A Bloomberg report of October 22 was concise and uncompromising in declaring Russia to be a surveillance state. Harking back to the good old days of the Cold War, as is increasingly the practice in much of the Western media, Bloomberg recounted that “The fourth of 10 basic rules Western spies followed when trying to infiltrate Russia’s capital during the Cold War — don’t look back because you’re never alone — is more apt than ever. Only these days it’s not just foreigners who are being tracked, but all 12.6 million Muscovites, too. Officials in Moscow have spent the last few years methodically assembling one of the most comprehensive video-surveillance operations in the world. The public-private network of as many as 200,000 cameras records 1.5 billion hours of footage a year that can be accessed by 16,000 government employees, intelligence officers and law-enforcement personnel.”
Terrifying, one might think. Straight out of Orwell’s 1984, that dystopian prediction of what the world could become, as noted in one description of how the face of the state’s symbolic leader, Big Brother, “gazes at you silently out of posters and billboards. His imposing presence establishes the sense of an all-seeing eye. The idea that he is always watching from the shadows imposes a kind of social order. You know not to speak out against The Party — because big brother is watching… The face always appears with the phrase Big Brother is watching you. As if you could forget.” Such is the terrifying Bloomberg picture of Moscow where there are supposedly 200,000 video cameras. You can’t blow your nose without it being seen. And wait for the next phase, in which Big Brother will hear you laugh.
In line with the Western approach, there is little mention of surveillance in other cities, but the website ‘Caught on Camera’ has analysed world-wide practices. It reports that there are some 25 million closed-circuit surveillance cameras world-wide and “the United Kingdom [with 4 million cameras] has more CCTV activity than any other European country, per capita… surprisingly, the Wandsworth borough in London in particular has more CCTV cameras than Boston, Dublin, Johannesburg and San Francisco put together. It is estimated there are 500,000 cameras dotted around London. The average person living in London will be recorded on camera 300 times in one day.”
The statistics obtained by Caught on Camera and comparitech differ markedly from those in the Bloomberg story which was retailed throughout the Western world by many news outlets, who increasingly refer to the West as “the Free World”. Comparitech records that as at August 2019 Moscow, with a population of 12.4 million, had 146,000 (not 200,000) cameras, while London’s 9 million citizens were being watched by 627,707 cameras. The picture (if one may use that word) is slightly slanted. To put it another way, London has 68 cameras for each 1,000 people, and the ratios elsewhere are enlightening: Shanghai 113 (China is in treble figures in three cities); Atlanta (Ga) 15; Chicago 13; Baghdad, Sydney and Dubai 12; Moscow and Berlin 11; and St Petersburg, Canberra and Washington DC tie at 5.
The slanting doesn’t stop there, because there are other ways of attacking Russia, spearheaded by such as the Washington Post, which highlighted the Bloomberg surveillance tale. The Post behaves like Big Brother focusing on Winston Smith, the hapless victim/hero of 1984 whose job it is “to rewrite the reports in newspapers of the past to conform with the present reality.” There is an eerie resonance in this, because the Post’s reportage on Russia verges on the obsessively censorious, while it avoids mention of anything remotely positive.
Understandably, the Post relies heavily on such sources as “Meduza, a Latvia-based online news outlet that covers the Kremlin” which reported that the Russian government “passed a law earlier this year that lets Vladimir Putin take all the country’s Internet traffic off the World Wide Web if he decrees that there’s an ‘emergency’.”
The fact that the intelligence services of the West have worked for a long time to devise strategies and tactics to destroy internet services in Russia and many other countries is neither here nor there, but it is important for Western propaganda purposes to condemn Russia for taking measures to counter the manoeuvres of the West’s cyberwar agencies. The Post emphasised that arrangements were made by various Russian ministries and agencies, including the Emergencies Ministry and the Federal Security Service which “is the successor to the KGB, where Putin was once an officer.”
The absurdity of that needlessly-injected personal point is amusing in a way, and serves to highlight the unending reiteration of detail intended to set the western public against Russia. Naturally, there is exclusion of information that could lead to audiences approving of Russia in any way.
The news site Axios states it aims to “deliver the cleanest, smartest, most efficient and trust-worthy experience for readers and advertisers alike” but when it comes to Russia it appears that there could be a bit of selectivity in that delivery. For example, in October the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported approvingly that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), alcohol consumption in Russia “has dropped by 43% since 2003” and commented that the WHO had “put the decrease down to a series of measures brought in under the sport-loving president, Vladimir Putin, including restrictions on alcohol sales and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.” But Axios didn’t report it quite like that.
The Guardian also noted that “The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, led an anti-alcohol campaign with partial prohibition, which brought down consumption from the mid-1980s until 1990. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, alcohol consumption exploded, continuing to rise until the start of the 2000s. Under Putin, Russia has introduced measures including a ban on shops selling any alcohol after 11 pm, increases in the minimum retail price of spirits and an advertising blackout.” The result has been “increased life expectancies in Russia, which reached a historic peak in 2018, at 78 years for women and 68 years for men. In the early 1990s, male life expectancy was just 57 years.”
This is an amazing societal development. In no other country has there been a comparable initiative that resulted in such a massive and positive shift in community habits.
The BBC was more coy than the Guardian about allocating approval for the remarkable success of the programme, and confined itself to reporting that the WHO “attributed the decline to a series of alcohol-control measures implemented by the state, and a push towards healthy lifestyles.” There was no reference to President Putin, and indeed the credit went elsewhere, because “alcohol-control measures introduced under former President Dmitry Medvedev included advertising restrictions, increased taxes on alcohol and a ban on alcohol sales between certain hours.”
Axios followed suit, and ‘Radio Free Europe’ didn’t mention Presidents Putin, Medvedev or Gorbachev, retailing simply that the “decline in consumption was due to “alcohol-control measures introduced at the beginning of the 2000s.” There were no reports of the achievement in US mainstream outlets or the UK’s resolutely right-wing anti-Russia media. (The Guardian doesn’t carry a Russian flag; it merely reports without xenophobic bias.)
The WHO Case Study provides an admirably detailed timeline of legislature and other developments concerning Russia’s successful drive against alcohol abuse, recording, for example, that in 2018 there was a “presidential decree on ‘National Purposes and Strategic Development Challenges of the Russian Federation until 2024’… including in the field of public health. The aim is to increase life expectancy to 78 years by 2024 and to 80 years by 2030, as well as the proportion of citizens leading a healthy lifestyle and systematically engaging in physical activities and sports.”
Don’t expect such an initiative to be praised or even mentioned by the Western media. Big Brother prefers to slant the cameras.
**This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
Phillip Smith, IMI
It’s been five years since the era of legal marijuana sales began in Colorado, and that’s been enough time to begin to be able see what sorts of impact the freeing of the weed has had on the Rocky Mountain State. From the economy and the fiscal health of the state government to law enforcement and public safety, legalizing marijuana has consequences.
1.) They sure buy a lot of weed in Colorado, and the state’s coffers are filling up with marijuana tax revenues. Total marijuana sales in the state were more than $683 million in 2014—the year legal sales began—and have since more than doubled to more than $1.4 billion last year. Since legalization, the amount of legal weed sold in the state has now topped $6 billion. That’s created nearly 20,000 jobs, and it has also generated more than $900 million for the state government in marijuana taxes, licenses, and fees. Tax revenues have increased every year since legalization, and those dollars help fund public school projects, as well as human services, public affairs, agriculture, labor and employment, judicial affairs, health care policy, transportation and regulatory affairs. Pot revenues still only account for 1 percent of state revenues, but every $900 million helps.
2.) Marijuana arrests are way down, but black people are still getting busted disproportionately. Even though pot is legalized, there are still ways to get arrested on a marijuana charge, such as possessing more than an ounce or selling or growing unlicensed weed. Still, arrests have declined dramatically, dropping by 56 percent during the legalization era. Both possession and sales offenses declined, but arrests for unlawful production were up markedly, reflecting the state’s continuing fight to eliminate the black market. The age group most likely to get busted was 18-20-year-olds, who can only legally use or possess marijuana if they have a medical card. They are getting busted at a rate 30 times that of adults. Arrests are way down among all ethnic/racial groups, but black people are still getting arrested for pot at a rate nearly twice that of whites.
3.) Legalization has not led to more traffic fatalities. While the number of car drivers in fatal wrecks who had marijuana in their systems has increased dramatically, the report notes that “detection of cannabinoid in blood is not an indicator of impairment but only indicates presence in the system.” Marijuana DUIs were up 3 percent, but fatal traffic accidents involving marijuana-impaired drivers actually decreased by 5 percent.
4.) Use rates are up slightly among adults, but not among teens. The number of adults who reported using marijuana in the past 30 days has increased by 2 percent, with nearly one-fifth of men reporting past month use. That’s almost double the number of women reporting past month use. These are high rates of use compared to the nation as a whole, but the state has always had relatively high use rates, even dating back before legalization. (There is a chicken-and-egg question here: Do Coloradans like to smoke pot because weed is legal, or is weed legal because Coloradans like to smoke pot?) But what about the kids? Well, the kids are alright. Marijuana use rates among middle and high school students have been unchanged since legalization, and so have graduation rates.
