Archive for the ‘criminal justice’ Category

Please check out this selection in the Ten years later: Surveillance in the Homeland series for Truthout


BTC – A 2-4 year sentence was given to an officer who shot a young black man at point blank range in Oakland California.

Here is what his mom had to say about the verdict and the loss of her son:

“At it’s core pre-emptive policing severely undercuts the basic notion that police are public servants sworn to protect and serve, rather than intelligence agents whose job is to feed daily observations into data streams winding their way into a nationwide matrix of Fusion Centers and federal agencies. The SAR Inititave casts a wide net of surveillance: it encourages local police, the public, and corporations and businesses to engage in vaguely-defined “pre-operational surveillance” and report actvities such as the practive of religion and spirituality, political protest, and community organizing will weaken civil liberties and erode community trust.”

– Thomas Cincotta, Platform for Prejudice


BOSTON – An 82 page analysis of domestic intelligence policy released by Political Research Associates (PRA) Tuesday found local police are being used as domestic intelligence gatherers with little to no oversight in criminal intelligence distinctions. Amid the findings are rampant racial and political profiling and hystrionic calls for further surveillance protections where no criminal or terrorist acts occurred. Costs to implement digital surveillance based on these local police intelligence gatherings were deemed expensive and wasteful. The practices were overwhelmingly considered unconstitutional, against 4th Amendment protections.

The study, Platform for Prejudice, evaluated the police intelligence gathering practices in 12 cities for 2 years involving a decentralized network of 72 Fusion Centers. Tax funded Fusion Centers are present in local communities for the purposes of gathering criminal intelligence and terrorism prevention. Local police are deployed to gather federal intelligence to submit to an Information Sharing Environment (ISE) or a Fusion Center. It is then fed to a network to federal intelligence agencies, like the FBI. It may be furthered for international analysis at the National Counter Terrorism Center. Examples of suspected criminal activity worthy of creating a pre-criminal national intelligence profile included: photography, taking notes, sketching, public speaking on political issues and making diagrams in public settings. Once a profile is created local police may be dispatched to follow up on non-criminal activities for the purposes of surveillance. Non-criminal information submitted to an ISE is deemed “fact-based information” by local police hence alluding to potential criminality of any activity submitted.
Further into the report, traditional neighborhood crimes and traffic violations are filtered with a label of terrorism prevention in an “all crimes” watch policy. People become profiled for minor infractions, such as speeding tickets. Their information is then funnelled into a database treatment cycle for national terrorists.
The UK derived practice of pre-emptive policing creates a deluge of low quality information into our national terror watch networks. According to RAND Corp. local police are “simply collecting so much data of such low quality that they do not provide much [counter-terror] benefit”. Non-criminal information bogs down networks with a low threshhold for reporting information. It becomes difficult to evaluate bonafide national terror threats according the the National Counter Terrorism Center.
According to officials who designed the SAR Initiative, pre-emptive policing is based on behaviors regardless of race, ethnicity, or political associations. Behaviors otherwise overlooked by police enforcement become what is called a “reasonable indication” of suspicious activity. The definition of “reasonable suspicion” became independent of actual crime and criminal predicates in the adoption of this initiative’s use of “reasonable indication”.
Privacy safeguards and legal limitations were overlooked in code 28 CFR 23, in accord with The Justice Systems Improvement Act of 1979. This code necessitates an actual crime as a predicate for reasonable suspicion and the creation of an intelligence record. This code is being challenged to downgrade current predicates for criminal intelligence, to simply “reasonable indication” of possible crime. Using “reasonable indication” officers can gather any data, at any time for intelligence purposes without probable cause.
The window stays open for this practice as long as ISE’s Program Manager does not perpetuate any oversight of information submitted by State and Local agencies. Due to short cuts, negligence in sifting non-terror related reports and little feedback to local police departments submitting SARs, “reasonable indication” becomes standard operating procedure for public surveillance.
According to the ACLU, law enforcement are encouraged by federal agencies to actively disregard 28 CFR 23 and expand the quest for non-criminal information to include public and private sector data. The focus and objective for certain law enforcement agents may be to gather data considered unclassified. For example: biometric data eyes, fingerprints, face scans, and body identifiers are considered largely unclassified.
SAR’s use a myriad of sources other than law enforcement officers: corporations, private security firms, anonymous neighborhood watch groups. Infraguard, a private surveillance firm, was contracted by federal intelligence agencies after the federal TIPS program was eliminated due to public scorn. InfraGuard takes up where TIPS left off recruiting utility workers, civil servants and corporate cogs to solicit private information as private criminal intelligence investigators.
The report indicates that up to 23,000 private representatives work with InfraGuard providing information about potentially anyone. The potential for intelligence abuse is astronomical, as InfraGuard users claim they can dispatch FBI operatives in a vindictive manner on political and economic enemies.
iWatch, previously reported on Waking Up Orwell as “iSnitch”, is a model of a neighborhood watch program used to produce SARS in Los Angeles. [You can see how well that went.]
You may want to look into for resources and information about how to get organized and involved in, literally, watching and reporting against those who unconstitutionally watch and report on you. One strategic way is to enlist FOIA or open records requests to your local criminal justice departments to find out what kind of information is being gathered on your neighborhoods and submitted to Fusion Centers. Through a casual online web search you can ususally find out if a Fusion Center is near you.
The information being arbitrarily collected can be held for up to 10 years.

