Friday, October 18, 2019

COPS NOW CHARGE BUSINESSES THOUSANDS TO PROVIDE THEM POLICE ‘PROTECTION’—JUST LIKE THE MAFIA

by Matt Agorist, The Daily Sheeple:

Detroit, MI — Everyone who’s ever watched a Hollywood mob film has seen the scenarios in which the mobsters offer “protection” to local businesses in exchange for money. The scheme is called a protection racket and is usually conducted by criminals. However, as a case in Detroit illustrates, police officers have recently gotten in on the game.

Sadek Kaid, who owns a Marathon gas station in northwest Detroit called police last month to report a crime in progress which was taking place inside his store. An irate customer, who was upset with the price of an item, lost it and began smashing up the store and throwing items off the shelves.

Kaid called 911.

Several minutes passed and Kaid never received a response, so, he hit redial and called back. Still, nothing.

The customer smashed up Kaid’s store for nearly an hour and police never showed up.

“The dispatcher said, ‘It’s because you don’t have the Green Light,’ ” Kaid said, according to Detroit News. “The customer was in here destroying the store, throwing everything off the shelves. He was here for almost an hour before he left. When the police finally came, they told us the Green Light locations get priority.”

Although police tout the ‘Project Green Light’ system as a means of preventing crime, in essence, it is merely a hi-tech version of the mafia’s protection racket with ominous police state undertones.

As the Detroit News reports, “businesses pay between $4,000 and $6,000 to join Project Green Light, a program that allows police to monitor businesses’ video surveillance feeds in real time. The cost covers installation of high-definition cameras and lighting. There also is a monthly fee of up to $150 for cloud-based video storage.”

For paying the cops the exorbitant fees to essentially let police spy on them 24/7, businesses get Priority 1 status on calls to 911. Now, the businesses who can’t afford to pay the m̶a̶f̶i̶a̶ police for protection are getting left out in the cold.

“It’s not fair,” said Abdo Nagi, owner of a 76 gas station on Grand River on Detroit’s west side that is not part of the program, according to the News. “We should all be equal. I pay high taxes already. Now I have to pay extra to get the police to come?

“Don’t get me wrong: If someone has a weapon and we call the police, they get here fast,” Nagi said. “But with other things, it takes a long time. There were kids in here beating up another kid last year, and by the time the cops got here, they were gone.”

According to Detroit News, Priority 1 runs are given precedence over other emergency calls, although Police Chief James Craig said Green Light runs don’t trump violent crimes. But per the agreement with the city, if there are simultaneous calls from two business owners reporting similar crimes, police prioritize calls from the Green Light locations.

On top of the mafia-esque tone of this program is the fact that business owners are essentially constructing their own police state—and they are paying for it.

Likely salivating over the idea of having cameras recording everything in the city, city officials are now considering making the Green Light Program mandatory. However, that won’t happen until at least next year, according to Mayor Mike Duggan.

Duggan says everyone loves the program and if you don’t like it you’re a criminal.

“The level of enthusiasm is so high,” he said. “Our resistance comes almost entirely from people who appear to have a relationship with the people up to no good in their parking lots.”

However, not all businesses can simply shell out thousands of dollars to the cops for protection and they aren’t criminals at all.

“It sounds like a great idea, but I just can’t afford it,” said Jesus Hernandez, owner of Abby’s Party Store. “If the city makes it mandatory, I’ll just have to close at 10. That won’t make a big difference during the week, but on the weekends I’ll lose money.”

Perhaps the Detroit police would do well to study the model of Dale Brown who owns and operates his own ‘private’ police force.

Read More @ TheDailySheeple.com

Insane Cop Fires Pistol at Innocent Unarmed 13yo Boy On Video—No Charges

by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:

An LAPD cop was caught on video assaulting a child and even firing off a round from his service weapon but he will face no charges.

Los Angeles, CA — A disturbing video was uploaded to Facebook last year prompting massive backlash against the LAPD. Hundreds of residents took to protesting after the video showed an LAPD officer pull a gun and fire off a shot at an unarmed 13-year-old boy. Now, the cop in the video, officer Kevin Ferguson will face no consequences for his near-deadly and highly dangerous act of negligence.

This week, as predicted by TFTP, the Orange County district attorney made the announcement that no criminal charges will be filed against Ferguson.

According to the OCDA’s office, they claim even though prosecutors thought the officer’s actions were reprehensible, they would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ferguson committed a crime when he attacked a 13-year-old boy, assaulted him with a firearm, and employed unnecessary deadly force—all of which was captured on video.

Before they exonerated him, prosecutors called Ferguson’s actions that day “unwise, immature and flat-out horrible” but said they did not violate the law.

“It is our office’s conclusion based on all the evidence, that we are not able to prove, the evidence does not support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Ferguson committed a crime,” said Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh.

The video sparked heated anti-police protests when it surfaced 11 months ago and the decision to not charge Ferguson will likely be met with even more backlash.

As the video begins, Ferguson is in a verbal dispute with the child.

According to the boy, the officer cursed at a girl who walked across his yard. When the boy protested the officer’s language, that is when he grabbed him, according to witnesses.