5.) Emergency room visits linked to marijuana increased. Some 575 people presented to hospitals with marijuana-related problems back in 2000, but that number jumped to more than 3,500 by 2016. Emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers were both up. It’s important to note, however, that the vast majority of marijuana-related ER visits are related to panic or anxiety reactions and end with the patient eventually calming down and going home. Marijuana ER visits are not life-threatening events. The rise is also likely a function of new, naive users, especially of edibles, biting off more than they can chew.
About the Author
Phillip Smith is a senior writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent of Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has been a drug policy journalist for the past two decades. He is the longtime author of the Drug War Chronicle, the online publication of the non-profit StopTheDrugWar.org, and has been the editor of AlterNet’s Drug Reporter since 2015. He was awarded the Drug Policy Alliance’s Edwin M. Brecher Award for Excellence in Media in 2013.
A New Hampshire judge ruled authorities can examine recordings from an Amazon Echo voice assistant that may offer clues to the stabbing deaths of two women. A suspect in the case has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Prosecutors believe the Echo device recorded the stabbing and bludgeoning attack on Christine Sullivan, 48, as well as the subsequent removal of her body. They are seeking access to Amazon’s servers in order to recover the audio from that night. Tim Verrill is accused of killing Sullivan as well as Jenna Pellegrini, 32, at a Farmington, NH home and hiding their bodies under the porch, along with evidence of the murders.
The online giant, however, refused to allow access to the information “without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us.”
Amazon’s Echo is supposed to activate only when the user utters a predetermined “wake word,” but there have been numerous reports of the devices turning on by themselves, speaking and laughing creepily without being activated by the user.
Verrill was arrested in February 2017, having fled across state lines to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and subsequently charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of reckless second-degree murder, and five counts of falsifying physical evidence in connection with the two deaths and his actions in concealing them.
This isn’t the first time Alexa has given evidence in a murder case. In 2016, a murder suspect in Bentonville, Arkansas allowed police access to his Amazon Echo device – perhaps believing it would exonerate him – after the company itself had blocked a search warrant for its servers. The case was also unusual because investigators used the man’s water meter as evidence, alleging the abnormally high quantity of water used over the course of the night implied he had cleaned up after the murder of a man found floating in his backyard hot tub.
It is quite unlikely that somebody would be naïve enough to upload a copy of a newly released movie on his Facebook page with his real name since this would lead the law enforcement straight to the person, that too, in no time. However, it seems that there is one such person and his name is Trevon Franklin.
Franklin, a 22-year old resident of Fresno, California, was arrested in June 2017 for posting the movie Deadpool on his Facebook page only a week after the movie was released in the theatres. Due to his wrongdoing, millions of people got to watch the movie for free on Facebook.
The movie was posted by Franklin using the account Tre-Von M. King on Facebook, and it was uploaded via a website called Putlocker. The movie was viewed over 6 million times (6,386,456 views to be precise) after which the illegal upload was noticed by the FBI and 20th Century Fox. Franklin was easily identified and arrested.
In May 2018, Franklin pled guilty to a Class A misdemeanor and entered a plea agreement with the government according to which he was to be given reduced sentence. The government filed the recommended sentence last week and a California court will soon be sentencing the accused. It is expected that Franklin will be imprisoned for half a year or 6 months, as recommended by the government.
Between 1993 – 2007, Neil Woods was one of the UK’s leading undercover police officers, infiltrating some of the most dangerous drug gangs in British criminal history. He went in thoroughly invested in catching ‘bad guys’ – he left an ardent supporter of radical drug policy reform.
His damascene conversion stemmed from the realization that rather than Britain a safer place, his actions merely hurt vulnerable people and made the streets even more dangerous than before, all in the name of a futile and unwinnable war.
“I put drug dealers in prison for a combined total of 1,000 years, but only ever interrupted the flow of heroin and crack in a city for a few hours — and the same people at the top kept getting rich, however much authorities cracked down on it,” Neil told Sputnik.
He, with the help of JS Rafaeli, documented his experiences and conclusions in the acclaimed 2016 book Good Cop, Bad War — and it wasn’t long after publication a deluge of correspondence from members of the public who’d been impacted by the UK drug war in some way began flooding in to his proverbial in-tray. The book had a “huge impact”, Neil says, evidently touching many readers “in some quite raw places.”
To name but one representative example, a young man named Adam who grew up with heroin-addicted parents wrote to Neil, describing how as a child he’d witnessed his mother being forced to drink petrol over a £20 drug debt. Such letters — of which there were many — made him start questioning how Britain had reached this wretched point. His search for answers uncovered some shocking and uncomfortable truths — but also potential resolution.
Very early on in his quest, Neil realised in the mainstream drug policy debate, there was little understanding of — or even attempt to understand — the origins of Britain’s war on drugs. He found if one looked back to the early 1960s and prior, before illicit substances were properly criminalized in the UK, there was zero association between crime and drugs. No one stole to fund drug habits, and no organized cartels ran the drugs trade — if an individual had a drug problem, they got help from their doctor. It was dubbed ‘the British system’ — based on pragmatism and liberalism, it was “completely contrary to the American prohibitionist approach,” Neil records.
“This didn’t last long after World War II — the ‘British system’ fell victim to American moral imperialism, a highly aggressive and rarely acknowledged aspect of US foreign policy pursued by successive governments. The rest of the world was ‘whipped into shape’ by Washington in time post-1945, often due to financial threats, as America held so much of the world’s war debts. This pressure was used to ensure indebted countries — the UK owed the most, of course — followed the US way of doing things,” Neil told Sputnik.
In a perverse irony, at the time American politicians were pamphleteering their British counterparts to jump on the prohibitionist bandwagon, the US was home to hundreds of thousands of problematic heroin users — the UK only a few hundred.”There’s a very, very clear cause and effect at work here, which perfectly explains the mess we’re currently in — record numbers of people dying, violent criminal gangs running major cities, mass child exploitation, rampant police corruption, prisons awash with drugs and crime. It’s out of control — but the solution to these problems lies in our own history,” Neil told Sputnik.
Troubling examples of the seismic — and ever-evolving — impact prohibition has had on the drug trade, and dealers and users, are littered throughout Neil’s new work, Drug Wars. For instance, he interviewed three Liverpudlians, from three different generations, who’d been involved in the sale of drugs at separate, significant historical periods.
The first individual sold heroin during the drug’s 1970s ‘explosion’, the second got involved in the burgeoning 90s ecstasy market via working as a nightclub bouncer, the third was a 16-year-old who’d escaped from a ‘county lines’ drug syndicate. He asked them comparative questions about specific aspects of their experiences — their wildly divergent answers spoke volumes.For example, when quizzed over whether they would’ve been able to procure a gun if they wished, the first — the right-hand man of notorious gangster Curtis Warren, formerly Interpol’s ‘Target One’, who once appeared on The Sunday Times Rich List — said if he’d asked, he would’ve been brought to “higher-ups” in his criminal fraternity to explain himself.
“They would’ve refused, he said, then told him ‘don’t be bloody stupid, why would you want to draw attention to us?’, and to sort out any issues he had toe-to-toe. The second said while a similar attitude prevailed when he broke in, by the mid-90s everyone significant in the drugs trade had automatic weapons available to them. The third said he’d merely need a couple of hours to get hold of a firearm. He even recalled how on one occasion when he did want a gun, he was offered a grenade as one wasn’t available — which he accepted, and took home with him!” Neil told Sputnik.
The emergence of ‘county lines’ drug networks is in itself a palpable manifestation of the perils of prohibitionist approaches to drugs, Neil believes. In such conspiracies, organized crime syndicates exploit children — typically highly vulnerable, trapped in extreme poverty, living in care or outright homeless — to sell drugs in different, often rural parts of the country, away from their ‘headquarters’ in major cities and metropolitan centres.
It’s uncertain how many children are embroiled in such activities, but the UK Children’s Commissioner estimates there at least 46,000 in England — with 4,000 in London alone — operating in around 1,000 gangs.
“None of this would’ve happened if police hadn’t been so successful at taking down drug gangs, it’s so frustrating and obvious. People like me are ultimately responsible for the exploitation of children by criminals. Getting young people to hold and sell drugs is a great defense — they’re highly disposable and replaceable, easily manipulated, and readily bought. This is the tip of the iceberg, too, we ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s going to get significantly worse — more competitive, more violent, it’s going to spill onto city streets everywhere,” Neil told Sputnik.
The issue of ‘county lines’ has gotten so out of control that at at a September 4 conference in Parliament, independent MP John Woodcock called on Minister for Policing Nick Hurd to allow forces to tackle it in the same manner as counter-terrorism. Moreover, in July it was revealed UK police and intelligence services were using an undisclosed number of children — some of whom are under-16 — as spies in covert operations against violent drug gangs. Moreover, the government was seeking to extend the length of their deployment periods from one to three months, as juvenile informants were sometimes unable to complete their “tasking” in the standard period — and such a short space of time might discourage their wider use by authorities. For Neil, the “quite terrifying” disclosure was intimately connected to the rise of ‘county lines’.”Gangsters also used children because children can’t become police officers, go undercover and infiltrate drug gangs. What police can do though is arrest young people and offer to let them off if they turn informant. The government’s proposals were about ensuring legislation facilitates greater police reliance on child informants — but it’s just going to lead to greater threats to the children involved, as gangs will simply ramp up violence and intimidation to frighten their young lieutenants into silence. The government can treat the issue like terrorism, throw whatever resources they want at the problem, but they’re never going to effectively tackle it while they remain wedded to prohibition,” Neil told Sputnik.
