Monthly Archives: May 2013

Chris Hedges: Monitoring of AP Phones a “Terrifying” Step in State Assault on Press Freedom

The writing is on the wall, the Government is breaking the law and does not care about our Constitutional Rights to freedom. They are showing that they will do whatever it takes to violate our rights to privacy.  This is a blatant disreguard the constitutional rights of Americans and the freedom of the press to be protected from any dictatorship type government that shows no respect to citizens.  Again, I say enough is enough.  It is time to stand up against this type of government.  Don’t be caught asleep at the wheel and lose your rights to freedom.
The Pulitzer-prize winning columnist calls the revelations “one more assault in a long series of assault against freedom of information and freedom of the press.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges joined Democracy Now! to discuss what could mark the most significant government intrusion on freedom of the press in decades. The Justice Department has acknowledged seizing the work, home and cellphone records used by almost 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press. The phones targeted included the general AP office numbers in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, and the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. The action likely came as part of a probe into the leaks behind an AP story on the U.S. intelligence operation that stopped a Yemen-based al-Qaeda bombing plot on a U.S.-bound airplane. Hedges, a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and former New York Times reporter, calls the monitoring “one more assault in a long series of assault against freedom of information and freedom of the press.” Highlighting the Obama administration’s targeting of government whistleblowers, Hedges adds: “Talk to any investigative journalist who must investigate the government, and they will tell you that there is a deep freeze. People are terrified of speaking, because they’re terrified of going to jail.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder [headed to Capitol Hill on Wed, facing questions] over Justice Department’s decision to secretly seize the work, home and cellphone records used by almost a hundred reporters and editors at the Associated Press. On Tuesday, Holder defended the move as a necessary step in a criminal probe of leaks of classified information.

The phones targeted by the subpoena included the general AP office numbers in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Hartford, Connecticut; and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. The records were from April and May of 2012. Among those whose records were obtained were Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, three other reporters and an editor, all of whom worked on a story about an operation conducted by the CIA and allied intelligence agencies that stopped a Yemen-based al-Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb on an airplane headed for the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: The Associated Press had delayed publication of the story ’til May 7, 2012, at the government’s request. One day before the AP story was finally published, a U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed Fahd al-Quso, a senior leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Attorney General Holder, who says he recused himself from the leak probe, defended his department’s actions.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: This was a very serious—a very serious leak, and a very, very serious leak. I’ve been a prosecutor since 1976, and I have to say that this is among, if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that I’ve ever seen. It put the American people at risk. And that is not hyperbole. It put the American people at risk. And trying to determine who was responsible for that, I think, required very aggressive action.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking Tuesday. In a letter to Holder, AP’sCEO Greg Pruitt protested the government’s seizing of journalists’ phone records. He wrote, quote: “There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”

AMY GOODMAN: In an editorial today, The New York Times strongly criticized the Justice Department’s move. The editors wrote, quote: “These tactics will not scare us off, or The A.P., but they could reveal sources on other stories and frighten confidential contacts vital to coverage of government.”

Well, we’re joined right now by a former Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist from The New York Times. He’s now a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and author, along with Joe Sacco, of the book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. We’re joined by Chris Hedges. … Your response to this revelation about the—about what happened with AP and the U.S. government?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, it’s part of a pattern. That’s what’s so frightening. And it’s a pattern that we’ve seen, with the use of the Espionage Act, to essentially silence whistleblowers within the government—Kiriakou, Drake and others, although Kiriakou went to jail on—pled out on another charge—the FISA Amendment Act, which allows for warrantless wiretapping, the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for the stripping of American citizens of due process and indefinite detention. And it is one more assault in a long series of assault against freedom of information and freedom of the press. And I would also, of course, throw in the persecution of Julian Assange at WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning as part of that process.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Chris Hedges, you wrote in the recent article that was published, your article “Death of Truth” in Truthdig and Nation magazine—you also write about the significance of the Espionage Act and how often it’s been invoked, and you say that it eviscerates the possibility of an independent press. So could you talk about the Espionage Act and how it also is somehow related to this AP story?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, it’s been used six times by the Obama administration. It was written in 1917 and was—is our Foreign Secrets Act. It is never meant—it was not designed to shut down whistleblowers, first used against Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers. So, three times from 1917 until Obama takes office in 2009, six times. And if you talk to investigative journalists in this country, who must investigate the inner workings of government, no one will talk, even on background. People are terrified. And this is, of course—the seizure of two months of records, of AP records, is not really about going after AP; it’s about going after that person or those people who leaked this story and shutting them down. And this canard that it endangered American life is—you know, there’s no evidence for this. He’s not—yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the news conferences that Eric Holder and the White House held yesterday were interesting. This is White House spokesperson Jay Carney questioned Tuesday about the AP spying scandal and the Obama administration’s prosecution of whistleblowers.

REPORTER: This administration in the last four years has prosecuted twice as many leakers as every previous administration combined. How does that reflect balance?

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: I would say that the president is committed to the press’s ability to pursue information, to defending the First Amendment. He is also, as a citizen and as commander-in-chief, committed to the proposition that we cannot allow classified information to be—that can do harm to our national security interests or to endanger individuals to be—to be leaked. And that is a balance that has to be struck.

REPORTER: But the record of the last four years does not suggest balance.

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: That’s your opinion, Ari. But I—

REPORTER: No, it’s twice as many prosecutions as all previous administrations combined. That’s not even close.

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: Well, I—I understand that there—you know, that there are ongoing investigations that preceded this administration, but I—again, I’m not going to—I can tell you what the president’s views are. And the president’s views include his defense of the First Amendment, his belief that journalists ought to be able to pursue information in an unfettered way, and that is backed up by his support for a media shield law, both as senator and as president. And it is also true that he believes a balance needs to be struck between those goals and the need to protect classified information.

AMY GOODMAN: And the questions of Jay Carney about the spying scandal on AP just continued.

REPORTER: As a principle, does the president approve of the idea of prosecutors going through the personal phone records and work phone records of journalists and their editors?

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: I—I appreciate the effort to generalize the question, but, obviously, that goes right to the heart of some of the reporting on this specific case. I can tell you that the president believes that the press, as a rule, needs to be—to have an unfettered ability to pursue investigative journalism and—

REPORTER: How can it be unfettered if you’re worried about having your phone records—

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: Well, again, I can’t—I can’t respond to this in the specific. And, you know, I—I am very understanding of the questions on this issue and—and appreciate the—the nature of the questions. And I think they—they go to important issues, and they go to the fundamental issue of finding the balance between—when it comes to leaks of classified information of—of our nation’s secrets, if you will, between the need to protect those—that information, because of the national security implications of not protecting them, on the one hand, and the need to allow for an unfettered press and its—in its pursuit of investigative journalism.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Jay Carney, the White House press spokesperson, who used to be the Washington bureau chief of Time magazine. Your response, Chris Hedges?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, I find, you know, all of these measures to essentially shut down the freedom of information, including the persecution of Assange and Manning, as symptomatic of a reconfiguration of our society into a totalitarian security and surveillance state, one where anyone who challenges the official narrative, who digs out cases of torture, war crimes—which is, of course, what Manning and Assange presented to the American public—is going to be ruthlessly silenced. And I find the passivity on the part of the mainstream press, publications like The New York Times,The GuardianEl PaísDer Spiegel, all of which, of course, used this information, and turning their backs on Manning and Assange, to be very shortsighted for precisely this reason. If they think it’s just about Manning and Assange, then they have no conception of what it is that’s happening. And, you know, everyone knows, within the administration, within the National Security Council, the effects of climate change, the instability that that will cause, the economic deterioration, which is irreversible, and they want the mechanisms by which they can criminalize any form of dissent. And that’s finally what this is about.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And what do you think allowed this to happen, Chris Hedges? You think it’s related to, you’ve suggested in your piece, the war on terror, that it gave kind of sanction, in a way, to this kind of crackdown on journalists?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, you know, it becomes the same paradigm in the war against communism. It’s an excuse to ferret out and destroy legitimate movements that challenge centers of power. And that’s, of course, how the war on terror has worked in exactly the same way. But we are seeing environmental activists, Occupy activists, people who function, like Manning, as a whistleblower being caught up in this war on terror and silenced through these rules.