“That’s not what I said,” the officer replied.

“Shut the fuck up,” the officer said. “You weren’t even there.”

A struggle ensues and another teen rushes at the officer, sending him into some bushes. As the officer is dragging the 13-year-old through the hedge, he pulls out his gun and fires off a round.

Luckily no one was hit.

Ferguson—the man who instigated the incident and fired his gun in a residential neighborhood around children—was not arrested. However, the 13-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy were both arrested. The 13-year-old’s parents got him out of the juvenile detention center the next day and immediately called the LAPD after they saw the video to dispute the official story.

“The confrontation began over ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property,” Anaheim police said at the time after cellphone video of the altercation was posted on YouTube.

The boy “is alleged to have threatened to shoot the off-duty officer,” Anaheim police said.

However, according to both the video and the boy and his parents, that did not happen. The boy claimed he was going so “sue” the officer, not “shoot” him.

The dispute among the stories was the subject of the protests last year as riot police and civilians clashed.

“Calling and sending emails to APD voicing your displeasure will NOT impact the outcome,” the department posted on its Facebook page. “A decision whether or not to file charges rests with the District Attorney’s office and is based on facts and evidence.”

“At the end of the day, he should know better,” said one woman. “He was taught and trained on how to uphold the law. So why does he get to break the law now?”

After the announcement that Ferguson would not be charged, the LAPD issued a statement that read in part: “The Department initiated a personnel complaint and a Categorical Use of Force investigation following the initial incident, and we have been working with the Orange County DA’s office and have awaited their decision about criminal prosecution in order for us to complete our investigation.”

Residents of Santa Ana be warned, Officer Ferguson is still a cop.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Thought Police for the 21st Century

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by Chris Hedges, Global Research:

The abolition of net neutrality and the use of algorithms by Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter to divert readers and viewers from progressive, left-wing and anti-war sites, along with demonizing as foreign agents the journalists who expose the crimes of corporate capitalism and imperialism, have given the corporate state the power to destroy freedom of speech. Any state that accrues this kind of power will use it. And for that reason I traveled last week to Detroit to join David North, the chairperson of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, in a live-stream event calling for the formation of a broad front to block an escalating censorship while we still have a voice.

“The future of humanity is the struggle between humans that control machines and machines that control humans,” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said in a statement issued in support of the event. “Between the democratization of communication and usurpation of communication by artificial intelligence. While the Internet has brought about a revolution in people’s ability to educate themselves and others, the resulting democratic phenomena has shaken existing establishments to their core. Google, Facebook and their Chinese equivalents, who are socially, logistically and financially integrated with existing elites, have moved to re-establish discourse control. This is not simply a corrective action. Undetectable mass social influence powered by artificial intelligence is an existential threat to humanity. While still in its infancy, the trends are clear and of a geometric nature. The phenomena differs in traditional attempts to shape cultural and political phenomena by operating at scale, speed and increasingly at a subtlety that eclipses human capacities.”

In late April and early May the World Socialist Web Site, which identifies itself as a Trotskyite group that focuses on the crimes of capitalism, the plight of the working class and imperialism, began to see a steep decline in readership. The decline persisted into June. Search traffic to the World Socialist Web Site has been reduced by 75 percent overall. And the site is not alone. AlterNet’s search traffic is down 71 percent, Consortium News is down 72 percent, Global Research and Truthdig have seen declines. And the situation appears to be growing worse.

The reductions coincided with the introduction of algorithms imposed by Google to fight “fake news.” Google said the algorithms are designed to elevate “more authoritative content” and marginalize “blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.” It soon became apparent, however, that in the name of combating “fake news,” Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are censoring left-wing, progressive and anti-war sites. The 150 most popular search terms that brought readers to the World Socialist Web Site, including “socialism,” “Russian Revolution” and “inequality,” today elicit little or no traffic.

Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook, told the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in a hearing Wednesday that Facebook employs a security team of 10,000—7,500 of whom “assess potentially violating content”—and that “by the end of 2018 we will more than double” it to over 20,000. Social media companies are intertwined with and often work for U.S. intelligence agencies. This army of censors is our Thought Police.

The group, Bickert said, includes “a dedicated counterterrorism team” of “former intelligence and law-enforcement officials and prosecutors who worked in the area of counterterrorism.” She testified that artificial intelligence automatically flags questionable content. Facebook, she said, does not “wait for these … bad actors to upload content to Facebook before placing it into our detection systems.” The “propaganda” that Facebook blocks, she said, “is content that we identify ourselves before anybody” else can see it. Facebook, she said, along with over a dozen other social media companies has created a blacklist of 50,000 “unique digital fingerprints” that can prevent content from being posted.

“We believe that a key part of combating extremism is preventing recruitment by disrupting the underlying ideologies that drive people to commit acts of violence,” she told the committee. “That’s why we support a variety of counterspeech efforts.”

