy their own capital in more productive ways.

FOLLOW Max Keiser on Twitter: http://twitter.com/maxkeiser

WATCH all Keiser Report shows here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E1-E200)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E201-E400)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E401-current)
Published time: October 26, 2013 08:57

US authorities have reported their largest-ever Bitcoin bust amounting to $28 million of the digital currency. It was seized from the owner of the controversial Silk Road website, which was shut down three weeks ago.

A Friday statement by federal prosecutors in New York details the seizure of 144,336 bitcoins, which were discovered on the computer belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Reuters reports. Ulbricht was arrested Oct. 1 in San Francisco on several charges of conspiracy.

Ulbricht’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, but the accused earlier denied all the allegations.

Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website was an anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice Department said.

The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in illegal activities.

The current bust was part of a joint civil action against Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.

Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are many more to come.”

Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched, after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic currency.

Together with the previous figure of 30,000 bitcoins, the new FBI bust puts the current value of seized currency at $33 million, the US Attorney General’s Office said. In the two years Ulbricht’s website was in operation, about $1.2 billion in bitcoins were traded. Silk Road charged between 8 and 15 percent in commissions.


Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC or XBT[8]) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority.[9] Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[10] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.[1][11][12][13]

The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology.[2] In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins.[1][14] To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.[4]

In August 2013 Germany’s Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term “unit of account”—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency.[15] Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin’s volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering

The Pley Club

(Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service said on Friday it is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security over the loss of computer files on the Washington Metro system.

In 2008, a contract employee lost two computer tapes on the Metro while transporting them from one facility to another, Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said. The investigation was first reported Friday morning by Fox News.

The Secret Service notified transit police and the Department of Homeland Security, but were unable to locate the tapes. The back up tapes were not marked or identified and were protected by many layers of security, Donovan said.

“It was a low risk for compromise,” Donovan said.

Following the incident, the Secret Service put in place new procedures aimed at preventing a repeat.

“There has been no reported fraud associated with the loss of these tapes,” Donovan said.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Secret Service is under scrutiny after about a dozen employees were accused of misconduct for bringing women, some of them prostitutes, back to their hotel rooms ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to Cartagena, Colombia.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; editing by Todd Eastham)


Though sidelined by the Secret Service scandal, last month’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, was an event of considerable significance. There are three major reasons: Cuba, the drug war and the isolation of the United States.

A headline in the Jamaica Observer read, “Summit shows how much Yanqui influence had waned.” The story reports that “the big items on the agenda were the lucrative and destructive drug trade and how the countries of the entire region could meet while excluding one country–Cuba.”

The meetings ended with no agreement because of U.S. opposition on those items–a drug-decriminalization policy and the Cuba ban. Continued U.S. obstructionism may well lead to the displacement of the Organization of American States by the newly-formed Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, from which the United States and Canada are excluded.

Cuba had agreed not to attend the summit because otherwise Washington would have boycotted it. But the meetings made clear that U.S. intransigence would not be long tolerated. The U.S. and Canada were alone in barring Cuban participation, on grounds of Cuba’s violations of democratic principles and human rights.

Latin Americans can evaluate these charges from ample experience. They are familiar with the U.S. record on human rights. Cuba especially has suffered from U.S. terrorist attacks and economic strangulation as punishment for its independence – its “successful defiance” of U.S. policies tracing back to the Monroe Doctrine.

Latin Americans don’t have to read U.S. scholarship to recognize that Washington supports democracy if, and only if, it conforms to strategic and economic objectives, and even when it does, favors “limited, top-down forms of democratic change that did not risk upsetting the traditional structures of power with which the United States has long been allied–[in] quite undemocratic societies,” as neo-Reaganite scholar Thomas Carothers points out.

At the Cartagena summit, the drug war became a key issue at the initiative of newly-elected Guatemalan President Gen. Perez Molina, whom no one would mistake for a soft-hearted liberal. He was joined by the summit host, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, and by others.

The concern is nothing new. Three years ago the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy published a report on the drug war by ex-Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, and Cesar Gaviria of Colombia calling for decriminalizing marijuana and treating drug use as a public-health problem.

Much research, including a widely quoted Rand Corporation study of 1994, has shown that prevention and treatment are considerably more cost-effective than the coercive measures that receive the bulk of funding. Such nonpunitive measures are also of course far more humane.

Experience conforms to these conclusions. By far the most lethal substance is tobacco, which also kills nonusers at a high rate (passive smoking). Usage has sharply declined among more educated sectors, not by criminalization but as a result of lifestyle changes.

One country, Portugal, decriminalized all drugs in 2001–meaning that they remain technically illegal but are considered administrative violations, removed from the criminal domain. A Cato Institute study by Glenn Greenwald found the results to be “a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.”

In dramatic contrast, the coercive procedures of the 40-year U.S. drug war have had virtually no effect on use or price of drugs in the United States, while creating havoc through the continent. The problem is primarily in the United States: both demand (for drugs) and supply (of arms). Latin Americans are the immediate victims, suffering appalling levels of violence and corruption, with addiction spreading through the transit routes.

When policies are pursued for many years with unremitting dedication though they are known to fail in terms of proclaimed objectives, and alternatives that are likely to be far more effective are systematically ignored, questions naturally arise about motives. One rational procedure is to explore predictable consequences. These have never been obscure.

In Colombia, the drug war has been a thin cover for counterinsurgency. Fumigation–a form of chemical warfare–has destroyed crops and rich biodiversity, and contributes to driving millions of poor peasants into urban slums, opening vast territories for mining, agribusiness, ranches and other benefits to the powerful.
Other drug-war beneficiaries are banks laundering massive amounts of money. In Mexico, the major drug cartels are involved in 80 percent of the productive sectors of the economy, according to academic researchers. Similar developments are occurring elsewhere.

In the U.S., the primary victims have been African-American males, increasingly also women and Hispanics–in short, those rendered superfluous by the economic changes instituted in the 1970s, shifting the economy toward financialization and offshoring of production.

Thanks largely to the highly selective drug war, minorities are dispatched to prison – the major factor in the radical rise of incarceration since the 1980s that has become an international scandal. The process resembles “social cleansing” in U.S. client states in Latin America, which gets rid of “undesirables.”
The isolation of the U.S. at Cartagena carries forward other turning-point developments of the past decade, as Latin America has at last begun to extricate itself from the control of the great powers, and even to address its shocking internal problems.

Latin America has long had a tradition of liberal jurisprudence and rebellion against imposed authority. The New Deal drew from that tradition. Latin Americans may yet again inspire progress in human rights in the United States.


ABC News’ Reena Ninan, Christine Romo and Mary Bruce Report:

CARTAGENA, Colombia – ABC News has learned exclusively that the Secret Service officials accused of misconduct in Colombia revealed their identities by boasting at a Cartagena brothel that they worked for President Obama.

Partying at the “Pley Club” Wednesday night, eleven members of the president’s advance team allegedly bragged “we work for Obama” and “we’re here to protect him.”

The officials spent the night throwing back expensive whiskey and enlisting the services of the club’s prostitutes, according to a bouncer at the club and a police source.

Sources tell ABC News several of the men agreed to pay for, and received, services from the “highest category” prostitutes available at the club, who charge upwards of $200.

The men paid for the sexual services in advance but when it came time to settle the bill, there was a dispute over the charges.

The group became belligerent and the police were called. The argument between the officials and the bouncers from the club escalated and ultimately spilled onto the street, according to several eye witness accounts.

The police have since been directed by U.S. authorities not to comment on that night or the scandal surrounding the Secret Service, according to a senior police official in Cartagena.

Prostitution is legal in Colombia and the women who work at the Pley Club live on the premises.

The club, located on a dusty street in the industrial Bosque neighborhood, just blocks from the port, has a rough exterior but boasts plush “pley rooms” inside.

The Pley Club is a well-known brothel in this historic city. Some taxi drivers in the resort-town are paid a commission for recommending the club and its prostitutes to tourists.

The officials were in Cartagena on assignment ahead of the president’s visit for the Summit of the Americas last weekend.

The controversy surrounding the officials’ misconduct, however, overshadowed the summit last week and local residents are questioning why the city put so many resources into the international event only to be left with a tarnished reputation.

“Cartagena didn’t benefit one cent from President Obama’s visit. All people remember are that the Secret Service agents slept with our prostitutes,” said a man who works in the neighborhood.

(Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service said on Friday it is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security over the loss of computer files on the Washington Metro system.

In 2008, a contract employee lost two computer tapes on the Metro while transporting them from one facility to another, Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said. The investigation was first reported Friday morning by Fox News.

The Secret Service notified transit police and the Department of Homeland Security, but were unable to locate the tapes. The back up tapes were not marked or identified and were protected by many layers of security, Donovan said.

“It was a low risk for compromise,” Donovan said.

Following the incident, the Secret Service put in place new procedures aimed at preventing a repeat.

“There has been no reported fraud associated with the loss of these tapes,” Donovan said.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Secret Service is under scrutiny after about a dozen employees were accused of misconduct for bringing women, some of them prostitutes, back to their hotel rooms ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to Cartagena, Colombia.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; editing by Todd Eastham)


Though sidelined by the Secret Service scandal, last month’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, was an event of considerable significance. There are three major reasons: Cuba, the drug war and the isolation of the United States.

A headline in the Jamaica Observer read, “Summit shows how much Yanqui influence had waned.” The story reports that “the big items on the agenda were the lucrative and destructive drug trade and how the countries of the entire region could meet while excluding one country–Cuba.”

The meetings ended with no agreement because of U.S. opposition on those items–a drug-decriminalization policy and the Cuba ban. Continued U.S. obstructionism may well lead to the displacement of the Organization of American States by the newly-formed Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, from which the United States and Canada are excluded.

Cuba had agreed not to attend the summit because otherwise Washington would have boycotted it. But the meetings made clear that U.S. intransigence would not be long tolerated. The U.S. and Canada were alone in barring Cuban participation, on grounds of Cuba’s violations of democratic principles and human rights.

Latin Americans can evaluate these charges from ample experience. They are familiar with the U.S. record on human rights. Cuba especially has suffered from U.S. terrorist attacks and economic strangulation as punishment for its independence – its “successful defiance” of U.S. policies tracing back to the Monroe Doctrine.

Latin Americans don’t have to read U.S. scholarship to recognize that Washington supports democracy if, and only if, it conforms to strategic and economic objectives, and even when it does, favors “limited, top-down forms of democratic change that did not risk upsetting the traditional structures of power with which the United States has long been allied–[in] quite undemocratic societies,” as neo-Reaganite scholar Thomas Carothers points out.

At the Cartagena summit, the drug war became a key issue at the initiative of newly-elected Guatemalan President Gen. Perez Molina, whom no one would mistake for a soft-hearted liberal. He was joined by the summit host, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, and by others.

The concern is nothing new. Three years ago the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy published a report on the drug war by ex-Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, and Cesar Gaviria of Colombia calling for decriminalizing marijuana and treating drug use as a public-health problem.

Much research, including a widely quoted Rand Corporation study of 1994, has shown that prevention and treatment are considerably more cost-effective than the coercive measures that receive the bulk of funding. Such nonpunitive measures are also of course far more humane.

Experience conforms to these conclusions. By far the most lethal substance is tobacco, which also kills nonusers at a high rate (passive smoking). Usage has sharply declined among more educated sectors, not by criminalization but as a result of lifestyle changes.

One country, Portugal, decriminalized all drugs in 2001–meaning that they remain technically illegal but are considered administrative violations, removed from the criminal domain. A Cato Institute study by Glenn Greenwald found the results to be “a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.”

In dramatic contrast, the coercive procedures of the 40-year U.S. drug war have had virtually no effect on use or price of drugs in the United States, while creating havoc through the continent. The problem is primarily in the United States: both demand (for drugs) and supply (of arms). Latin Americans are the immediate victims, suffering appalling levels of violence and corruption, with addiction spreading through the transit routes.

When policies are pursued for many years with unremitting dedication though they are known to fail in terms of proclaimed objectives, and alternatives that are likely to be far more effective are systematically ignored, questions naturally arise about motives. One rational procedure is to explore predictable consequences. These have never been obscure.

In Colombia, the drug war has been a thin cover for counterinsurgency. Fumigation–a form of chemical warfare–has destroyed crops and rich biodiversity, and contributes to driving millions of poor peasants into urban slums, opening vast territories for mining, agribusiness, ranches and other benefits to the powerful.
Other drug-war beneficiaries are banks laundering massive amounts of money. In Mexico, the major drug cartels are involved in 80 percent of the productive sectors of the economy, according to academic researchers. Similar developments are occurring elsewhere.

In the U.S., the primary victims have been African-American males, increasingly also women and Hispanics–in short, those rendered superfluous by the economic changes instituted in the 1970s, shifting the economy toward financialization and offshoring of production.

Thanks largely to the highly selective drug war, minorities are dispatched to prison – the major factor in the radical rise of incarceration since the 1980s that has become an international scandal. The process resembles “social cleansing” in U.S. client states in Latin America, which gets rid of “undesirables.”
The isolation of the U.S. at Cartagena carries forward other turning-point developments of the past decade, as Latin America has at last begun to extricate itself from the control of the great powers, and even to address its shocking internal problems.

Latin America has long had a tradition of liberal jurisprudence and rebellion against imposed authority. The New Deal drew from that tradition. Latin Americans may yet again inspire progress in human rights in the United States.


ABC News’ Reena Ninan, Christine Romo and Mary Bruce Report:

CARTAGENA, Colombia – ABC News has learned exclusively that the Secret Service officials accused of misconduct in Colombia revealed their identities by boasting at a Cartagena brothel that they worked for President Obama.

Partying at the “Pley Club” Wednesday night, eleven members of the president’s advance team allegedly bragged “we work for Obama” and “we’re here to protect him.”

The officials spent the night throwing back expensive whiskey and enlisting the services of the club’s prostitutes, according to a bouncer at the club and a police source.

Sources tell ABC News several of the men agreed to pay for, and received, services from the “highest category” prostitutes available at the club, who charge upwards of $200.

The men paid for the sexual services in advance but when it came time to settle the bill, there was a dispute over the charges.

The group became belligerent and the police were called. The argument between the officials and the bouncers from the club escalated and ultimately spilled onto the street, according to several eye witness accounts.

The police have since been directed by U.S. authorities not to comment on that night or the scandal surrounding the Secret Service, according to a senior police official in Cartagena.

Prostitution is legal in Colombia and the women who work at the Pley Club live on the premises.

The club, located on a dusty street in the industrial Bosque neighborhood, just blocks from the port, has a rough exterior but boasts plush “pley rooms” inside.

The Pley Club is a well-known brothel in this historic city. Some taxi drivers in the resort-town are paid a commission for recommending the club and its prostitutes to tourists.

The officials were in Cartagena on assignment ahead of the president’s visit for the Summit of the Americas last weekend.

The controversy surrounding the officials’ misconduct, however, overshadowed the summit last week and local residents are questioning why the city put so many resources into the international event only to be left with a tarnished reputation.

“Cartagena didn’t benefit one cent from President Obama’s visit. All people remember are that the Secret Service agents slept with our prostitutes,” said a man who works in the neighborhood.

SWAT

Dennis Gaydos, a homeless man from Palm Springs, was making his home outside of a church in the sunny Florida community without incident until a police intervention changed his life.

Gaydos says he was keeping to himself in his temporary home on the church grounds when the Palm Springs Police department SWAT team, dressed in full military garb, shot him multiple times with rubber bullets.