So what they do is they pass, you know, for instance, Section 1021 of the NDAA. They pass it in the name of the war on terror, but then they can use it. Anybody can become a terrorist. I mean, in the trial in federal court, which we brought against—in the Southern District, we used, in the Stratfor-leaked emails that were put out by WikiLeaks, where they were trying to link a group that was close to Occupy, US Day of Rage, and al-Qaeda. That’s precisely what happened. So when we allow this kind of thing to go forward, we essentially shut down any ability not only to ferret out what’s happening internally within the mechanisms of power, but to protest or carry out dissent.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to another clip of the news conference of Attorney General Eric Holder being questioned on Tuesday.

REPORTER: The real question here, the underlying question, is the policy of the administration when it comes to the ability of the media to cover the news. And I think the question for you is, given the fact that this news organization was not given an opportunity to try to quash this in court, as has been precedent, it leaves us in the position of wondering whether the administration has somehow decided policy-wise that it’s kind of going to go after us.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: Well, that is certainly not—I mean, I can talk about policy. That is certainly not the policy of this administration. If you will remember, in 2009, when I was going through my confirmation hearings, I testified in favor of a reporter shield law. We actually, as an administration, took a position in favor of such a law, didn’t get the necessary support up on the Hill. It is something this administration still thinks would be—would be appropriate. We’ve investigated cases on the basis of the facts, not as a result of a policy to get the press or to do anything of that nature. The facts and the law have dictated our actions.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Attorney General Eric Holder. Chris Hedges, I wanted you to respond to him and then talk about your recent trip. Well, you just came back from London, where you met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy, and then you came here and went to Pennsylvania and met with Mumia Abu-Jamal.

CHRIS HEDGES: It was a good week. Yes. I mean, I find what’s happening terrifying, truly frightening. And when you look closely at all of the documents that were purportedly given to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning and published through Assange, none of them were top-secret. I mean, as a former investigative reporter for The New York Times, it was my job to go and find out often top-secret information. And that’s why I can’t understand the inability of the traditional press to grasp that we are now in the last moments of an effort to, in essence, effectively extinguish press freedom. And if you—I mean, AP is an—like The New York Times, an amazingly cautious organization, but read the comments. I mean, they get it, internally. But, unfortunately, you know, they have divided us against ourselves, and—and this is—you know, what we’ve undergone, as John Ralston says and as I’ve said many times, a kind of corporate coup d’état.

What we are seeing is a system put into place where it’s all propaganda. And anybody who challenges—I mean, look, this constant reference to a shield law is absurd, because they just violated the shield law by not going to court and informing AP of a subpoena but doing it secretly. So, I mean, you’ve got to hand it to the Obama administration. They’re far more clever than their predecessors in the Bush administration, but they’re carrying out exactly the same policy of snuffing out our most basic civil liberties and our most important press freedoms. And that’s because they know what’s coming, and they are going to legally put in a place by which any challenge to the centers of corporate power become ineffectual or impossible.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: But how do you think this is already impacting the work of journalists?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, talk to any investigative journalist who must investigate the government, and they will tell you that there is a deep freeze. People are terrified of speaking, because they’re terrified of going to jail. And Kiriakou is now sitting for 30 months in a prison in Pennsylvania. So—

AMY GOODMAN: And Kiriakou is?

CHRIS HEDGES: That’s the former CIA official who purportedly gave information to The New York Times. And, you know, they’ve subpoenaed Risen’s records, both for his book and—

AMY GOODMAN: James Risen of The New York Times.

CHRIS HEDGES: Right, of the Times. I mean, so, it is—

AMY GOODMAN: For reporting on warrantless wiretapping.

CHRIS HEDGES: Exactly. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Which they held onto, a story they held onto for more than a year and that took the—

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, that gets into the cowardice of The New York Times, but that’s another show. Yeah, it was about to come out in the book, and then the _Times_’ Bill Keller ran it, because—but they had held it. And so, yeah, I think we’re in a very, very frightening moment.

AMY GOODMAN: And the fact that these—the phones were—the logs were taken of these different phones that more than a hundred AP reporters used, reporters and editors, shows who is calling them and who they’re calling.

CHRIS HEDGES: Right, that’s what they want.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about the significance of that.

CHRIS HEDGES: Right. Well, what they’re clearly—

AMY GOODMAN: These aren’t tape-recorded conversations.

CHRIS HEDGES: Right. And, I mean, having done that kind of work, I’m almost certain that whoever gave the AP this information didn’t give it to them over the phone. But what they’re doing is finding out—matching all of the phone records to find out who had contact with someone in an AP bureau, whether that was in New York or Hartford or Washington or wherever else, and then they will probably use the Espionage Act to go after them, as well. That would—that’s certainly what the Obama administration has done since its inception.

AMY GOODMAN: Very briefly, can you talk about your visit with Julian Assange and then your visit with journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, I mean, I have tremendous respect for Julian Assange and what he’s done. Again, even within the liberal intelligentsia, who should know better, they’ve turned their back on him. You know, whatever the sexual misconduct charges in Sweden were, it certainly wasn’t rape, but there was something. But that has been used—

AMY GOODMAN: Well, they aren’t charges, but he’s wanted for questioning.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, he’s actually not been charged at all, so that’s right, in a legal sense. But, you know, that kind of character assassination has left him very much alone. And I think the courage of a Manning, the courage of an Assange, the courage of a Mumia—I mean, how that man remains unbroken. I was there with Cornel West and the theologian James Cone. I mean, it was a privilege for me. I mean, three of the probably greatest African-American intellectuals in the country, and certainly radicals. It’s—you know, those people who hold fast to the—a kind of moral imperative, or hold fast to the capacity for dissent, whether that’s Manning, who exhibited—I was in the courtroom when he read his statement—tremendous courage, poise, whether that’s Assange, whether that’s Mumia, let’s look at where all those three people are, because for all of us who speak out, that’s where they want us to be, as well. And that gets back to this AP story, because that is exactly the process that we are undergoing and where—if they win, where we’re headed.



Why Cops and Prosecutors Get Away With Throwing Innocents in Prison

It is indisputable that America strives to put as many black people behind bars as possible.

The ironically named criminal justice system in this country is good at prosecuting and creating many criminals but not very good at producing any justice. The United States would not have the largest prison population of any other country on earth if it did not also have the harshest prosecution and sentencing system of any other country. America’s addiction to racism and violence creates outright criminality among police and prosecutors. Their misconduct is tolerated and even encouraged and the result is an untold number of innocent people in jail.