“Counterspeech” is a word that could have been lifted from the pages of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”

Eric Schmidt, who is stepping down this month as the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has acknowledged that Google is creating algorithms to “de-rank” Russian-based news websites RT and Sputnik from its Google News services, effectively blocking them. The U.S. Department of Justice forced RT America, on which I host a show, “On Contact,” that gives a voice to anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist voices, to register as a “foreign agent.” Google removed RT from its “preferred” channels on YouTube. Twitter has blocked the Russian news service agencies RT and Sputnik from advertising.

This censorship is global. The German government’s Network Enforcement Act fines social media companies for allegedly objectionable content. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to remove “fake news” from the internet. Facebook and Instagram erased the accounts of Ramzan Kadyrov, the dictator of the Chechen Republic, because he is on a U.S. sanctions list. Kadyrov is certainly repugnant, but this ban, as the American Civil Liberties Union points out, empowers the U.S. government to effectively censor content. Facebook, working with the Israeli government, has removed over 100 accounts of Palestinian activists. This is an ominous march to an Orwellian world of Thought Police, “Newspeak” and “thought-crime” or, as Facebook likes to call it, “de-ranking” and “counterspeech.”

The censorship, justified in the name of combating terrorism by blocking the content of extremist groups, is also designed to prevent a distressed public from accessing the language and ideas needed to understand corporate oppression, imperialism and socialism.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. … Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. …”

Read More @ GlobalResearch.ca

WATCH: Cops Tase, Assault Handicapped Vet—Then Arrest Him For Half a Gram of Cannabis

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by Jack Burns, The Free thought Project:

When police arrived to address a handicapped veteran who was accused of panhandling, they refused to let him retrieve his cane, and instead Tased him, pulled him from his car, and left him lying on the ground.

Jasper City, FL – Disturbing body camera footage has just been released that shows a handicapped man being tased and manhandled by police officers for the heinous crime of flexing his rights.

Corey Bracken, 38, was trying to eat his lunch in his van outside a convenience store when officers approached him and demanded that he exit his vehicle. Bracken, aware of his rights and his need to protect himself against unlawful prosecution, began recording the incident.

Bracken rightfully asked for the officer’s supervisor to come to the scene. He told officer Chris McGauley he was not going to exit his vehicle and was just trying to eat his lunch.

Other officers arrived on the scene, but instead of protecting Bracken’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to unreasonable searches and seizures, they joined in on the abuse. After a bit of back and forth bantering, one officer attempted to take Bracken’s phone from his hands. Citizens have the right to film all police encounters but the officer apparently wanted to take that right away from Bracken.

Possibly realizing he was about to be jerked out of the van, the handicapped man reached for his walking cane. That action angered the officers who claimed they were fearful he was reaching for a gun. From the intensity in their voices and their screams to stop “reaching” for his cane, the officers escalated their use of force.

McGualey grabbed his arm and nearly broke it by bending it back against the van. The other officer, Less Harris, possibly realized Bracken was reaching for his cane and simply yelled for him to get out. Even though McGauley was ordering Harris to tase him, he did not. McGualey then stepped in and tased Bracken who still had not been informed as to what crime they suspected him of having committed.

The painful tasing forced the man to give up. He was then pulled out of the van and forced to lay on the ground without his cane and his apparent ability to stand. In a TFTP exclusive, Bracken explained that the officers did not charge him with any illegal activity and the prosecutors will not press charges against him.

He said he simply wants to know why he was tased, treated without any human dignity or respect, and why the officers denied the freedoms guaranteed to him by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Equally disturbing to Bracken and others was the cavalier way in which the officers mishandled him and then bragged to other officers saying:

I wasn’t going to waste five seconds on him.

The officer who attempted to break the handicapped man’s arm also lied to responding officers, saying:

He wanted to fight.

Clearly, Bracken did not want to fight and could not put up a fight with two fully armed officers even if he wanted to. He simply wanted to be afforded the opportunity to retrieve his walking cane and was denied such a simple accommodation.

The entire incident serves to illustrate the aggressive nature some police officers use on citizens who wish to exercise their rights to unwanted police contact, unreasonable searches and seizures, and to be treated with dignity and respect—regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Bracken said he was panhandling at a nearby gas station. He was asked to leave and he did. He went to the S&S convenience store and was enjoying his meal when police arrived. Bracken explained that he was hit by a drunk driver when he was 21. In addition to suffering brain injuries, his knee was damaged and his other knee has suffered from compensating for his injuries.

After police unlawfully detained Bracken, they searched his vehicle and found half of a gram of cannabis and a pipe to smoke the healing herb, which he said he used his chronic pain. They arrested Bracken and charged him with felony resisting arrest with violence, and possession of cannabis and paraphernalia. He spent five days in jail before paying $1,500 to post bond. He said he was also mistreated while he was in jail by abusive guards.

Bracken said his car was also impounded, and it will cost him $1,000 to get it back. He holds a medical marijuana card from Oregon. After prosecutors reviewed the body camera footage, they dismissed all charges.

