A prime aim of the growing Surveillance State

Remember though Surveillance is the prerogative of the Police State and Corporations, who hate the idea of a free press and investigative photography that might reveal among other things: Animal Abuse, Unsafe handling of foods (pesticide contamination etc), Police Abuse of citizens, Corporate Maleficence,  industrial pollution, the senseless slaughter of fish and sea mammals etc.

Citizens who photograph such things can be prosecuted on a variety of charges.

From Salon: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/08/19/surveillance/index.html

By Glenn Greenwald
Friday, Aug 19, 2011

Several weeks ago, a New York Times article by Noam Cohen examined the case of Aaron Swartz, the 24-year-old copyright reform advocate who was arrested in July, after allegedly downloading academic articles that had been placed behind a paywall, thus making them available for free online.  Swartz is now being prosecuted by the DOJ with obscene over-zealousness.  Despite not profiting (or trying to profit) in any way — the motive was making academic discourse available to the world for free — he’s charged with “felony counts including wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer” and “could face up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.”

The NYT article explored similarities between Swartz and Bradley Manning, another young activist being severely punished for alleged acts of freeing information without any profit to himself; the article quoted me as follows:

For Glenn Greenwald . . . it also makes sense that a young generation would view the Internet in political terms.

“How information is able to be distributed over the Internet, it is the free speech battle of our times,” he said in interview. “It can seem a technical, legalistic movement if you don’t think about it that way.”

He said that point was illustrated by his experience with WikiLeaks — and by how the Internet became a battleground as the site was attacked by hackers and as large companies tried to isolate WikiLeaks. Looking at that experience and the Swartz case, he said, “clearly the government knows that this is the prime battle, the front line for political control.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/08/19/surveillance/index.html

From The Long Beach Post:  http://www.lbpost.com/life/greggory/12188

Police Chief Confirms Detaining Photographers Within Departmental Policy

by Greggory Moore | No Destination
08.15.11

9:45am | Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department  policy.

McDonnell spoke for a follow-up story on a June 30 incidentin which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of  a North Long Beach refinery.1

“If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,” says McDonnell, “it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer’s subject has “apparent esthetic value,” officers make such judgments “based on their overall training and experience” and will generally approach photographers not engaging in “regular tourist behavior.”

This policy apparently falls under the rubric of compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) as outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Order No. 11, a March 2008 statement of the LAPD’s “policy …  to make every effort to accurately and appropriately gather, record and analyze information, of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism.”

Among the non-criminal behaviors “which shall be reported on a SAR” are the usage of binoculars and cameras (presumably when observing a building, although this is not specified), asking about an establishment’s hours of operation, taking pictures or video footage “with no apparent esthetic value,” and taking notes.

Continue reading at:  http://www.lbpost.com/life/greggory/12188

One Response to “A prime aim of the growing Surveillance State”

  1. Sue Riley Says:

    EXPECT MORE POLICE CORRUPTION WITH NO-WARRANT SEARCHES

    U.S. Government wants the power without a warrant, to introduce as evidence in criminal prosecutions and government civil trials, any phone call record, email or Internet activity. Alarmingly, that would open the door for Police to take out of context, any innocent—hastily written email, fax or phone call record to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, fines and or civil asset forfeiture of their property. There are more than 200 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture: Government civil asset forfeiture requires only a civil preponderance of evidence for police to forfeit property, little more than hearsay.

    If the Justice Department has its way, any information the FBI derives from (no warrant) acquisition of Web Server Records; User Internet Activity, emails; and phone records, can be used by the FBI for (fishing expeditions) to issue subpoenas in hopes of finding evidence, to prosecute Citizens for any alleged crime or violation—circumventing the Fourth Amendment. Consider: neither Congress nor the courts—determined what NSA electronic surveillance, perhaps illegal under Bush II, could be used by police or introduced into court by a government agency to prosecute U.S. Citizens criminally or civilly. If the Justice Department is permitted (No-warrant) surveillance of all electronic communications, it is problematic state and local law enforcement agencies and private government contractors will want access to Bush II /NSA and other government (retained electronic records) of Internet activity; emails and phone call information to secure evidence to arrest Americans and or civilly forfeit their homes, businesses and other assets under Title 18USC and other laws. Of obvious concern, what happens to fair justice in America if police become dependent on “Asset Forfeiture” to help pay their salaries and budget operating costs?

    The “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” (effectively eliminated) the “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the statute now runs five years (from the date) police claim they “learned” that an asset became subject to forfeiture. It is foreseeable should (no warrant electronic surveillance) be approved; police will relentlessly sift through businesses and Citizens’ (retained Internet data), e.g., emails to allege a crime or violation. A corrupt/despot U.S. Government, could use no warrant (retained Internet data and phone call information) to extort Americans, corporations and others in the same manner Hitler used his 1933 passed Discriminatory Decrees to extort corporations and the wealthy to support totalitarian legislation—voiding the Constitutional Freedoms of German Citizens.

    Under U.S. federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. Most U.S. Citizens, property and business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a (Catch 22) a criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any fresh denial of guilt made to government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do the crime” may “involuntarily waive” a defendant’s right to assert in their defense—the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” past for prosecution; any fresh denial of guilt even 30 years after a crime was committed may allow Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence, including information discovered during a Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceeding to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason many innocent Americans, property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property and businesses against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture.

    Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan V. United States. N0.96-1579. U.S. See paragraph (6) at:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/96-1579.ZC1.html


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