In 1989, five New York City teenagers, four black and one Latino, were convicted of raping and assaulting a then anonymous woman known as the Central Park jogger. In the now infamous case the teens were coerced into giving false video taped confessions. None of the established procedures for interviewing minors were in place and police and prosecutors broke the law in order to convict them. Unable to pay for good legal representation and convicted in the court of public opinion, the five spent between six and thirteen years behind bars.

In 2002 a sole perpetrator confessed to the attack, DNA tests proved his guilt and the convictions were vacated. Thanks to the new documentary, The  Central Park Five, the prosecutors who orchestrated the travesty have come under scrutiny but none of them have suffered as a result of their actions. Until very recently prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer bragged about her involvement in the case and included it in her biography. She is still a law professor at Columbia University. It isn’t clear why anyone would want her to teach anything about the law, but there she sits in the lap of establishment legal profession luxury. When an outraged citizen circulated  a petition pressuring Columbia to fire Lederer, the wagons circled around her and the media excoriated those who only wanted accountability and justice.

“The prosecutors who orchestrated the travesty have come under scrutiny but none of them have suffered as a result of their actions.”

Lederer’s boss,  Linda Fairstein, also made quite a name for herself in the ensuing years. She became a best selling author and a wealthy woman after the prosecution. Her behavior in getting the teens arrested and convicted was particularly egregious.

“Fairstein gruffly dismissed Yusef Salaam’s aunt and threatened his mentor, Brooklyn federal prosecutor David Nocenti, in refusing to let them see the teen while he was being interrogated. According to both Sharonne Salaam and Timothy Sullivan’s book on the case, Unequal Verdicts, Fairstein then called her husband to demand the home number of Nocenti’s then boss, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Andrew Maloney, so she could get the young attorney fired. According to court records, Fairstein even tried to block Sharonne Salaam from interrupting the interrogation, despite Sharonne’s claims that Yusef was 15 and too young to be questioned without an adult.”

The five men will not get back the years they lost in prison, but the world knows they were innocent. However, the city of New York still maintains their guilt and fights every effort to bring them some financial justice. The exonerated men filed a $250 million lawsuit in 2003 but the city has spent the past ten years defending itself and even attempted to intimidate the documentary producers by issuing subpoenas for their video footage.

In New York others still languish in jail, sometimes for decades, because of law enforcement corruption. There are now 50 murder convictions under review by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office because of one man, retired detective  Louis Scarcella. His criminal behavior came to light when an innocent white man, David Ranta, was freed after spending 23 years in jail because Scarcella coached a witness into falsely identifying him as a killer.



Your Right of Defense Against Unlawful Arrest

In this day and age where we are seeing more incidents of police abuse of their power.  I think it is time for the citizens to exercise their right to resist an unlawful arrest.  Police have abused their rights and authority that are no longer protecting citizens, they are the reasons that citizens now need to make sure they bear arms to protect themselves.  Just because they wear uniforms carry badges and take it off, does not mean that they follow the law as we have seen repeatedly on the news cops are abusing their position and overstepping their bounds, killing citizens and then covering up their illegal acts and no one, not even the court system is stepping up to defend us, the citizens from backups.  Therefore, this task is left to the people, and I’m not saying go kill cops, but I am saying a cop becomes a normal citizen when he abuses the law in his position of power to bring harm to a citizen at that point, a citizen is within their rights to defend themselves from such actions at any cost. For information on this please below. 


“Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court stated: “Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.”

“An arrest made with a defective warrant, or one issued without affidavit, or one that fails to allege a crime is within jurisdiction, and one who is being arrested, may resist arrest and break away. lf the arresting officer is killed by one who is so resisting, the killing will be no more than an involuntary manslaughter.” Housh v. People, 75 111. 491; reaffirmed and quoted in State v. Leach, 7 Conn. 452; State v. Gleason, 32 Kan. 245; Ballard v. State, 43 Ohio 349; State v Rousseau, 241 P. 2d 447; State v. Spaulding, 34 Minn. 3621.

“When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.

“These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence.” Jones v. State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75; Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.

“An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted to be restrained of his liberty has the same right to use force in defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and battery.” (State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260).

“Each person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In such a case, the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force, as in self- defense.” (State v. Mobley, 240 N.C. 476, 83 S.E. 2d 100).

“One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance.” (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).

“Story affirmed the right of self-defense by persons held illegally. In his own writings, he had admitted that ‘a situation could arise in which the checks-and-balances principle ceased to work and the various branches of government concurred in a gross usurpation.’ There would be no usual remedy by changing the law or passing an amendment to the Constitution, should the oppressed party be a minority. Story concluded, ‘If there be any remedy at all … it is a remedy never provided for by human institutions.’ That was the ‘ultimate right of all human beings in extreme cases to resist oppression, and to apply force against ruinous injustice.’” (From Mutiny on the Amistad by Howard Jones, Oxford University Press, 1987, an account of the reading of the decision in the case by Justice Joseph Story of the Supreme Court.

As for grounds for arrest: “The carrying of arms in a quiet, peaceable, and orderly manner, concealed on or about the person, is not a breach of the peace. Nor does such an act of itself, lead to a breach of the peace.” (Wharton’s Criminal and Civil Procedure, 12th Ed., Vol.2: Judy v. Lashley, 5 W. Va. 628, 41 S.E. 197)


Allen vs Adair

Restoring the right to resist unlawful arrest




Dirty Cops LAPD

Here is the question when does a citizen have the right to protect themselves against unlawful arrest, unlawful search and seizure and when does the police stop go from legal to illegal. If a police stop is determined to be illegal, and an officer is using force that is not legal, does a citizen have the right to protect themselves by fighting back?
For more information on your right of defense against unlawful arrests. Click here

It is easy to criticize this video because the guy insisted on holding the camera vertical, but it’s becoming obvious that smartphone companies need to build their phones to record horizontally even if you hold it vertically as we can do with the Flip.

After all, it’s easier to hold the phone with one hand when it’s in the vertical position.

In this video, which I am unable to tell where and when it took place, a cop has a motorcyclist pulled over, who insists on recording with his cell phone.

The cop, who appears to be waiting for another cop, can’t stand it anymore and finally pounces on the man. The last words we hear before the clip ends is, “You are being de …”

We can only imagine he was being detained.

I’m sure by morning, readers will have provided the rest of the story.

UPDATE: It has since been determined this is an LAPD cop.



Outrage Grows Over Justice Department Seizure of Associated Press Phone Records

bad-copCritics condemn Holder’s secret subpoena as an ‘abuse of power.’

When the news broke yesterday afternoon it was at first hard to believe, yet, when one thought about it for a bit, it seemed all too part of a pattern. The Associated Press itself broke the news that the US Department of Justice had notified AP last Friday that it had secretly obtained telephone records for more than twenty separate telephone lines assigned to AP journalists and offices (both cell and home phone lines).

Their report continued, “AP is asking the DOJ for an immediate explanation of the extraordinary action and for the records to be returned to AP and all copies destroyed. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt protested the massive intrusion into AP’s newsgathering activities in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder…. Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual and largely unprecedented.”

Of course, the Obama administration has aggressively gone after leakers and brought six cases against whistleblowers, more than previous administrations combined.

Pruitt (who I met several times a few years back when he headed McClatchy), wrote:

There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know. We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.

Kathleen Carroll, the longtime AP executive editor, said on MSNBC this morning: “I’ve been in this business more than thirty years and our First Amendment lawyers and our lawyers inside the AP and our CEO is also a well-known First Amendment lawyer—none of us have seen anything like this.”  Glen Greewwald at The Guardian hits the DOJ, as you might expect.