The close-range blast slashed off a portion of his right ear lobe and rendered his left eye a pulpy mess.

In the four years since the event, Gaydos has filed a federal lawsuit against Palm Beach County, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the Village of Palm Springs Police Department. The lawsuit, which was filed in late July, is in response to the SWAT team to removing him from his encampment and severely butchering him.

Other damages include “physical suffering, permanent disfigurement including the loss of use of a bodily function, injury and mental anguish.”

“What happened to Mr. Gaydos was outrageous,” says Kevin Anderson to Jose Lambiet of GossipExtra.com. Anderson, Gaydos’ police liability lawyer, adds that “the behavior of the police officers and deputies at the scene was simply unexplainable.”

The lawsuit states, with a deployed helicopter over head, “the plaintiff was overtaken by multiple deputies and police officers. The Plaintiff was not threatening harm to the officers or other individuals upon the defendants’ arrival.”

Authorities claim Gaydos refused to come out and, on the contrary, officers allegedly took action when they spotted Gaydos wielding a cell phone in one hand and a “knife” in the other.

Gaydos admits to having a cell phone in his hands at the night of the incident, but said he had just finished calling a food assistance agency.

It is believed that the food agency’s operator reported to law enforcement that Gaydos was living in underbrush by the church’s parking lot.

Gaydos claims the incident which left him blind and deaf should have never occurred since he had permission from the pastor to reside there.

Gaydos’ attorney added the artificial light in the area was more than sufficient to prevent an “accidental” shooting.

Palm Beach County records indicate the night of the incident, Gaydos didn’t have any criminal charges filed against him and was never arrested.

According to official records no knife was recovered from the scene either.


Five years after a California SWAT team raided the home of a man already imprisoned and pointed weapons at his loved ones, a Ninth Circuit panel will allow the family of Javier Bravo Jr. to sue the detective working the case.

The SWAT team in Santa Maria, California burst opened the door of Hope and Javier Bravo’s home in 2006 looking for their son over alleged connections with a drive-by shooting. Authorities were looking for the younger Bravo and believed he had hidden weapons involved in a 2006 drive-by shooting, but were unable to locate him after they stormed the house shortly after 5 a.m.

As luck would have it, Bravo was already behind bars. His incarceration was clearly listed on the search warrant obtained by Detective Louis Tanore, though authorities neglected to notice it before drawing weapons on the criminal’s family.

After pointing assault weapons at the 8-year-old grandson of the Bravos, the child ran off to the bathroom screaming. Hope Bravo then produced a letter penned by her son that was mailed from prison as to proof of his incarceration. As noted on the rap sheet attached to the warrant, Javier Jr. had been behind bars for six months already at the time of the raid.

At the time of the incident, a District Court judge ruled in favor of the authorities and argued that the fact that Javier Jr. was imprisoned at the time was irrelevant to the raid. Last Friday, however, a federal appeals court reversed the decision, allowing the family to go after the detective and others involved.

According to Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, the police “had no evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bravo or E.B. were involved in the April 21 shooting or that during a period in which Javier Junior was not residing in their home they would have assisted Tangas gang members in concealing evidence, and specifically in concealing evidence from the shooting.” Further, the judge went after the detective and charged that his “generalized statements in the affidavit that it is ‘common’ for families of gang members to assist other members of the gang are insufficient to support probable cause to search the Bravos’ home.”


A Seattle, Washington apartment rented by members of the local Occupy Wall Street chapter was raided and ransacked by the local SWAT team early Tuesday as part of an investigation into alleged anarchist actions.

In a press release published after the event by a spokesperson with Occupy Seattle, the group says that all four residents of the Judkins Park area apartment were sleeping during the 6 a.m. raid. Authorities still used a battering-ram like device to break down a door and deploy stun grenades, however, a non-lethal weapon used to disorient its victims.

“Suddenly we heard the bang of their grenade, and the crashing as police entered the apartment,” neighbor Natalio Perez tells the Kasama Project website. “The crashing and stomping continued for a long time as they tore the place apart.”

The Seattle Police Department has since explained to the public that the raid was in conjunction with an ongoing investigation into protests that occurred during the May Day actions earlier this year. The police add that by executing the search warrant, they were able to collective “evidence that will be useful” in their ongoing probe.

Last month, reporters at the Puget Sound Anarchists website wrote that the FBI was behind repeated attempts into investigating Occupy Seattle and organizers that authorities believe were involved in the May 1, 2012 protests.

“Over the past few weeks the FBI has contacted and spoken with at least two individuals who have been involved in Occupy Seattle. In both instances, the agents have threatened to take these individuals away from their loved ones. From what is known, these individuals were contacted because of the events surrounding the May 1st General Strike,” the website reported.

One resident of the Seattle apartment adds to the Kasama Project site that a warrant made available by officers on Tuesday suggested “they were looking for specific pieces of clothing supposedly connected with a May First incident.”

“This warrant says that they were specifically looking for ‘anarchist materials’ — which lays out the political police state nature of this right there,” the source adds.

Phillip Neel was one of the Occupiers residing in the apartment during the raid, and was actually presented with the search warrant used by the SWAT team. Describing it to the Fire Dog Lake website, Neel says cops were concerned with locating “black hoodies, face masks, goggles,” and other items that could have been tied to the May First protests.

Blogger Kevin Gosztola adds in his report that police are reported to have confiscated clothing and sunglasses, and that “Fliers and a pamphlet that anyone could’ve picked up at any Occupy action were seized.”

Following the raid, around 50 people gathered for a protest that took demonstrators around the Seattle Police Department’s East Prestinct, the Seattle Times reports. No arrests were made during the early morning raid or during that evening’s protest.


There isn’t a lot to do in Paragould, Arkansas, but residents of the town of barely 25,000 seem to have no problem finding trouble. Now in order to curb the rising crime rate, the city is proposing heavily armed police patrol the streets on foot.

At a town hall meeting on Thursday, Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall endorsed a plan to send cops dressed in full-fledged SWAT gear and equipped with AR-15s into downtown Paragould starting in 2013.

The militarized police force will be tasked with trying to control a crime rate that has made Paragould an increasingly dangerous place to live in recent years. According to statistics collected by city-data.com, Paragould has had a property crime index rating more than double the national average since 2007. Rapes, burglaries, thefts and assaults per capita are also well above the mean there, statistically suggesting Paragould is perhaps the least-safe among area cities.

“This fear is what’s given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they’re scared, we can do this,” Stovall said, according to the Paragould Daily Press. “It allows us to do what we’re fixing to do.”

In order to bring crime down, residents of Paragould may soon have to endure police officers brandishing semi-automatic assault riddles on the regular. What’s more, Stovall says, is he intends to have the cops collecting identification from everyone and anyone in an attempt to discourage criminal activity.

“If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID,” the Daily Press reports him saying during last week’s meeting.

“To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said. “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” added Mayor Gaskill, “but they’re going to have to prove it.”

Soon after the Paragould Daily Press picked up the story, news of the small town’s efforts to enforce martial law began making headlines outside of Arkansas. On Sunday, Stovall authored an explanation on the Paragould Police Department website to clarify how exactly the proposed Street Crimes Unit will interact with citizens.

“Most often, this identification process will be nothing more than making contact with a subject, handing them a business card, and asking if they live in the area and if there’s anything we can do for them,” he says. During hours in which crime seems to be more prevalent, however, Chief Stovall says their process “will become more stringent.”

“We will be asking for picture identification. We will be ascertaining where the subject lives and what they are doing in the area. We will be keeping a record of those we contact.”

Stovall adds that they program would not violate the constitutional rights of Paragould citizens, claiming, “Once we have an area that shows a high crime rate or a high call volume, it is our duty and obligation to find out why this is occurring and what we can do to prevent the trend from continuing. Therefore, identifying subjects in those problem areas help us to solve crimes, and hopefully to prevent future crimes.”

Paragould has scheduled two more town hall meetings to discuss the Street Crimes Unit.


The parents of a 12-year-old girl are asking for answers from the Billings, Montana SWAT team after a flash-bang grenade was tossed into their daughter’s bedroom, sending the preteen to a local emergency room with second-degree burns.

Armed police officers busted down the door of the Fasching family’s West End Billings home on Tuesday to execute a search warrant filed by the City-County Special Investigations Unit as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. Before they could do as much, though, an agent with the SWAT team on the scene prematurely detonated a stun grenade that is reported to have caused not just substantial damage to the home but its occupants as well, including a 12-year-old girl only inches away from where the device was deployed.

“She has first- and second-degree burns down the left side of her body and on her arms,” mother Jackie Fasching tells The Missoulian newspaper. “She’s got severe pain. Every time I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes.”

The girl, whose name is being withheld, was in her sister’s room when the SWAT team stormed the house early Tuesday. And while she has since been treated and released twice from a local hospital, pictures from the aftermath provided to the Missoulian by her parents show that the family didn’t suffer from just a minor mishap.

“I’m going to have to take them to counseling,” Mrs. Fasching says. “They’re never going to get over that.”

The early-morning raid occurred at around 6 a.m. when the entire family was home, and while the Billings Police Department says they took all precautions to minimize injury, they’re now apologizing for the injury their misconduct has caused.

“It was totally unforeseen, totally unplanned and extremely regrettable,” Police Chief Rich St. John tells the paper. “We certainly did not want a juvenile, or anyone else for that matter, to get injured.”

According to the story the department has provided to the paper, a member of the SWAT team accidently dropped a standard “flash-bang” grenade from a metal pole placed up to a bedroom window of the house without realizing that the device operated off a slight delay. The weapons are regularly used to disorient people in the immediate vicinity with a bright flash, loud bang and concussive blast, the paper writes. When it detonated inside the Fasching home, though, it was on the floor next the child.

Jackie Fasching says all of this could have been avoided if the police would have just used their manners.

“A simple knock on the door and I would’ve let them in,” she tells the paper. “They said their intel told them there was a meth lab at our house. If they would’ve checked, they would’ve known there’s not.”

Chief St. John says that the amount and significance of intelligence made available to the department was enough to warrant a raid either way, and said that the department weighed their investigation carefully before determining that a surprise visit was the best way to search the house.

“Every bit of information and intelligence that we have comes together and we determine what kind of risk is there,” he tells the Missoulian. “The warrant was based on some hard evidence and everything we knew at the time.”

“If we’re wrong or made a mistake, then we’re going to take care of it,” he adds. “But if it determines we’re not, then we’ll go with that. When we do this, we want to ensure the safety of not only the officers, but the residents inside.”

Three days after the raid, the department has yet to file any charges against members of the Fasching household and no one in the family has been taken into custody.


An Evansville, Indiana SWAT team recently attempted to execute a search warrant that was issued to make an example out of an anonymous Internet user who made malicious remarks on the Web. Instead, they destroyed the home of an innocent grandmother.

When members of the Midwest town’s SWAT team plotted their raid on the alleged home of the person behind some unpleasant remarks published on an Internet forum, they invited a local television crew to accompany them so that they could catch the whole thing on camera. Instead of arresting the author of the ill-tempered posts, however, the Evansville SWAT ravaged the home of an elderly woman and confiscated her 18-year-old granddaughter’s laptop.

The SWAT team did not have the name of who they were going after. They barely even had an identity. What they did have to work with, though, was the IP address of a person who logged onto the Topix.com Web forums and made discouraging remarks about local law enforcement.

An archived copy of the thread in question reveals that the police department might have had a reason to be worried. “Cops be aware,” a person using the handle usarmy wrote on Topix. The thread began when another user claimed that the home addresses of Evansville Police Department officers had been leaked and was spreading online, and usarmy was hardly the first person to reply. When the person behind that username did write a response, however, they had some things to say that didn’t sit well with the EPD. In between a slew of self-censored expletives, the author implied that they were considering an attack on an unspecified member of the police department.

“4th of July a cops house gonna get hit. dont care about your kids or btchs lives. I dnt even care bout my own life. I got my reasons..times ticking,” reads one post from usarmy.

“I am proud of my county, but I hate police of any kind,” reads another. “I have explosives.:) made in America.Evansville will feel my pain.guess who’s in the river.”

Acting on the assumed planned act of aggression, officials were able to figure out the author’s IP address. As several courts have ruled recently, though, that isn’t enough to exactly single out a certain home, let alone a person. While an Internet Protocol address can be linked to a computer, any person who accesses that network’s WiFi — with or without authorization — can be linked to that IP. Only last month, in fact, New York Eastern District federal court magistrate Judge Gary Brown ruled that IP address logs can’t be used on its own to link a suspect to a crime, writing “a single IP address usually supports multiple computer devices – which unlike traditional telephones can be operated simultaneously by different individuals.” District Court Judge Howard R. Lloyd made essentially the same ruling one month earlier in a Northern District of California courtroom.

Ira Milan, whose house ended up targeted by the authorities, tells the Evansville Courier & Press that she thinks the author of the posts used her granddaughter’s Internet connection from an outside location. Police Chief Billy Bolin says it is much more cut and dry, though.

“We have no way of being able to tell that,” Bolin tells the Courier, adding that the messages “definitely come back to that address.”

Police reps tell the Courier that they obtained a search warrant for computer equipment at Milan’s house so that they could collect whatever devices may have been used to make the anonymous posts. Responding to an inquiry from the paper, though, the Vanderburgh County Clerk’s Office was initially unable to locate a copy of the document; Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann also refused to comply with the request. When Bolin was asked by the media to materialize the warrant, he deferred their plea and insisted that producing the paper could compromise the investigation. What Bolin did have to say, however, was that the document did not contain the names of any suspects.

“We have an idea in our mind who it is, but we don’t have evidence yet,” Bolin explains to the Courier.

Even still, the department says that the hunch was enough to throw two flash-bang stun grenades into the front window of Ira Milan’s home. The Courier Press reports that the front door was open at the time of the incident.

“To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive,” says Milan.

Authorities say it should prove their point, though.

“This is a big deal to us,” Sgt. Jason Cullum, a police department spokesman, tells the Courier Press. “This may be just somebody who was online just talking stupid. What I would suggest to anybody who visits websites like that is that their comments can be taken literally.”

A day after the raid, 18-year-old Stephanie Milan’s cellphone and laptops were still being held by police.


This is just the beginning of the case, but really this lawsuit will hold the officers accountable for Mr. Serrato’s death, finally, and hopefully prevent this kind of tragedy from happening in the future,” says Haddad.

“You’ve got two young boys who’ve lost their father,” he adds. “Nothing can ever replace their father.”

Dennis Gaydos, a homeless man from Palm Springs, was making his home outside of a church in the sunny Florida community without incident until a police intervention changed his life.

Gaydos says he was keeping to himself in his temporary home on the church grounds when the Palm Springs Police department SWAT team, dressed in full military garb, shot him multiple times with rubber bullets.

The close-range blast slashed off a portion of his right ear lobe and rendered his left eye a pulpy mess.

In the four years since the event, Gaydos has filed a federal lawsuit against Palm Beach County, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the Village of Palm Springs Police Department. The lawsuit, which was filed in late July, is in response to the SWAT team to removing him from his encampment and severely butchering him.

Other damages include “physical suffering, permanent disfigurement including the loss of use of a bodily function, injury and mental anguish.”

“What happened to Mr. Gaydos was outrageous,” says Kevin Anderson to Jose Lambiet of GossipExtra.com. Anderson, Gaydos’ police liability lawyer, adds that “the behavior of the police officers and deputies at the scene was simply unexplainable.”