Making the task of crafting and implementing rational, evidence-based drug policy in the UK all the more difficult, Neil says, are ‘moral panics’ regularly perpetuated by the mainstream media, which grossly exaggerate — if not outright fabricate — the threat of particular drugs, stoking irrational public fears, and prompting governments determined to ‘look tough’ to take reckless, unnecessary legislative action.
For instance, in summer 2009 alarming news stories about mephedrone, a synthetic psychoactive stimulant, began circulating throughout the UK. Use of the hazardous drug was said to have rapidly reached epidemic levels, in the process killing dozens of users, and landing many others in hospital — one man reportedly tore off his own scrotum after mephedrone-induced hallucinations convinced him poisonous centipedes were crawling all over his body.More shockingly still, children were even said to be swept up in the drug’s mephitic grasp, with hundreds of pupils across the country regularly missing school as a result — but teachers and police officers alike were powerless to confiscate the substance, as it could be purchased legally online, often under cuddly euphemistic names such as ‘meow meow’.
There was, however, a small problem — not one of these stories was even vaguely true. Mepehdrone was only marketed by online retailers as ‘plant food’ for legal reasons, the tale of the crazed imbiber mutilating his body was actually a fiction originally posted in jest on a legal high website, and not a single death has ever been conclusively linked directly to the chemical as of September 2018. Moreover, the name ‘meow meow’ was virtually — if not entirely — unheard of on British streets prior to its appearance in the media.
Students take drink and drugs to cope with increasing debt worries
Still, undeterred by the apocryphal nature of these narratives, mainstream media reporting on mephedrone quickly metamorphosed into a fully-fledged crusade, with horror-stories of lives lost and families destroyed becoming an almost daily fixture of print and television news, and impassioned reporters habitually lambasting the government for their abject failure to act on the nationwide menace.
The impact of this onslaught was seismic — in addition to widely publicizing the drug’s existence and boosting its rates of usage, the government was successfully compelled to move decisively on the illusory scourge, announcing March 2010 mephedrone — and all other cathinones — would be completely illegalized.
While hailed as a grand triumph by the media, the move precipitated the resignations of several members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, a governmental body. One, Eric Carlin, said the government had forged policy “unduly based on media and political pressure”, which would needlessly criminalize users, “harming people who need help and support”. Moreover, Neil notes the ban merely pushed the trade onto the black market, with potentially catastrophic results.”Banning mephedrone didn’t make the public any safer — all it did was put yet more money in the pockets of organized crime groups, as they took up the trade and boosted prices accordingly. It also injected violence into a market where none existed previously — penalties for getting caught with the drug obviously greatly increased, so intimidation did too, to deter grasses. The media bears a huge responsibility for that, and there are obvious lessons for them to learn from the fiasco — but I’m yet to see much recognition of this among journalists. In fact, over the summer I saw several stories about a new drug called ‘monkey dust’, which were similarly complete nonsense,” Neil despairs.
In Spite of Politics
Nonetheless, recent developments have given Neil cause for optimism. At the start of September, he spoke at a conference on drug policy reform in Middlesborough, northern England. A number of of experts joined him — including Barry Coppinger, the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
In his address, Coppinger unveiled a pioneering pilot scheme aimed at helping hardcore drug addicts in the city turn their lives around. All local long-term addicts, for whom all other treatment has failed, and who are the most active criminals in the town, stealing and more to finance their addictions, will be invited to join.
Under the plan’s auspices, a clinic will be established to allow heroin users to self-administer the drug under professional supervision three times a day in a program designed weans them off their addiction. Concurrently, appropriate medical and housing assistance will be provided to get them off the streets, and assist their reintegration into society. If successful, it’s hope similar schemes will be launched in other major cities and towns in the UK.”Police are leading the way, bringing in constructive reforms in spite of politics. There’s growing awareness among forces across the country arresting dealers only creates opportunities for others, and ‘getting tough’ on drugs never reduces size of the market, merely changes the shape of it. Treating drug addiction as a public health issue, rather than a criminal justice problem, is the only solution — and if we don’t try revert to the tried and tested ‘British system’ of old, the cycle will continue. For a fraction of the cost of investigating, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning these people, we can change their lives — and their local communities — immeasurably for the better, and free up vast resources currently squandered on fighting the senseless drug war,” Neil concludes.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
Chicago gun violence erupted to start this weekend, leaving two people dead and at least 18 others severely wounded, including a woman killed in a brutal domestic dispute. It follows last weekend’s record for violent crime, when 12 people were killed and 74 shot.
Some have linked the increased aggression among residents to relentless scorching hot temperatures this summer, and Chicago has been ground zero for inner city aggression in 2018. According to NBC Chicago, the most recent incident occurred Saturday morning in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. A 25-year-old man was wounded in a shooting at about 1:55 a.m. in the 4000 block of West Grenshaw.
Law enforcement officials said he was standing outside when two people began firing shots that struck the man. First responders rushed him to St. Anthony’s Hospital with gunshot wounds to the buttocks and the groin, with the hospital now listing him in fair condition.
About 4:45 p.m. Friday, a 29-year-old woman involved in a domestic dispute with someone in the 2500 block of East 79th Street was killed, Chicago police said. The woman, who had a pending court order against the shooter, suffered a fatal gunshot to her back, police said.
Genice Hines, the mother of the 15-year-old, told the Chicago Tribune it felt like any other Friday night, until late evening when she left work and received a terrifying call. Her son and nephew, two close friends, had been shot. The boys were both standing at the 1300 block of South Independence Boulevard in the West Side’s Lawndale neighborhood when they heard gunfire. Reports indicated the children were about a block from the gas station at Roosevelt Road and Independence.
The 15-year-old was shot in the head, and the 17-year-old was shot in the abdomen. First responders took them both to Mount Sinai Hospital where they were both listed in good condition.
“Chicago is a scary place to be,” Hines warned. “Even I’m scared to walk to the corner store.”
The boys were among 20 people shot in the past 48 hours. NBC Chicago provides the list of shootings:
about midnight, a man was wounded after he was shot somewhere on his body in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side;
a 17-year-old girl was struck in the left shoulder and lower back while she was standing in the kitchen of a home about 2:10 a.m. in the South Side Chatham neighborhood;
about 9:15 a.m., two men and a 12-year-old girl were wounded in a drive-by shooting Friday morning in the Gresham neighborhood on the South Side. The three victims conditions were stabilized at area hospitals;
about 11:45 a.m., A 25-year-old man was shot in the left calf in a shooting Friday morning in the Gresham neighborhood on the South Side. The mans condition was stabilized at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn;
about 3:20 p.m., a 28-year-old man was sitting on a porch in the 5100 block of South Prairie Avenue when a dark-colored car pulled up and someone inside opened fire, police said. The man was struck in his leg and foot, and was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition stabilized;
about 5 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was wounded in the abdomen in the 2300 block of North Major. He was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was stabilized;
shortly after 5 p.m., a 41-year-old was inside an abandoned building in the 11900 block of South Michigan when he got into a fight with someone he knew, police said. The person he was fighting with pulled out a gun and shot him in the right leg. He was taken to Roseland Community Hospital, where his condition was stabilized;
about 6:15 p.m., a 37-year-old man was shot in his leg in the 6400 block of South Martin Luther King Drive. He taken by paramedics to Saint Bernard Hospital, where his condition stabilized;
about 7:10 p.m., a 20-year-old bicyclist was seriously wounded after another bicyclist shot him in the West Side Austin neighborhood. He was biking in the 5200 block of West Washington Boulevard when a male following him on a bike opened fire, police said;
about 8:50 p.m., Two teenage boys were wounded in a shooting Friday night in the Lawndale neighborhood on the Southwest Side. The boys, ages 15 and 17, were standing on a sidewalk in the 1300 block of South Independence Boulevard when he heard gunshots, police said. The older boy was struck in the abdomen, and the 15-year-old suffered a graze wound to his head. They both took themselves to Mount Sinai Hospital, where they were listed in good condition; and
about 10:20 p.m., Two men were wounded in a shooting Friday night in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side. A 29-year-old was shot in his leg and was taken to Christ Medical Center, where his condition stabilized, police said. A 33-year-old was struck in his foot and was taken to Roseland Community Hospital, where his condition also stabilized.
20 Shot Overnight In Chicago: “I’m Scared To Walk To The…
Chicago gun violence erupted to start this weekend, leaving two people dead and at least 18 others severely wounded,…
The state of New York is using facial recognition cameras to identify drivers and passengers at toll booths.A recent article in the New York Post revealed that toll booths use facial recognition to identify everyone.
A team of researchers from MIT have developed and tested a technology called RF-Pose, which uses artificial intelligence to track and identify the postures and movements of individuals through solid walls.
By analyzing radio signals which are bounced off people’s bodies, the technology can create stick figure interpretations of the subject with an accuracy of about 83%.
The developers say that RF-Pose could be used by healthcare practitioners to monitor diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s. However, the technology has been a call to concern for privacy advocates.
If a normal camera is recording me, it means I am able to see the camera, too. [However,] If the camera can be hidden behind or even inside an object, I would never be able to know when I am being monitored. – Ginés Hidalgo, Research Associate at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University
The team claims that this problem is being addressed as they “have developed mechanisms to block the use of the technology, and it anonymizes and encrypts the data.”