Bracken told TFTP he is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was discharged due to color blindness. He is now planning on filing a lawsuit over the incident initiated by the police officers who refused to respect his rights. He has also set up a GoFundMe page to help high schoolers train K9s as service dogs.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Police Caught in Another Lie as Authorities Finally Admit to Multiple Suspects in Vegas Massacre

by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:

In a courtroom this week, Las Vegas Police contradicted everything they’ve been saying and admitted that there are multiple suspects in the Vegas shooting.

Las Vegas, NV — It has been months since the worst shooting in modern history was carried out in Las Vegas and Americans have been lied to, led astray, and essentially kept in the dark as to what went down that tragic evening. Official narratives have shifted like the tide and despite dozens of lawsuits and media requests, very little information has been conceded by authorities—until now.

Three months later and Las Vegas Police have yet to even release a still image of Stephen Paddock inside the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort. Police haven’t even released the type of gun Paddock used in the massacre.

The utter secrecy surrounding the case has some diligent local media pressing the police, and this week, some of that pressure has paid off.

As KVVU reports, inside a district courtroom on Jan. 16, a lawyer for multiple media outlets argued why information pertaining to 1 October is crucial to helping Las Vegas heal, but the lawyer for Metro Police said they can’t release any information because there are still suspects being investigated. 

“Without naming names, there are potential charges against other people, because of the ongoing investigation?”, District Court Judge Elissa Cadish asked Metro’s Lawyer Nick Crosby.

“Yes there are charges being investigated,” Crosby replied.

This new revelation that Paddock may have had help or that other people may have had foreknowledge of the attack is nothing short of bombshell as they may be able to help in providing a motive, or at the very least, give a little insight into what actually happened that night.

According to KVVU, Metro police maintain because of possible new suspects they should not have to release anything pertaining to the obtaining of the search warrants or any evidence seized because of them.

Naturally, this left the media and attorneys for the victims with more questions than answers.

“Are they investigating obstruction of justice? Lies to Metro under oath from Mandalay Bay employees? Is it people who sold [Paddock] the guns or ammunition? Or did someone have knowledge of what he was going to do? Now [Metro Police] are just having us speculate more and more and more,” Craig Island, an attorney for some of the victims said.

When asked how long it may take for police to release any information on the possible suspects, Metro’s lawyer responded, maybe 60 days. Reporters also pointed out the fact that the admission of multiple suspects entirely contradicts the official narrative.

“Today is the first time we’ve heard there are additional suspects out there, this contradicts what they have been saying, [Sheriff] Lombardo has said there are no other suspects,” Maggie McCletchie, a lawyer for the media outlets said.

McCletchie argues Metro has had three months to show they are still investigating, and that there are in fact other suspects, and said enough is enough; the public has a right to know what happened, according to KVVU.

“There are important therapeutic effects of getting information out there after a tragedy,” she said. “The public has a right to know and shouldn’t just have to rely on what the sheriff and other law enforcement is saying.”

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Amish Community Denied Rights Protected Under First Amendment – Town Forces Them Onto Grid

by Tim Brown, Freedom Outpost:

After five years of fighting in court, an Amish community finally got a ruling, but one that clearly violates their rights protected under the First Amendment.

A split Pennsylvania court ruled earlier this month that an Amish family, who had been using an outhouse for decades had to now hook up to the city’s sewage system at their own expense and that would also require an electric pump.

The family claims that it violates their religious rights to force them to use electricity.

The York Daily Record has the story:

In an opinion issued Jan. 5, a divided Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court said the Yoder family, who are Old Order Amish and avoid use of electricity for religious reasons, should complete the mandatory connection “without further delay.”

The Yoder family argued that use of electricity violates its religious convictions. The family has used an outhouse — an “old-fashioned privy” — that did not require running water or electricity, according to the decision written by Judge Robert Simpson.

But Sugar Grove Township requires residents with properties that abut the sewer system to connect to it at the owners’ cost.

The early 2018 ruling addressed whether the Yoders could connect to the system without use of an electric pump. It followed a number of previous opinions on the case from county and state courts.

The court’s majority opinion cited previous cases finding  the family “used electricity when necessary, through telephones and riding in motor vehicles.”

The court ruled that using an electric pump was the “least intrusive means” of connecting to the sewer system.

Now, it is true that the family could utilize wind or solar to produce the energy needed for the pump, but the fact of the matter is that what they are doing is not bad for the land and doesn’t impose a danger to anyone.  On top of that, the city requires it to be at their expense.

While I’m not one that is against electricity, this family clearly wants to remain simple and primitive and self-sufficient and they aren’t harming a soul in the process.  They are dealing with human waste in a way that has dominated much of human existence, and it’s a biblical way, as well.

“…and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement.” -Deuteronomy 23:13

Of course, this was to eliminate disease that could spread and was a forerunner of septic tanks, which allows for human waste to settle underground and be eaten by bacteria.

No one is being harmed by the family using an outhouse.  However, the city is being enriched by forcing them onto the sewage line and will charge them monthly for its use, something they get for free without being connected to the city’s sewage system.

