Commentary

http://noladefender.com/content/i-wish-was-urban-design-takeover

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Commentary

“Current training and intelligence reveals that protestors are becoming more proficient in the methods of assembly.”

Is this quote from:

(a) A Report from the Richmond VA police department describing how to infiltrate protest organizations

(b) A report from Gaddafi’s secret services, just before the uprising started there

(c) A dispatch from Ben Ali’s security forces, just prior to his downfall,

The answer, as always, is “A”  And the report was given to a protestor in answer to a FOIA request, by accident.  It gives insight into the new thinking on the part of the government that equates dissent with terrorism and the exercise of First Amendment rights with criminality.  After the government released it, it then tried to cover up the existence of the report, but too late–here it is.  Covered by Will Potter at the ever-excellent blog Green is the New Red:

Richmond Cops Mistakenly Hand Over Anti-Protest Guides to Anarchist
by WILL POTTER on JANUARY 5, 2011

After filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Richmond Police Department for police training documents, Mo Karn received much more than expected in return: homeland security and crowd control guides that show how the police target protests.

The police filed for an emergency court order yesterday to prohibit Karn from publicizing any of the documents, which should never have been released. The cops’ reasoning? “Defendant Mo Karn is a known and admitted anarchist.”

The documents, however, have already been published online. And buried in the training guides are insights into three trends in law enforcement that have been occurring not just in Virginia, but nationally: the demonization of protest, the militarization of police, and turning local cops into “terrorism” officials.

The Demonization of Protest

The Richmond Police Department’s Emergency Operations Plan
includes a section on “civil disturbances.” While this sounds innocuous, “civil disturbances” are defined so broadly as to include what the police call “dissident gatherings.”

“The City of Richmond is a target rich environment” for antiwar protesters, the document says. And it warns that police and homeland security have reason to be increasingly concerned:

“Current training and intelligence reveals that protestors are becoming more proficient in the methods of assembly.”

Militarization of Local Police

Such a depiction of “assembly” (a First Amendment right) as a “disturbance” and a threat is all the more troubling when put in the context of the other police department guides. Richmond’s Crowd Management Operating Manual is for the police unit assigned to large protests (no experience required). Among the tools that the crowd management team are issued include riot shields, chemical agents, cut tools, helmets, body armor, cameras, video cameras, batons, gas masks, and a “mass arrest kit.”

Deputizing Local Cops as Counter-terrorism Officials

This militarization of local police is accompanied by another trend in law enforcement since September 11th: deputizing local cops to becoming “homeland security” and counter-terrorism officials. According to the Homeland Security Criminal Intelligence Unit Operating Manual, “The Richmond Police Department is under contract with the FBI to provide assistance through staffing, intelligence and equipment.” And one member of the homeland security unit is assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The result? Documents like the Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment. The 2009 document was created by the Virginia Fusion Center, of which the Richmond Police Department is part. Fusion centers are ostensibly designed to gather terrorism intelligence from multiple police agencies, and make us safer. In practice, they routinely label activists as “terrorists.” Among the “terrorist threats” identified in Virginia were animal rights activists, environmental activists, and anarchists.

“Current training and intelligence reveals that protestors are becoming more proficient in the methods of assembly.”

Student Aid: GNU/Linux users need not apply

Or: The U.S. Government’s curious definition of ‘Free

There is a website called Free Application for Federal Student Aid run by the U.S. Government which you have to use if you want to make an application for federal student financial aid.  But you have to run a proprietary operating system, either some version of windows or a version of Mac OSX, to access the site.  It is especially ironic because the compatible browser page says:

Your Web browser is not supported by our Web site. You must use a Compliant Web Browser – Standard* to view our site properly. We recommend you upgrade to the latest version of your browser according to your Operating System….