Other uses of the technology include search and rescue missions as well as video games, says the developers, who are set to present the technology at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) later this month in Salt Lake City, Utah.
RF-Pose technology can “see” computer-generated silhouettes of human bodies.
The team is also working on technology to create 3D interpretations which would have even greater accuracy and identify smaller movements, according to a statement released by MIT.
By using this combination of visual data and AI to see through walls, we can enable better scene understanding and smarter environments to live safer, more productive lives. – Mingmin Zhao, Lead Researcher
This type of technology is nothing new, as previous research dating back to 2013 reveals that MIT researchers have been attempting to create “X-ray vision” technology for at least five years. Although touting different benefits such as heat regulation and use on Hollywood sets, the goal of “seeing” through walls remains the same.
Law enforcement came under scrutiny in 2015 for using a similar device to see through walls, effectively bypassing Fourth Amendment protections to privacy.
They clearly are useful for law enforcement. But just because they are useful doesn’t mean they should be unregulated by the law…If police wanted to enter my home to conduct search or make an arrest, it has always been clear they would have to get a warrant from a judge first because the home is the most private place we have. – Nathan Wessler, Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The new device from MIT raises a separate issue as they are not currently attempting to sell the technology to police, but to private companies. However, as we saw in 2015, government always wants to get their hands on the most recent technology.
The Supreme Court issued a major statement on digital privacy in June, ruling that the government is required to obtain a warrant if they want to collect the location data from a customer’s cellphone company, deciding that by allowing a private company access to personal data, an individual is not granting the government a right to view that data without a warrant.
By extension, it would imply that the government could not illegally obtain the information gathered by RF-Pose technology either. But the ruling could be overturned in the future as Justice Ginsburg, who voted 5-4 in favor of consumer privacy, is approaching 85 years of age.
We don’t doubt for a moment that the rise of increasingly sophisticated and invasive search technologies will invite us to venture down this way again — and soon. – Judges Official Statement on Police Radars
It is an undisputed fact that cops frequently kill dogs.
That being said, when an officer exhibits courage instead of cowardice when confronted by man’s best friend, they deserve recognition. Body cam footage from a Meridian police officer shows exactly the kind of courage and training police officers should possess.
The video was obtained and shared to Facebook by Edith Williams, who thanks the Meridian police chief for the video and helping her cause – a public group called Idaho for Nonlethal Canine Encounters, according to KBOI News.
According to Williams, reports KBOI, the police department sent two officers to a Defensive Tactics Canine Encounters class back in 2014. Officers were taught how to use confidence and “less lethal means” while “keeping the officer, innocent bystanders and the public’s canine companions from harm.”
The cop in the video below, Officer David Gomez, was one of the officers who attended that training. His application of the knowledge obtained through the class was nothing short of astonishing.
As the body camera footage begins, Gomez is responding to a call about two vicious dogs that were roaming the neighborhood. Instead of pulling out his gun and killing the dogs, like most police officers would have done, Gomez applies his training.
Gomez could have easily killed both dogs, and most people wouldn’t have batted an eye, but he chose to preserve life rather than destroy it — and the end result was amazing.
Using only a baton (to distract, not to beat) and pepper spray, Gomez called the dogs over to him as not to put the rest of the neighbors in danger. When the dogs approach him, one is foaming at the mouth, and both of them are very aggressive.
When they try to bite Gomez, he puts the baton in between himself and the dogs which serves as a barrier as well as a distraction. Every time the dogs tried to run away, which would have endangered anyone who was outside, Gomez bravely called them back — and they returned.
At the end of the interaction, Gomez comes up with a perfect plan, and it actually works. The crisis was averted with no bloodshed, and Gomez has shown the world that cops killing so many dogs is entirely unnecessary.
“This has been a true labor of love,” Williams said.
Below is the incredible video — watch it until the end.
The Governors Highway Safety Association calls itself “The States Voice on Highway Safety” and holds annual training meetings to indoctrinate law enforcement agencies all across the country. However, the GHSA should genuinely call itself “The Alcohol Industry’s Voice,” as its latest report is entirely funded by the alcohol industry in a blatant attempt to paint cannabis users as the real highway villains.
GHSA’s report was funded completely by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (www.responsibility.org) and is titled “Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States.” The report was quickly broadcast across mainstream media outlets who are also largely funded by the alcohol industry’s advertisements. Curiously absent from the media coverage though was the fact the report was entirely paid for by Responsibility.org.
GHSA’s report pins the blame for impaired driving deaths on cannabis and opioids. Listed in the report are a number of disturbing encouragements to law enforcement agencies:
1. Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) for a “majority” of police officers
2. Implementation of “oral fluid devices” to test for drugs
3. Increasing the number of Drug Recognition Experts (DRE’s)
4. Training of judges and prosecutors to enforce Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) laws
5. Train officers to investigate drug impairment even when alcohol is suspected in DUI cases
6. Authorize electronic search warrants for drug tests
7. Penalize people when they refuse drug tests
8. Require blood testing for drugs
9. Establishment of DUID laws equivalent to DUI laws
10. Drug-testing fatally injured drivers as well as any and all surviving drivers where a fatality has occurred
Nearly all of the “recommendations,” if implemented, will lead to increased mass incarceration of the U.S. populace, which already has the largest prison population in the world. The recommendations could lead to more completely innocent and unimpaired drivers being jailed by, as The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, so-called Drug Recognition Experts.
The costs of more DUIs will only enrich lawyers, drug-testing programs, probation companies, and vehicle-installed DUI device corporations. Additionally, research indicates that THC tests of saliva and THC-blood levels are no indication of impairment and can remain in a person’s system for up to 30 days following consumption.
While the GHSA’s report appears to be concerned with “highway safety,” it relies on highly subjective and unreliable data to arrive at its conclusions and subsequent recommendations.
Many Emergency Room doctors or nurses can testify that it is often the drunk driver who survives an accident whereby other drivers are killed. However, such qualitative data is absent from GHSA’s data analysis, which used the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) stats from 2006, 2015, and 2016 to arrive at its conclusion that more drivers who die in accidents were on drugs than alcohol. GHSA reported:
In 2016, 43.6% of the drivers with known drug test results were drug-positive. In 2015, of the drivers with known test results, 43.0% in the annual report le and 43.4% in the nal le were drug-positive.
Of the drivers with known alcohol test results, 37.9% were alcohol-positive (any alcohol at all) in 2016 compared to 38.0% in the 2015 annual report le and 38.1% in the nal le.
Wow! Isn’t that a convenient statistic? The alcohol industry paid for a report that appears to show drugged drivers were more likely to die in accidents than alcohol-impaired drivers. All of which should come as no surprise to those who funded the report. Fortunately, as TFTP has reported, these myths have already been debunked by researchers who are not being paid by Big Alcohol:
Citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Forbes reported that not only is marijuana use safer than alcohol use when it comes to driving, but far fewer fatalities are recorded when marijuana is present than when alcohol is present in traffic fatality instances. “It looks like marijuana’s impact on traffic safety has been greatly exaggerated,” writes Forbes.
Research from the American Automobile Association (AAA) has also shown that no scientific basis exists to legitimize current THC testing because a blood test threshold for THC—the chemical component of cannabis that makes people ‘high’—is not scientifically possible:
Those tests employ a blood level-based judgment similar to that used for determining alcohol impairment. But AAA found such tests for THC are wholly unreliable—sending potentially unimpaired drivers to jail and putting impaired drivers back behind the wheel.
There is understandably a strong desire by both lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment in the same manner we do alcohol,” said AAA president and CEO, Marshall Doney, as reported by the Associated Press. “In the case of marijuana this approach is flawed and not supported by scientific research.”
Not only does it appear that the GHSA’s statistics are flawed, but it is also clear that they do not align with other non-biased organizations’ conclusions. However, one of the most disturbing issues that have been revealed by this report is the fact that the alcohol industry is training law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and lawyers on how to detect, charge, litigate, and prosecute cannabis users in the judicial system.
*** Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine.
New York, NY — As jails fill up, families get torn apart, and otherwise entirely innocent people have their lives ruined by the state, politicians are finally coming to terms with the immoral nature of kidnapping and caging people for possessing a plant. The libertine function of the war on drugs has become so glaring that some politicians aren’t waiting on their states to legalize and they are now disobeying laws that throw people in jail for marijuana.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. out of Manhattan announced this week that his office will refuse to prosecute people for possessing and smoking marijuana.
Illustrating the powerful notion that change does not come from sitting idly by and rolling over—and that true change comes when good people decide it is time to break bad laws—Vance said that his office will stop prosecuting marijuana possession and smoking cases starting Aug. 1 except for a few cases involving “demonstrated public safety concerns.”
It is no secret that a marijuana conviction is a blow to individual freedom—even if you were lucky enough not to go to jail or have already gotten out. A drug conviction limits the ability for people to get a job, borrow money, or even find a place to live. This attack on freedom then leads to a function known as recidivism which limits an individual’s choices thereby fostering an environment which will lead to that person ending up back in jail.
What’s more, politicians are finally beginning to realize the problem the drug war presents to minorities as they find themselves victims to far more police brutality and harsher penalties in regards to drug enforcement despite using at the same rate as their white counterparts.