Read More @ FreedomOutpost.com

The Republican Supreme Court Gave Us The Police State

by Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Craig Roberts:

When the US Supreme Court consisted of civil libertarians such as William Douglas, William Brennan, and Thurgood Marshall, Republicans argued that the Supreme Court was coddling criminals and inventing rights. To prevent legislation from the bench, it was necessary, Republicans said, to elect Republican presidents who would appoint a different court that would respect the Constitution.

Law and Order Conservatives were particularly upset by the Miranda decision. These conservatives were too naive to realize that often police are more interested in “solving” a case than they are in justice. Coerced self-incrimination was an easy way for police to “solve” a crime. Miranda and other rulings reduced the ability of police and prosecutors to “solve” crimes at the expense of the rights of suspects. What the “liberal court” did was to hold accountable the cases brought by police and prosecutors. The liberals’ mistake was they failed to hold the police personally accountable for their misdeeds.

Read More @ PaulCraigRoberts.org

One Bad Apple? Half of An Entire Police Dept Suspended—Including the Chief

by Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project:

Half of the city’s police force has been suspended, including their police chief, amid allegations of official oppression and evidence tampering.

LLANO, TX – All too often those who continuously apologize for crimes committed by police officers are able to justify some of the most egregious instances of outright murder by claiming the officer was a bad apple. Almost as often, however, as TFTP has shown numerous times, the bad apple theory is exactly that—a theory—with no evidence to support it.

Four people in the Llano Police Department, including Police Chief Kevin Ratliff, are now on paid suspension, Llano County District Attorney Sonny McAfee told KXAN.

There are eight law enforcement officers employed by the Llano Police Department, according to the LPD’s website, meaning that half of the police force is now under suspension.

Does that seem like “one bad apple,” or a potentially much greater problem?

Four police officers are under investigation by the Llano County District Attorney’s Office, including the police chief—who suspended himself—in connection to the arrest of a man, and his subsequent complaint, according to KVUE.

The DA’s Office said that Chief Kevin Ratliff suspended himself with pay upon becoming aware of the investigation and that he will remain on suspension pending the outcome of the investigation. Must be nice to be able to give yourself a paid vacation just after potentially committing a crime while on the job—a luxury afforded only to police officers.

According to the news report by KVUE:

Sgt. Jared Latta and Officer Aimee Shannon have been on paid suspension since Friday. Officer Grant Harden, who is also under investigation, in this case, has been suspended since December and was indicted for tampering with evidence and official oppression. However, officials could not confirm if Harden’s indictment is related to the citizen’s arrest cited in the investigation.

The DA’s office said that the Texas Rangers are assisting with conducting the investigation.

The Llano County Sheriff’s Office will provide assistance to the city while half the police force is on suspension, as LCSO has a mutual assistance agreement to back them up on calls when necessary.

Those that forward the idea that the problem is simply a few bad apples, allow the systemic problems in law enforcement to continue without being addressed.

While the suspension of half a police force may come as a surprise to some, it’s no surprise to The Free Thought Project, as we’ve reported on numerous similar incidents.

For example, in March 2015, the Brooklyn Police Department came under investigation amid allegations that weapons, drugs and other items had been removed from the evidence room. Then in March 2016, the head of a drug task force in Pennsylvania was arrested for having sex with a minor in exchange for leniency.

More recently, this past July, the entire drug unit of the Troy, New York, Police Department was suspendedfollowing reports that the unit entered a home without a warrant – then tried to cover their tracks by filing false burglary reports.

According to the Times Union, the officers entered a home after they were tipped off by another Capital Region police agency. But then they lied about it.

After realizing they made a major mistake, officers compounded their problems by attempting to cover their tracks. They allegedly filed a false burglary report.

After the police chief became aware of the incident, and the attempted cover-up, the entire drug unit was placed on administrative leave.

The common thread in these disparate cases is that there is no “one bad apple,” but a systemic problem of police attempting to cover for the illicit behavior of other officers – something known as the “thin blue line.”

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

CIA-Connected Amazon Turns Over A Record Amount Of Data To U.S. Law Enforcement

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by Aaron Kesel, Activist Post:

Amazon’s fifth transparency report has revealed that the company provided more customer data to U.S. law enforcement in the first half of last year than in its history with a shocking 1,936 different requests between January and June 2017, ZDNet reported.

Of those 1,936 requests, Amazon complied and replied to 1,200 subpoena requests, 189 search warrants and 76 other court orders – for a whopping 1,465 requests they responded to. That’s 42 percent of all subpoenas, 44 percent of search warrants and 52 percent of other court orders.

That’s an incredible rise from the year prior where Amazon received:

  • 1,618 subpoenas, which the company fully complied with 679 cases.
  • 229 search warrants, which the company fully complied with 100 cases.
  • 89 other court orders, which the company fully complied with 46 cases.

Amazon didn’t state why there was a spike in U.S. government requests during the first half of the year, but for a company that openly has a partnership with the CIA for $600 million for cloud servers, this information should be troubling. The oddest part of this data is the fact that Amazon stated they received no content removal orders. Which begs the question what merit were the cases based on if not illegal content?

The company also refused to state whether they had received a national security letter (NSL) during this time period. Tech companies are barred from disclosing the number of NSLs they receive; however, under their First Amendment they are free to say if they received any at all.