While no explanation was given, speculation quickly centered on an AP scoop from last May about a foiled terror plot coming out of Yemen, involving plans to blow up an airliner bound for the United States.

Response was swift and angry—from left and right (the latter perhaps mainly happy to have another Obama “scandal” to exploit), all the way to The Daily Showlate in the dayBen Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project called it an “abuse of power.” The Newspaper Association of America, a leading trade group, declared, “These actions shock the American conscience and violate the critical freedom of the press protected by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

Others defended the move, noting that it had been handled through proper channels—that is, a judge had approved it. The White House said it had no involvement in the action at all.

This New York Times story offers a fair look. Ex–newspaper reporter Charles P. Pierce calls for Eric Holder’s resignation. Here’s a tough response from EFF, including:

It is disturbing enough that the government appears to have violated its own regulations for subpoenas to the news media. However, this revelation also shows that we have a severe problem in protecting the privacy of our communications. It is critical to update our privacy laws and our understanding of the Constitution, and reflect the realities of what law enforcement can determine from our records and other metadata about our communications stored with our communications providers, be they phone companies, ISPs or social networks.


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DOJ: We Don’t Need Warrants For E-mail, Facebook chats…

The new threat to Americans is the government itself.  The DOJ thinks that it is above the law and the Constitution that rules this land.  The United States Department of Justice and FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans, emails, Facebook chats, twitter, direct messages and other private files.  I will say it again.  Enough is enough.  We the ‘People’ need to take a stand against the government that no longer serves the people, but is more out to rule and dictate the people by illegal means.


The headlines in today’s news are very frightening.  In this day and age where the government is trying to take our guns, police are violating our rights and the government fails to obey and adhere to the Constitution itself.  These are scary times my friend.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans’ e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal.

Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they’re not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail. The IRS, on the other hand, publicly said last month that it would abandon a controversial policy that claimed it could get warrantless access to e-mail correspondence.

The U.S. attorney for Manhattan circulated internal instructions, for instance, saying a subpoena — a piece of paper signed by a prosecutor, not a judge — is sufficient to obtain nearly “all records from an ISP.” And the U.S. attorney in Houston recently obtained the “contents of stored communications” from an unnamed Internet service provider without securing a warrant signed by a judge first.

“We really can’t have this patchwork system anymore, where agencies get to decide on an ad hoc basis how privacy-protective they’re going to be,” says Nathan Wessler, an ACLU staff attorney specializing in privacy topics who obtained the documents through open government laws. “Courts and Congress need to step in.”

The Justice Department’s disinclination to seek warrants for private files stored on the servers of companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft continued even after a federal appeals court in 2010 ruled that warrantless access to e-mail violates the Fourth Amendment. A previously unreleased version of an FBI manual (PDF), last updated two-and-a-half years after the appellate ruling, says field agents “may subpoena” e-mail records from companies “without running afoul of” the Fourth Amendment.

The department did not respond to queries from CNET Tuesday. The FBI said in a statement that:


 In all investigations, the FBI obtains evidence in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States, and consistent with Attorney General guidelines. Our field offices work closely with U.S. Attorney’s Office to adhere to the legal requirements of their particular districts as set forth in case law or court decisions/precedent.


Not all U.S. attorneys have attempted to obtain Americans’ stored e-mail correspondence without a warrant. The ACLU persuaded a judge to ask whether warrantless e-mail access has taken place in six of the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ offices — including the northern California office that’s prosecuted an outsize share of Internet cases. The answer, according to assistant U.S. attorney Christopher Hardwood, was “no.”

Still, the position taken by other officials — including the authors of the FBI’s official surveillance manual — puts the department at odds with a growing sentiment among legislators who insist that Americans’ private files should be protected from warrantless search and seizure. They say the same Fourth Amendment privacy standards that require police to obtain search warrants before examining hard drives in someone’s living room, or a physical letter stored in a filing cabinet, should apply.

After the IRS’s warrantless e-mail access policy came to light last month, a dozen Republican and Democratic senators rebuked the agency. Their letter (PDF) opposing warrantless searches by the IRS and signed by senators including Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said: “We believe these actions are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Steven Miller, the IRS’ acting commissioner, said during a Senate hearing that the policy would be changed for e-mail. But he left open the possibility that non-email data — Google Drive and Dropbox files, private Facebook and Twitter messages, and so on — could be accessed without a warrant.

Albert Gidari, a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm who represents technology companies, said since the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2010 ruling in U.S. v. Warshak, the Justice Department has generally sought court warrants for the content of e-mail messages, but is far less inclined to take that step for non-email files.

Before the Warshak decision, the general rule since 1986 had been that police could obtain Americans’ e-mail messages that were more than 180 days old with an administrative subpoena or what’s known as a 2703(d) order, both of which lack a warrant’s probable cause requirement and are less privacy protective. Some e-mail providers, including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook, but not all, have taken the position after Warshak that the Fourth Amendment mandates warrants for e-mail all over the country.

The 180-day rule stems from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was adopted in the era of telephone modems, BBSs, and UUCP links, and long before gigabytes of e-mail stored in the cloud was ever envisioned. Since then, the appeals court ruled in Warshak, technology had changed dramatically: “Since the advent of e-mail, the telephone call and the letter have waned in importance, and an explosion of Internet-based communication has taken place. People are now able to send sensitive and intimate information, instantaneously, to friends, family, and colleagues half a world away… By obtaining access to someone’s e-mail, government agents gain the ability to peer deeply into his activities.”

A phalanx of companies, including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, eBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Twitter, as well as liberal, conservative, and libertarian advocacy groups, have asked Congressto update ECPA to make it clear that law enforcement needs a warrant to access private communications and the locations of mobile devices.

In November, a Senate panel approved the e-mail warrant requirement, and acted again last month. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat whose district includes the heart of Silicon Valley,introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

The political pressure, coupled with public petitions and increased adoption of cloud-based services, has had an effect. In 2011, James Baker, the associate deputy attorney general,warned that requiring search warrants to obtain stored e-mail could have an “adverse impact” on criminal investigations. By March 2013, however, Elana Tyrangiel, an acting assistant attorney general, indicated that the department would acquiesce on some privacy reforms.

“They dropped their opposition in Congress, but they’re going to try to wiggle out from under the Fourth Amendment whenever possible,” says the ACLU’s Wessler. “They probably realize that they couldn’t figure out a way to respond to hard questions from Congress anymore.”

Separately, the New York Times reported Tuesday evening that the Obama administration may embrace the FBI’s proposal for a federal law mandating that tech companies build in backdoors for surveillance. CNET reported last year that the FBI has asked the companies not to oppose such legislation, and that the FBI has been building a case for a new law by collecting examples of how communications companies have stymied government agencies.

Last week, FBI former counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN that, in national security investigations, the bureau can access records of a previously-made telephone call. “All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not,” he said. Clementeadded in an appearance the next day that, thanks to the “intelligence community” — a likely reference to the National Security Agency — “there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past.”