The lawsuit states, with a deployed helicopter over head, “the plaintiff was overtaken by multiple deputies and police officers. The Plaintiff was not threatening harm to the officers or other individuals upon the defendants’ arrival.”

Authorities claim Gaydos refused to come out and, on the contrary, officers allegedly took action when they spotted Gaydos wielding a cell phone in one hand and a “knife” in the other.

Gaydos admits to having a cell phone in his hands at the night of the incident, but said he had just finished calling a food assistance agency.

It is believed that the food agency’s operator reported to law enforcement that Gaydos was living in underbrush by the church’s parking lot.

Gaydos claims the incident which left him blind and deaf should have never occurred since he had permission from the pastor to reside there.

Gaydos’ attorney added the artificial light in the area was more than sufficient to prevent an “accidental” shooting.

Palm Beach County records indicate the night of the incident, Gaydos didn’t have any criminal charges filed against him and was never arrested.

According to official records no knife was recovered from the scene either.


Five years after a California SWAT team raided the home of a man already imprisoned and pointed weapons at his loved ones, a Ninth Circuit panel will allow the family of Javier Bravo Jr. to sue the detective working the case.

The SWAT team in Santa Maria, California burst opened the door of Hope and Javier Bravo’s home in 2006 looking for their son over alleged connections with a drive-by shooting. Authorities were looking for the younger Bravo and believed he had hidden weapons involved in a 2006 drive-by shooting, but were unable to locate him after they stormed the house shortly after 5 a.m.

As luck would have it, Bravo was already behind bars. His incarceration was clearly listed on the search warrant obtained by Detective Louis Tanore, though authorities neglected to notice it before drawing weapons on the criminal’s family.

After pointing assault weapons at the 8-year-old grandson of the Bravos, the child ran off to the bathroom screaming. Hope Bravo then produced a letter penned by her son that was mailed from prison as to proof of his incarceration. As noted on the rap sheet attached to the warrant, Javier Jr. had been behind bars for six months already at the time of the raid.

At the time of the incident, a District Court judge ruled in favor of the authorities and argued that the fact that Javier Jr. was imprisoned at the time was irrelevant to the raid. Last Friday, however, a federal appeals court reversed the decision, allowing the family to go after the detective and others involved.

According to Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, the police “had no evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bravo or E.B. were involved in the April 21 shooting or that during a period in which Javier Junior was not residing in their home they would have assisted Tangas gang members in concealing evidence, and specifically in concealing evidence from the shooting.” Further, the judge went after the detective and charged that his “generalized statements in the affidavit that it is ‘common’ for families of gang members to assist other members of the gang are insufficient to support probable cause to search the Bravos’ home.”


A Seattle, Washington apartment rented by members of the local Occupy Wall Street chapter was raided and ransacked by the local SWAT team early Tuesday as part of an investigation into alleged anarchist actions.

In a press release published after the event by a spokesperson with Occupy Seattle, the group says that all four residents of the Judkins Park area apartment were sleeping during the 6 a.m. raid. Authorities still used a battering-ram like device to break down a door and deploy stun grenades, however, a non-lethal weapon used to disorient its victims.

“Suddenly we heard the bang of their grenade, and the crashing as police entered the apartment,” neighbor Natalio Perez tells the Kasama Project website. “The crashing and stomping continued for a long time as they tore the place apart.”

The Seattle Police Department has since explained to the public that the raid was in conjunction with an ongoing investigation into protests that occurred during the May Day actions earlier this year. The police add that by executing the search warrant, they were able to collective “evidence that will be useful” in their ongoing probe.

Last month, reporters at the Puget Sound Anarchists website wrote that the FBI was behind repeated attempts into investigating Occupy Seattle and organizers that authorities believe were involved in the May 1, 2012 protests.

“Over the past few weeks the FBI has contacted and spoken with at least two individuals who have been involved in Occupy Seattle. In both instances, the agents have threatened to take these individuals away from their loved ones. From what is known, these individuals were contacted because of the events surrounding the May 1st General Strike,” the website reported.

One resident of the Seattle apartment adds to the Kasama Project site that a warrant made available by officers on Tuesday suggested “they were looking for specific pieces of clothing supposedly connected with a May First incident.”

“This warrant says that they were specifically looking for ‘anarchist materials’ — which lays out the political police state nature of this right there,” the source adds.

Phillip Neel was one of the Occupiers residing in the apartment during the raid, and was actually presented with the search warrant used by the SWAT team. Describing it to the Fire Dog Lake website, Neel says cops were concerned with locating “black hoodies, face masks, goggles,” and other items that could have been tied to the May First protests.

Blogger Kevin Gosztola adds in his report that police are reported to have confiscated clothing and sunglasses, and that “Fliers and a pamphlet that anyone could’ve picked up at any Occupy action were seized.”

Following the raid, around 50 people gathered for a protest that took demonstrators around the Seattle Police Department’s East Prestinct, the Seattle Times reports. No arrests were made during the early morning raid or during that evening’s protest.


There isn’t a lot to do in Paragould, Arkansas, but residents of the town of barely 25,000 seem to have no problem finding trouble. Now in order to curb the rising crime rate, the city is proposing heavily armed police patrol the streets on foot.

At a town hall meeting on Thursday, Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall endorsed a plan to send cops dressed in full-fledged SWAT gear and equipped with AR-15s into downtown Paragould starting in 2013.

The militarized police force will be tasked with trying to control a crime rate that has made Paragould an increasingly dangerous place to live in recent years. According to statistics collected by city-data.com, Paragould has had a property crime index rating more than double the national average since 2007. Rapes, burglaries, thefts and assaults per capita are also well above the mean there, statistically suggesting Paragould is perhaps the least-safe among area cities.

“This fear is what’s given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they’re scared, we can do this,” Stovall said, according to the Paragould Daily Press. “It allows us to do what we’re fixing to do.”

In order to bring crime down, residents of Paragould may soon have to endure police officers brandishing semi-automatic assault riddles on the regular. What’s more, Stovall says, is he intends to have the cops collecting identification from everyone and anyone in an attempt to discourage criminal activity.

“If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID,” the Daily Press reports him saying during last week’s meeting.

“To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said. “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” added Mayor Gaskill, “but they’re going to have to prove it.”

Soon after the Paragould Daily Press picked up the story, news of the small town’s efforts to enforce martial law began making headlines outside of Arkansas. On Sunday, Stovall authored an explanation on the Paragould Police Department website to clarify how exactly the proposed Street Crimes Unit will interact with citizens.

“Most often, this identification process will be nothing more than making contact with a subject, handing them a business card, and asking if they live in the area and if there’s anything we can do for them,” he says. During hours in which crime seems to be more prevalent, however, Chief Stovall says their process “will become more stringent.”

“We will be asking for picture identification. We will be ascertaining where the subject lives and what they are doing in the area. We will be keeping a record of those we contact.”

Stovall adds that they program would not violate the constitutional rights of Paragould citizens, claiming, “Once we have an area that shows a high crime rate or a high call volume, it is our duty and obligation to find out why this is occurring and what we can do to prevent the trend from continuing. Therefore, identifying subjects in those problem areas help us to solve crimes, and hopefully to prevent future crimes.”

Paragould has scheduled two more town hall meetings to discuss the Street Crimes Unit.


The parents of a 12-year-old girl are asking for answers from the Billings, Montana SWAT team after a flash-bang grenade was tossed into their daughter’s bedroom, sending the preteen to a local emergency room with second-degree burns.

Armed police officers busted down the door of the Fasching family’s West End Billings home on Tuesday to execute a search warrant filed by the City-County Special Investigations Unit as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. Before they could do as much, though, an agent with the SWAT team on the scene prematurely detonated a stun grenade that is reported to have caused not just substantial damage to the home but its occupants as well, including a 12-year-old girl only inches away from where the device was deployed.

“She has first- and second-degree burns down the left side of her body and on her arms,” mother Jackie Fasching tells The Missoulian newspaper. “She’s got severe pain. Every time I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes.”

The girl, whose name is being withheld, was in her sister’s room when the SWAT team stormed the house early Tuesday. And while she has since been treated and released twice from a local hospital, pictures from the aftermath provided to the Missoulian by her parents show that the family didn’t suffer from just a minor mishap.

“I’m going to have to take them to counseling,” Mrs. Fasching says. “They’re never going to get over that.”

The early-morning raid occurred at around 6 a.m. when the entire family was home, and while the Billings Police Department says they took all precautions to minimize injury, they’re now apologizing for the injury their misconduct has caused.

“It was totally unforeseen, totally unplanned and extremely regrettable,” Police Chief Rich St. John tells the paper. “We certainly did not want a juvenile, or anyone else for that matter, to get injured.”

According to the story the department has provided to the paper, a member of the SWAT team accidently dropped a standard “flash-bang” grenade from a metal pole placed up to a bedroom window of the house without realizing that the device operated off a slight delay. The weapons are regularly used to disorient people in the immediate vicinity with a bright flash, loud bang and concussive blast, the paper writes. When it detonated inside the Fasching home, though, it was on the floor next the child.

Jackie Fasching says all of this could have been avoided if the police would have just used their manners.

“A simple knock on the door and I would’ve let them in,” she tells the paper. “They said their intel told them there was a meth lab at our house. If they would’ve checked, they would’ve known there’s not.”

Chief St. John says that the amount and significance of intelligence made available to the department was enough to warrant a raid either way, and said that the department weighed their investigation carefully before determining that a surprise visit was the best way to search the house.

“Every bit of information and intelligence that we have comes together and we determine what kind of risk is there,” he tells the Missoulian. “The warrant was based on some hard evidence and everything we knew at the time.”

“If we’re wrong or made a mistake, then we’re going to take care of it,” he adds. “But if it determines we’re not, then we’ll go with that. When we do this, we want to ensure the safety of not only the officers, but the residents inside.”

Three days after the raid, the department has yet to file any charges against members of the Fasching household and no one in the family has been taken into custody.


An Evansville, Indiana SWAT team recently attempted to execute a search warrant that was issued to make an example out of an anonymous Internet user who made malicious remarks on the Web. Instead, they destroyed the home of an innocent grandmother.

When members of the Midwest town’s SWAT team plotted their raid on the alleged home of the person behind some unpleasant remarks published on an Internet forum, they invited a local television crew to accompany them so that they could catch the whole thing on camera. Instead of arresting the author of the ill-tempered posts, however, the Evansville SWAT ravaged the home of an elderly woman and confiscated her 18-year-old granddaughter’s laptop.

The SWAT team did not have the name of who they were going after. They barely even had an identity. What they did have to work with, though, was the IP address of a person who logged onto the Topix.com Web forums and made discouraging remarks about local law enforcement.

An archived copy of the thread in question reveals that the police department might have had a reason to be worried. “Cops be aware,” a person using the handle usarmy wrote on Topix. The thread began when another user claimed that the home addresses of Evansville Police Department officers had been leaked and was spreading online, and usarmy was hardly the first person to reply. When the person behind that username did write a response, however, they had some things to say that didn’t sit well with the EPD. In between a slew of self-censored expletives, the author implied that they were considering an attack on an unspecified member of the police department.

“4th of July a cops house gonna get hit. dont care about your kids or btchs lives. I dnt even care bout my own life. I got my reasons..times ticking,” reads one post from usarmy.

“I am proud of my county, but I hate police of any kind,” reads another. “I have explosives.:) made in America.Evansville will feel my pain.guess who’s in the river.”

Acting on the assumed planned act of aggression, officials were able to figure out the author’s IP address. As several courts have ruled recently, though, that isn’t enough to exactly single out a certain home, let alone a person. While an Internet Protocol address can be linked to a computer, any person who accesses that network’s WiFi — with or without authorization — can be linked to that IP. Only last month, in fact, New York Eastern District federal court magistrate Judge Gary Brown ruled that IP address logs can’t be used on its own to link a suspect to a crime, writing “a single IP address usually supports multiple computer devices – which unlike traditional telephones can be operated simultaneously by different individuals.” District Court Judge Howard R. Lloyd made essentially the same ruling one month earlier in a Northern District of California courtroom.

Ira Milan, whose house ended up targeted by the authorities, tells the Evansville Courier & Press that she thinks the author of the posts used her granddaughter’s Internet connection from an outside location. Police Chief Billy Bolin says it is much more cut and dry, though.

“We have no way of being able to tell that,” Bolin tells the Courier, adding that the messages “definitely come back to that address.”

Police reps tell the Courier that they obtained a search warrant for computer equipment at Milan’s house so that they could collect whatever devices may have been used to make the anonymous posts. Responding to an inquiry from the paper, though, the Vanderburgh County Clerk’s Office was initially unable to locate a copy of the document; Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann also refused to comply with the request. When Bolin was asked by the media to materialize the warrant, he deferred their plea and insisted that producing the paper could compromise the investigation. What Bolin did have to say, however, was that the document did not contain the names of any suspects.

“We have an idea in our mind who it is, but we don’t have evidence yet,” Bolin explains to the Courier.

Even still, the department says that the hunch was enough to throw two flash-bang stun grenades into the front window of Ira Milan’s home. The Courier Press reports that the front door was open at the time of the incident.

“To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive,” says Milan.

Authorities say it should prove their point, though.

“This is a big deal to us,” Sgt. Jason Cullum, a police department spokesman, tells the Courier Press. “This may be just somebody who was online just talking stupid. What I would suggest to anybody who visits websites like that is that their comments can be taken literally.”

A day after the raid, 18-year-old Stephanie Milan’s cellphone and laptops were still being held by police.


This is just the beginning of the case, but really this lawsuit will hold the officers accountable for Mr. Serrato’s death, finally, and hopefully prevent this kind of tragedy from happening in the future,” says Haddad.

“You’ve got two young boys who’ve lost their father,” he adds. “Nothing can ever replace their father.”

Drugs and guns

An estimated 50,000 persons die annually in the United States as a result of violence-related injuries. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for persons aged 15–24 years, the third leading cause for persons aged 25–34 years, and the … Continue reading

An estimated 50,000 persons die annually in the United States as a result of violence-related injuries. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for persons aged 15–24 years, the third leading cause for persons aged 25–34 years, and the fourth for persons aged 1–14 years. Similarly, suicide is the second leading cause of death for persons aged 25–34 years and the third leading cause for persons aged 10–24 years.

Every year just over 30,000 people die in the US from gunshot wounds. Every two years more US citizens are killed by gunshot wounds than were lost in the entire Vietnam war.

With a population of 310 million about 2,573,000 people die in the US each year. Of which 30,000 die of Gun Shot – so if you live in the US you have over a 1 % chance that you will die of Gun Shot wound. The rate of gunshot deaths is about 8 times that of economically comparable nations.

Approximately 8,000 homicides annually occur with gunshot wounds. About 16,000 commit suicide with handguns. Nearly 1,000 die in gun related accidents each year.

The leading causes of death change according to age group. For people below 45 years of age both suicide and homicide are among the 4 leading causes of death. For all age groups Non-intentional injury is the 5th cause of death and suicide is the 10th.

The definitive source for US injury death statistics is the mortality rate calculator (WISQARS) at the Centers For Disease Control National Center for Injury Prevention & Control website which provides statistics on all deaths by injury, not just gun deaths. To get the number of gun deaths for a year choose “Fatal Injury Reports” and then set the Cause of Injury to Firearm.

Older people’s gun deaths are most likely to be suicides. Suicides typically make up 56.5% of all gun deaths in according to the information available circa 2006 at Bureau Of Justice Statistics. In fact, drugs and suicides account for more than 2 out of every 3 gun deaths in the USA.

