Police State

OpenGovOpen government? Jennifer LaFleur writes on ProPublica:

A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist — even when they do.

Under current FOIA practice, the government may withhold information and issue what’s known as a Glomar denial that says it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records.

The new proposal — part of a lengthy rule revision by the Department of Justice — would direct government agencies to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist.”

Open-government groups object. “We don’t believe the statute allows the government to lie to FOIA requesters,” said Mike German, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the provision.

An appropriate post, considering today is Canadian Thanksgiving … Amir Alwani discusses the increasingly hostile politics of dissent and oppression in Canada; proving, we in the north, are not faring much better…

Despite no criminal history, Michael Allison may spend the remainder of his life behind bars as punishment for recording his (unexciting) interactions with officers who stopped by his mother’s home, where he repairs old cars. (The concern was that some of the vehicles were unregistered.) After griping to the local police department about selective enforcement and presenting his recordings as evidence, Allison was charged with five counts of eavesdropping, a class one felony. Why jail him? To send the message that documenting the actions of public officials will not be tolerated.

Greggory Moore writes in the Long Beach Post: Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department policy….

David Sirota writes at Salon.com: With the Obama administration considering federal civil-rights investigations into police brutality, some local police departments have reacted not by cleaning up their act, but instead by intensifying…

RFID chips, a privately-funded police state, cult recruiters, and enough soma to make Indra tap out.  Is it just another music festival, or a dress rehearsal for dystopia?  From a rigger’s diary at RockStarMartyr.net: It took nearly 24…

Via Reason TV:

Who will watch the watchers? In a world of ubiquitous, hand-held digital cameras, that’s not an abstract philosophical question. Police everywhere are cracking down on citizens using cameras to capture breaking news and law enforcement in action.

In 2009, police arrested blogger and freelance photographer Antonio Musumeci on the steps of a New York federal courthouse. His alleged crime? Unauthorized photography on federal property.

Police cuffed and arrested Musumeci, ultimately issuing him a citation. With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, he forced a settlement in which the federal government agreed to issue a memo acknowledging that it is totally legal to film or photograph on federal property.

Although the legal right to film on federal property now seems to be firmly established, many other questions about public photography still remain and place journalists and citizens in harm’s way. Can you record a police encounter? Can you film on city or state property? What are a photographer’s rights in so-called public spaces?

Police RaidCrazy. Reports the AP via the News and Tribune:

INDIANAPOLIS — People have no right to resist if police officers illegally enter their home, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a decision that overturns centuries of common law.

The court issued its 3-2 ruling on Thursday, contending that allowing residents to resist officers who enter their homes without any right would increase the risk of violent confrontation. If police enter a home illegally, the courts are the proper place to protest it, Justice Steven David said.

“We believe … a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” David said. “We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest.”

Via Information Liberation:

(Forward to 1:25)

A Parksburg, West Virginia police officer flew into a rage after a passenger in a car he had pulled over suggested the driver was not responsible for a previous accident he was involved in. The cop apparently vehemently disagreed, and rather than express himself through voicing his disagreement, he decided instead to arrest the man and falsely charge him with obstruction of justice…