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So, I just got done with a briefing from my attorney, I’m going to say this and I don’t care if you are offended, but cops, especially gang task force are liars. And if you are one those cops who thinks I am wrong, when was the last time to spoke up against an injustice by a cop? We all know they happen. There’s something seriously wrong with the country and the law enforcement that is in place, which is sworn to protect and serve the people. Nobody really wants to address the issue about cops, who are liars, who hurt and kill people, who are negligent in their jobs and duties, and cause pain and suffering. We as a country are so naïve and stupid when it comes to the subject, that we are willing to overlook the facts that are stated in a straight face. Just because someone wears a uniform, carries a badge and a gun does not make him above reproach. It is this type of thinking and mentality that has cost many people their lives, years spent in prison, and so much more. And these cops who choose to live and be deceitful and hurt people get away with violating people’s constitutional rights.


If you find yourself on a jury. Do not be full by these perpetrators in uniform, they do live in, they will line to protect themselves, their institution of lies and their brotherhood of lies. Don’t be fooled.

You are a police officer, patrolling your route in East New York. You see someone walking down the street; they are carrying a bag. You are bored and not really doing anything else and have been thinking for a while that you’d like to get noticed by your boss, make him proud. So you stop this guy, just to see what will happen.

Maybe he starts to get a little nervous and you start thinking that he’s actually up to something. Why would he be nervous just talking to you? So you take his bag and open it up despite his protests, and maybe there are 15 kilos of cocaine inside and $50,000 in cash. This is suddenly a heck of an arrest.

You call into your sergeant, and he arrives, asking you how it was that you came to make this great collar. You tell him, and he waits quietly until you are through. He tells you there is just one problem: The search was illegal, you violated the guy’s rights, and you cannot bring this story to the district attorney’s office to prosecute the arrest.

You and the sergeant have one legal option: Take the drugs and cash into custody, and let the guy walk. But it’s a big arrest, and you don’t want to let him go. So Sarge leads you through a new scenario. Now you saw the man kneeling down, opening the bag near the wheel well of a car. As you approached you saw inside the bag what looked to be, according to your training, a brick of cocaine. The guy looks up at you, and the drugs fall out into the street. You stop to talk to him, and he offers you the $50,000 as a bribe not to arrest him. Your supervisor concludes by saying, “You didn’t hear it from me.”

While the specific circumstances of this hypothetical are perhaps a bit flashy, the routine is typical in the life of a street cop, according to former NYPD Detective Carlton Berkley. An even more ordinary case would involve possession of a small amount of marijuana, the most common arrest in New York City.

“At the district attorney’s, you can tell them that story,” Berkley explains. “It’s not even necessarily a believable story. No one in their right mind would examine drugs like that in the street. When you step out into the street with 15 kilos of cocaine and $50,000, you already know what you have in the bag. But the pressure is put on the arresting officer, because you always want an airtight case, you are supposed to win, and the cop is supposed to come out looking like the good guy.”

Misrepresentation, deception, and outright lying appear to be part of a police officer’s job description, so much so that the term “testilying,” now common vernacular for police falsifications, was actually coined by NYPD officers as something of an inside joke.

Even done in the interest of public order, or some imagined ideal of keeping the bad guys off the streets, this practice has wretched results. Today there are 7.5 million people under the control of the US criminal justice system and countless more impacted by the kidnapping and caging of their family members, loved ones, employers, employees, coworkers, neighbors, etc. The disparate impact on demographic groups with darker skin—primarily people perceived to be Black, Latino/a or Muslim—has been well documented.

It is the exception, not the rule, that these lies are exposed by judges or prosecutors in the courtroom for the public to consider (for the defendants the lies are quite apparent), and the results, when it happens, are twisted.

On November 17, 2012, a 40-year-old father from Harlem, Greg Allen, defending himself pro se (Latin, he says, for when you fire your attorney), won acquittal in a case brought against him by the Brooklyn District Attorney and the New York City Police Department. The Judge determined that the witnesses, two officers from Brooklyn’s notorious 73rd precinct, had lied.

The police officers, William Gardner and John Blanco, had accused him of disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration (crimes he did not commit), and the cop’s own video evidence showed his innocence. The police and the district attorney prosecuted the case anyway even though their own videotapes exposed the police testimony as a fabrication. They refused to back down from their original story. The judge didn’t buy it.

“It’s like you’re sitting there in the courtroom watching a video with the judge and the cops, and the cops are just saying something totally different than what the video shows,” Allen says.

So used to this absurd process was the young prosecutor, Seth Zuckerman, that he never flinched as the cops went through the charade. Perhaps more tellingly, the district attorney’s office, Zuckerman’s bosses, didn’t drop the case even after learning that their only physical evidence contradicted the officer’s story of the arrest.

A few weeks later, US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin upheld claims of NYPD misconduct in another case, finding the testimony made by police officers Miguel Santiago and Kieron Ramdeen not credible. Scheindlin sort of piled it on. The officers’ account “makes no…sense,” it was “implausible,” she said. She noted that Santiago had previously lied in the scope of his police work, issuing summonses to an innocent person to help a friend of his in a bizarre revenge scheme.

Scheindlin’s ruling hinged on the fact that officers in the Bronx, Santiago and Ramdeen among them, routinely invented justifications for stopping people outside certain buildings in the borough and at times made arrests without cause. People doing nothing wrong were stopped, harassed, illegally searched, and arrested at the whim of the officers who then created legal justifications for their actions after the fact.

First- and second-degree perjury is a felony, and yet none of these cops will face any charges for straight up lying in a courtroom under oath. The rules are different for cops. As infuriating as that might seem, this pattern of behavior has been known fact for decades.

A 1987 study from Chicago found that 76 percent of officers agreed that that they frequently bent the facts to establish probable cause; 48 percent said that judges were right in tossing police testimony as untrustworthy.

Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, publicly stated in the 1990s:

“It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers … police lie to avoid letting someone they think is guilty, or they know is guilty, go free.”

By not acknowledging rampant police misconduct, by not demanding that criminal justice is meted out in a fair way, what are we giving up? Are we sacrificing a moral claim to justice by sanctioning the police—and thus the state—the freedom to circumvent the rule of law in the pursuit of a particular type of social order?

“That is assuming that the justice system ever had any moral claim, which I would not assume,” former NYPD officer and Queens county prosecutor Eugene O’Donnell says. “There is dishonesty in court, prosecutorial dishonesty. It’s legislative dishonesty that sets up this system and by no means are cops exempt from a system that is dishonest and fundamentally flawed.”


The course of a legal proceeding provides law enforcement officers with several opportunities to perjure themselves. Immediately following an arrest, the officer and a prosecutor fashion a “complaint” – the legal document that officially charges the defendant with a crime. The officer swears that the document is truthful.

Then there is an indictment, which typically includes a grand jury that again calls on the officer to testify to the events that led up to the arrest. If the defendant challenges aspects of the arrest, for example by arguing that the officers had searched him and his belongings without his consent, then a “suppression hearing” is convened to determine what evidence can be used at a subsequent trial. During the hearing the officer will again testify to the events of the arrest.

Cops didn’t always have to lie to square away their arrests. The historical irony is that a Supreme Court ruling barring evidence obtained illegally gave birth to today’s practice.

The art of testilying seems to have developed in response to the so-called exclusionary rule, which bars evidence acquired by the police in an unlawful manner: the fruit of the poisonous tree. The US Supreme Court, through landmark Fourth Amendment rulings in Mapp v. Ohio (1961) and Terry v. Ohio (1968), limited the methods by which police could gather evidence to be presented at trial.