[….List of many browsers follows, none running on GNU/Linux.…]

*Compliant Web Browser – Standard
For the past few years, every major Web browser released has been built around a set of open standards designated by the World Wide Web Consortium, a non-profit organization charged with overseeing the continuing development of the Web. What this means is that one piece of code now looks the same on every modern browser, whether it be Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or others. The majority of our users are using these modern browsers, so we can present content which is optimized for them.

Here is the https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/errors?page=incompatibleBrowser incompatible browser page and below the fold find a copyclip of what that page says today, January 06 2011:

Continue reading “Student Aid: GNU/Linux users need not apply”

Student Aid: GNU/Linux users need not apply

The usual suspects get harrassed by the FBI (again, or is it still?)

Not surprised, but wasn’t this kind of stuff one of the reasons I voted for Obama? Wasn’t he supposed to stop this kind of abuse of power?

Raids on Activists May Indicate FBI Abuse of Power

Friday 08 October 2010

by: Yana Kunichoff, t r u t h o u t | Report

On the heels of a series of FBI raids on anti-war activists, an FBI whistleblower and constitutional rights groups are calling out the agency for overstepping its bounds, fearing that its increased powers could infringe on First Amendment rights and silence dissent.

Agents searched the homes of anti-war activists in Chicago, Minneapolis, Michigan and Durham, North Carolina in the last two weeks of September, along with the offices of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee, confiscating computers, cell phones, large amounts of paper and financial records, according to the activists and their attorneys.

Just days before the raids of activists in the Midwest and North Carolina, the Department of Justice released a report finding that between 2001 and 2006, the FBI kept tabs on activists affiliated with Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), Catholic Workers and Quakers. According to the report, the agency improperly placed these individuals on terrorist watch lists, and gave inaccurate and misleading information to Congress and the public about its activities.

“The Bureau’s standard for undercover activities is known neither by the public nor Congress,” Buttar wrote in an op-ed in Truthout earlier this year. “Intelligence agencies may justifiably pursue clandestine activities, but should not operate according to secret rules – at least not in countries that claim to lead the free world.”

The usual suspects get harrassed by the FBI (again, or is it still?)

Very troubling, on the Kagan nomination (Perhaps Obama should try Freedom for a change)

So after the nomination of Sotomayor, who had bent over backwards to torture all kinds of well established definitions so she could side with big business, here comes another appointee who has obviously been vetted by the MPAA and the RIAA.  It is especially distressing that the Highest Court of the USA has become so corrupted by corporate influence.

Don’t be fooled by the astroturfing on Slashdot–Kagan is is yet another appointee who has worked at a firm with very strong ties to the RIAA…The record of Obama on his judicial nomination seems to be: government by the RIAA, of the RIAA and for the RIAA

Very troubling, on the Kagan nomination (Perhaps Obama should try Freedom for a change)

Some large company will patent some obvious thing…and it will be enforcable… everywhere

A very dangerous proposal from Microsoft:

Microsoft pushes for single Global Patent System

“In today’s world of universal connectivity, global business and collaborative innovation, it is time for a world patent that is derived from a single patent application, examined and prosecuted by a single examining authority and litigated before a single judicial body,” said Guiterrez. “A harmonized, global patent system would resolve many of the criticisms leveled at national patent systems over unmanageable backlogs and interminable pendency periods.”
Guiterrez went on to praise efforts to harmonize international patent systems through projects such ad the Patent Prosecution Highway and the “IP5” partnership but said more needed to be done to allow corporations to protect their intellectual property

Of course when they say “more is needed to be done to allow corporations to protect their intellectual property” they really mean “more to be done to erect high barriers to entry, so no one can legally compete with us.”   Microsoft is just against any company smaller than they are (meaning, for those who are not paying attention, everyone else)

My evidence?  Here’s Microsoft’s own Bill Gates, speaking out against software patents in 1991, as covered in the NYT:

Continue reading “Some large company will patent some obvious thing…and it will be enforcable… everywhere”

Some large company will patent some obvious thing…and it will be enforcable… everywhere