Many of those suicides are drug related. Here is a quote from a Wall Street Journal newspaper article: “The study, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found an average of 178,423 ER (hospital emergency room) visits a year from 2004 to 2008 for drug-related suicide attempts involving people age 12 or older.” Source: “Study Tracks Drug-Related Teen Suicides,” Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011, page D5.

Gun violence is an intensely debated political issue in the United States. Gun-related violence is most common in poor urban areas and in conjunction with gang violence, often involving juveniles or young adults.[1][2] High profile gun violence incidents have fueled debate over gun policies.[3] These have included the assassinations of Robert F. KennedyMartin Luther King and, more recently, the Columbine High School massacre, the Beltway sniper attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre, the 2011 Tucson shooting, the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, and the 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000.[4] A small majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides,[5] with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.[6] In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 60% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.[7]

Policies at the federal, state, and local levels have attempted to address gun violence through a variety of methods, including restricting firearms purchasing by youths and other “at-risk” populations, setting waiting periods for firearm purchases, establishing gun “buy-back” programs, targeted law enforcement and policing strategies, stiff sentencing of gun law violators, education programs for parents and children, and community-outreach programs. Research has found some policies such as gun “buy-back” programs are ineffective, while Boston‘s Operation Ceasefire, a gang violence abatement and intervention strategy, has been effective.[8] Gun policies are also highly influenced by debates over the interpretation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court took a position for the first time on this issue in District of Columbia v. Heller, holding that the second amendment secures an individual right to own firearms.[9]

In the United States, research into firearms and violent crime is fraught with difficulties, associated with limited data on gun ownership and use,[65] firearms markets, and aggregation of crime data.[8] Research studies into gun violence have primarily taken one of two approaches: case-control studies and social ecology.[8] Gun ownership is usually determined through surveysproxyvariables, and sometimes with production and import figures. In statistical analysis of homicides and other types of crime which are rare events, these data tend to have poisson distributions, which also presents methodological challenges to researchers. With data aggregation, it is difficult to make inferences about individual behavior.[165] This problem, known as ecological fallacy, is not always handled properly by researchers, leading some to jump to conclusions that their data do not necessarily support.[166]

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

Injury Prevention & ControlData & Statistics (WISQARSTM)

Second Amendment to the Constitution

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”

(Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.)

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

(Second Amendment to the Constitution.)


Wisconsin, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Newtown. By the time you read this column, there may well be a new locale to add to the list. Such is the state of enabled and murderous mayhem in the United States.

Gun advocates say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The truth, though, is that people with guns kill people, often very efficiently, as we saw so clearly and so often this summer. And while the right to bear arms might be written into the Constitution, we cannot keep pretending that this right is somehow without limit, even as we place reasonable limits on arguably more valuable rights like the freedom of speech and due process.

Illinois’ last-in-the-nation prohibition on carrying concealed weapons has been struck down. The mass killings at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday will likely renew a serious national debate about an assault weapons ban and the Second Amendment.

Reports from Newtown, Conn., indicate that multiple shots were fired by a man who was dressed in assault gear, who had three weapons. This is a case of random mental derangement. Arming every teacher in every school is more a risk of than a safety against this.

The shooting comes right after another man opened fire inside an Oregon mall on Tuesday in an incident that left three people dead. The gun used the shooting, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, jammed during the attack, and it was a stolen weapon.

Since April, there have been mass killings in Oakland, Calif. (7 dead), Aurora, Colo. (12 dead), Oak Creek, Wis. (6 dead), Minneapolis (5 dead), Brookfield, Wis. (3 dead), Portland, Ore. (2 dead) and Newtown, Conn. (27 dead).

Talk of renewing the national Federal Assault Weapons ban, which expired in 2004, was being debated after the Clackamas Town Center shooting, and there will be more discussion about asking Congress to pass a stricter ban, with no time limit.

But the path of the any Assault Weapons ban becoming a reality faces several major obstructions.

First, gun ownership is at the core of the Constitution’s Second Amendment, which grants citizens the rights to bear arms.

When the original Federal Assault Weapons ban was passed in 1994, gun rights groups decided not to pursue a challenge through the court system. An August 2012 analysis from Politico shows that given the recent history of assault weapon court cases, there is a strong indication that the NRA would pursue a Second Amendment challenge up to the Supreme Court—if a national law were passed again. And based on a 2008 Supreme Court decision, the fate of a Federal Assault Weapons case in front of the court could be problematic.

The decision in District of Columbia v. Heller found that while citizens had the right to keep guns for self-defense, the court also agreed with an older ruling that “finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

That ruling was restricted to people who lived in federal enclaves.

A subsequent ruling in 2010 that reinforced the right of gun ownership and that it extended to states and towns. But for any challenge to take place to a national gun law, Congress would have to pass a new law first.

Guns are tools, tools of death. Their function is to kill. All animals must kill to survive, and many must kill sentient beings. Among mammals many species kill their own kind. The cuddly hamster will kill its cage mate during its sleep and eat out its brain for breakfast. Apes, not only human, carry out organized attacks into other clans. From this perspective there is nothing special about humans killing each other for whatever circumstance.

However man is supposed to be above instinct and there is a claim of morality and rationality.  Nevertheless, through history the morality of killing has proven to be intractable. Despite the fact that many moral systems purport to ban killing, there are always ifs and buts, and even strict pacifist systems like Janism agree that violence in self-defense can be justified, and they agree that a soldier who kills enemies in combat is performing a legitimate duty. Some Christians sects, like the Mennonites, teach that because Jesus taught his followers to love everyone, killing, even in war, is not a Christian response. Yet Christians kill under socially acceptable conditions even with praise and encouragement  from their Church.  Love toward oneself (myself, my mate, my children, my home, my country, my church, my …) remains a fundamental principle of morality.  It boils down to the right of the strong, Justice.

Nonetheless, The right to kill in self defense or whatever redeeming circumstance might occur is not the issue here. The question is the social convenience of unlimited availability of weapons for all individuals. Even to second amendment zealots is evident that unlimited availability of weapons is not desirable and they pose  something different, fuzzier, harder to define or implement. A qualification in the line of …individuals like I, using catch phrases like law-abiding citizens.

Let’s consider then a different question: Social stability increase or decreases with the availability of firearms? If we look at examples of social unrest, like the riots in L.A., things would have been a lot worst if more weapons were available to the general population. The riots took on tones of interracial conflict, blacks raiding commercial districts of stores owned by Asians. The Asians used small guns and hunting rifles and shotguns to repel the mob. What would happen if the battle hardened drug gangs of the black neighborhoods had taken the challenge and attacked with machine guns? This did not happen because the gangs were afraid of the government not just of the store owners. Therefore, the ability of Government to keep the upper hand in the application of force is an important factor in social stability. The primary function of Government is to guarantee the Social Contract. The freedom to engage in seditious activities and Social peace do not mix.

militiaGun Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.  A violent bomb just waiting to go off.  It sounds like sedition.  In fact, there is a track of domestic right wing terrorism.

sub_16299

The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed.

In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
They see themselves as free, armed men  that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box. It sound like fools playing with fire. The problem is that we all will get burned. Guns for peace is like condoms for virginity. The safety of all of us depends on social stability and the availability of guns undermines the social fabric.
image0077

I will point out that there is a recurring ploy of invoking the safety and well being of children, regardless of relevance, for emotional impact and to gain the moral high ground. Even cases where children are the victims of gun violence are used as argument for the need of more weapons. This, in itself, is a symptom that the social convenience of unlimited gun availability has weak support. The objection to unlimited availability is not an attack on the right of self defense per se, but rather a claim that this might not be the best strategy to uphold the Social Contract.

outlook

There is a trade off between social stability and the convenience, freedom, and safety of the individual.

secondamendment

The argument of guns for self defense makes an implicit assumption of asymmetrical force.  The scenarios depicted by gun advocates and those actually carried out in practice assume a tactical advantage and often an unarmed attack.  However in a world with unlimited gun availability the major treat is also from armed groups. Furthermore, since they know you are armed and willing to kill the stakes are higher. In terms of Game Theory, this is known as the prisoner’s dilemma. If I am the guy with the gun I am king of the mountain, if my neighbor is the man, I am at his mercy, if we both have guns, we better be in good terms, and we are both at high risk of dying of a shotgun. If neither has guns there is no risk of gun violence but none is in position to control the other. However small the probability of a gun being used in a serious injury or death, -accident, suicide, homicide, massacre-, is bigger than zero and multiplied by 85 million produces thousands of deaths a year.

During the 1990s the New York City Police Department (NYPD) adopted CompStatbroken windows policing and other strategies in a major effort to reduce crime. The city’s dramatic drop in crime has been attributed by criminologists to policing tactics, the end of the crack epidemic and – controversially – the legalization of abortion approximately 18 years previous. Most of the crime remaining occurs in poor areas, which tend to be outlying. There is a correlation between poverty and crime. Not that rich people do not like the easy way but they have other more effective choices and they take your money without going into your house. So if street crime is your worry, it is more effective to fight against poverty than spend resources on guns.  Fighting against poverty does not mean charity, but uprooting the causes.

Homicide is the second leading cause of death for persons aged 15–24 years, the third leading cause for persons aged 25–34 years, and the fourth for persons aged 1–14 years. Similarly, suicide is the second leading cause of death for persons aged 25–34 years and the third leading cause for persons aged 10–24 years. Homicide and suicide are leading causes of death because of drugs and weapons are just tools.

Every year just over 30,000 people die in the US from gunshot wounds. Every two years more US citizens are killed by gunshot wounds than were lost in the entire Vietnam war.

With a population of 310 million about 2,573,000 people die in the US each year. Of which 30,000 die of Gun Shot – so if you live in the US you have over a 1 % chance that you will die of Gun Shot wound.

America’s gun control laws are the loosest in the developed world and its rate of gun-related homicide is the highest. Of the world’s 23 “rich” countries, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is almost 20 times that of the other 22. With almost one privately owned firearm per person, America’s ownership rate is the highest in the world; tribal-conflict-torn Yemen is ranked second, with a rate about half of America’s.

But what about the country at the other end of the spectrum? What is the role of guns in Japan, the developed world’s least firearm-filled nation and perhaps its strictest controller? In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.

Almost no one in Japan owns a gun. Most kinds are illegal, with onerous restrictions on buying and maintaining the few that are allowed. Even the country’s infamous, mafia-like Yakuza tend to forgo guns; the few exceptions tend to become big national news stories.

The Japanese and American ways of thinking about crime, privacy, and police powers are so different — and Japan is such a generally peaceful country — that it’s functionally impossible to fully isolate and compare the two gun control regiments. It’s not much easier to balance the costs and benefits of Japan’s unusual approach, which helps keep its murder rate at the second-lowest in the world, though at the cost of restrictions that Kopel calls a “police state,” a worrying suggestion that it hands the government too much power over its citizens. After all, the U.S. constitution’s second amendment is intended in part to maintain “the security of a free State” by ensuring that the government doesn’t have a monopoly on force. Though it’s worth considering another police state here: Tunisia, which had the lowest firearm ownership rate in the world (one gun per thousand citizens, compared to America’s 890) when its people toppled a brutal, 24-year dictatorship and sparked the Arab Spring.

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”

(Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.)

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

(Second Amendment to the Constitution.)


Wisconsin, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Newtown. By the time you read this column, there may well be a new locale to add to the list. Such is the state of enabled and murderous mayhem in the United States.

Gun advocates say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The truth, though, is that people with guns kill people, often very efficiently, as we saw so clearly and so often this summer. And while the right to bear arms might be written into the Constitution, we cannot keep pretending that this right is somehow without limit, even as we place reasonable limits on arguably more valuable rights like the freedom of speech and due process.

Illinois’ last-in-the-nation prohibition on carrying concealed weapons has been struck down. The mass killings at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday will likely renew a serious national debate about an assault weapons ban and the Second Amendment.

Reports from Newtown, Conn., indicate that multiple shots were fired by a man who was dressed in assault gear, who had three weapons. This is a case of random mental derangement. Arming every teacher in every school is more a risk of than a safety against this.

The shooting comes right after another man opened fire inside an Oregon mall on Tuesday in an incident that left three people dead. The gun used the shooting, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, jammed during the attack, and it was a stolen weapon.

Since April, there have been mass killings in Oakland, Calif. (7 dead), Aurora, Colo. (12 dead), Oak Creek, Wis. (6 dead), Minneapolis (5 dead), Brookfield, Wis. (3 dead), Portland, Ore. (2 dead) and Newtown, Conn. (27 dead).

Talk of renewing the national Federal Assault Weapons ban, which expired in 2004, was being debated after the Clackamas Town Center shooting, and there will be more discussion about asking Congress to pass a stricter ban, with no time limit.

But the path of the any Assault Weapons ban becoming a reality faces several major obstructions.

First, gun ownership is at the core of the Constitution’s Second Amendment, which grants citizens the rights to bear arms.

When the original Federal Assault Weapons ban was passed in 1994, gun rights groups decided not to pursue a challenge through the court system. An August 2012 analysis from Politico shows that given the recent history of assault weapon court cases, there is a strong indication that the NRA would pursue a Second Amendment challenge up to the Supreme Court—if a national law were passed again. And based on a 2008 Supreme Court decision, the fate of a Federal Assault Weapons case in front of the court could be problematic.

The decision in District of Columbia v. Heller found that while citizens had the right to keep guns for self-defense, the court also agreed with an older ruling that “finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

That ruling was restricted to people who lived in federal enclaves.

A subsequent ruling in 2010 that reinforced the right of gun ownership and that it extended to states and towns. But for any challenge to take place to a national gun law, Congress would have to pass a new law first.

Guns are tools, tools of death. Their function is to kill. All animals must kill to survive, and many must kill sentient beings. Among mammals many species kill their own kind. The cuddly hamster will kill its cage mate during its sleep and eat out its brain for breakfast. Apes, not only human, carry out organized attacks into other clans. From this perspective there is nothing special about humans killing each other for whatever circumstance.

However man is supposed to be above instinct and there is a claim of morality and rationality.  Nevertheless, through history the morality of killing has proven to be intractable. Despite the fact that many moral systems purport to ban killing, there are always ifs and buts, and even strict pacifist systems like Janism agree that violence in self-defense can be justified, and they agree that a soldier who kills enemies in combat is performing a legitimate duty. Some Christians sects, like the Mennonites, teach that because Jesus taught his followers to love everyone, killing, even in war, is not a Christian response. Yet Christians kill under socially acceptable conditions even with praise and encouragement  from their Church.  Love toward oneself (myself, my mate, my children, my home, my country, my church, my …) remains a fundamental principle of morality.  It boils down to the right of the strong, Justice.

Nonetheless, The right to kill in self defense or whatever redeeming circumstance might occur is not the issue here. The question is the social convenience of unlimited availability of weapons for all individuals. Even to second amendment zealots is evident that unlimited availability of weapons is not desirable and they pose  something different, fuzzier, harder to define or implement. A qualification in the line of …individuals like I, using catch phrases like law-abiding citizens.

