Thursday, May 19, 2011

Justice (sic) USA: Whistle Blowers Pot Smokers Predatory Cops

Much is revealed in this fifteen minute segment from Democracy Now that focusses on Obama's war on whistle blowers. Just minor things mind you, like the five ''classified'' documents held by whistleblower Thomas Drake. Well it turns out that the classified documents were not classified, not until that is, they were re-classified as classified retroactively after Drake's arrest.

Another thing I cannot help but reflect on, if this is the way the Obama administration is going after this fellow, what chance Bradley Manning?

AMY GOODMAN: A new exposé by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker magazine has revealed more details about the Obama administration’s crackdown on whistleblowers. The article focuses on former National Security Agency analyst Thomas Drake, who’s being prosecuted for leaking information about waste and mismanagement at the agency. Drake was the source for a Baltimore Sun series on the NSA’s overspending and failure to properly maintain its large trove of domestic spy data.

Drake faces 35 years in prison for espionage but isn’t actually accused of spying. Instead, he’s accused of holding on to classified documents in his basement that he says he didn’t know were classified. His trial is set to begin next month in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Overall, The New Yorker magazine reports, the Obama administration has used the Espionage Act of 1917 to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous administrations combined. Gabriel Schoenfeld of the Hudson Institute said, "Ironically, Obama has presided over the most draconian crackdown on leaks in our history—even more so than Nixon."

Drake received the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling last month. In his acceptance speech, he criticized the prosecution of whistleblowers.

THOMAS DRAKE: Truth tellers, such as myself, are those who are simply doing their jobs and honoring their oaths to serve their nation under the law of the land. We are dedicated to the proposition that government service is of, for, by the people. We emphatically do not serve in order to manipulate on behalf of the powerful, nor to conceal unlawful, illegal or embarrassing secrets from the public, because truth does matter. Truth may be inconvenient. It may cause embarrassment. It may threaten the powers that be and their unlawful activities, but it is still the truth. I have but this one life to live.

AMY GOODMAN: That was whistleblower Thomas Drake. Fifteen minute video or transcript.
Off topic, but interesting enough if you have the bandwidth. Blackwater's Private Army of “Christian Crusaders” in the UAE (Democracy Now)

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This one really has to be seen to be believed. There are parts of this clip that are reminiscent of watching a wildlife program ,where the vultures (uniforms) are squabbling among themselves over who gets first bite of the carcass.

Come back Dick Turpin, all is forgiven. At least he that the decency to wear a mask.

Highway Shakedowns
Tennessee Law Enforcement Stealing Money from Motorists
By Phil Williams
May 18, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. A major News Channel 5 investigation has uncovered serious questions about Tennessee's war on drugs. Among the questions: are some police agencies more concerned about making money off the drugs, than stopping them?

At the center of this months-long investigation are laws that let officers pull driver over looking for cash. Those officers do not even have to file criminal charges against a person to take his/her money.

It turns out, those kind of stops are now happening almost every day in Middle Tennessee.

Case in point: a 2009 stop where a tractor trailer was stopped for a traffic violation, leading to a search and the discovery of large blocks containing almost $200,000 cash -- cash that officers keep on the suspicion that it's drug money. more transcript

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I'm running with this one in light of the recent declaration by the Indiana Supreme Court that Fourth Amendment Rights are obsolete, subsequently declaring in all but name, Indiana as an official police state. Now this on a Federal level.

Where the Bill of Rights Goes to Die
By Kevin Drum
May 17 2011

So here's the story: police in Lexington, Kentucky, were chasing after some guy who'd just scored some crack. He went into an apartment building, but police didn't know what door he had gone into. So, smelling marijuana under one door, they pounded loudly and announced their presence. But they guessed wrong. It was just some random dude doing drugs, not the guy they were after. The dude, unsurprisingly, panicked when police suddenly started pounding on his door and tried to dump the evidence. Police, hearing this, busted down his door, arrested him, and eventually sent him to prison for 11 years.

But let's back up. The police busted down his door? Don't you need a search warrant for that kind of thing? Answer: no, not if there are "exigent circumstances" that make it urgent that police get in. For example, if a suspect is busily getting rid of evidence.

But back up again. This particular guy, it turns out, had actually done nothing to attract police attention in the first place, and the only reason he was flushing his drugs away was because police were pounding on his door. This is pretty predictable behavior, which means that the police created the exigent circumstances themselves and then used that as an excuse to bust down a door instead of getting a search warrant. Surely that's a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Well, maybe it was last week, but it's not anymore thanks to eight Supreme Court justices who ruled yesterday that this behavior is fine and dandy. As Scott Lemieux says, the war on drugs is "where the Bill of Rights goes to die": (Ginsburg the only dissenter, gawd bless her.)
Dismayingly, and demonstrating again that the Supreme Court essentially lacks a real liberal wing, the decision was 8-1, with both of Obama’s appointees in the majority....The key problem with the case, as [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg convincingly argues, is that it’s the latest example of the drift of the exigency exception away from actual emergencies and toward the mere convenience of the police. If the police have time to obtain a warrant and there isn’t an actual emergency, they should be required to obtain one. But when security in the home faces the War (On Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs, it generally loses.

But don't worry. This will never happen to a law-abiding person like you. Nothing to get in a lather about. motherjones

Warrants Let Agents Enter Homes Without Owner Knowing

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORMAL) has a much more in depth article on this story and others.

I'll put my own two bits in here. Nobody but nobody, anywhere in the world, should be in jail for personal possession of drugs. I advocate it is a fundamental human right to stick down your neck whatever takes your fancy, without fear of recrimination by the state.

Sharing that view, a most unlikely ally, national treasure Brian Sewell, who I watched on one occasion advocating that all substances should be dispensed via a machine in Boot's the chemist. (A few Sewell clips below.)

Supreme Court eviscerates 4th Amendment over marijuana smell

The Five Worst States to Get Busted With Pot

America’s Shameful Prohibition: Life Sentences For Marijuana


Anonymous said...

Don't you just love this response H.

55. Jeanne
"I think this is the biggest crime of all. Arresting people because you think they are smoking marijuana in the privacy of their homes? Have all of you lost your mind, it’s a plant for Gods sake."

Himself said...

A couple for you.

''It's like saying God made a mistake''

Himself said...

Marijuana Will Get You

Aldous Huxley - Doors of Perception

Huxley's LSD Death Trip

Anonymous said...


Marijuana is a fun drug that makes people happy and calm and people should smoke it more. I am the Lord thy God, King of the Universe.

Himself said...

See this Maren then I can delete.

Anonymous said...
last comment
2 October 2012 07:29


Himself said...

It was a report, but I didn't want to leave it hanging about. I re-up it next time you are about.

Anonymous said...

Good morning H. It’s a bit complicated without e-mail/twitter. It’s the only way for the time being. Thanks for understanding. I trust you are doing well. M

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Thanks Maren, tweeted.