Prior to Mapp, police had little incentive to lie in court because there was nothing wrong with truthfully detailing the many ways in which they broke the law. Instead they could openly testify that they had stopped a man for no reason, found drugs, and arrested him. While the search was technically illegal, the evidence was admissible and could be used at trial. After Mapp, these sorts of cases were challenged, and police started making up justifications for illegal stops and seizures.

Writing in The Nation in 1967, in the wake of the new Mapp rules, Irving Younger explained the routine:

“Then the police made the great discovery that if the defendant drops the narcotics on the ground, after which the policeman arrests him, then the search is reasonable and the evidence is admissible. Spend a few hours in New York City Criminal Court nowadays, and you will hear case after case in which a policeman testifies that the defendant dropped the narcotics on the ground.”

And thusly “the dropsies” entered the police lexicon.

Although judges and juries are not supposed to consider the word of an officer above that of a defendant, most typically do. Most people have been socialized to see the police officer as a generally good person and the accused as generally bad. Upon closer inspection, this assumption doesn’t make much sense, but nevertheless it empowers law enforcement to stretch the truth. They can count on getting the benefit of the doubt.

“Everyone assumes that the defendant is self-interested and is motivated to lie, and that the officer is there just to say what happened,” said former New York City assistant district attorney Bennett Capers, now a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

But this is not really true.

Officers may gain some tangible benefits from seeing that their arrests turn into convictions—such as promotions or preferential assignments—but more powerful still is the culture of law enforcement that degrades any type of perceived weakness and indoctrinates an us-against-the-world mentality that provides rationalization for almost any activity, legal or not.


“Police see the world in black and white, there are not a lot of shades of gray. There is us, on the job, and our families and people who are sympathetic to our worldview and everybody else is an asshole…. Anything that I, as one of the good guys, that I can do to get the bad guys in jail is justifiable,” former Boston Police Department Lieutenant Thomas Nolan says.

It’s this mindset that makes a police officer feel he is entitled to lie, justified to do whatever it takes and even, in a way, obligated to violate people’s rights if he deems it necessary to his purpose of getting the “scum” off the streets.

“The thin blue line and all those bullshit rhetorical phrases are thrown out there, telling them they are the only thing between order and anarchy,” Nolan says.

The police are a fraternity built upon a false reality. Officers see themselves in a dangerous, noble cause against the underworld, and this is further instilled through the same types of bonding, secrecy, and war metaphors that have historically been part of the languages of those engaged in the practices of exterminating the “other.” Psychologically the police are indoctrinated into something akin to genocidal project: the forced removal of a class of people from their homes to prison.

There is a deep-seated disregard for what they consider to be silly little laws made by a silly little Supreme Court in a backroom far removed from the dangerous streets they are trying to bring into order.

Beyond the sociology, it is also embarrassing for an officer when a defendant walks—when cops lose a case. Now his fellow officer brothers are telling him he doesn’t know how to testify, they can’t believe he lost such an easy case. Part of this is just making sure you save face.

“Winning is what counts with the NYPD and the district attorney’s office,” Berkley said. When the cop wins, he gets a pat on the back, even when everyone knows that it was a bullshit case.

But it’s not all on the officers. Former NYPD commissioner William Bratton, laid the blame for testilying on prosecutors, suggesting that through their efforts to win cases, they sometimes “coerced” young, well-meaning officers into perjury.

The district attorneys do whatever they can to keep you as an officer sticking with your story. If you start changing it up, the district attorney will get you back in line, according to Berkley.

An Capers agrees. The prosecutors don’t want to be embarrassed and lose the case either. As a prosecutor, it’s tempting to explain to an officer-witness what he would need to say in order to make the conviction, and then ask him what it was that he saw.

Prosecutors and judges tend to look the other way, even though sometimes the lies are quite apparent. This is partly due to prejudging the defendant as guilty.

But political implications also play a role. The district attorneys rely on the gravy train of arrests to make their cases. A world without criminalization would mean the obsolescence of the police, the prosecutors, the judges, the court staff—and no one already in the mix wants that.

If the district attorney were to accuse an officer of perjury, it’s basically a declaration of war, Berkley said. All of a sudden you will have a lot of DWI check points outside those office holiday parties.

“At the Southern District of New York, if we really thought that an officer had lied, and we had evidence or a judge had made a finding on the record that the officer had lied, our response was to keep using that officer,” Capers said. “We’d avoid bringing him to the stand, we’d call his partner rather than him, but we’d never take the next step of filing a perjury case because that might mean he’d lose his job.”

Meanwhile, officers can rely on further protection from each other.

“You’ve been brainwashed into this way of thinking it’s us against them. You are spending more time with these guys than with your wife and kids; they might save your life in a shoot out. You do whatever you can for your brother,” Berkley said.

If you go against this code, you are labeled a “rat” and there are real repercussions, he added. All of sudden your tires are flat at the end of a shift, you have urine or feces on your locker, your wife is getting phone calls, you’re getting a type of supervision where you can’t really breathe.

“It’s not worth it, because these guys are capable of really carrying out their threats, because who are they? They are the police,” Berkley said. Meanwhile, if you play by the rules you are beloved by everyone.

This code, the Blue Wall of Silence, has been one reason that holding police accountable is so difficult. In 1995 Boston Police officers beat one of their own, a Black undercover officer named Michael Cox, nearly to death after mistaking him for a homicide suspect. As he lay intubated in a hospital, the 21 officers at the scene each denied having any idea what had happened to their “brother.”

In November 2012, a federal judge in Chicago held the city responsible for the pervasive deception of its police department after its officers refused to properly investigate the complaint of a bartender who was severely beaten by a drunk off-duty cop to whom she had denied service. The arresting officers went to great lengths to protect their coworker, and another city employee attempted to bribe the victim into silence. The city is appealing the ruling and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel filed legal papers suggesting that there should be a code of silence about the code of silence.


The public’s reverence for law enforcement is also to blame for the impunity that police officers enjoy when they break the law and violate the most basic of human rights. There is a shared social understanding that police officers have a tough job to do, that we should cut them a little bit of slack, and really, protect them, Capers said.

Even in New York City people seem to approve of the NYPD. Ray Kelly has a 70 percent approval rating, O’Donnell notes, explaining that every New Yorker is complicit in sanctioning the practices of the city’s police force just as every American is responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Ordinary people are more hardnosed about crime than is generally acknowledged,” he said.

Capers finds there are distinctions on this issue along racial, class and neighborhood lines. There is a particular disparity between how mainstream America views police officers and how the residents of poor urban communities do, he said.

“For a lot of minority communities, they see evidence of police abuses and manipulating the evidence all the time. They show up in the courthouse and say ‘That’s not what happened!” In poor communities we’ve seen officers harassing people on the street, using excessive force and then claiming they did not, and so how can we take any officers seriously?” Capers said.

The continued surveillance of the police by civilians has been critical, both to the protection of people’s lives, liberty, and rights, and to the creation of a culture that might become more amenable to acknowledging the abuse of police officers and its corrosive impact.

“With people monitoring the police on their cell phones, evidence of police lying is much more common. Now we can prove it,” Capers said. “We really only prosecute officers when we can prove it, and I mean prove it by it’s on tape or we have several preachers up there to say this is what happened.”

As more of mainstream America sees this type of footage, the political will to make institutional changes will grow, perhaps supporting a higher level of disobedience to law enforcement.

People do not have to tolerate police abuse, but you have to be willing and able to get arrested and maybe go to jail if you are going to stand up for yourself, Berkley said. Filming the police and organizing community support for the purpose of combating police abuse are some of the only ways to protect ourselves and to win these types of cases at trial, he said.