BTC – If national identity has plans to go through AAMVA or the Department of Motor vehicles, the ship for secured identity has sunk before it sets sail. New York’s newest example of internal fraud is not the first or the last instance of its kind in recent history.

DMV Staffers made 1$Million selling fake IDs to criminals & sex offenders


Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Two state employees, working for the Department of Motor Vehicles, have been arrested for knowingly using stolen personal information to issue driver’s licenses to convicted felons and sex offenders.

The DMV employees allegedly had a deal with a guy known as the “License Man.” Felons, sex offenders, even a fugitive featured on America’s Most Wanted, would pay him up to $10,000 to get a drivers license using someone else’s stolen identity.

Robin Jones-Woodson and Glenda Hinton, two DMV employees who worked in New York City, signed off on more than 200 fraudulent licenses according to the NYS Inspector General. The ring collected more than $1 million in the scheme which has been going on for at least the past year.

An undercover officer investigating the ring, got an id after claiming he’d once been deported from the US and now was on the government’s no-fly list because he was a suspected terrorist. He told the ring, he wanted to go to Pakistan, handed over some cash and walked away with a fraudulent ID.

In all, 22 people have been arrested, 7 who were involved with the production or sale of the licenses, and 15 who were customers. The two DMV workers are on disciplinary suspension and are not allowed on or inside of any property owned by the DMV.

Copyright 2010 Newport Television LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

“Never attribute to malice, what may be attributed to incompetence.” ANONYMOUS SALT

Analysis c/o David Rothscum reports

The terms “conspiracy theories” and “conspiracy theorists” are thrown around a lot these days.

According to Wikipedia, “Conspiracy theory is a term that originally was a neutral descriptor for any claim of civil, criminal or political conspiracy. However, it has become largely pejorative and used almost exclusively to refer to any fringe theory which explains a historical or current event as the result of a secret plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning.”


c/o CLG >> AP

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was hailed as a hero alongside former Mayor Rudy Giuliani after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and nearly became chief of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was sentenced to four years behind bars Thursday for eight felonies.

Kerik admitted in November that he lied to the White House, filed false taxes and committed other crimes.

“The fact that Mr. Kerik would use that event (9/11) for personal gain and aggrandizement is a dark place in the soul for me,” said federal Judge Stephen Robinson.
An apologetic Kerik said before the sentence was pronounced: “Allow me to return to my wife and two little girls as soon as possible.”

Federal guidelines indicated Kerik’s sentence should be between 27 and 33 months in prison. Robinson said he went beyond the guidelines because they could not account for certain factors.
Kerik was “the chief law enforcement law enforcement officer for the biggest and grandest city this nation has,” Robinson said. The crimes were committed “in the process of attempting to become a cabinet level position in the government of the United States.”

The prosecutor, Michael Bosworth, said the misdeeds were “driven by arrogance, personal greed and professional ambition.”

Kerik will be allowed to surrender voluntarily on May 17; the prison has not been chosen yet.
Kerik, 54, has already been ordered to pay $188,000 in restitution and to pay past-due taxes and penalties on six years of tax returns.

“…I’d like to apologize to the American people for the mistakes I’ve made and for which I have just accepted responsibility,” Kerik said outside the courthouse. “As history is written, I can only hope that I will be judged for 30 years of service I’ve given to the country and the city of New York.”

“…Although this has been the most challenging period of my life … it will not diminish my love and admiration for this country, which it has been one of my greatest privileges to serve.”
Just before pleading guilty, Kerik spent three weeks in the Westchester County Jail for releasing secret pretrial information. While there, he was voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric ward for observation because of stress. Doctors concluded he did not need mental care.

After admitting his crimes, Kerik was freed pending sentencing. He had to post a $1.5 million bond, wear an electronic monitor and generally stay inside his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J.
In presentencing memos to the judge, the defense and prosecution painted sharply different portraits of Kerik.

The defense spoke of his bleak upbringing, his steely leadership after the terror attacks, his remorse and the debt he has incurred to defend himself. It supplied letters of support from his son, fellow police officers, a priest and a man who lost two sons on Sept. 11.
There was no letter from Giuliani.