Congressman Ron Paul has been saying this for decades.
[Black people] are tried and imprisoned disproportionately. They suffer the consequence of the death penalty disproportionately. Rich white people don’t get the death penalty very often. And most of these are victimless crimes. Sometimes people can use drugs and get arrested three times and never committed a violent act and they can go to prison for life. I think there’s discrimination in the system, but you have to address the drug war. I would say the judicial system is probably one of the worst places where prejudice and discrimination still exists in this country.
Even mayor Bill de Blasio is realizing it, saying at a press conference this week, that “we must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement.”
This idea is spreading, too. After Vance came out with his refusal to prosecute people for pot, Brooklyn’s district attorney quickly followed suit and publicly stated that he would scale back prosecutions as well.
“The dual mission of the Manhattan D.A.’s office is a safer New York and a more equal justice system,” Vance said in a statement. “The ongoing arrest and criminal prosecution of predominantly black and brown New Yorkers for smoking marijuana serves neither of these goals.”
“We have got to continue to drive down the arrests,” De Blasio said Monday on TV station NY1. “We’ve got to look at other policy changes that will help us do that. I don’t accept disparity. I really don’t.”
Make no mistake, the only reason political blowhards like De Blasio are even considering this move is because of the pressure from the public. Americans are waking up to the atrocities carried out and the police state created by government waging war on what people can and cannot put into their own bodies and politicians are feeling the heat.
Also, the evidence is finally becoming to overwhelming to ignore. While the moves by these DAs to stop prosecuting marijuana crimes is certainly a good start, it does not go far enough.
New York should free every single person in prison right now who is rotting away over a pot conviction. They should be freed immediately and their records should be expunged.
Although this may sound extreme, other states like California and Washington—who’ve legalized marijuana—are making similar moves to right the wrongs perpetuated by decades of the failed war on drugs.
The city of Seattle is also wiping the records of citizens it has prosecuted over the years for possessing a plant. In fact, as the National Conference of State Legislatures noted, “at least nine states have passed laws addressing expungement of certain marijuana convictions,” and in most of these states, “expungement measures pair with other policies to decriminalize or legalize.”
It seems that the war on drugs has finally begun to unravel. Politicians, desperate to end up on the right side of history, are now making the right moves to remedy some of the problems caused by this immoral war.
Unfortunately, however, as Jeff Sessions’ career illustrates, there are still plenty of dinosaurs in suits willing cage people for a plant. So, as we keep winning these battles, it is important to stay on point—because the war is still far from over.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.
— Though right-wing commentators continue to decry the ‘war on cops,’ the latest data released by the country’s top law enforcement undermines that alarmist narrative.
According to the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, released this week, there were fewer police deaths in 2017 than in 2016. In 2016, 118 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty while in 2017, that number was 93.
More telling is the type of death the officers suffered. Last year, 46 officers were killed “feloniously” on the job while 47 died in accidents. As the FBI’s press release noted, “Both numbers have decreased from 2016, during which 66 officers were feloniously killed and 52 were accidentally killed, for a total of 118 line-of-duty deaths.”
The data is collected from “local, state, tribal, campus, and federal law enforcement agencies from around the country, as well as organizations that track officer deaths.”
A closer look at the statistics reveals further just how nonexistent the war on cops actually is. Of the 46 officers feloniously killed on the job, five were ambushed (defined as “entrapment/premeditation” by the FBI) and 3 were victims of unprovoked attacks. Twenty-one died during “investigative or enforcement activities,” which include traffic stops, investigating suspicious persons, or tactical situations.
In other words, they were killed doing the jobs they signed up to do (consider the popular refrain that ‘cops risk their lives’ — that’s part of the job description), though police officer does not even crack the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States.
The takeaway here is that while some officers die on the job — and that is unfortunate — the deliberate sentiment to kill officers simply because they are police officers is not on the rise.
Thirty-five officers died in car accidents — more than four times the number killed by ambushes and unprovoked attacks (eight) — and according to the FBI, “of the 29 officers killed in automobile accidents, 12 were wearing seatbelts, and 15 were not,” though two of the officers not wearing seatbelts were sitting in parked cars. Regardless, more officers died in car accidents while not wearing seatbelts (a violation of the laws they enforce, as it happens) than died as a result of flagrant attacks on their lives isolated from situational circumstances.
Further, the total number of officers killed by accident far dwarfs the number killed in ambushes or unprovoked attacks, and the total is still greater than all law enforcement deaths recorded in the annual report.
Further still, the number of cops killed feloniously was higher in 2016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 than it was last year, suggesting the rate of cop murders is subject to fluctuation and not consistently on the rise.
In another relevant detail, zero federal law enforcement agents were killed in 2017. In 2016, one was killed.
Despite the ongoing claims that police are under assault (as they continue to assault the public) — and despite congressional action to designate killing police officers a hate crime — for yet another year, this war on cops notion is proving to be nothing more than a myth.
Many Federal Agents, aka Feds, “sell out” to the evil Ruling Cabal because of great pay, the best benefits and a sense of power; and the alternative would cause major personal losses and extreme “forever” problems.
Why do so many Federal agents, aka Feds, seem unaware or uncaring of the monstrous evil they contribute to when they follow the illegal and unconstitutional policies of their agencies which are mandated by the evil Ruling Cabal?
The majority of all Feds have drunk the Cabal Koolaide and have been effectively mind-kontrolled by their internalization of the particular subculture of power wearing the USG cloak of authority they have been socialized into.
Thus, it is fair to say that they have become true believers in their subculture and all the Cabal myths that support their false beliefs. It is the powerful rewards for internalizing this authoritarian subculture of the Cabal and all the rewards given them for doing so that motivates them to “sell out” to this Cabal-defined and -controlled Hierarchical system of authority and control.
However, there are always some feds who learn that the subculture of their agency is a lie, and most of the time they just live in quiet desperation to maintain their great pay and top benefits (which includes the best retirement packages imaginable).
Those that have too much character and integrity to go along just to get along, leave their jobs. Those few that try to change things get stepped on hard by the Cabal – often fired, blacklisted, sometime harassed for life, some get jailed on phony trumped up charges and some get murdered.
Older Feds are more likely to learn the sad truth that they work for evil, satanic kingpins of the Cabal, top policy-makers that are part of powerful think-tanks and organizations outside the mainstream USG.
But why do those that learn of the total corruption at the top of their agencies do nothing and usually go away quietly? Because they know that if they cross the set policies of their agency and appear to veer away from the prescribed belief set, they will be stepped on hard by the full authority of the USG like a boot in their face 24/7.
The USG provides all kinds of low-labor “sweetheart jobs” to the Cabal-approved “yes-men and -women”, most of whom are connected to the Cabal families.
This is a major and truly disgusting theft and waste of US Taxpayer monies. It’s always “pigs at the taxpayer trough” for DC officials and elected politicians. But the large corporations that stack the US Congress with massive Campaign funds (thanks to the Citizens United case) feed at this taxpayer trough even more.
Why does the US Department of Justice have a cadre of 500 lawyers designated the Senior Executive Services who are basically untouchable and who receive very high salaries and benefits? And why do they cover up so many crimes of the USG and Ruling Cabal?
Why don’t Feds do their jobs and start arresting all the pedophiles and crooks that populate DC?
First, most Lower level Feds are so highly compartmentalized and removed from the secret evil and Globalist NWO agenda and policies of the Ruling Cabal, that they just do not understand how their agency serves as a parasitical plague on We The People, and the world. Most of their daily responsibilities are basic Law Enforcement and actually much needed services by the public. But a fair portion are predatory and based on anti-human evil self-serving policies of the Ruling Cabal top policy-makers.
Second, most Feds have completely internalized the false ideology of their agency which has been carefully provided by the Cabal leaders and is quite anti-human in many ways when carefully examined. And these Cabal leaders who sit at the top of a USG (including military and Intel) and corporate Hierarchy, set all their major policies, and create the agency subcultures which fit together to support their age-old Globalist NWO Agenda.
Third, those Feds that do find this out and feel compelled to speak out get “stepped on” by the Ruling Cabal. Of course, the Ruling Cabal’s several top leaders are able to easily subvert and neutralize the Rule of Law. Cabal leaders can do this because of the extreme, absolute Caesarean Power they wield by occupying the very top of their Hierarchy, thereby easily making self-serving policies and exerting Control over all aspects of the USG, Congress and Law Enforcement.
It is this evil Ruling Cabal that runs the Secret Shadow Government (SSG) and sets the top policies that govern every Federal agency. These several evil parasitical, soulless Cabal top leaders determine set policies that determine how USG agency leaders cover up major Cabal and Federal Crimes, often imposing national security as a false but effective cover.
The Cabal policies in place that control the alphabets and LE agencies ensure the continuing cover-up of their crimes.
These covered up crimes usually include Treason, Sedition, major criminal and civil RICO, pedophile, war-making, crimes against humanity, subversion of the US Rule of Law, the Constitution and Bill or Rights. Crimes the Cabal used the FBI and Department of Just-us to cover up typically include satanic-based pedophile, child sacrifice, sex trafficking, organ trafficking, and many other unimaginable crimes.
Supervisors in these federal agencies appear to follow the orders given at the top of the Ruling Cabal Hierarchy and always follow these mandates and policies set by these top Cabal leaders or their Cutouts (without questioning them). If they don’t, they know that severe life-destroying sanctions will always follow in short order. Any Fed can “sandbag” (look busy but accomplish little as a way of silently dissenting, a frequent occurrence nowadays.