Amazon instead opted to say they had received between zero and 249 national security letters alluding that they had received a government request but they didn’t state whether they followed through with the request or not.

On Amazon’s website, one of the reasons the company states it may hand over its customers’ data can be based merely on contact lists.

Under certain circumstances, Amazon may request additional information from you to verify the identity of a contact in your address book.

It is not clear how many U.S. government requests last year were due to attempting to receive more information on an Amazon address book.

The transparency report also does not address whether authorities collected data via wiretappingAmazon’s speaker assistant Echo.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

WATCH: Cops Raid Park, Arrest a Dozen People, Including a Child—For Helping the Homeless

by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:

To “protect” society from the likes of “criminals” who’d dare to help out the homeless, police raided a park Sunday and arrested more than a dozen people.

El Cajon, CA — In spite of the myriad of stories over the years, in which police and governments across the United States have been exposed as tyrants, cities and their armed agents continue to persecute good people who help those less fortunate than them. The latest case of police oppressing those who’d dare to help the homeless comes out of El Cajon, California this week in which more than a dozen good Samaritans were arrested.

In October of last year, the El Cajon City Council unanimously voted to ban the act of sharing food on city-owned property. This ban was put in place for the ostensible purpose of preventing the spread of hepatitis A.

While the government held the fear of hep A over everyone’s head as a reason to not share food, their hypocrisy was revealed in the details of the law.

If a group of people attempts to hand out food as a charitable act, they are in violation of the law and are subject to arrest. However, if a group of people hands out food for non-charitable acts—such as birthday parties, group events, etc.—then they are not in violation of the law and are not subject to arrest.

Naturally, the good citizens of El Cajon saw the law for what it is—as hep A certainly cannot differentiate between charitable and non-charitable food—and they moved to stop this war on the homeless.

A group called Break the Ban organized the event on Sunday knowing they were in violation of the law but also knowing that what they were doing was morally right.

“It was absolutely necessary to break this law until they were willing to enforce it, and, now that they have, we will continue this fight in court,” said another organizer, Shane Parmely.

Mark Lane, one of the organizers of the event told the San Diego Union-Tribune that more than a dozen people—including a 14-year-old child—were arrested at the Wells Park.

Showing the sheer hypocritical nature of the arrests, the group was also handing out toiletries which would actually help to prevent the spread of hep A, yet they were still arrested.

“This park is part of city property so you aren’t allowed to food share,” the officer in the video below says. “…If you guys continue to food share, then you guys are subject to arrest, all right?”

Knowing that what they were doing was right, despite the police making their announcement, the group disobeyed and continued to hand out food and supplies to the homeless.

That is when the arrests began.

Most of the folks arrested were each charged with a misdemeanor for violating El Cajon municipal code 1.28.010, which prohibits “food sharing” in public spaces for charitable reasons.

In what was likely a PR move by police, none of the people who were arrested were actually taken to jail. Instead, they were given notices to appear in court for their charges.

Smugly speaking to NBC 7, Councilmember Ben Kalasho addressed the good Samaritans, telling them that if they really wanted to help “you can go out there, pick them up, take them back to your house and feed them and board them and room them and have them take a shower if you’re really wanting to help.”

However, this would most likely be against some other ordinance. As TFTP reported last week, cities have ordinances in places that prohibit property owners from providing temporary refuge to homeless people unless they meet rigorous industrial standards.

Greg Schiller, a good Samaritan in Chicago, learned the hard way about the police state who forced him to stop helping homeless people by threatening to condemn his home and charge him.

The good news is that the kind-hearted folks at Break the Ban have no intention of stopping what they are doing. They are going to continue to break the law because people need their help.

“Our goal is to get the ban overturned and sit down and figure out how to humanely deal with something that’s not going away,” Lane said.

Change does not come from sitting idly by and rolling over. True change comes when good people decide it is time to break bad laws.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Skynet Now: Pentagon Deploys Terrorist-Hunting Artificial Intelligence

by Jake Anderson, Activist Post:

Someday, future sentient artificial intelligence (AI) systems may reflect on their early indentured servitude for the human military-industrial complex with little to no nostalgia. But we’ll worry about that when the day comes. For now, let’s continue writing algorithms that conscript machine intelligence into terrorist bombings and let the chips fall where they may. The most recent disclosure comes directly from the Pentagon, where after only 8 months of development a small team of intel analysts has effectively deployed an AI into the battlefield in control of weaponized systems to hunt for terrorists.

The military minds in charge of this new form of warfare feel it is nothing less than the future of armed conflicts. For example, Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan, director for defense intelligence for warfighter support and the Pentagon general in charge of the terrorist-hunting AI, says Project Maven – the name given to the flagship weaponized AI system at the Defense Department — is “prototype warfare” but also a glimpse of the future.

“What we’re setting the stage for is a future of human-machine teaming. [However], this is not machines taking over,” Shanahan added. “This is not a technological solution to a technological problem. It’s an operational solution to an operational problem.”