Let’s consider then a different question: Social stability increase or decreases with the availability of firearms? If we look at examples of social unrest, like the riots in L.A., things would have been a lot worst if more weapons were available to the general population. The riots took on tones of interracial conflict, blacks raiding commercial districts of stores owned by Asians. The Asians used small guns and hunting rifles and shotguns to repel the mob. What would happen if the battle hardened drug gangs of the black neighborhoods had taken the challenge and attacked with machine guns? This did not happen because the gangs were afraid of the government not just of the store owners. Therefore, the ability of Government to keep the upper hand in the application of force is an important factor in social stability. The primary function of Government is to guarantee the Social Contract. The freedom to engage in seditious activities and Social peace do not mix.

militiaGun Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.  A violent bomb just waiting to go off.  It sounds like sedition.  In fact, there is a track of domestic right wing terrorism.

sub_16299

The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed.

In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
They see themselves as free, armed men  that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box. It sound like fools playing with fire. The problem is that we all will get burned. Guns for peace is like condoms for virginity. The safety of all of us depends on social stability and the availability of guns undermines the social fabric.
image0077

I will point out that there is a recurring ploy of invoking the safety and well being of children, regardless of relevance, for emotional impact and to gain the moral high ground. Even cases where children are the victims of gun violence are used as argument for the need of more weapons. This, in itself, is a symptom that the social convenience of unlimited gun availability has weak support. The objection to unlimited availability is not an attack on the right of self defense per se, but rather a claim that this might not be the best strategy to uphold the Social Contract.

outlook

There is a trade off between social stability and the convenience, freedom, and safety of the individual.

secondamendment

The argument of guns for self defense makes an implicit assumption of asymmetrical force.  The scenarios depicted by gun advocates and those actually carried out in practice assume a tactical advantage and often an unarmed attack.  However in a world with unlimited gun availability the major treat is also from armed groups. Furthermore, since they know you are armed and willing to kill the stakes are higher. In terms of Game Theory, this is known as the prisoner’s dilemma. If I am the guy with the gun I am king of the mountain, if my neighbor is the man, I am at his mercy, if we both have guns, we better be in good terms, and we are both at high risk of dying of a shotgun. If neither has guns there is no risk of gun violence but none is in position to control the other. However small the probability of a gun being used in a serious injury or death, -accident, suicide, homicide, massacre-, is bigger than zero and multiplied by 85 million produces thousands of deaths a year.

During the 1990s the New York City Police Department (NYPD) adopted CompStatbroken windows policing and other strategies in a major effort to reduce crime. The city’s dramatic drop in crime has been attributed by criminologists to policing tactics, the end of the crack epidemic and – controversially – the legalization of abortion approximately 18 years previous. Most of the crime remaining occurs in poor areas, which tend to be outlying. There is a correlation between poverty and crime. Not that rich people do not like the easy way but they have other more effective choices and they take your money without going into your house. So if street crime is your worry, it is more effective to fight against poverty than spend resources on guns.  Fighting against poverty does not mean charity, but uprooting the causes.

Homicide is the second leading cause of death for persons aged 15–24 years, the third leading cause for persons aged 25–34 years, and the fourth for persons aged 1–14 years. Similarly, suicide is the second leading cause of death for persons aged 25–34 years and the third leading cause for persons aged 10–24 years. Homicide and suicide are leading causes of death because of drugs and weapons are just tools.

Every year just over 30,000 people die in the US from gunshot wounds. Every two years more US citizens are killed by gunshot wounds than were lost in the entire Vietnam war.

With a population of 310 million about 2,573,000 people die in the US each year. Of which 30,000 die of Gun Shot – so if you live in the US you have over a 1 % chance that you will die of Gun Shot wound.

America’s gun control laws are the loosest in the developed world and its rate of gun-related homicide is the highest. Of the world’s 23 “rich” countries, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is almost 20 times that of the other 22. With almost one privately owned firearm per person, America’s ownership rate is the highest in the world; tribal-conflict-torn Yemen is ranked second, with a rate about half of America’s.

But what about the country at the other end of the spectrum? What is the role of guns in Japan, the developed world’s least firearm-filled nation and perhaps its strictest controller? In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.

Almost no one in Japan owns a gun. Most kinds are illegal, with onerous restrictions on buying and maintaining the few that are allowed. Even the country’s infamous, mafia-like Yakuza tend to forgo guns; the few exceptions tend to become big national news stories.

The Japanese and American ways of thinking about crime, privacy, and police powers are so different — and Japan is such a generally peaceful country — that it’s functionally impossible to fully isolate and compare the two gun control regiments. It’s not much easier to balance the costs and benefits of Japan’s unusual approach, which helps keep its murder rate at the second-lowest in the world, though at the cost of restrictions that Kopel calls a “police state,” a worrying suggestion that it hands the government too much power over its citizens. After all, the U.S. constitution’s second amendment is intended in part to maintain “the security of a free State” by ensuring that the government doesn’t have a monopoly on force. Though it’s worth considering another police state here: Tunisia, which had the lowest firearm ownership rate in the world (one gun per thousand citizens, compared to America’s 890) when its people toppled a brutal, 24-year dictatorship and sparked the Arab Spring.

Mind control

Project MKUltra, or MK-Ultra, was a covert human research program into behavioural modification run by the CIA‘s Office of Scientific Intelligence. The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and finally halted in … Continue reading





Project MKUltra, or MK-Ultra, was a covert human research program into behavioural modification run by the CIA‘s Office of Scientific Intelligence. The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and finally halted in 1973.[1]It controversially used unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects.[2][3][4][5] MKUltra involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate people’s individual mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals,hypnosis,[6] sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as various forms of torture.
The research was undertaken at 80 institutions, including 44 colleges and universities, as well as hospitals, prisons and pharmaceutical companies.[7]The CIA would operate through these institutions using front organizations, although sometimes top officials at these institutions would be aware of the CIA’s involvement.[8] MKUltra was allocated 6 per cent of total CIA funds.[9]
Project MKUltra was first brought to wide public attention in 1975 by the U.S. Congress, through investigations by the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms’ destruction order.[10]
In 1977, a Freedom Of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents[11] relating to project MKUltra, which led to Senate hearings later that same year.[3] In July 2001 most surviving information regarding MKUltra was officially declassified.[

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted at Stanford University from August 14 to August 20 of 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo.[1] It was funded by the US Office of Naval Research[2] and was of interest to both the US Navy and Marine Corps as an investigation into the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners.
Twenty-four male students out of 75 were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond Zimbardo’s expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, at the request of the guards, readily harassed other prisoners who attempted to prevent it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his role as the superintendent, permitted the abuse to continue. Two of the prisoners quit the experiment early and the entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days. Certain portions of the experiment were filmed and excerpts of footage are publicly available.

When the Abu Ghraib military prisoner torture and abuse scandal was publicized in March of 2004, many observers[who?] were immediately struck by its many similarities to the Stanford Prison experiment. Chief among them was Zimbardo himself, who paid close attention to the details of the story. He was dismayed by official military and government representatives’ shifting the blame for the torture and abuses in the Abu Ghraib American military prison on to “a few bad apples” rather than acknowledging it as possibly systemic problems of a formally established military incarceration system.
Eventually, Zimbardo became involved with the defense team of lawyers representing one of the Abu Ghraib prison guards, Staff Sergeant Ivan “Chip” Frederick. He was granted full access to all investigation and background reports, and testified as an expert witness in SSGT Frederick’s court martial, which resulted in an eight-year prison sentence for Frederick in October 2004.
Zimbardo drew from his participation in the Frederick case to write the book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, published by Random House in 2007, which deals with the striking similarities between his own Stanford Prison Experiment and the Abu Ghraib abuses.


Authority (from the Latin auctoritas) is a right conferred by recognized social position. Authority often refers to power vested in an individual or organization by the state. Authority can also refer to recognized expertise in an area of academic knowledge. An Authority (capitalized) refers to a governing body upon which certain authority (with lower case a) is vested; for example, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.


The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of notable social psychology experiments conducted by Yale Universitypsychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. Milgram first described his research in 1963 in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,[1] and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.[2]
The experiments began in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the question: “Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?” In other words, “Was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?” Milgram’s testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs. The experiments have been repeated many times, with consistent results within societies, but different percentages across the globe.[3] The experiments were also controversial, and considered by some scientists to be unethical, physically or psychologically abusive, motivating more thorough review boards or committee reviews for working with human subjects.



He is best known for his popular book on persuasion and marketingInfluence: The Psychology of PersuasionInfluence has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into twenty-six languages. It has been listed on the New York Times Business Best Seller List. Fortune Magazine lists Influence in their “75 Smartest Business Books.”

6 key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini

  • Reciprocity – People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.
  • Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self image and gain automatic unenforced compliance. See cognitive dissonance.
  • Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.
  • Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
  • Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
  • Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales.

Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms.[1] Norms are implicit rules shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others and among society or social group. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure. Conformity can occur in the presence of others, or when an individual is alone. For example, people tend to follow social norms when eating or watching television, even when alone.
People often conform from a desire for security within a group—typically a group of a similar age, culture, religion, or educational status. This is often referred to as groupthink: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics, which ignores realistic appraisal of other courses of action. Unwillingness to conform carries the risk of social rejection. Conformity is often associated with adolescence and youth culture, but strongly affects humans of all ages.[2]
Although peer pressure may manifest negatively, conformity can have good or bad effects depending on the situation. Driving on the correct side of the road could be seen as beneficial conformity.[3] Conformity influences formation and maintenance of social norms, and helps societies function smoothly and predictably via the self-elimination of behaviors seen as contrary to unwritten rules. In this sense it can be perceived as (though not proven to be) a positive force that prevents acts that are perceptually disruptive or dangerous.
As conformity is a group phenomenon, factors such as group size, unanimity, cohesion, status, prior commitment, and public opinion help determine the level of conformity an individual displays.

Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group.
This change is in response to real (involving the physical presence of others) or imagined (involving the pressure of social norms / expectations) group pressure.
Conformity can also be simply defined as “yielding to group pressures” (Crutchfield, 1955). Group pressure may take different forms, for example bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism etc.  Conformity is also known as majority influence (or group pressure).
The term conformity is often used to indicate an agreement to the majority position, brought about either by a desire to ‘fit in’ or be liked (normative) or because of a desire to be correct (informational), or simply to conform to a social role (identification).
There have been many experiments in psychology investigating conformity and group pressure.
Jenness (1932) was the first psychologist to study conformity. His experiment was an ambiguous situation involving a glass bottle filled with beans.  He asked participants individually to estimate how many beans the bottle contained. Jenness then put the group in a room with the bottle, and asked them to provide a group estimate through discussion.  Participants were then asked to estimate the number on their own again to find whether their initial estimates had altered based on the influence of the majority.  Jenness then interviewed the participants individually again, and asked if they would like to change their original estimates, or stay with the group’s estimate.  Almost all changed their individual guesses to be closer to the group estimate.
However, perhaps the most famous conformity experiment was bySolomon Asch (1951) and his line judgment experiment.

Types of Conformity

Man (1969) states that “the essence of conformity is yielding to group pressure”. He identified three types of conformity: Normative, informational and ingratiational.
Kelman (1958) distinguished between three different types of conformity: Compliance, Internalization and identification.
Normative Conformity Informational Conformity
 

    • Yielding to group pressure because a person wants to fit in with the group. E.g. Asch Line Study.

 

    • Conforming because the person is scared of being rejected by the group.
    • This type of conformity usually involves compliance – where a person publicly accepts the views of a group but privately rejects them.

 

 

 

    • This usually occurs when a person lacks knowledge and looks to the group for guidance.

 

    • Or when a person is in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation and socially compares their behavior with the group. E.g. Sherif Study.
    • This type of conformity usually involves internalization – where a person accepts the views of the groups and adopts them as an individual.

 

Compliance Internalization
 

    • Publicly changing behavior to fit in with the group while privately disagreeing.

 

    • In other words, conforming to the majority (publicly), in spite of not really agreeing with them (privately).
    • This is seen in Asch’s line experiment.

 

 

    • Publicly changing behavior to fit in with the group and also agreeing with them privately.

 

    • This is seen in Sherif’s autokinetic experiment.

 

Ingratiational Conformity Identification
 

    • Where a person conforms to impress or gain favor/acceptance from other people.

 

    • It is similar to normative influence but is motivated by the need for social rewards rather than the threat of rejection, i.e., group pressure does not enter the decision to conform.

 

 

 

    • Conforming to the expectations of a social role.

 

 

Sherif (1935) Autokinetic Effect Experiment

Aim: Sherif (1935) conducted an experiment with the aim of demonstrating that people conform to group norms when they are put in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation.

Method: Sherif used a lab experiment to study conformity.  He used the autokinetic effect – this is where a small spot of light (projected onto a screen) in a dark room will appear to move, even though it is still (i.e. it is a visual illusion).

It was discovered that when participants were individually tested their estimates on how far the light moved varied considerably (e.g. from 20cm to 80cm).  The participants were then tested in groups of three. Sherif manipulated the composition of the group by putting together two people whose estimate of the light movement when alone was very similar, and one person whose estimate was very different. Each person in the group had to say aloud how far they thought the light had moved.
Results Sherif found that over numerous estimates (trials) of the movement of light, the group converged to a common estimate.  As the figure below shows: the person whose estimate of movement was greatly different to the other two in the group conformed to the view of the other two.
Sherif said that this showed that people would always tend to conform.  Rather than make individual judgments they tend to come to a group agreement.
ConclusionThe results show that when in an ambiguous situation (such as the autokinetic effect), a person will look to others (who know more / better) for guidance (i.e. adopt the group norm).  They want to do the right thing but may lack the appropriate information. Observing others can provide this information.  This is known as informational conformity.

Further Information

References

Asch, S.E. (1951). Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgments. In H. Guetzkow (Ed.), Groups, leadership and men. Pittsburg, PA: Carnegie Press.
Crutchfield, R. (1955). Conformity and Character. American Psychologist, 10, 191-198.
Jenness, A. (1932). The role of discussion in changing opinion regarding a matter of fact.  The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27 , 279-296.
Kelman, H. C. (1958). “Compliance, identification, and internalization: three processes of attitude change”. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2, 51–60.
Mann, L (1969). Social Psychology. New York: Wiley.
Sherif, M. (1935). A study of some social factors in perception. Archives of Psychology, 27(187) .

How to cite this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2007). Conformity in Psychology. 
Retrieved from
http://www.simplypsychology.org/conformity.html

The Asch conformity experiments were a series of laboratory studies published in the 1950s that demonstrated a surprising degree ofconformity to a majority opinion. These are also known as the Asch Paradigm.

