POSTED: 14 MAY 2008 - 10:00pm HST

It is definitely fascism when it happens to you!

image above: Hamas provides support for TSA airport security. From

by Wayne Madison on 14 May 2008 in

In Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's world of an "Israelized" America, the terms SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique) and BDO (Behavior Detection Officer) are the new acronyms of Stasi-like control of the American citizenry by a government that treats anyone as a suspicious person in the same manner that Israel mistreats its own Arab citizens and Palestinians.
Sunday, this editor and his colleague faced the Chertoffian menace at Washington's Reagan National Airport while heading to the gate to board a flight to Houston.

It is now clear from a review of the events that unfolded that I was pre-selected for an intensive search and battery of questions even before arriving in line for the security screening. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener was overheard saying, "the guy with the beard." Since I was the only person in line who also had a beard, it was evident that a red flag had earlier been raised.

What followed, was worse than anything I had previously encountered while leaving Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, itself a revolting display of ingratitude to citizens of the country that bankrolls Israel, or the Israeli-run screening process at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport.

First, I was instructed to enter a glass isolation chamber and point out my belongings that were exiting the X-ray machine. Anyone with claustrophobia would really enjoy being placed in such a chamber and have to speak to the screener through small holes in the glass.

I was then led to an area where all my carry-on bags were emptied. I was also forced to empty my pockets of everything. A bevy of screeners then proceeded to go through my wallet examining everything: cash, credit cards, VA medical benefits card, National Press Club card, voter's registration card, and driver's license. Then came an examination of my press credentials and related IDs:

Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) card, Society of Professional Journalists card, National Archives research card, Library of Congress card, three press credentials, and membership card in Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO).

In a blatant violation of the First and Fourth Amendments, my reporter's notebooks, containing names of contacts in Houston and around the world were paged through by the screeners. Another screener asked if I minded being probed in "certain private areas." He then asked if I'd like the examination to be conducted in private. I replied, "No, let everyone see this." He then proceeded to examine my groin area.

Then came the battery of questions.
1. Are you feeling okay?
2. Where are you going today?
3. How long will you be there?
4. Why are you going there?
5. What story are you covering/
6. Who do you write for?
7. When did you move to Washington?
8. Where did you live before that?
9. What did you do for a living before?
10. Who was the most famous person you ever met?
11. What was the most famous event you ever covered?
12. What type of things do you write about?
13. What type of politics do you cover?
14. What is your place of birth?

My colleague, who had successfully passed through screening and was waiting for me, was then asked to step into the holding area so she "could see and hear what was going on." It was a ruse. She was also subjected to a full carry-on bag examination, frisking, and a series of personal questions:
1, Are you with him?
2. Where are you going?
3. What is the purpose of your visit?
4. What story are you investigating?
5. How long were you in the US Air Force?
6. Where were you stationed overseas?
7. Why were you not overseas in the military?
8. When are you returning?
9. Who do you work for?
10. What is an independent journalist?
11. How long have you been working with him?
12. Do you find your job fulfilling?
13. What is your place of birth?

After this Gestapo-like of questioning, I was told that a TSA screener was writing details in a notebook for the "paperwork." My colleague was told TSA was going to file an "incident report."

The nature of WMR's coverage is that our sources are our lifeblood and anything done to compromise them is a direct attack on the freedom of the press and our rights as journalists. The notion of press freedom does not exist in Chertoff's worldview of police state tactics and total surveillance but his worldview is a distinctly un-American one, something that is more properly relegated to the history books of his ancestral Czarist Russia.

When our investigations take us beyond the Washington Beltway, it is not within Chertoff's purview to find out details about the purpose of the trip, even though it may shed an unwelcome light on his network of Mossad operatives and Russian-Israeli gangsters and scam artists who are now running rampant in these United States of America.

The antics at Washington Reagan National are not unique. Foreign journalists have been subjected to similar invasive screening either at US embassies when applying for the required journalist visas to visit the United States or at immigration screening at US entry points.

The corporate media will not report on these cases as they are part of the problem in allowing Chertoff and his American Gestapo to continue to turn the United States into one big West Bank-style checkpoint.

One other note. This editor visited the USSR and draconian nations such as Paul Kagame's Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni's Uganda, Hun Sen's Cambodia, the former military junta's Thailand, surveillance society Singapore, and Muslim monarchy Brunei Darussalam. Nothing compares to what occurred at Washington National Airport. It is yet another sign of the fact that the United States has entered a phase of fascist control. There's only one question that remains: Is the slide reversible?



POSTED: 7 MAY 2008 - 7:30am HST

The Danger of a Paramilitary Police Force

image above: Illustration by Illustration by Yuko Shimizu

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds on 28 November 2006 in Polular Mechanics

Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. Soldiers are aimed at enemies from outside the country. They are trained to kill those enemies, and their supporters. In fact, “killing people and breaking things” are their main reasons for existence.

Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force.