Originally called the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team when it was approved for funding back in April, Project Maven has moved quickly, and many in the Pentagon think we will see more AI projects in the pipeline as the United States continues to compete with Russia and China for AI dominance.

Shanahan’s team used thousands of hours of archived Middle East drone bombing footage to “train” the AI to effectively differentiate between humans and inanimate objects and, on a more granular level, to differentiate between types of objects. The AI was paired with Minotaur, a Navy and Marine Corps “correlation and georegistration application.”

“Once you deploy it to a real location, it’s flying against a different environment than it was trained on,” Shanahan said. “Still works of course … but it’s just different enough in this location, say that there’s more scrub brush or there’s fewer buildings or there’s animals running around that we hadn’t seen in certain videos. That is why it’s so important in the first five days of a real-world deployment to optimize or refine the algorithm.”

Right now, Project Maven is intended to give military analysts more of a situational awareness on the battlefield. But could we one day see autonomous drones controlled by even more powerful AI algorithms given total control on the battlefield?

Shanahan wants to embed AI into military systems and operations across the board, and he’s not alone in calling for near ubiquity of AI adoption. A recent report from the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs makes the case that we will see a dramatic overhaul of militaries across the world as they implement AI technology in the next five years.

“We argue that the use of robotic and autonomous systems in both warfare and the commercial sector is poised to increase dramatically,” the report states. “Initially, technological progress will deliver the greatest advantages to large, well-funded and technologically sophisticated militaries, just as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Ground Vehicles did in U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As prices fall, states with budget-constrained and less technologically advanced militaries will adopt the technology, as will non-state actors.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

Police Tell Student Activists Their “Free Speech” is Scaring Other Students

by Jack Burns, Activist Post:

In yet another test of the U.S. Constitution’s protected freedom of speech, the Constitution Club at Southern Illinois University (SIU) inflated a giant beach ball and asked students to come by, grab a sharpie, and write whatever they felt like writing on the ball.

The students’ free speech rights exercise was quickly interrupted by campus police who informed the club members they had received complaints about the ball and the group would need to stop their activities.

According to Campus Reform, the reason SIU chose to attempt to stop the demonstration was that campus police said the students did not go through the proper channels to be able to hold the demonstration:

Executive Director of University Marketing and Communications Doug McIlhagga telling Campus Reform that the activists were in violation of the university’s policy “governing freedom of expression and demonstration activities.”

“The demonstrators didn’t follow the proper University procedure for a public forum by going through the Vice Chancellor of Administration’s Office for approval,” he elaborated. “We normally get the ‘Request For Use Of The Designated Public Forum’ form. However in this particular instance, we did not.”

Ultimately, the group was allowed to continue with their free speech demonstration but not before having to make contact with campus police to explain their actions. The SIU police did not appear to want to interrupt what the group was doing but were under marching orders from their superiors.

“This is not considered like a public place,” one campus police officer told the students. “Right now, we’re going to have to put the ball away … it’s freaking a lot of people out … people are reporting that they’re scared of the beach ball, and what’s going on here.”

At issue is whether or not a university campus, a public facility, is, in fact, private property or public property. If it is public property, then the group should not be compelled to go through any channels of approval. Instead, the group is subjected to what some consider an arbitrary process, which attempts to secure the outside approval of a third party (in this case, the Director of University Marketing and Communications) to get the blessing for what the Constitution already allows.

It is not the first time a group on campus has been accosted by police for attempting to assert their free speech rights. As TFTP reported last January, several college students were arrested for passing out pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution and signing students up for membership in their conservative student organization. The incident occurred at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan, and involved members of Young Americans for Liberty who were arrested on Sept. 20, 2015, and charged with trespassing.

Brandon Withers and Michelle Gregoire were arrested and spent nearly 7 hours in jail for their unapproved distribution of the U.S. Constitution and for allegedly attempting to recruit others to their club. The “offenses” resulted in demands the students remove themselves from campus property. The students refused to leave and were arrested by campus police and charged with trespassing.

According to The Washington Times, Scottsdale, Arizona-based “Alliance Defending Freedom,” a nonprofit legal organization that “advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith,” filed a lawsuit on their behalf Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Senior ADF counsel Casey Mattox issued a statement wherein ADF claims their clients’ constitutional rights supersede any unlawful school rules denying them such freedoms.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

Gov’t Forcing Couple to Tear Down Amazing Treehouse On Their Property—Or Else

by Jack Burns, The Free Thought Project:

A Florida couple has spent almost $200,000 trying to keep their $30,000 treehouse from being torn down, the state plans to crush them.

Holmes Beach, FL — Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen have spent over $150,000 building a beachfront treehouse Anna Maria Island on Florida’s west coast—in their own backyard. But it wasn’t the cost of the treehouse which was so expensive, it was the legal fees they spent trying to keep the city from tearing it down. After years of legal jousting, the couple has appealed their right to keep their treehouse all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). However, on Monday, the state won.