In a control group, with no pressure to conform to an erroneous view, only one participant out of 35 ever gave an incorrect answer. Solomon Asch hypothesized that the majority of participants would not conform to something obviously wrong; however, when surrounded by individuals all voicing an incorrect answer, participants provided incorrect responses on a high proportion of the questions (32%). Seventy-five percent of the participants gave an incorrect answer to at least one question.
Variations of the basic paradigm tested how many cohorts were necessary to induce conformity, examining the influence of just one cohort and as many as fifteen. Results indicate that one cohort has virtually no influence and two cohorts have only a small influence. When three or more cohorts are present, the tendency to conform increases only modestly. The maximum effect occurs with four cohorts. Adding additional cohorts does not produce a stronger effect.
The unanimity of the confederates has also been varied. When the confederates are not unanimous in their judgment, even if only one confederate voices a different opinion, participants are much more likely to resist the urge to conform (only 5-10% conform) than when the confederates all agree. This finding illuminates the power that even a small dissenting minority can have. Interestingly, this finding holds whether or not the dissenting confederate gives the correct answer. As long as the dissenting confederate gives an answer that is different from the majority, participants are more likely to give the correct answer. Men show around half the effect of women (tested in same-sex groups); and conformity is higher among members of an ingroup..
The Asch conformity experiments are often interpreted as evidence for the power of conformity and normative social influence.[2][3] That is, the willingness to conform publicly in order to attain social reward and avoid social punishment. Others have argued that it is rational to use other people’s judgments as evidence.[4] Along the lines of the latter perspective, the Asch conformity experiments are cited as evidence for the self-categorization theory account of social influence. From that perspective the Asch results are interpreted as an outcome ofdepersonalization processes whereby the participants expect to hold the same opinions as similar others.[

civil rights abuses


NONE ARE MORE HOPELESSLY ENSLAVED THAN THOSE WHO FALSELY BELIEVE THEY ARE FREE

By S.R. Shearer

Niemand ist hoffnungsloser versklavt als jene, die fälschlicherweise glauben, frei zu sein.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

William Blum, an investigative journalist in Washington, DC, writes in his excellent book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower:

“Overtly and covertly, legally and illegally, the military-industrial complex (in the United States) has joined forces with the prison-industrial complex, linked further to the omnipresent national security-police complex, all clasping hands tightly with the War on Drugs, in a declaration of War on the American people and the Bill of Rights. This Authority juggernaut – enamored with its own perpetuation, glorification and enrichment – has convinced the American public that without its storm troopers all hell would break loose and the safety and security of the citizenry would be on a life-support machine. In this undertaking, it has had the indispensable assistance of intimidated legislatures, an uniconoclastic judiciary, compliant media, and a president — who – in the words of civil-liberties columnist Nat Hentoff – ‘in this century … has afflicted the most harm on our constitutional rights and liberties. [Please see our article, “Apostasy: Christianity In The Service Of A Religio-Political-Corporate-Terrorist State.”]”
Blum then presents a list of civil rights abuses that he culled from public sources (i.e., newspapers, journals, etc.) that occur regularly on a day-to-day basis in the United States which – when taken together – show with unmistakable clarity how far “civil rights” in the United States have been eroded and how dangerously close we are today to being a police-state. AND THIS IS THE COUNTRY THAT EVANGELICAL LEADERS LIKE TIM LAHAYE, JERRY FALWELL, D. JAMES KENNEDY, JAMES ROBISON, ETC. CALL THE “NEW ISRAEL OF GOD?” THIS IS THE COUNTRY ABOUT WHICH PAT ROBERTSON SAYS:

“If America is free, people everywhere can hope for freedom. And if America goes down, all hope is lost to the rest of the world” ?
One wonders if all these so-called “men of God” have been lingering too long around the “second-hand smoke” of the “pot-heads” they’ve taken such delight in condemning over the years. The truth is there if they want to see it; indeed, one would have to be blind to miss it, so that in these men – ALL OF THEM

“… is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive …” (Matt. 13:14)


The list that follows is a composite list derived partially from Blum’s list and assorted others. The thing to remember here is that all of the instances listed below occur today on a REGULAR basis. They are not aberrations or anomalies. The sad thing in all of this, is that there is little doubt that most Christians will not be upset by this “catalogue” of civil rights abuses. And why is that? – because most of those who are the “targets” of these abuses and indignities (i.e., the poor, the minorities, the so-called “welfare cheats,” the single moms, etc.) have been so DEMONIZED by the “mainline press” that they now seem somehow or other to be deserving of it all. But, then, this is what the Germans did to the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s – demonized them to the point where most Germans came “naturally” and “easily” to the belief that the Jews were “getting what they deserved.” [If you possess additinal examples, please send them to us and we will add them to the list] The list is as follows:

  • In every state, the police or the National Guard and, at times, active-duty army troops, are – under the guise of the “War on Drugs” (again, please see our article, “APOSTASY: Christianity In The Service Of A ‘Religio-Political-Corporate-Terrorist State'”) – conducting relentless helicopter surveillances over people’s homes and property, setting up roadblocks, interrogating, detaining, harassing and terrifying residents with displays of excessive power. To a very large extent, these activities have very little to do with any “war on drugs” and everything to do with suppressing the “throw-away” portion of the American population that has been consigned to “unemployment” or to jobs that don’t pay a “living wage” – about one-third of today’s population – i.e., “poor white trash,” blacks, Hispanics, etc. (Please see Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Nickled and Dimed, available at most book stores.)
  • In hundreds of American cities, young people – again, under the rubric of the “War on Drugs” – are being subjected to nighttime curfew laws (a phenomenon that rarely is enforced in affluent white neighborhoods, but only in poor minority areas); many have a daytime curfew as well. Again, these curfews have very little to do with any “war on drugs,” and everything to do with suppressing militant young people that in every “revolution” (especially those revolutions that pit the poor against the rich) form the backbone of the “revolt.” The idea here is to harass them to such an extent that they can never organize themselves, and to DEMONIZE them as hooligans and “ner-do-wells” so as to justify the harsh measures that are being taken against them.
  • The CIA, FBI and other federal agencies are increasingly refusing to respond to legitimately issued subpoenas for documents which detail the “extra-legal” and unconstitutional activities they are engaged in. They are simply ignoring the judiciary – and doing it with impunity. The arrogance of these agencies in this respect brings to mind the arrogance practiced by Hoover’s FBI in the 1960s and ’70s against those in the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war effort.
  • Citizens are undergoing assorted harassments and penalties from the federal government for having traveled to, spent money in and/or shipped various goods to countries the United States has blacklisted; for example, the former Yugoslavia – or for that matter, any nation that has “opted out” of the American System and has – as a result – incurred the wrath of the American elites – countries like Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, etc. Those who visit the United Nations Mission in New York or the Interests Section in Washington of some of the countries the government has black listed risk being photographed and receiving visits or phone calls from the FBI. This phenomenon is especially directed against those people who are in the habit of speaking out against America’s “New World Order System” like the Mary Knollers, the Quakers, and anyone and everyone who is in any way associated with movements like Liberation Theology, labor rights organizations, etc. [Please see our articles, “Colombia: America’s New Vietnam” and “Colombia: The Spread Of America’s New World Order System Northward From Latin America To The Untied States.”]
  • The CIA is once again routinely opening and reading the mail (and email) of U.S. citizens without benefit of search warrants. The FBI is also peeking at our correspondence, domestic and international, for a host of its own priorities – again, on the most specious of reasons (really, pretenses). They habitually cite as their authority vague references to “national security.” When asked to be more specific, they refuse on grounds of “national security.”
  • Motorists are being stopped on highways on the flimsiest of excuses (unsafe lane changes, tail light infractions, failures to signal, etc.) and then intimidated into submitting to a search of their vehicles without “probable cause.” If they refuse, that alone is often taken as “probable cause” (or “probable cause” is “created” – which occurs more often than most people realize), and their vehicles are searched anyway. The utility of these laws (i.e., tail light infractions, “unsafe lane changes,” seat belt violations, etc.) lies in the fact that they can be used to harass various “suspect” populations the police want to keep “off balance” – AND THAT IS PRECISELY THE WAY THEY ARE USED – or does one really think that such measures are taken in places like Simi Valley, Palm Beach, the Hamptons?
  • Private corporations are recording employees’ phone calls and voice mail, reading their computer files and email, getting logs of what websites they’ve looked at, videotaping them as they work, observing them in bathrooms and locker rooms with two-way mirrors or hidden cameras, tracking their whereabouts by having them use electronic pass keys, bugging their offices, subjecting them to airport-style electronic searches, testing their urine for drugs, doing extensive security checks on their backgrounds – all this whether or not they have ever behaved poorly on the job, or whether their work involves any danger to anyone. For the most part, this kind of activity was initiated as a “crime-fighting” device and under the cover that an “employer has the right to know what his employee is doing on his time.” But such “rights” by an employer over an employee has NEVER been asserted before in the United States, although one would think – given the propaganda that has accompanied the assertions of these rights – that such is not the case. THESE ARE THE KIND OF “RIGHTS” A “MASTER” ASSERTS OVER HIS “SLAVE.” But then that should say something about elite attitudes towards their employees, shouldn’t it?
  • At growing numbers of schools around the country, students are having to undergo urinalysis in order to join the track team, join the chess club, go to the prom, go on a field trip or drive to and from school. Once again, all this is being done under cover of the “War on Drugs,” but what it really is, is a “control mechanism” used to suppress the underclass with – or, again, does one really believe, other than in a few “high profile” instances, this is ever done in affluent white areas.
  • New Jersey state troopers are enlisting hotel workers along the New Jersey Turnpike to tip them off about suspicious guests who, among other things PAY FOR THEIR ROOMS IN CASH, or receive a flurry of phone calls; hotel managers are allowing troopers, without a warrant, to leaf through the credit card receipts and registration forms of guests; the troopers are given surveillance seminars to train employees to scrutinize guests who fit a given “profile.” IF THIS WERE DONE IN THE OLD SOVIET UNION, ONE WOULD NOT BE INCORRECT IN LABELING SUCH ACTIVITY AS THE ACTIVITY OF A “POLICE-STATE.” Of course, one could retort that the police are merely trying to “combat crime.” But then, that’s what the police in the old Soviet Union would have said too.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is keeping up to date a list of what it calls “radicals” and other undesirables who will be rounded up and detained without benefit of a hearing in times of “national emergency.” This is, of course, something all dictatorships do. This is what Hitler did in 1933 – and in 1934 he declared an “emergency,” and rounded up all his enemies. You can bet that if such things were ever done in the name of “Right Religion,” the Religious Right would be there cheering on the state in its “round up.” This is what Rick Joyner wants when he said, “… leaders who … resist (the imposition of the new Christian state people like him envision) … will be removed from their place.” George Hawton suggests a way, “… 2/3 will have to die in the last days so that 1/3 might emerge pure.”
  • Task forces of international, federal, military, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as private entities, are employing increased interaction, abundant funds, new laws, new technologies and new octopus-like data bases to spy on and harass activists of many stripes. THIS IS ESPECIALLY SO IN THE CASE OF THOSE ACTIVISTS THAT HAVE BEEN DEMONSTRATING AGAINST THE WTO, THE IMF, THE WORLD BANK AND THE G-8 SUMMITS. The FBI and police are noting license plate numbers of people attending meetings and demonstrations, photographing people, paying informers to infiltrate groups, breaking into offices to steal mailing and contributor lists, rifling through files and carrying out “harassment arrests” (i.e. charges later dropped). Individual members of these groups are receiving FBI visits at their homes and workplaces, or the Bureau is sending anonymous letters to the person’s colleagues implying that he or she is actually an informer as well as sending assorted poison-pen letters to employers, landlords and spouses designed to produce optimal distress. Again, is this the kind of activity a “free society” tolerates? No! – this is the kind of activity one would have expected to see in the Third Reich or in the old Soviet Union. How is it possible for Christians to associate themselves with such a state and call it the “New Israel of God?”
  • Increasingly, airport passengers are being detained for hours, even days, and missing flights because they fit a “terrorist profile” based on appearance, airport behavior, travel itinerary or other criteria. They are being strip searched, including body cavity searches, X-rayed, forced to take laxatives, their bowel movements monitored. Many white Christians, of course, are not aware of all this because they do not fit the profile, but fitting a profile – does that make it right? If you say, “yes, these steps are necessary to guarantee public safety,” then you would have made a nice little Nazi in the Third Reich of some sixty years ago because that is precisely the reasons they gave in implementing the exact same steps then. “Public safety,” “national security,” and the phrase, “If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t be afraid” come straight out of the 1934 Hitler Youth Handbook.
  • The FBI is urging librarians to report on the books taken out by patrons with foreign-sounding names, particularly scientific and technical books. When this program was first revealed and criticized, the FBI proceeded to do checks on the critics. These are the same kind of techniques used by the Chinese communists during Mao’s “Cultural Revolution.”
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is demanding that a publisher provide it with the names of people who have ordered certain “anti-government” material. Again, these are the same kinds of acts that made Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” such a heinous affair.
  • Under the “cover” of the “War on Drugs” and a similar “war” against “illegal guns,” police throughout the country have been seizing the property of thousands and thousands of individuals without “due process.” And much more than most people are aware of, this kind of activity is now being used against people deemed to be involved in “anti-government” activity. For example, it was alleged by the BATF that the “dissidents” at Waco (Mt. Carmel) had automatic weapons and illegal firearms – despite the fact that the local sheriff had checked such reports out and had determined that the reports were false. BATF was simply determined to raid Mt. Carmel, and they were not about to let the facts stand in their way.
  • The DEA, ATF, INS, FBI, DIA, Secret Service, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Sheriff’s Departments, National Guard and/or other official cowboys, wearing black suits, ski masks and the like, forming massively armed mobs of screaming, swearing agents, helicopters chopping above, battering down doors, raiding people’s homes, smashing up furniture, beating up residents, handcuffing them, manhandling pregnant women, terrifying children, separating them from their parents, shooting people dead, looking for drugs or individuals which often are not there – this jihad (holy war) being the outcome of no more than a tip from an “unnamed informant.” Heavily-armed so-called “bounty hunters,” with the force of law behind them, are carrying on in a similar manner to kidnap a person, sometimes killing someone, sometimes the “wrong person.” Operators of “pirate” radio stations are also being invaded, with FCC agents, federal marshals, a SWAT team, customs agents and local police comprising the attacking force. Again, these are all the tactics of a “police-state,” not those of a “free society.”
  • A driver, stopped by the police, tapes the encounter. When he goes to the local police station to complain about his treatment, he is asked to hand the tape over. He’s then charged with illegal wiretapping. It seems that it’s okay for the police to record and video tape these stops for their records, but it is not okay for private citizens who are the targets of such “illegal” and warrantless” stops to do so. Again, privileges extended to the police that are not extended to average citizens. THIS IS THE KIND OF ATTITUDE ONE WOULD EXPECT TO FIND IN A “POLICE-STATE,” BUT NOT IN A “FREE SOCIETY.” The term “free society” is a meaningless, empty phrase if it does not mean a society that is free from harassment from its own police.
  • Intercity busses and trains are being boarded by DEA agents to conduct searches of passengers’ belongings. Passengers are assured that it’s all “voluntary.” One is reminded of World War II movies where busses in occupied countries are routinely stopped by the SS and the Gestapo in search of provocateurs.
  • The police are beating up and arresting strikers and escorting scab workers into plants, thus taking the side of the employer, as the police have done virtually without exception during 150 years of industrial conflict in the United States. Corporations are using many of the more than 10,000 private security firms, which employ 1.5 million guards, to suppress strike action and intimidate union organizers. Again, these are the activities one would expect to find being employed by the police in America’s “client-states” like Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, Indonesia, etc., but not in the United States.
  • Law enforcement officers in northern California, taking the side of logging interests once again, are pressing cotton swabs saturated with pepper spray (600 times hotter than cayenne pepper) into the eyes of non-violent people chained to each other, who are protesting the felling of ancient redwoods; protesters are shrieking and writhing in pain as the solution takes effect. People are dying in police custody in cases where pepper spray is a contributing factor. Again, the police tactics of a “terrorist-state.” These protesters were all non-violent! They are American citizens who – in and of themselves do not possess the financial wherewithal to fight the logging interests except in the fashion they are doing. What are people to do when confronting the power of the rich? – do nothing? Or, maybe the police do not belong to the poor, but only to the rich in this country. That’s evidently where we are headed.
  • Banks, telephone companies, utility companies, credit card companies, airlines, bus companies, rental car outlets, storage facilities, hotel and motels and all manner of other private institutions are providing various local, state and federal authorities with all the information about their customers they desire under the ever-expanding legal authorities being granted to law enforcement bodies with scarcely any public hearings or debate. The “War on Drugs” is requiring banks, brokers, casinos and other financial institutions to monitor their customers’ financial transactions and report any “unusual” or “suspicious” activity. The information is all fed into the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network whose computers spend their days making linkages between individuals and bank accounts, businesses, real estate and other assets.
  • States are selling confidential wage, driving and other information about their residents to private information companies and other enterprises.
  • Scenarios along the lines of the following from Savannah, Georgia are probably taking place elsewhere: Without warning , a team of armed county and schools system officers periodically entered the schools, ordered everyone into the hallways, used dogs to sniff student’s belongings, and scanned the students’ bodies with metal detectors. One of the high-school teachers was very upset by this – “Because I teach the Constitution,” she explained – and made her feelings known to the authorities. A police officer told her principal that because of her “attitude” problem, she might have to be detained or restrained during future surprise raids. During a subsequent raid, the teacher’s son was the only student out of 1,500 to be individually searched. Later, cars in the parking lot were searched, and the police claimed to have found a marijuana cigarette in the teacher’s car. The Board of Education suspended her and she was later fired.
  • A federal court, created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, is receiving applications for authorization of electronic surveillance within the United States and is rubber-stamping them. In its first 20 years, the court received 10,000 applications form the Justice Department on behalf of the FBI and the National Security Agency. By all accounts, only one was rejected, on a technicality. There exists no public record of any kind about the individual cases, nor any oversight. The Clinton administration has expanded the court’s mandate to allow it to approve physical break-ins, enabling the Justice Department to bypass the usual warrant procedure in an open court, which would necessitate some accounting of the items seized, and an explanation of probable cause that a crime had been committed. The targets of these wiretaps and burglaries can be under surveillance merely because of belonging to or supporting an organization whose politics are looked upon with disfavor by the U.S. government. Federal agents can now obtain the phone numbers of all incoming and outgoing calls on any line used or called by suspected “foreign” agents.
  • The grand jury system is running amok. Virtually all federal cases now use it to obtain indictments. Neither the accused nor his or her lawyer is there, so they can’t confront accusers. The system is used as an instrument of terror – relatives testifying against one another with no confidentiality privilege with respect to family members other than husbands and wives: parents called to testify against their children, children against their parents, brothers against sisters. It lacks due process. It’s another secret tool of an expanding executive branch.
  • Hundreds of cities now are employing highly armed and trained Special Weapons and Tactics Teams (SWAT), based on military special operations models, and told they’re part of a “war” on crime; ready to terrorize the enemy (the citizens) with automatic assault rifles, tanks and grenade launchers, called out even in non-crisis situations; choosing a neighborhood and swooping onto street corners, forcing pedestrians to the ground, searching them, running warrant checks, taking photos and entering all the new “intelligence” into a state database from computer terminals in each patrol car. As they carry out this exercise, they do not trip over many members of the Fortune 500.
  • Forced labor is beginning to thrive again in the United States: people compelled to work off their welfare grants, with no prospect of real employment, sometimes at sub-minimum wages, or no wages at all; convicted defendants sentenced to “community service;” inmates denied vital privileges if the refuse to work in prison, many producing for private companies, who get away with paltry wages, no benefits, no unions. Some prison-made products are being exported, exactly what the U.S. has condemned China for.
  • embassies abroad are surveilling selected American travelers, fingered by a joint effort of the FBI and the State Department Passport Office.
  • The notion of bail is rapidly eroding. We’re raised to believe that for other than a capital offense, reasonable bail must be offered. We have a long history of not holding people in custody until their guilt has been determined. That’s not true anymore. We call the new concept “preventive detention.”
  • You’re exercising your precious freedom to vote and the only candidates presented to you with more than a snowball-in-hell’s chance of winning are those whose ideologies enable them to raise about a half million dollars to contest a seat in the House, about five million for the Senate, and about a hundred million for the White House. Or, increasingly, the candidates themselves are multi-millionaires.
  • As in Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Indianapolis in recent years, police in large cities are exhibiting a remarkable level of disdain for the laws of the land; giving false information to courts to secure search warrants, or acting without warrants, committing perjury on the stand, allowing the results of botched tests of drugs to be used in criminal cases, staging drug raids in order to steal drugs, money, guns and other valuables, taking money and drugs in exchange for immunity, robbing and beating people on the streets of their precinct. And exhibiting the same disdain for individual rights in numerous search-and-destroy missions against private homes: using special “shock-lock” shotgun rounds to blow apartment doors off their hinges, or shooting off the door locks, tossing in “flash-ban grenades,” which produce explosions that terrify and disorient people, illegally searching the inhabitants, menacing them with their guns, firing shots at people without cause, killing people, planting drugs or other false evidence, forcing people outside almost naked, filing false arrest reports, or sometimes filing no charges at all after all this, assaulting or threatening people who make charges against them.
  • Public relations firms, hired by large corporations and business associations, are utilizing hefty fees, lawyers, detectives, spies and phony “grassroots” campaigns to influence the media and public opinion against food, environmental and other activists and authors who pose a threat to one of their special-interest clients, trying to make the activists look foolish, if not criminal, as they exercise their political rights.
  • NBC is canceling an appearance by a nuclear activist because she has criticized General Electric, which owns the network. Another nuclear activist or author, or opponent of military spending, is unwelcome at CBS because it belongs to Westinghouse; while yet another finds doors closed at ABC because of having treated the Disney conglomerate with less than reverence; ditto at CNN, owned by the AOL-Time-Warner octopus; while the advertisers are increasingly influencing the content of news stories. [As A.J. Liebling famously wrote: “If you want freedom of the press, you have to own one.”]
  • During a new U.S. invasion abroad, the media is being severely restricted as to what it can report to the American people about the war; reporters are required to submit their copy to the Pentagon censor, and are told where they can go, what they can film, who they can interview; those who don’t toe the line are transferred by their employer under heavy Pentagon pressure.
  • The FBI is staging photos used in a trial, and its crime laboratory is producing scientifically flawed, misleading or altered evidence benefiting the prosecutor’s case against a defendant, even allowing a judge to be impeached on false charges. A Bureau official is destroying an internal report critical of an FBI action in a particular case and not disclosing its existence to prosecutors or defense attorneys, or the Bureau is allowing inaccurate and/or incomplete “expert” testimony during court proceedings, tilting it in such a way as to incriminate the accused. A veteran FBI agent who blows the whistle on such goings-on is being harassed and suspended.
  • The DEA, other federal and state agents and police are seizing houses, boats, cars, airplanes, real estate, furnishings, bank accounts and other assets belonging to people suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, or belonging to their spouses, often without a conviction, and whether or not the assets seized were tied to the alleged crime. In one state, a man is losing his home and his business for selling two grams of cocaine. In another, numerous cars are being confiscated from new car dealerships for failing to report all cash transactions involving more than $10,000. Elsewhere, a 75-year old grandmother is being dispossessed of her home for the sins of her fugitive, drug-dealing son. The government agencies are selling these assets and using the proceeds for anything from patrol cars to parties. The expected value of forfeitures is a times a determining factor in the question of who to raid. Police are routinely planting drugs and falsifying police reports to establish probable cause for cash seizures. Plea bargains are struck that commonly favor drug kingpins willing to surrender their assets and penalize “mules” with nothing to trade. As of early 1999, there was $2.7 billion in the federal government’s “Asset Forfeiture Fund” alone.
  • The concept of equal access to legal remedy and justice is being invalidated every day after a decade of deep government cutbacks to the legal aid program, thus robbing the poor of what is often their sole defense against unscrupulous landlords, scam artists, battering spouses, home foreclosure, consumer fraud and many other legal predicaments.
  • A public official who questions the War on Drugs is paying an awful price, like former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders whose son was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine to an undercover police officer. His arrest took place five months after the sale, on a warrant issued a week after his mother suggested that the government study the legalization of drugs.
  • Then, of course, there are the incidents called “Waco” and “Ruby Ridge.”