Part of the problem is that many Federal agents enact one small piece of the total work product of their agency, and do not know the full work product and output.
Nor do they understand or comprehend the extent of the evil done to individuals or society at large by the overall functions of their total agency work product, especially with those cases directly managed by their agency leadership.
Take the FBI for example. Any serious cases with potentially serious public blowback are taken over by the Washington Field Office (WFO). The WFO then carefully manipulates the evidence, covers it up, sometimes using extreme and completely illegal methods using specially deployed, closely trusted specialists. Many of these specialists have sold out to the Cabal or been deeply compromised themselves or mind-kontrolled to believe the false narratives provided by the Ruling Cabal. This keeps most ordinary field agents from ever understanding the final work product, which is often a serious RICO crime or cover up initiated to protect the interests of the Ruling Cabal or the agency itself.
I know about these false-narratives of the Cabal because many years ago I was briefed by a Fed who gave me what is known as the “John Cathey talk”. When I asked this man if he ever felt bad about his agency (the Company) bringing in massive amounts of illegal narcotics to sell to raise off-the-books black ops money, below is what he stated to me as something I should pay attention to. This high ranking Intel man was not part of the trafficking operations but knew about them and accepted them as normal Intel procedures. Here is what he told me, and he said this was the talk given to him by “John Cathey” years before, when he was briefed.
“Drugs and prostitution have always been here. It is a fact of history and no one is ever going to stop these vices. Now these are hard realities of life. Drugs will always be imported and sold; it’s a fact of history and a fact of life. We don’t force anyone to use drugs, it’s their own free choice. Now do you want all this money to go to the scumbag street urchins to waste, or doesn’t it make more sense for this money to go to your government to be used to protect the national security of America so America can remain strong and you can have true freedom? Nobody forces anyone to buy or use drugs, it’s an individual choice, but it just happens to be an historical reality that it goes on. So grow up and think like a big boy. If you don’t do this, somebody else will anyway, so it’s not like your refusal would ever make a dent in all this anyway.”
We all know that the “Feds” are: FBI, DHS, FEMA, DEA, CIA, US Marshals and all other agents of the USG who carry arrest rights for federal crimes.
Lately even the mere suspicion of a federal agency under the Patriot Act and NDAA can result in a search warrant, a national security letter that “suggests” your employer fire you for being a suspected terrorist (when you are not), or a warrant for your arrest. Under the Patriot Act you can be arrested, taken to a black military prison for life, tortured (or murdered) and never given any legal counsel or even come before a judge at any time.
Many of us know that it is very difficult to ever hold any Feds accountable for their illegal acts and individual crimes unless they are set up to be discredited or cast out of their agencies because they have gone outside allowed parameters of behavior (which happens once in awhile to make the public think there is actually rule of law for top officials and Feds—there isn’t).
Why do so many Federal Agents habitually continue to violate the spirit of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights while putting on the appearance that they believe they are in fact doing what is right and just?
After all, Feds have to take an oath of office to uphold the US Constitution and defend it from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Evil has become institutionalized as normal in these agencies and is now expected because “this is just the way things are done”.
Most lower level Feds been provided big lies, false-narratives and propaganda by the Cabal which they have believed, and they have been convinced that their immoral, unconstitutional actions are normal and okay.
Have most lower level “worker bee” Feds been bamboozled by the massive wealth and power that stands behind their badge, and has it corrupted their thinking and motivation? Or have many identified with their evil leaders? The answer is yes to both of these questions.
Is there a common process that has corrupted most Federal Law Enforcement Officers that has also corrupted the leaders of those agencies they work for? The answer is yes.
And if so, has this process that has corrupted the leaders of LE agencies and Federal LE Officers also corrupted the Major Mass Media who help to support it in lock-step. Have most USG-elected and appointed officials been corrupted by this Cabal-created policy, high pay and the pleasure of wearing the USG badge of power and speciality? Is this why all FBI are called “Special Agents”?
Yes, there appears to be a common process to this indoctrination of Cabal ideology and values for those wearing the cloak of USG authority and power. Most become seduced by the job security and great sense of power they gain by working as an agent of the Ruling Cabal which runs America and much of the world.
Psychologists have identified the process by which folks attempt to create cognitive consistency in their world. When they are being directed and well paid by a very powerful Ruling Cabal, there is strong motivation to identify with the prescribed values and practices, as well as the culture created by the Cabal at the top of the USG Hierarchy and to view it as a favorable part of themselves. All such is necessary to receive great pay, great benefits and great retirement. Feds are thus motivated to resolve any major cognitive dissonance in their daily jobs by aligning their operational beliefs with their agency’s practices and culture. They do this by realigning their beliefs and forming new norms and expectations for behaviors to establish cognitive consistency.
First, it is a fact that national security is often invoked as a false cloak providing cover for many of the illegal and unconstitutional acts of these Federal agents, and this serves as a strong motivator for Feds to just accept that sometimes rules and laws must be broken to protect America. The term “national security” is actually best defined as the personal security of the top Cabal members and their close associates and Cutouts who serve them and their policies directly.
Second, there are long term norms and strange subcultures that have emerged which have normalized these grave crimes against We The People and America. Breaking laws, violating the Constitution and Bill of Rights and doing abject evil on behalf of the Ruling Cabal is the new norm and what is not only expected but is often relished because many Feds love wearing the cloak of Cabal power. Many enjoy using and abusing this government power provided by the Cabal against ordinary Americans who they often label and view as under-socialized low-lifes and scum.
Recently a significant number of disgruntled active and former agents have leaked the actual methodologies used to circumvent the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and current state and federal laws as well as RICO. Many leaked in secret, some now done openly to a degree never before dared occasionally as a group. More and more are now coming to believe that illegal and unconstitutional actions and attempts to use secrecy and national security to cover them up are serious RICO crimes in and of themselves, and nullify secrecy rights. I believe that this is a proper view that will soon be upheld in some federal courts, as populism continues to expand geometrically.
It’s a sad fact that some Cabal Leaders and their high associates and Cutouts, members of the US Congress and the administration, federal agents, and federal Judges are the biggest, most serious law-breakers in America. No doubt the top Ruling Cabal Policy-makers are the biggest lawbreakers who do the most unimaginably inconceivable evil of anyone and get away with it because they control Federal Investigations and have historically been able to stop them or sidetrack them anytime they want. The FBI and CIA and all alphabets including DHS are actually functioning as a large RICO crime syndicate, continually servicing the needs of the Ruling Cabal (which some call the Deep State or Secret Shadow Government SSG).
Take the amazing case of Lee Wanta, known to insiders as the 27-Trillion-Dollar financial genius.
Here is a man who became a Fed and lived by his Christian beliefs and values, filled with character and integrity and a great unwavering love for our Constitutional Republic of America and Rule of Law for everyone. Lee Wanta became known by President Reagan as a rare financial genius and was asked by President Reagan to help him take down the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union.
Lee Wanta was recruited from his multi-role Federal agent status by President Reagan to serve as his personal secret agent under the Totten Doctrine (which dated back to the American Civil War). He was falsely jailed on trumped up, fake charges even though he had diplomatic immunity. The real reason was that Lee Wanta refused to break the law and could not be compromised by the Cabal.
It was Lee Wanta who personally negotiated an end to the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain (Operation Stillpoint) and was able to negotiate a win/win Agreement of Cooperation with the New Russian Federation and the USA. For years the details and documents of this amazing operation were buried due to its deeply classified nature.
The SSG has spent many millions of USD trying to discredit Lee Wanta’s story, but has failed due to a smoking gun recording of his planned assassination by two puppet-masters. Thousands have heard this recording left by mistake on Ambassador Wanta’s DC answering machine by mistake. This recording prevented the perps from murdering Ambassador Wanta. Because Ambassador Wanta’s many LE roles were top secret, supporting documents were easily buried by the Cabal. Because the USG agencies make so many copies for different facilities, it has been possible to now recover a great deal of them. And these documents fully support Lee Wanta’s incredibly interesting mission to help transform the Soviet Union into the new western oriented, deeply Capitalistic Russian Federation which now supports the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church and supports religious freedom in this new Russian Federation.
The Ruling Cabal creates and mandates all the top USG policies. The earlier members hijacked America in 1913 when they used human compromise ops and bribery to pass their notably illegal and unconstitutional Federal Reserve Act, the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on Americans. Approximately 40% of our federal taxes paid goes to the Federal Reserve System (Banksters) as payments on the illegal interest they charge us for using what should have been our own real money in the first place, but which now has become Cabal-issued, interest-bearing debt-notes instead.
The Ruling Cabal can create money out of thin air at will, enough to buy, bribe and control every single part of the USG, from top to bottom. This evil, satanic Cabal has used its unlimited money power to construct a Hierarchy of its authority that engulfs the whole USG as well as every state government top to bottom. Thus today, America is now organized in a big Hierarchy of agents of Cabal control. When a Federal agent crosses the Cabal or its senior Cutouts, he or she is subject to the full weight of the Federal, State and local governments being brought down upon their head and a USG boot in their face 24/7 for the rest of their life.