The prosecution memo said Kerik had “shamelessly exploited” the terror attack, had shamed his gold shield and might flee if he weren’t sent to prison right away. Kerik was Giuliani’s police commissioner when New York City was attacked, and he was praised worldwide for his leadership. At Giuliani’s urging, he was nominated to the top Homeland Security post in 2004. It was the peak of his fast-rising career — as corruption allegations began to mount.
Kerik said in court that while being vetted for that position, he falsely denied that he had any financial dealings with anyone doing business with New York City. He said he also lied when he claimed he had specifically refused payments that were offered.
In truth, he said, he had accepted renovations of his Bronx apartment from a company seeking city work.
Those apartment renovations were the focus of the original corruption charge, which alleged that Kerik accepted the renovations in exchange for vouching for the company. Kerik did not admit that.

BTC – Classic conflict of interests here, crime prevention authorities believe wholeheartedly and mistakenly that you would trade privacy for your security. On this slope is CODIS, or a Combined DNA Index System.

In Washington state, Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, testified this year in favor of a DNA-on-arrest bill, but said it never made it out of committee.

“We view the DNA database as a tremendous crime-prevention tool. Stranger rapists don’t just do it once,” said Pierce. “People get focused on the idea of individual freedoms and protecting privacy, but most of the public, if they understood how the database works, would gladly trade that off for the crime prevention benefits.”

c/o The

In all 50 states, DNA is collected from some, if not all, convicted felons, and added to the FBI’s ever-growing database. Some states, like New Hampshire, limit collection to cases of murder, sexual assault and robbery. In 21 states (see chart), legislators have mandated the collection of DNA in all felony arrests. The motivation behind the change is simple: Collecting DNA on arrest rather than conviction will get a lot more people into the database a lot faster. Bigger database, more DNA on file, more matches, more convictions.

But the push to expand the DNA database has drawn battle lines in the remaining 29 states without DNA on arrest, including Connecticut, where the American Civil Liberties Union has opposed and defeated the measure twice.

“The problem with taking DNA samples from arrestees is basically the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut. “The cornerstone of the criminal justice system is turned on its head when innocent people are included in the DNA data bank.”

In Washington state, Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, testified this year in favor of a DNA-on-arrest bill, but said it never made it out of committee.

“We view the DNA database as a tremendous crime-prevention tool. Stranger rapists don’t just do it once,” said Pierce. “People get focused on the idea of individual freedoms and protecting privacy, but most of the public, if they understood how the database works, would gladly trade that off for the crime prevention benefits.”

Karen Foster, DNA Chair for the Surviving Parents Coalition, hopes the story of Howard Dean Jamison will help to motivate Connecticut legislators in 2010 to join the 21 other states that have DNA on arrest. The coalition is made up of parents with children who have been abducted, sexually assaulted or murdered, or who are still missing.

But Schneider insists that in addition to constitutional concerns, the time and money spent on an “unchecked expansion” of the DNA database would be better spent on initiatives like more community policing.

“This huge expansion of the DNA database is unlikely to make us safer,” said Schneider. “DNA is only found at a small fraction of crime scenes.”

Like Schneider, Gov. M. Jodi Rell is opposed to collecting DNA on arrest.

“The governor’s preference is for swabbing to be done post-conviction, but immediately post-conviction,” said spokesman Rich Harris. “In the past, swabs were often not taken until an inmate was preparing to leave the system. The sooner the information is in the system, the sooner investigators can use the information.”

There are some heavy hitters, however, including state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who believe the legislature should take up DNA on arrest again in 2010, and pass it.

“I have supported and backed expanded use of DNA by law enforcement,” said Blumenthal. “It provides a powerful tool that can both convict and exonerate, depending on the facts and circumstances, and I support expanding its use consistent with Constitutional protections.”

The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, based in West Hartford, is in favor of collecting DNA on arrest as well. In fact, Cromwell Police Chief Anthony Salvatore, legislative co-chair for the association, says he’d like to see a law that allows DNA to be collected not only for felony arrests, but for all criminal arrests, including misdemeanors.

“From the point of view of law enforcement, the more samples we have, the better,” said Chief Jim Strillacci of West Hartford, Salvatore’s co-chair. “We elect lawmakers to make judgments on moral issues. We’re a country based on individual freedom. We don’t want to take rights away unduly.”

Blumenthal’s point that DNA can exonerate as well as convict is made by many of the advocates of DNA on arrest. But at The Innocence Project in New York City, which has exonerated 245 people through the use of DNA since its founding in 1992, Policy Director Stephen Saloom says the organization is actually not focused on expanding the DNA database.