We know that people are more likely to follow laws that they think are just, and more likely to support a legal system that treats them fairly. By giving law enforcement a free pass to break the law, by bending over backwards to ensure that there is no accountability for police officers except in the most unavoidable circumstances (i.e. alleged cannibalism), we are making illegitimate our entire system of justice and thus likely creating more so-called crime than we are eliminating by doing whatever it takes to get convictions on a handful of cases.

If we started taking police lies more seriously—prosecuting them as we would civilian perjurers—people in the communities most negatively impacted by police abuses (also typically communities with high levels of violence) would get the message that they are being protected by the law not persecuted by the law. People might even develop faith in the system. Until then, it’s hard to argue against the old saying that this is not a broken system but one functioning just as it was created to.

It’s not a problem of a few bad apples, as some people suggest, but instead a matter of irresponsible leadership, a pathological law enforcement culture, and a public ready and willing to sacrifice notions of justice, fairness and humanity for… what exactly?

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It’s almost about that time to rise up and say enough is enough, somebody better put the cops in check, or the PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will! Don’t give up your guns. Just saying. Share this like wild fire. sPREAD THE WORD – don’t let them get away with this….


Prohibiting Federal Funds for Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

Jeff Hennie, the Vice President in Charge of Governmental Relations and Public Affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, published an alert concerning a bill being introduced by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner that would prohibit the use of federal funding for motorcycle only checkpoints.

Motorcyclist’s rights organizations and many independent motorcyclists oppose motorcycle only checkpoints as a discriminatory practice that unfairly singles out motorcycles as posing some special danger. This is despite the fact that the latest census numbers show that motorcycles make up only 4.7 % of all crashes in which there is injury or death.

We have no objection with safety checkpoints as a whole.  The objection we have is stopping only motorcycles.  There is simply no justification for this practice.  For one, motorcycle only checkpoints tend not to be fruitful.  An example is the large checkpoint that was set up during Rolling Thunder a few years ago.  Those conducting the checkpoint stopped 579 motorcycles over a period of seven hours and managed to write only 11 tickets.  This and the discriminatory aspect of these checkpoints is what has led some states such as North Carolina and Virginia to prohibit these checkpoints within their borders.  That being said, motorcyclists travel across state lines so this legislation is important to all motorcyclists regardless of what their particular state does.

Our position is that we support safety checkpoints for all vehicles.  If I am on my bike and there is a safety checkpoint stopping all motorists than I will gladly cooperate and subject myself to the brief detention connected with such a stop.  What I object to is being singled out from the motoring population as a whole due to the fact that I operate a motorcycle.

You may read Jeff Hennie’s alert below.  If you believe that motorcycle only checkpoints are a discriminatory practice which should not be conducted with federal funds than please contact your congressional representative and urge him or her to become an original cosponsor of this legislation.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about anything that I have written please feel free to contact me.

Matt Danielson
McGrath & Danielson
Tom McGrath’s Motorcycle Law Group

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin, announced Monday, April 15th that he will file a bill to prohibit the federal funding of motorcycle only roadside checkpoints.

Sensenbrenner had this to say in a “Dear Colleague” that is circulating in the House of Representatives. “In the 112th Congress, I introduced H.R. 904, a bill to prohibit the Department of Transportation (DOT) from providing funds to state and local authorities for the purpose of creating motorcycle only checkpoints. Section 1 of the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act contains the same language as H.R. 904. However, this bill also contains language to force the DOT to focus motorcycle safety efforts on crash prevention programs, not national helmet mandates.”

The bill will officially be introduced on May 6, 2013 and get its official bill number then. However, we must start the push now. It’s important to contact your sitting member of the House of Representatives and ask them to be an original cosponsor of this important legislation. Ask them to contact Congressman James Sensenbrenner and lend their support. An “Original Cosponsor” is someone who supports the bill before it is made public and is a way to strongly support a new bill.


Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

The American Motorcyclist Association began tracking motorcycle-only checkpoints when they first appeared in New York in 2007. In 2011, using funds provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Georgia conducted roadside motorcycle-only checkpoints as thousands of motorcyclists rode through the state on their way to Daytona Beach, Fla., for Bike Week, March 4-13. Another motorcycle-only checkpoint was conducted in northern Virginia during one of the nation’s most visible motorcycle rallies — Rolling Thunder — over the 2011 Memorial Day weekend. Motorcycle-only checkpoints were also conducted in Utah when thousands of riders attended a world-class roadracing event.

Five states have since outlawed the practice — Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Illinois, California — and legislation to prohibit them has been introduced in Missouri and New Jersey.

See below for information on what AMA members have done so far on this issue.