NONE ARE MORE HOPELESSLY ENSLAVED THAN THOSE WHO FALSELY BELIEVE THEY ARE FREE

By S.R. Shearer

Niemand ist hoffnungsloser versklavt als jene, die fälschlicherweise glauben, frei zu sein.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

William Blum, an investigative journalist in Washington, DC, writes in his excellent book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower:

“Overtly and covertly, legally and illegally, the military-industrial complex (in the United States) has joined forces with the prison-industrial complex, linked further to the omnipresent national security-police complex, all clasping hands tightly with the War on Drugs, in a declaration of War on the American people and the Bill of Rights. This Authority juggernaut – enamored with its own perpetuation, glorification and enrichment – has convinced the American public that without its storm troopers all hell would break loose and the safety and security of the citizenry would be on a life-support machine. In this undertaking, it has had the indispensable assistance of intimidated legislatures, an uniconoclastic judiciary, compliant media, and a president — who – in the words of civil-liberties columnist Nat Hentoff – ‘in this century … has afflicted the most harm on our constitutional rights and liberties. [Please see our article, “Apostasy: Christianity In The Service Of A Religio-Political-Corporate-Terrorist State.”]”
Blum then presents a list of civil rights abuses that he culled from public sources (i.e., newspapers, journals, etc.) that occur regularly on a day-to-day basis in the United States which – when taken together – show with unmistakable clarity how far “civil rights” in the United States have been eroded and how dangerously close we are today to being a police-state. AND THIS IS THE COUNTRY THAT EVANGELICAL LEADERS LIKE TIM LAHAYE, JERRY FALWELL, D. JAMES KENNEDY, JAMES ROBISON, ETC. CALL THE “NEW ISRAEL OF GOD?” THIS IS THE COUNTRY ABOUT WHICH PAT ROBERTSON SAYS:

“If America is free, people everywhere can hope for freedom. And if America goes down, all hope is lost to the rest of the world” ?
One wonders if all these so-called “men of God” have been lingering too long around the “second-hand smoke” of the “pot-heads” they’ve taken such delight in condemning over the years. The truth is there if they want to see it; indeed, one would have to be blind to miss it, so that in these men – ALL OF THEM

“… is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive …” (Matt. 13:14)


The list that follows is a composite list derived partially from Blum’s list and assorted others. The thing to remember here is that all of the instances listed below occur today on a REGULAR basis. They are not aberrations or anomalies. The sad thing in all of this, is that there is little doubt that most Christians will not be upset by this “catalogue” of civil rights abuses. And why is that? – because most of those who are the “targets” of these abuses and indignities (i.e., the poor, the minorities, the so-called “welfare cheats,” the single moms, etc.) have been so DEMONIZED by the “mainline press” that they now seem somehow or other to be deserving of it all. But, then, this is what the Germans did to the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s – demonized them to the point where most Germans came “naturally” and “easily” to the belief that the Jews were “getting what they deserved.” [If you possess additinal examples, please send them to us and we will add them to the list] The list is as follows:

  • In every state, the police or the National Guard and, at times, active-duty army troops, are – under the guise of the “War on Drugs” (again, please see our article, “APOSTASY: Christianity In The Service Of A ‘Religio-Political-Corporate-Terrorist State'”) – conducting relentless helicopter surveillances over people’s homes and property, setting up roadblocks, interrogating, detaining, harassing and terrifying residents with displays of excessive power. To a very large extent, these activities have very little to do with any “war on drugs” and everything to do with suppressing the “throw-away” portion of the American population that has been consigned to “unemployment” or to jobs that don’t pay a “living wage” – about one-third of today’s population – i.e., “poor white trash,” blacks, Hispanics, etc. (Please see Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Nickled and Dimed, available at most book stores.)
  • In hundreds of American cities, young people – again, under the rubric of the “War on Drugs” – are being subjected to nighttime curfew laws (a phenomenon that rarely is enforced in affluent white neighborhoods, but only in poor minority areas); many have a daytime curfew as well. Again, these curfews have very little to do with any “war on drugs,” and everything to do with suppressing militant young people that in every “revolution” (especially those revolutions that pit the poor against the rich) form the backbone of the “revolt.” The idea here is to harass them to such an extent that they can never organize themselves, and to DEMONIZE them as hooligans and “ner-do-wells” so as to justify the harsh measures that are being taken against them.
  • The CIA, FBI and other federal agencies are increasingly refusing to respond to legitimately issued subpoenas for documents which detail the “extra-legal” and unconstitutional activities they are engaged in. They are simply ignoring the judiciary – and doing it with impunity. The arrogance of these agencies in this respect brings to mind the arrogance practiced by Hoover’s FBI in the 1960s and ’70s against those in the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war effort.
  • Citizens are undergoing assorted harassments and penalties from the federal government for having traveled to, spent money in and/or shipped various goods to countries the United States has blacklisted; for example, the former Yugoslavia – or for that matter, any nation that has “opted out” of the American System and has – as a result – incurred the wrath of the American elites – countries like Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, etc. Those who visit the United Nations Mission in New York or the Interests Section in Washington of some of the countries the government has black listed risk being photographed and receiving visits or phone calls from the FBI. This phenomenon is especially directed against those people who are in the habit of speaking out against America’s “New World Order System” like the Mary Knollers, the Quakers, and anyone and everyone who is in any way associated with movements like Liberation Theology, labor rights organizations, etc. [Please see our articles, “Colombia: America’s New Vietnam” and “Colombia: The Spread Of America’s New World Order System Northward From Latin America To The Untied States.”]
  • The CIA is once again routinely opening and reading the mail (and email) of U.S. citizens without benefit of search warrants. The FBI is also peeking at our correspondence, domestic and international, for a host of its own priorities – again, on the most specious of reasons (really, pretenses). They habitually cite as their authority vague references to “national security.” When asked to be more specific, they refuse on grounds of “national security.”
  • Motorists are being stopped on highways on the flimsiest of excuses (unsafe lane changes, tail light infractions, failures to signal, etc.) and then intimidated into submitting to a search of their vehicles without “probable cause.” If they refuse, that alone is often taken as “probable cause” (or “probable cause” is “created” – which occurs more often than most people realize), and their vehicles are searched anyway. The utility of these laws (i.e., tail light infractions, “unsafe lane changes,” seat belt violations, etc.) lies in the fact that they can be used to harass various “suspect” populations the police want to keep “off balance” – AND THAT IS PRECISELY THE WAY THEY ARE USED – or does one really think that such measures are taken in places like Simi Valley, Palm Beach, the Hamptons?
  • Private corporations are recording employees’ phone calls and voice mail, reading their computer files and email, getting logs of what websites they’ve looked at, videotaping them as they work, observing them in bathrooms and locker rooms with two-way mirrors or hidden cameras, tracking their whereabouts by having them use electronic pass keys, bugging their offices, subjecting them to airport-style electronic searches, testing their urine for drugs, doing extensive security checks on their backgrounds – all this whether or not they have ever behaved poorly on the job, or whether their work involves any danger to anyone. For the most part, this kind of activity was initiated as a “crime-fighting” device and under the cover that an “employer has the right to know what his employee is doing on his time.” But such “rights” by an employer over an employee has NEVER been asserted before in the United States, although one would think – given the propaganda that has accompanied the assertions of these rights – that such is not the case. THESE ARE THE KIND OF “RIGHTS” A “MASTER” ASSERTS OVER HIS “SLAVE.” But then that should say something about elite attitudes towards their employees, shouldn’t it?
  • At growing numbers of schools around the country, students are having to undergo urinalysis in order to join the track team, join the chess club, go to the prom, go on a field trip or drive to and from school. Once again, all this is being done under cover of the “War on Drugs,” but what it really is, is a “control mechanism” used to suppress the underclass with – or, again, does one really believe, other than in a few “high profile” instances, this is ever done in affluent white areas.
  • New Jersey state troopers are enlisting hotel workers along the New Jersey Turnpike to tip them off about suspicious guests who, among other things PAY FOR THEIR ROOMS IN CASH, or receive a flurry of phone calls; hotel managers are allowing troopers, without a warrant, to leaf through the credit card receipts and registration forms of guests; the troopers are given surveillance seminars to train employees to scrutinize guests who fit a given “profile.” IF THIS WERE DONE IN THE OLD SOVIET UNION, ONE WOULD NOT BE INCORRECT IN LABELING SUCH ACTIVITY AS THE ACTIVITY OF A “POLICE-STATE.” Of course, one could retort that the police are merely trying to “combat crime.” But then, that’s what the police in the old Soviet Union would have said too.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is keeping up to date a list of what it calls “radicals” and other undesirables who will be rounded up and detained without benefit of a hearing in times of “national emergency.” This is, of course, something all dictatorships do. This is what Hitler did in 1933 – and in 1934 he declared an “emergency,” and rounded up all his enemies. You can bet that if such things were ever done in the name of “Right Religion,” the Religious Right would be there cheering on the state in its “round up.” This is what Rick Joyner wants when he said, “… leaders who … resist (the imposition of the new Christian state people like him envision) … will be removed from their place.” George Hawton suggests a way, “… 2/3 will have to die in the last days so that 1/3 might emerge pure.”
  • Task forces of international, federal, military, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as private entities, are employing increased interaction, abundant funds, new laws, new technologies and new octopus-like data bases to spy on and harass activists of many stripes. THIS IS ESPECIALLY SO IN THE CASE OF THOSE ACTIVISTS THAT HAVE BEEN DEMONSTRATING AGAINST THE WTO, THE IMF, THE WORLD BANK AND THE G-8 SUMMITS. The FBI and police are noting license plate numbers of people attending meetings and demonstrations, photographing people, paying informers to infiltrate groups, breaking into offices to steal mailing and contributor lists, rifling through files and carrying out “harassment arrests” (i.e. charges later dropped). Individual members of these groups are receiving FBI visits at their homes and workplaces, or the Bureau is sending anonymous letters to the person’s colleagues implying that he or she is actually an informer as well as sending assorted poison-pen letters to employers, landlords and spouses designed to produce optimal distress. Again, is this the kind of activity a “free society” tolerates? No! – this is the kind of activity one would have expected to see in the Third Reich or in the old Soviet Union. How is it possible for Christians to associate themselves with such a state and call it the “New Israel of God?”
  • Increasingly, airport passengers are being detained for hours, even days, and missing flights because they fit a “terrorist profile” based on appearance, airport behavior, travel itinerary or other criteria. They are being strip searched, including body cavity searches, X-rayed, forced to take laxatives, their bowel movements monitored. Many white Christians, of course, are not aware of all this because they do not fit the profile, but fitting a profile – does that make it right? If you say, “yes, these steps are necessary to guarantee public safety,” then you would have made a nice little Nazi in the Third Reich of some sixty years ago because that is precisely the reasons they gave in implementing the exact same steps then. “Public safety,” “national security,” and the phrase, “If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t be afraid” come straight out of the 1934 Hitler Youth Handbook.
  • The FBI is urging librarians to report on the books taken out by patrons with foreign-sounding names, particularly scientific and technical books. When this program was first revealed and criticized, the FBI proceeded to do checks on the critics. These are the same kind of techniques used by the Chinese communists during Mao’s “Cultural Revolution.”
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is demanding that a publisher provide it with the names of people who have ordered certain “anti-government” material. Again, these are the same kinds of acts that made Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” such a heinous affair.
  • Under the “cover” of the “War on Drugs” and a similar “war” against “illegal guns,” police throughout the country have been seizing the property of thousands and thousands of individuals without “due process.” And much more than most people are aware of, this kind of activity is now being used against people deemed to be involved in “anti-government” activity. For example, it was alleged by the BATF that the “dissidents” at Waco (Mt. Carmel) had automatic weapons and illegal firearms – despite the fact that the local sheriff had checked such reports out and had determined that the reports were false. BATF was simply determined to raid Mt. Carmel, and they were not about to let the facts stand in their way.
  • The DEA, ATF, INS, FBI, DIA, Secret Service, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Sheriff’s Departments, National Guard and/or other official cowboys, wearing black suits, ski masks and the like, forming massively armed mobs of screaming, swearing agents, helicopters chopping above, battering down doors, raiding people’s homes, smashing up furniture, beating up residents, handcuffing them, manhandling pregnant women, terrifying children, separating them from their parents, shooting people dead, looking for drugs or individuals which often are not there – this jihad (holy war) being the outcome of no more than a tip from an “unnamed informant.” Heavily-armed so-called “bounty hunters,” with the force of law behind them, are carrying on in a similar manner to kidnap a person, sometimes killing someone, sometimes the “wrong person.” Operators of “pirate” radio stations are also being invaded, with FCC agents, federal marshals, a SWAT team, customs agents and local police comprising the attacking force. Again, these are all the tactics of a “police-state,” not those of a “free society.”
  • A driver, stopped by the police, tapes the encounter. When he goes to the local police station to complain about his treatment, he is asked to hand the tape over. He’s then charged with illegal wiretapping. It seems that it’s okay for the police to record and video tape these stops for their records, but it is not okay for private citizens who are the targets of such “illegal” and warrantless” stops to do so. Again, privileges extended to the police that are not extended to average citizens. THIS IS THE KIND OF ATTITUDE ONE WOULD EXPECT TO FIND IN A “POLICE-STATE,” BUT NOT IN A “FREE SOCIETY.” The term “free society” is a meaningless, empty phrase if it does not mean a society that is free from harassment from its own police.
  • Intercity busses and trains are being boarded by DEA agents to conduct searches of passengers’ belongings. Passengers are assured that it’s all “voluntary.” One is reminded of World War II movies where busses in occupied countries are routinely stopped by the SS and the Gestapo in search of provocateurs.
  • The police are beating up and arresting strikers and escorting scab workers into plants, thus taking the side of the employer, as the police have done virtually without exception during 150 years of industrial conflict in the United States. Corporations are using many of the more than 10,000 private security firms, which employ 1.5 million guards, to suppress strike action and intimidate union organizers. Again, these are the activities one would expect to find being employed by the police in America’s “client-states” like Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, Indonesia, etc., but not in the United States.
  • Law enforcement officers in northern California, taking the side of logging interests once again, are pressing cotton swabs saturated with pepper spray (600 times hotter than cayenne pepper) into the eyes of non-violent people chained to each other, who are protesting the felling of ancient redwoods; protesters are shrieking and writhing in pain as the solution takes effect. People are dying in police custody in cases where pepper spray is a contributing factor. Again, the police tactics of a “terrorist-state.” These protesters were all non-violent! They are American citizens who – in and of themselves do not possess the financial wherewithal to fight the logging interests except in the fashion they are doing. What are people to do when confronting the power of the rich? – do nothing? Or, maybe the police do not belong to the poor, but only to the rich in this country. That’s evidently where we are headed.
  • Banks, telephone companies, utility companies, credit card companies, airlines, bus companies, rental car outlets, storage facilities, hotel and motels and all manner of other private institutions are providing various local, state and federal authorities with all the information about their customers they desire under the ever-expanding legal authorities being granted to law enforcement bodies with scarcely any public hearings or debate. The “War on Drugs” is requiring banks, brokers, casinos and other financial institutions to monitor their customers’ financial transactions and report any “unusual” or “suspicious” activity. The information is all fed into the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network whose computers spend their days making linkages between individuals and bank accounts, businesses, real estate and other assets.
  • States are selling confidential wage, driving and other information about their residents to private information companies and other enterprises.
  • Scenarios along the lines of the following from Savannah, Georgia are probably taking place elsewhere: Without warning , a team of armed county and schools system officers periodically entered the schools, ordered everyone into the hallways, used dogs to sniff student’s belongings, and scanned the students’ bodies with metal detectors. One of the high-school teachers was very upset by this – “Because I teach the Constitution,” she explained – and made her feelings known to the authorities. A police officer told her principal that because of her “attitude” problem, she might have to be detained or restrained during future surprise raids. During a subsequent raid, the teacher’s son was the only student out of 1,500 to be individually searched. Later, cars in the parking lot were searched, and the police claimed to have found a marijuana cigarette in the teacher’s car. The Board of Education suspended her and she was later fired.
  • A federal court, created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, is receiving applications for authorization of electronic surveillance within the United States and is rubber-stamping them. In its first 20 years, the court received 10,000 applications form the Justice Department on behalf of the FBI and the National Security Agency. By all accounts, only one was rejected, on a technicality. There exists no public record of any kind about the individual cases, nor any oversight. The Clinton administration has expanded the court’s mandate to allow it to approve physical break-ins, enabling the Justice Department to bypass the usual warrant procedure in an open court, which would necessitate some accounting of the items seized, and an explanation of probable cause that a crime had been committed. The targets of these wiretaps and burglaries can be under surveillance merely because of belonging to or supporting an organization whose politics are looked upon with disfavor by the U.S. government. Federal agents can now obtain the phone numbers of all incoming and outgoing calls on any line used or called by suspected “foreign” agents.
  • The grand jury system is running amok. Virtually all federal cases now use it to obtain indictments. Neither the accused nor his or her lawyer is there, so they can’t confront accusers. The system is used as an instrument of terror – relatives testifying against one another with no confidentiality privilege with respect to family members other than husbands and wives: parents called to testify against their children, children against their parents, brothers against sisters. It lacks due process. It’s another secret tool of an expanding executive branch.
  • Hundreds of cities now are employing highly armed and trained Special Weapons and Tactics Teams (SWAT), based on military special operations models, and told they’re part of a “war” on crime; ready to terrorize the enemy (the citizens) with automatic assault rifles, tanks and grenade launchers, called out even in non-crisis situations; choosing a neighborhood and swooping onto street corners, forcing pedestrians to the ground, searching them, running warrant checks, taking photos and entering all the new “intelligence” into a state database from computer terminals in each patrol car. As they carry out this exercise, they do not trip over many members of the Fortune 500.
  • Forced labor is beginning to thrive again in the United States: people compelled to work off their welfare grants, with no prospect of real employment, sometimes at sub-minimum wages, or no wages at all; convicted defendants sentenced to “community service;” inmates denied vital privileges if the refuse to work in prison, many producing for private companies, who get away with paltry wages, no benefits, no unions. Some prison-made products are being exported, exactly what the U.S. has condemned China for.
  • embassies abroad are surveilling selected American travelers, fingered by a joint effort of the FBI and the State Department Passport Office.
  • The notion of bail is rapidly eroding. We’re raised to believe that for other than a capital offense, reasonable bail must be offered. We have a long history of not holding people in custody until their guilt has been determined. That’s not true anymore. We call the new concept “preventive detention.”
  • You’re exercising your precious freedom to vote and the only candidates presented to you with more than a snowball-in-hell’s chance of winning are those whose ideologies enable them to raise about a half million dollars to contest a seat in the House, about five million for the Senate, and about a hundred million for the White House. Or, increasingly, the candidates themselves are multi-millionaires.
  • As in Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Indianapolis in recent years, police in large cities are exhibiting a remarkable level of disdain for the laws of the land; giving false information to courts to secure search warrants, or acting without warrants, committing perjury on the stand, allowing the results of botched tests of drugs to be used in criminal cases, staging drug raids in order to steal drugs, money, guns and other valuables, taking money and drugs in exchange for immunity, robbing and beating people on the streets of their precinct. And exhibiting the same disdain for individual rights in numerous search-and-destroy missions against private homes: using special “shock-lock” shotgun rounds to blow apartment doors off their hinges, or shooting off the door locks, tossing in “flash-ban grenades,” which produce explosions that terrify and disorient people, illegally searching the inhabitants, menacing them with their guns, firing shots at people without cause, killing people, planting drugs or other false evidence, forcing people outside almost naked, filing false arrest reports, or sometimes filing no charges at all after all this, assaulting or threatening people who make charges against them.
  • Public relations firms, hired by large corporations and business associations, are utilizing hefty fees, lawyers, detectives, spies and phony “grassroots” campaigns to influence the media and public opinion against food, environmental and other activists and authors who pose a threat to one of their special-interest clients, trying to make the activists look foolish, if not criminal, as they exercise their political rights.
  • NBC is canceling an appearance by a nuclear activist because she has criticized General Electric, which owns the network. Another nuclear activist or author, or opponent of military spending, is unwelcome at CBS because it belongs to Westinghouse; while yet another finds doors closed at ABC because of having treated the Disney conglomerate with less than reverence; ditto at CNN, owned by the AOL-Time-Warner octopus; while the advertisers are increasingly influencing the content of news stories. [As A.J. Liebling famously wrote: “If you want freedom of the press, you have to own one.”]
  • During a new U.S. invasion abroad, the media is being severely restricted as to what it can report to the American people about the war; reporters are required to submit their copy to the Pentagon censor, and are told where they can go, what they can film, who they can interview; those who don’t toe the line are transferred by their employer under heavy Pentagon pressure.
  • The FBI is staging photos used in a trial, and its crime laboratory is producing scientifically flawed, misleading or altered evidence benefiting the prosecutor’s case against a defendant, even allowing a judge to be impeached on false charges. A Bureau official is destroying an internal report critical of an FBI action in a particular case and not disclosing its existence to prosecutors or defense attorneys, or the Bureau is allowing inaccurate and/or incomplete “expert” testimony during court proceedings, tilting it in such a way as to incriminate the accused. A veteran FBI agent who blows the whistle on such goings-on is being harassed and suspended.
  • The DEA, other federal and state agents and police are seizing houses, boats, cars, airplanes, real estate, furnishings, bank accounts and other assets belonging to people suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, or belonging to their spouses, often without a conviction, and whether or not the assets seized were tied to the alleged crime. In one state, a man is losing his home and his business for selling two grams of cocaine. In another, numerous cars are being confiscated from new car dealerships for failing to report all cash transactions involving more than $10,000. Elsewhere, a 75-year old grandmother is being dispossessed of her home for the sins of her fugitive, drug-dealing son. The government agencies are selling these assets and using the proceeds for anything from patrol cars to parties. The expected value of forfeitures is a times a determining factor in the question of who to raid. Police are routinely planting drugs and falsifying police reports to establish probable cause for cash seizures. Plea bargains are struck that commonly favor drug kingpins willing to surrender their assets and penalize “mules” with nothing to trade. As of early 1999, there was $2.7 billion in the federal government’s “Asset Forfeiture Fund” alone.
  • The concept of equal access to legal remedy and justice is being invalidated every day after a decade of deep government cutbacks to the legal aid program, thus robbing the poor of what is often their sole defense against unscrupulous landlords, scam artists, battering spouses, home foreclosure, consumer fraud and many other legal predicaments.
  • A public official who questions the War on Drugs is paying an awful price, like former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders whose son was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine to an undercover police officer. His arrest took place five months after the sale, on a warrant issued a week after his mother suggested that the government study the legalization of drugs.
  • Then, of course, there are the incidents called “Waco” and “Ruby Ridge.”