What this means in practical terms is that if you are in Federal Law Enforcement or work for an alphabet or a USG or DOD contractor, and if you buck the Cabal, they can step on you wherever you are. A Cabal member at the top can give the order to step on you, and it will be passed down to your neighborhood level. Your local police will be told a false story about you labeling you as a criminal, pedophile or terrorist and they will always believe it and do whatever is asked of them, even if they break the law doing such. You will perhaps lose you job, become blacklisted, maybe jailed on a minor trumped up phony charge (like great America Heroes like Lee Wanta, Scott Bennett, or Susan Lindauer and a number of other great American Heroes). You may be attacked psychotronically, followed and gang-stalked by those paid under a DHS private contract.
If you are a federal or major corporate whistleblower, mandated policies set by the top Cabal members can result on the FBI being sicked on you and following you around, harassing you and keeping you from working. Or local satanic cults or retired Intel can be hired to surveil you or even gang stalk you. Most satanic cults are deputized by the CIA under national security like many large corporation and defense contractors, and their security departments are licensed to buy and use advanced remote psychotronic equipment in some cases.
If you are a big enough problem, the Cabal can order your elimination under national security. These wet-boy squads are now being deployed by top FBI officials with no Potus signatures as Signed Intelligence Findings. Some large corporations and their associations have their own wet teams and harassment or neutralization teams. Every agency is alleged to have a list of wet-boy contractors as does big Pharma too and many large DOD contractors. J. Edgar Hoover ran numerous teams, some pure Mafia as reported in the true story based book, The Squad by Michael Milan.
There are numerous true easily verifiable stories about Feds who had high levels of integrity and honesty and who refused to do illegal things and paid a deep price for not going along to get along.
Doubt this, then carefully research the case of great American hero Geral Sosbee, former FBI agent who refused to break the law and violate the Constitution. He disclosed FBI crimes, like the other great America hero Dr. Frederick Whitehurst. Frederick Whitehurst, M.D. used advanced data caching methods to protect himself, but Geral Sosbee was not so fortunate and has been harassed by senior FBI AGENTS for years upon the orders of the Ruling Cabal.
There are numerous other great American heroes who have been wrongly jailed using phony trumped up charges. Right after the Iran Contra, “drugs in/weapons” out through Mena, Arkansas. One whole federal prison in California (Vacaville) was filled with CIA pilots and CIA assets that were feared to have learned too much about the Iran/Contra affair (which was a complete violation of the Boland Amendment).
None of them had talked about what they did know, many had no idea what they were contributing to and thought they were serving the national security interest of the USA. All were illegally jailed on phony trumped up charges to discredit them and keep them from ever testifying about anything they did know about the massive arms out for drugs in through Mena, Arkansas. I know about this because I talked with one on the phone when he got out who was an associate of a friend of mine.
However, despite all these heavy-handed sanctions that are readily deployable by the Ruling Cabal to scare Federal agents from ever disclosing any major Cabal crimes they ever learn about or help cover up, more and more agents are leaking evidence about these Cabal crimes and even coming forth publicly.
Thanks to the emergence of the powerful worldwide Internet that communicates information and knowledge at the speed of electricity, information of Cabal crimes that are leaked spread like wildfire all over the Western world. The Internet is actually the world’s New Gutenberg Press.
If the FBI were ever deeply investigated by a non-corrupt Congressionally fully-supported honest special prosecutor or Inspector General, the evidence uncovered would show that the FBI set up the first Twin Towers bombing using the Blind Sheik and insisted that real explosives were used and also was deeply involved covering up the second Twin Towers bombings on 9-11-01.
Several years ago I predicted that because of the Internet, all secrecy would be ending and all Ruling Cabal Crimes would eventually become fully exposed. The number of average citizens who are learning of these serious Cabal crimes that include perpetual war-making for profit and pedophilia, sex trafficking, massive narcotics sales for black ops money and payoffs is increasing by the day. So far, it is not increasing quite fast enough to overpower the constant Cabal big lies, false-narratives and propaganda cover ups of the Cabal’s Controlled Major Mass Media (CMMM).
However, every day more and more folks reject the CMMM and seek breaking news on Alt media websites through their personal computers and smart phones.
Most VT readers understand that the FBI’s main job is to create domestic false-flag terror, entrap retarded or mentally ill folks in such activities set up by the FBI and to cover up the serious crimes of the Ruling Cabal.
The FBI’s criminal investigations for the Department of Justice on financial frauds and crimes are sometimes impressive, but never go for the “Head of the Snake”, that is, the top leaders of the Ruling Cabal that sit at the top of their Hierarchy and set all the USG policies and pull all the strings. This leads some to believe that the FBI is merely enforcing some laws to limit any serious crime competition for the Ruling Cabal and its close associates and Cutouts. Certainly it is well known by the top LE experts on Ruling Cabal based pedophilia, child sex trafficking and child organ trafficking (all are related) that the FBI always covers these Cabal crimes up and runs protection for the Cabal, always.
The major crimes of the FBI are now being exposed in spades, and many of the good FBI special agents are now thoroughly disgusted with the top FBI leadership who have been functioning as RICO criminals for the Ruling Cabal.
And the worldwide Internet has become the greatest source of a new and broad based societal populism that is now perhaps and unstoppable threat to the Ruling Cabal.
The Cabal is believed by some insiders to be massively retaliating by A.I.-run back-removals of posts, censoring the large web forums they control like Facebook-type, google-type searches and Youtube-type web service providers, and by demonetizing the web as much as possible to restrict alt media websites and postings.
These actions to strike back at users who want truth and the Internet Truth-warriors that publish and broadcast it have begun to generate massive blowback, more spontaneous emerging populism and numerous new net private services to get around all these manipulations to restrict truth.
Everyday more and more evidence of serious Federal Agency and USG crimes of the Ruling Cabal are being disclosed on the Internet to the masses. We now know for certain that the distribution of all the crimes and unimaginable evil of the Ruling Cabal across a broad base of society will eventually erode the hegemony of the Cabal’s six Controlled Major Mass Media (a virtual News and Media Cartel and and illegal monopoly), will unconsolidate the CMMM and will then displace the Cabal from ruling power.
This massive diffusion of hard core truth via the Internet from legitimate truth-Warriors detailing the actual evils of the Cabal is the ultimate antidote for the Cabal’s illegitimate and parasitical rule over America.
Once American populism reaches a certain threshold and critical mass of approximately 12%, it is expected that the whole Cabal Major Mass Media News Cartel of false-news will fail and collapse. We are stuck now at about 11% and that is why the Cabal is now locking down the Internet’s social websites, dropping National Security Letters on many if not most big web providers, forcing them to censor and remove many posts, bring in censors and demonetized alt media or Truther posters.
All the Cabal’s incredible damage can be alleviated by “We The People” refusing to cooperate with the USG corruption and working to organize politically. Once this critical mass is reached and folks organize politically around the Alt Media disclosed Truth, We The People can take the American Republic right back to 1913. Then all the illegal, unconstitutional systems that the Cabal set up in America to hijack and parasitize it can be neutralized and removed one-by-one in rapid succession.
Only by neutralizing all these evil Ruling Cabal systems set up right after the Federal Reserve coup d’état in 1913 can the Republic and the US Constitution and Rule of Law ever be restored. Yes, we have to take the whole USG system back to the initial hijacking of America in 1913 by the Ruling Cabal of Banksters from the City of London. All the corrupt institutions they set up, including the roots of the the FBI, the IRS (their own private collection agency), the crooked Supreme Court which is not the highest court in the land which is the DC Court of Appeals, must be replaced or eliminated if unconstitutional.
We need our own banking as a part of the US Dept of the Treasury, with real money backed by gold, silver, metals, and other commodities to be used by us without pernicious usury applied.
Every single evil system the Satanic Pedophile-based Ruling Cabal set up in 1913 has to be addressed, neutralized and all the Cabal’s assets clawed back using Military enforcement, due to the presence of the Cabal’s crimes of Treason and Sedition related to their 100-year drive to establish an illegal, unconstitutional Globalist NWO without the US Republic.
Yes, We The People must take it all back to square one, the actual Cabal hijacking in 1913. Only then can new norms of honesty, integrity and righteousness be instilled in Federal Agents, instead of the self-serving, Cabal-created evil, anti-Constitutional, illegal agency subcultures.
Fingerprints are the oldest and most widely used biometric marker. Artifacts unearthed from ancient Babylon, China, and Persia show that fingerprints were often used on clay tablets and seals for business transactions and official documents. The loops, whorls, and arches that emerge from the “friction ridges” that form on a fetus’s developing fingers become unique to each person, and it’s no surprise that fingerprint identification has also been the gold standard in law enforcement and forensics since about the early 1900s. More recently, fingerprint verification technology has become almost ubiquitous in our daily lives as an access key for everything from smartphones and computers to bank accounts, offices, and even health records.
For all its utility, however, the image of this distinctive, swirling pattern has been the most information that you could extract from a fingerprint—though that’s starting to change. A raft of sensitive new fingerprint-analysis techniques is proving to be a potentially powerful, and in some cases worrying, new avenue for extracting intimate personal information—including what drugs a person has used.
That’s right: The new techniques can determine, from a single fingerprint, not whether you have handled these drugs, but whether you have taken them.