  • April 17, 2013-The AMA issued an alert to urge support for U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act.
  • July 16, 2012-The AMA sent California Gov. Jerry Brown a thank you letter for signing Assembly Bill 1047 into law.
  • July 16, 2012-California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1047 into law. The bill prohibits motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • July 6, 2012-Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signs House Bill 930 into law, banning any Illinois law enforcement agency from accepting federal funds for motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • July 2012-American Motorcyclist magazine reports in StateWatch column on California Assembly Bill 1047 and Missouri Senate Bill 897 (page 17).
  • July 2012-AMA News & Notes article reports on Illinois House Bill 930, passed by both House and Senate, and sent to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for consideration.
  • June 12, 2012-AMA testifies in support of California Assembly Bill 1047 at Senate Transportation Committee hearing in Sacramento.
  • June 11, 2012-The AMA sent thank you letters to every U.S. representative who signed onto the Sensenbrenner/Petri letter addressed to the leadership of the House-Senate Surface Transportation Reauthorization Conference Committee in support of including H.R. 904 in the conference report.
  • June 11, 2012-The AMA sent a thank you letter addressed to U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Tom Petri (R-Wis.) for taking the lead on a letter addressed to the leadership of the House-Senate Surface Transportation Reauthorization Conference Committee in support of including H.R. 904 in the conference report.
  • June 2012-American Motorcyclist magazine reports in StateWatch column on Illinois House Bill 930 and Missouri Senate Bill 897 (page 19).
  • June 2012-AMA News & Notes article reports on Missouri Senate Bill 897, passed by the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 30.
  • May 29, 2012-The AMA sent a communication to every U.S. representative in support of U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Tom Petri’s (R-Wis.) congressional letter addressed to the House-Senate Highway Conference Committee urging them to include H.R. 904 in the conference report.
  • May 29, 2012-AMA Action Alert: Lawmaker urges committee leadership to include language to prohibit funds for motorcycle-only checkpoints in transportation bill.
  • May 2012-American Motorcyclist magazine reports on passage of Virginia House Bill 187 (page 18).
  • May 2012-AMA News & Notes article reports on California Assembly Bill 1047.
  • April 30, 2010-AMA California Action Alert: Help stop motorcycle-only checkpoints in California!
  • April 26, 2012-AMA Action Alert: Support language to prohibit the funding of discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints in final transportation bill.
  • April 26, 2012-The AMA sent a letter addressed to the House conference committee conferees dealing with transportation issues urging them to include the motorcycle-only prohibition language in the highway conference report.
  • April 25, 2012-The AMA sent a letter addressed to the Senate conference committee conferees dealing with transportation issues urging them to include the motorcycle-only prohibition language in the highway conference report.
  • April 25, 2012-AMA letter of support for California Assembly Bill 1047 sent to Senate Transportation and Housing committees.
  • April 24, 2012-AMA Missouri Action Alert: Motorcycle-only checkpoint legislation scheduled for April 25 hearing.
  • April 2012-AMA News & Notes article reports on Missouri Senate Bill 897, passed by the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 30.
  • March 9, 2012-AMA Action Alert: Georgia may utilize federal grant for motorcycle-only checkpoints during Daytona Bike Week again.
  • March 7, 2012-AMA New Jersey Alert: Bills introduced to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • March 7, 2012-The ABATE of the Garden State and the AMA sent a joint letter of support addressed to the state Sen. Jeff Van Drew for sponsoring Senate Bill 1685. The bill would prohibit motorcycle-only checkpoints in New Jersey.
  • March 7, 2012-The ABATE of the Garden State and the AMA sent a joint letter of support addressed to the state Reps. Nelson Albano andMatthew Milam for sponsoring Assembly Bill 508. The bill would prohibit motorcycle-only checkpoints in New Jersey.
  • March 2, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: Governor signs bill to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • March 2, 2012-The AMA sends a thank you letter addressed to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell for signing House Bill 187 into law. The law prohibits motorcycle-only checkpoints in the commonwealth.
  • Feb. 28, 2012-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed House Bill 187 into law, which prohibits motorcycle-only checkpoints. The law takes effect July 1.
  • Feb. 13, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: Bill to end motorcycle-only checkpoints heads to governor for signature.
  • Feb. 8, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: Senate committee passes bill to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Feb. 1, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: State Senate considers bill to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Feb. 2012- AMA News & Notes article reports on Assembly Bill 1047, legislation to prohibit any California law enforcement agency from using grant money received for a motorcycle safety program funds from being used for motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Jan. 31, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: Assembly passes bill to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Jan. 30, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: Assembly to vote on bill to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Jan. 27, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: Assembly to vote on bill to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Jan. 16, 2012-The AMA sends a letter of support addressed to Virginia state Rep. Todd Gilbert for sponsoring House Bill 187. The bill would prohibit motorcycle-only checkpoints in Virginia.
  • Jan. 16, 2012-AMA Virginia Action Alert: Bill introduced to end motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Jan. 3, 2012-AMA letter of support for California Assembly Bill 1047 sent to Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (bills author/sponsor).
  • Sept. 2011-American Motorcyclist magazine reports in StateWatch column on North Carolina House Bill 381 (page 16).
  • Aug. 2, 2011-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell responds to the AMA’s letter, dated May 31, 2011, regarding the motorcycle-only checkpoint implemented during the annual Rolling Thunder event.
  • Aug. 2011-American Motorcyclist magazine reports in StateWatch column on New Hampshire House Bill 148 (page 17).
  • Aug. 2011-AMA News & Notes article reports that North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue signed House Bill 381, legislation that prohibits law enforcement agencies from establishing patterns of vehicle stops at checking stations based on a particular type of vehicle, into law on June 23.
  • Aug. 2011-AMA News & Notes article reports on Virginia House Bill 187, legislation that would prohibit motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • July 2011-AMA News & Notes article reports that New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed House Bill 148, legislation that would prohibit any New Hampshire law enforcement agency from accepting federal funding to establish motorcycle-only checkpoints, into law on May 20.  The law took effect July 15, 2011.
  • June 22, 2011-Arlington county police chief responds to AMA member regarding motorcycle-only checkpoint during the annual Rolling Thunder event.
  • June 13, 2011-AMA Action Alert: Support federal legislation to prohibit the funding of discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • June 2011-American Motorcyclist magazine reports in StateWatch column on North Carolina House Bill 381 (page 18).
  • May 31, 2011-AMA Virginia Action Alert: County implements motorcycle-only checkpoint during Rolling Thunder.
  • May 31, 2011-The AMA sent a letter addressed to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell regarding the implementation of a motorcycle-only checkpoint during the annual Rolling Thunder event.
  • May 28, 2011-The Arlington County Police Department of the Commonwealth of Virginia implemented a motorcycle-only checkpoint during the annual Rolling Thunder.
  • May 25, 2011-Lawmakers sent letter addressed to the leadership of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of including H.R. 904 in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill.
  • May 2011-American Motorcyclist magazine publishes article, “Lawmakers Target Motorcycle-Only Traffic Checkpoints” in the Rights section (page 16).
  • May 2011-American Motorcyclist magazine reports in StateWatch column on New Hampshire House Bill 148 (page 17).
  • May 2011-AMA News & Notes article reports on North Carolina House Bill 381, legislation that prohibits law enforcement agencies from establishing patterns of vehicle stops at checking stations based on a particular type of vehicle.
  • April 2011-AMA News & Notes article reports on New Hampshire House Bill 148.
  • March 9, 2011-The Georgia State Patrol implemented a motorcycle-only checkpoint during Daytona Bike Week.
  • March 3, 2011-AMA Action Alert: Federal bill introduced to prohibit funding discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • March 3, 2011-The AMA sent a letter addressed to U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) thanking him for introducing H.R. 904. The bill would prohibit federal funds for the implementation of motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • March 2011-AMA News & Notes article reports on New Hampshire House Bill 148, legislation that would prohibit any New Hampshire law enforcement agency from accepting federal funding to establish motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Feb. 28, 2011-The AMA sent a letter addressed to the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce to inform them of the possible motorcycle-only checkpoint in the state of Georgia and the effect on local businesses.
  • Feb. 22, 2011-AMA Georgia Action Alert: State of Georgia may utilize federal grant for motorcycle-only checkpoints during Daytona Bike Week.
  • Feb. 15, 2011-The AMA sent a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia requesting he suspend the implementation of the federal grant until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.
  • Nov. 17, 2010-AMA Action Alert: Administrator Strickland responds to AMA’s letter regarding grant program to fund motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Nov. 15, 2010-NHTSA Administrator Strickland responds to the AMA’s letter, dated Aug. 9, 2010, on the use of motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Oct. 26, 2010-The AMA sent a letter addressed to the Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue requesting he suspend the implementation of the federal grant until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.
  • Oct. 21, 2010-AMA Georgia Action Alert: The state of Georgia is the only recipient to receive grant to conduct motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Oct. 19, 2010-AMA Action Alert: Update: Congressional letter aims to suspend NHTSA program to fund discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Sept. 30, 2010-AMA Action Alert: Congress members urge U.S. transportation secretary to suspend funding for motorcycle-only law enforcement checkpoints.
  • Sept. 27, 2010-AMA Action Alert: Sept.29 deadline for representatives to sign congressional letter to suspend motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • Aug. 13, 2010-AMA Action Alert: AMA seeks suspension of grant program that targets motorcyclists with checkpoints.
  • Aug. 9, 2010-The AMA sent a letter addressed to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland urging him to suspend a grant program until questions about the use of motorcycle-only checkpoints have been addressed.
  • July 13, 2010-The NHTSA posts a grant notice for states seeking federal funds to implement motorcycle-only checkpoints.
  • June 9, 2010-The Utah Highway Patrol responds to the AMA’s communication regarding our concerns with the May 30, 2010, motorcycle-only checkpoint.
  • June 8, 2010-The AMA communicates with the Utah Highway Patrol regarding a motorcycle-only checkpoint near the Miller Motorsports Park on May 30, 2010.

Source: AMA

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