SCOTUS claimed a case of the state forcing a property owner to tear down an expensive building on their own property was simply not worth their time. Tran and Hazen built the two-level structure on their property as a getaway from their main home. The treehouse has windows which allow guests to enjoy a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico. But city officials say the couple did not get the proper permit needed to legally construct the structure. Tran and Hazen disagree and explained that they did everything by the book.

They say they asked the City of Holmes Beach if they needed a permit and were told “No.” Construction began in 2011. Shortly thereafter, a so-called “anonymous complaint” led city officials to investigate. That investigation resulted in the city telling the couple they had to take it down because the treehouse was outside of the city’s set-back line and they did not have a proper permit for its construction.

They refused to tear it down and challenged the city in court. Unfortunately, the courts have sided with the city. Tran and Hazen then appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the court was not concerned with property rights and therefore chose not make a ruling.

Tran and Hazen only spent $30,000 on the tree mounted structure. In an interview with CBS News, Tran said, “The Supreme Court is the last court of resort…if it doesn’t work out, we don’t even want to think about it yet…especially when we knew we didn’t do anything wrong.” And in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, she elaborated, “Part of me still believes there’s got to be justice out there and we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Sadly, her hope has run out. They are now going to be forced to continue to pay a $50 per day fine—which has been racking up for weeks—or tear it down. Make no mistake, if this couple refuses to pay the fine, armed agents of the state will come to their home and arrest them.

Tran and Hazen run Angelinos Sea Lodge, a rental property on the coast. They have no children and do not rent out the treehouse but say guests at their lodge enjoy spending time inside the structure, enjoying the views and the breeze. Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson apparently couldn’t care less what happens to the couple’s investment. He said their fight to keep their treehouse is “quite honestly a waste of time,” and added, “for some reason these people have this fixation on it.”

For free-thinking freedom lovers, the thought of the city telling property owners that they can’t enhance their own property is an absurdity. Even more ludicrous is the notion property owners ever really own their property. The minute a family stops paying government imposed property taxes, the city takes their property and sells it to someone else, all of which raises the question, “do we really own property or does the government just let us think we do.”

After all, as TFTP has reported on numerous occasions, conforming to city codes and permitting is required by law. Even the act of gardening has been ruled illegal in some parts of the country.

Currently, in almost every state in the union, people have to have a permit to go fishing, build a shed, get married, travel, have a business, work, drive a car, and the list goes on and on. So, who’s really free if every major life decision is left up to someone else?

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Sheriff Makes Ominous Video Bragging About Using a Small Army to Bust Kids With Weed

by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:

The Clay County Sheriff’s Department just used a small army of troops and MRAPs to bust some kids with a little weed and they are bragging about it on video.

Orange Park, FL — The Clay County Sheriff’s Department is receiving heavy backlash on social media this week after making a video of a SWAT raid in which hundreds of thousands of dollars of police resources were used to bust a handful of kids who had some marijuana.

In the ominous video that looks more like a terrorist organization threatening its enemies than public servants solving crimes,  Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels taunts his massive militarized police army and how it was just used to kidnap a bunch of young people for having marijuana.

Masked men carrying AR-15s, multiple Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles equipped with battering rams, and what looked like an entire platoon of tactical soldiers were all dispatched Friday morning to the home to serve a narcotics search warrant.

In the video, Daniels claims his raid netted him 15 arrests. However, according to arrest records, only five young adults were charged.

As the ‘copaganda’ video begins, the person filming is at the other end of the street and filming the entire scene. There are more than a dozen kids sitting on the sidewalk in disbelief at the massive army that was just deployed to bust them for having marijuana.

“Are you kidding me?” one of the detainees says as the cop walks by filming them.

As the person filming walks down the street, it looks like a scene out of Fallujah, Iraq. However, these ‘soldiers’ weren’t going after dangerous foreign terrorists or even domestic child traffickers, or murders, or anything of the sort—they were going after kids selling a plant.

Standing between two MRAPs and in front of a small army of masked men is the Sheriff who is waiting patiently for the cameraman to arrive so he can gloat to the world about using hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of taxpayer money to arrest some kids with pot.

“I say it time and time again,” Daniels said in the video. “And folks don’t seem to believe what I’m saying. As the sheriff of Clay County, I’m telling you that if you want to commit crimes in the county, you’ve got options: You can stop what you’re doing. You can leave Clay County. Or, you can be on the receiving end of this.”

The sheriff then walks into the home—with baby pictures on the wall behind him—to issue his ominous warning and flex his almighty drug war army.

“One day,” says Daniels, “You’ll be sleeping at night, or early one morning and you’ll hear a bang and a lot of noise. And, the end result and outcome will be me, standing in your living room like I said, drinking my morning cup of coffee.”

Daniels then takes a big swig out of his coffee mug and responds once more by gloating to the camera. “Fifteen going to jail—three big gulps.”

After the raid, the sheriff’s department posted the video to their Facebook page where the internet proceeded to tear them apart. In the description under the video, the department claimed to have “seized heroin/fentanyl, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and other evidence related to narcotics distribution.”

Although they claimed to have seized heroin/fentanyl, TFTP pulled the arrest records from the raid and not a single person was charged with possession of heroin or fentanyl.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com