Tag Archives | Police State

Louisiana Supreme Court Upholds Police Right To Seize Motorists’ Cash

The burden of proof is on the driver to explain how they earned their money — otherwise, it belongs to the police. Information Liberation reports:

Drivers in Louisiana unable to document the source of every dollar they carry could find their money seized by police. The state Supreme Court yesterday ruled officers were right to grab $144,320 from motorist Tina Beers because, in the high court’s opinion, she was unable to come up with a credible explanation of where the funds came from.

On January 10, 2009, State Trooper Dupuis pulled over Beers’ minivan on Interstate 10. Beers traveling with her three children. The court record no longer preserves the cause of the original traffic stop because Dupuis quickly lost interest once he obtained permission to search the vehicle. The trooper found nine bundles of cash in compartment on the minivan floor. Dupuis knew his department might be able to keep the money, [which they did], but there were no drugs in the minivan nor did prosecutors ever find a criminal charge to lodge against Beers.

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Police State 101, Torture Impunity, Obama’s Second Chance?

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to Ian Freeman, Host of "Free Talk Live", about the police state and the erosion of American civil liberties. Abby then talks to RT Arabic Correspondent, Reema Abu Hamdieh, about the polarized views of Arabs in the Middle East toward a second Obama Administration. BTS wraps up the show with a look at torture, murder and rape by US military contractors going unpunished.
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Police Arrest Black Friday Protesters On Behalf Of Walmart

On Black Friday, peaceful protest is a jailable offense, while violent mobs are acceptable so long as they are spending money. Rania Khalek writes:

The treatment of peaceful protesters compared to the unruly and sometimes violent crowds of stampeding Black Friday shoppers couldn’t be more different. While the former is ostracized and forcibly removed by police, the latter is encouraged to come out for a competitive brawl over marked off goods. Nowhere is this contrast more clearly defined than in the police treatment of Walmart protesters over the last 24 hours.

On Friday, at least 1,000 Walmart employees throughout the country walked off the job to protest Walmart’s poor labor practices. Local police departments have been happy to disperse and even arrest strikers and their supporters on behalf of the world’s largest retailer.

At a Walmart store in Paramount, just outside of Los Angeles, some 1,500 people rallied against Walmart. Josh Eidelson, live-blogging about the Walmart strikes at The Nation, reports that “Nine people have been arrested for sitting in the street on Lakewood Boulevard, including three striking Walmart retail workers from area stores.

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The Boomerang Effect Of Domestic Colonization

Via the New Inquiry, Jacob Silverman on how methods of control developed in the War on Terror and previous imperialist endeavors return home to our own shores:

In 1975 and 1976 Foucault argued that Western imperialism didn’t merely force Western institutions on imperial subjects. Rather, “a whole series of colonial models was brought back to the West, and the result was that the West could practise something resembling colonization, or an internal colonialism, on itself.”

This boomerang effect has been resurgent over the past decade, when one can observe practices from the neocolonial frontiers of Baghdad, Kabul, and Hebron now being instituted in New York, Washington, D.C., and London. So-called green zones, security buffers, checkpoints, novel nonlethal weapons, drones, and CCTV—all have become indelible features of the West’s urban centers of political and financial power. Though they originate in the military campaigns prosecuted by Western forces and security contractors, these elements are largely facilitated by the police.

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Growth Rate Of Police Officers Significantly Higher Than Population Growth

Interesting to consider cops as a demographic group. Information Liberation reports:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a report demonstrating the growth of police in the United States. Between 1992 and 2008 the numbers of police grew by 25 percent. In 2008 there were 705,000 full-time sworn officers employed in the United States. The number was 564,000 in 1992. This represents an annual growth rate of 1.6 percent, which exceeds the 1.2 percent population growth rate in the United States, according to the survey.

Law enforcement grew its ranks despite a significant decline in crime [which] fell to an all-time low in 2011. Despite the decline, police departments around the country are rapidly transforming into paramilitary organizations. Forbes reported last year that the Department of Homeland Security granted local cops $3 billion that was spent on “necessary tools” like BearCats and armored personnel vehicles.

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Federal Judge Rules Cops Can Set Up Cameras On Private Property Without Warrants

Ars Technica’s Timothy B. Lee reports on a case that will have wide-ranging implications in today’s omnipresent surveillance state:

A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval.

The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras. The defendants have asked the judge to suppress all images collected prior to the issuance of the search warrant.

But in a Monday decision first reported by CNET, Judge William Griesbach rejected the request. Instead, he approved the ruling of a magistrate judge that the Fourth Amendment only protected the home and land directly outside of it (known as “curtilage”), not open fields far from any residence.

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Rapid Increase in US Electronic Surveillance

Picture: Rama (CC)

The United States government has revealed information about the Justice Department’s use of warrantless internet and telephone surveillance of American citizens (known as “pen register” and “trap and trace” records). And even though they are legally required to do so, the documents were not released until the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit with a Freedom of Information Act claim:

Via Ars TechnicaRTWIRED’s Threat Level:

Pen registers obtain, in real time, non-content information of outbound telephone and internet communications, such as phone numbers dialed, and the sender and recipient (and sometimes subject line) of an e-mail message. A trap-and-trace acquires the same information, but for inbound communications to a target. These terms originally referred to hardware devices law enforcement could attach to the phone network to capture information about (but not the contents of) phone calls.

Today’s telephone networks have the ability to capture this information without any special equipment.

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Riot Police Arrest Walmart Warehouse Workers On Strike Against Abysmal Working Conditions

Via Buzzfeed, activist Daneyvilla took an snapped photos as a veritable army of riot police cracked down on a demonstration by several hundred completely peaceful, largely middle-aged Walmart warehouse employees. From the workers’ website, the reason for the strike:

No one should come to work and endure extreme temperatures, inhale dust and chemical residue, and lift thousands of boxes weighing up to 250lbs with no support. Workers never know how long the work day will be- sometimes its two hours, sometimes its 16 hours. Injuries are common, as is discrimination against women and illegal retaliation against workers who speak up for better treatment.

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More Than 100 Arrests By Midday Of Occupy Wall Street Anniverary

A year after it all began, the Occupy protests returned to the New York Stock Exchange this morning, with more than a hundred arrests notched by the early afternoon. Raw Story reported a few hours ago:
A New York University professor and an artist featured in The Nation magazine this month were among more than 90 people arrested early Monday morning as Occupy Wall Street marked its first anniversary with various demonstrations in New York City. “Just grabbed off sidewalk, along with everyone else,” artist Molly Crabapple said on Twitter shortly after being picked up by police. Elsewhere, Jacobin magazine founding editor Bhaskar Sunkara reported that NYU Social and Cultural Analysis professor Andrew Ross, was arrested as part of a demonstration in the lobby of the JP Morgan Chase building on Park Avenue. “Cops are never friendly, but these cops aren’t cops,” Sunkara said. “They’re militarized beyond comprehension.”
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