It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians. The trend toward militarizing police began in the ’60s and ’70s when standoffs with the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the University of Texas bell tower gunman Charles Whitman convinced many police departments that they needed more than .38 specials to deal with unusual, high-intensity threats.

In 1965 Los Angeles inspector Daryl Gates, who later became police chief, signed off on the formation of a specially trained and equipped unit that he wanted to call the Special Weapons Attack Team. (The name was changed to the more palatable Special Weapons and Tactics). SWAT programs soon expanded beyond big cities with gang problems.

Abetting this trend was the federal government’s willingness to make surplus military equipment available to police and sheriffs’ departments. All sorts of hardware is available, from M-16s to body armor to armored personnel carriers and even helicopters. Lots of police departments grabbed the gear and started SWAT teams, even if they had no real need for them. The materiel was free, and it was fun. I don’t blame the police. Heck, if somebody gave me a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to play with, I’d probably start a SWAT team, too—so long as I didn’t have to foot the maintenance bill.

Thus, the sheriff’s department in landlocked Boone County, Indiana, has an amphibious armored personnel carrier. (According to that county’s sheriff-elect, the vehicle has been used to deliver prescriptions to snow-bound elderly residents, and to provide protection during a suspected hostage situation.)

Jasper, Florida, with 2000 inhabitants and two murders in the past 12 years, obtained seven M-16s from the federal government, leading an area newspaper to run a story with the subhead,

“Three stoplights, seven M-16s.”

This approach, though, has led to problems both obvious and subtle. The obvious problem should be especially apparent to readers of this magazine: Once you’ve got a cool tool, you kind of want to use it. That’s true whether it’s a pneumatic drill, a laser level or an armored fighting vehicle. SWAT teams, designed to deal with rare events, wound up doing routine police work, like serving drug warrants.
The subtle effect is also real: Dress like a soldier and you think you’re at war.

And, in wartime, civil liberties—or possible innocence—of the people on “the other side” don’t come up much. But the police aren’t at war with the citizens they serve, or at least they’re not supposed to be.

The combination of these two factors has led to some tragic mistakes: “no knock” drug raids, involving “dynamic entry,” where the wrong house has been targeted or where the raid was based on informants’ tips that turned out to be just plain wrong.

On Sept. 23, 2006, a SWAT team descended on the home of a farmer and his schoolteacher wife in Bedford County, Va. “I was held at gunpoint, searched, taunted and led into the house,” A.J. Nuckols wrote to his local paper. “I was scared beyond description. I feared there had been a murder and I was a suspect.” When the couple’s three children came home, the police grilled them, too.

The family was held under guard for five hours as the SWAT team ransacked the place, seizing computers, a digital camera, DVDs and VHS tapes. Ten days later, the cops returned the belongings. It turned out that a special anti-child-porn police unit had made a mistake while tracing an computer address and sent the SWAT team to the wrong home.

Sometimes, homeowners are killed in these actions; other times, it’s the officers. When a narcotics task force raided a duplex apartment in Jefferson Davis County, Miss., in 2001, they arrested one tenant, then burst into the adjacent apartment of Cory Maye. Thinking a burglar had broken into the bedroom he shared with his toddler daughter. Maye shot the officer fatally. Maye was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. However, his sentencing was overturned, and a motion for a new trial is still pending.

And, in a case that is now drawing national attention, 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, who lived in a high-crime neighborhood of Atlanta, recently opened fire on police when they broke down her door while executing a drug warrant. They returned fire, killing her. It’s hard to believe any of this would have happened had the police taken a less aggressive approach in the first place.

It used to be that police came to the door, announced themselves and, once a homeowner responded, entered the premises. Most policemen still work this way. But an alarming number now break down doors first and ask questions later. Don’t get me wrong: Police often do dangerous work and they need equipment that’s going to protect them.

And dynamic entry is valid when dealing with desperate criminals, but these tactics put ordinary citizens—and the police—at risk. And when they do, it’s often hard to get redress. Lawsuits against police and supervisors face strict legal limits in the form of “qualified immunity,” and prosecutors, who work with the police on a regular basis, are unlikely to bring criminal charges against officers who negligently kill people.

But homeowners confronted with tactics like flash-bang grenades and shouting that are intended to disorient targets, tend to be held to a much higher standard. The result, as in the Cory Maye case, is that people who do the laudable thing and defend their homes against unknown, armed intruders sometimes wind up being prosecuted for murder.

I discussed the issue with political commentator Radley Balko, who wrote a troubling report titled “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.” Balko said that the problem is more common than people realize. He suggests that accountability and transparency are what we need. I agree. Police raids should be videotaped, in an archival format that discourages tampering. And I think we need legal reform, too. Police who raid the wrong house, or who fail to give homeowners adequate warning except in truly life-or-death situations, shouldn’t benefit from official immunity.

Our homes are supposed to be our castles. The police shouldn’t treat them like enemy camps.

see also:
Island Breath: KPD Overreact in Hanapepe 5/6/08
Island Breath: Protect and Serve - Not terrify! 4/5/08
Island Breath: Lingle Plan for Police State