The new methods use biometrics to analyze biochemical traces in sweat found along the ridges of a fingerprint. And those trace chemicals can quickly reveal whether you have ingested cocaine, opiates, marijuana, or other drugs. One novel, noninvasive forensic technique developed by researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom can detect cocaine and opiate use from a fingerprint in as little as 30 seconds. The team collected 160 fingerprint samples from 16 individuals at a drug-treatment center who had used cocaine within the past 24 hours—confirmed by saliva testing—along with 80 samples from non-users. The assay—which was so sensitive that it could still detect trace amounts of cocaine after subjects washed their hands with soap—correctly identified 99 percent of the users, and gave false positive results for just 2.5 percent of the nonusers, according to a paper published in Clinical Chemistry.
The researchers say they hope to expand the range of controlled substances that can be detected, which could include methamphetamines, amphetamines, and marijuana. The test can be modified to detect therapeutic drugs prescribed by physicians too.
Needless to say, the technology has titillated law-enforcement and corrections officials, and it may have useful applications for professionals working in drug treatment, elder-care centers, and other inpatient and outpatient facilities. For all of its heady new potential, however, the emergence of technologies like these has some observers feeling a bit uncomfortable about how, where, and to whom they are likely to be applied. More pointedly, the ability to glean detailed information about a person from a mere fingerprint—Do they smoke cigarettes? Use marijuana? Enjoy fatty foods? Drink alcohol?—raises a number of potentially knotty questions of privacy and consent. And even within the criminal-justice system, some stakeholders worry that the emergence of these new fingerprint technologies could undermine what are already tenuous human rights.
“Oftentimes police will deploy these technologies without any consultation with the public,” said Camilla Graham Wood, a legal officer at Privacy International, a London-based organization that advocates for greater human rights around emerging technologies. Some law-enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom are already experimenting with field devices that can extract biometric data from fingerprints. “They’re relying on older, outdated laws that came into being long before these technologies were even considered,” Wood said. “So, it is unclear what legal basis they are relying upon.”
Wood said the police implementation of the fingerprint-based drug detection is an example of “technology for technology’s sake.”
“The bottom line is that police and law enforcement are excited about this new technology,” she told me. “They want to use it but don’t question, ‘Is it necessary?’ or, ‘How should it be done in a proportionate manner?’ These technologies have become very useful and convenient for the police. But that doesn’t make it acceptable or normal.”
The Trump administration is finalizing a long-awaited plan that it says will solve the opioid crisis, but it also calls for law enforcement measures — like the death penalty for some drug dealers — that public health advocates and congressional Republicans warn will detract from efforts to reverse the epidemic.
The ambitious plan, which the White House has quietly been circulating among political appointees this month, could be announced as soon as Monday when President Donald Trump visits New Hampshire, a state hard hit by the epidemic. It includes a mix of prevention and treatment measures that advocates have long endorsed, as well as beefed-up enforcement in line with the president’s frequent calls for a harsh crackdown on drug traffickers and dealers.
Trump’s plan to use the death penalty in some cases found at least one fan among congressional Republicans: Rep. Chris Collins of New York, one of the president’s most consistent cheerleaders. “I’m all in on the capital punishment side for those offenses that would warrant that,” he said when asked about the plans Thursday afternoon. “Including drug cases. Yep.”
But several congressional Democrats said they were alarmed by Trump’s plan to ramp up punishment. “We are still paying the costs for one failed ‘war on drugs,’ and now President Trump is drawing up battle plans for another,” said Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. “We will not incarcerate or execute our way out of the opioid epidemic.”
The White House’s most concrete proposal yet to address opioids comes after complaints from state health officials and advocates that Trump has moved too slowly to combat the epidemic after his bold campaign promises to wipe out the crisis touching all parts of the country.
However, the plan could cost billions of dollars more than Trump budgeted — and likely far more than any funding package that Congress would approve — raising questions about how much of it can actually be put into practice. Trump’s emphatic embrace of the death penalty for some drug dealers has also alarmed some advocates, who say the idea has been ineffective when tried in other countries and resurrects the nation’s unsuccessful war on drugs.
Under the most recent version of the plan, which has gone through several revisions, the Trump administration proposes to change how the government pays for opioid prescriptions to limit access to powerful painkillers. It also calls on Congress to change how Medicaid pays for treatment, seeking to make it easier for patients with addictions to get inpatient care. It would also create a new Justice Department task force that more aggressively monitors internet sales.
The administration claims its plan will reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third within three years and that the initiative will fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to “stop opioid abuse.”
However, that will be a tall order. There were more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, mostly involving opioids, according to the most recent federal mortality data. The CDC last week reported that emergency rooms recorded a 30 percent spike in opioid overdoses last summer, indicating that the devastating crisis is worsening.
POLITICO obtained two versions of the White House plan and spoke with four individuals who have reviewed it. The White House confirmed that a plan was in development but didn’t respond to multiple requests for further comment.
Many of the measures in the plan were recommended by the president’s opioids commission last fall or discussed at a March 1 White House opioid summit. For instance, it endorses a long-promised priority: greatly expanding first responders’ access to naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses. It also calls on states to adopt a prescription drug monitoring database that health care providers can access nationwide to flag patients seeking out numerous opioid prescriptions.
On the policing side, the plan would ramp up prosecution and punishment, underscoring the tension in how public health advocates and law enforcement officials approach the crisis. Public health advocates say the nation’s opioid epidemic should be treated as a disease, with emphasis on boosting underfunded treatment and prevention programs. But some law enforcement officials back tougher punishments as a deterrent, especially for drug dealers. The two camps don’t always see eye-to-eye, at times pitting HHS and DOJ officials against each other.
A top police officer has called on cannabis to be decriminalized in the UK amid claims it is less dangerous than alcohol. He suggested making it available at local stores.
Arfon Jones, the North Wales police and crime commissioner, said banning cannabis is “illogical.” He added it is “far less harmful” than alcohol and therefore it makes no sense for one to be banned and the other not.
“I want to see drugs controlled and sold by responsible retailers similar to off-licences [local stores] that sell alcohol,” said Jones, i news reports. “I don’t see a difference between the use of alcohol and the use of cannabis. If we went back to day one, and we were legislating this again I’m sure people would realize that alcohol causes a lot more harm than cannabis does and I think the categorization would reflect that.”
His comments come as a bill pushing for cannabis to be partially legalized was supposed to be debated in Parliament at the beginning of the month. The bill proposes to “allow the production, supply, possession and use of cannabis and cannabis resin for medicinal purposes; and for connected purposes.”
But MPs were accused of spending so much time on private members’ bills that the issues failed to be discussed. The question of decriminalization was last debated in 2015, and closed after the government responded by saying:
“Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health.”
Jones expressed exasperation at the government’s staunch refusal to debate the topic, stating: “We are where we are. Alcohol is legal and cannabis is illegal and it is illogical to have it like that.”
His remarks also follow recent reports of the UK being the biggest producer and exporter of medical cannabis in the world, according to the UN. That is despite the UK government refusing to allow medical cannabis in the UK on the basis that it has “no therapeutic value.”
Steve Rolles, lobby group Transform’s senior policy analyst, says it is “scandalous and untenable” for the “government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world’s biggest government approved medical cannabis production and export market.” He added that UK patients are either denied access and suffering unnecessarily or are forced to buy cannabis from the criminal market.
Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.
In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because the British authorities wanted him to remain there.
On what possible grounds could that be, one has to wonder? Might it have something to do with his work as the head of Wikileaks, publishing information from whistleblowers that has severely embarrassed the United States and the UK.
In fact, Assange should have walked free years ago if this was really about an investigation – a sham one at that – into an alleged sexual assault in Sweden. Instead, as Assange has long warned, there is a very different agenda at work: efforts to extradite him onwards to the US, where he could be locked away for good. That was why UN experts argued two years ago that he was being “arbitrarily detained” – for political crimes – not unlike the situation of dissidents in other parts of the world who are supported by western liberals and leftists.
According to a new release of emails between officials, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service on 18 October 2013, warning that Swedish law would not allow the case for extradition to be continued. This was, remember, after Sweden had repeatedly failed to take up an offer from Assange to interview him in London, as had happened in 44 other extradition cases between Sweden and Britain.
Ny wrote to the CPS: “We have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order … and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way.”
Three days later, suggesting that legal concerns were far from anyone’s mind, she emailed the CPS again: “I am sorry this came as a [bad] surprise… I hope I didn’t ruin your weekend.”
In a similar vein, proving that this was about politics, not the law, the chief CPS lawyer handling the case in the UK, had earlier written to the Swedish prosecutors: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”
In December 2013, the unnamed CPS lawyer again wrote to Ny: “I do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter.” This was at a time when it had been revealed that the policing of Assange’s detention in the embassy had cost Britain at that point £3.8 million. In another email from the CPS, it was noted: “Please do not think this case is being dealt with as just another extradition.”
These are only fragments of the email correspondence, after most of it was destroyed by the CPS against its own protocols. The deletions appear to have been carried out to avoid releasing the electronic files to a tribunal that has been considering a freedom of information request.
Other surviving emails, according to a Guardian report last year, have shown that the CPS “advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.”
Assange is still holed up in the embassy, at great risk to his physical and mental health, even though last year Sweden formally dropped an investigation that in reality it had not actually been pursuing for more than four years.
Now the UK (read US) authorities have a new, even less credible pretext for continuing to hold Assange: because he “skipped bail”. Apparently the price he should pay for this relatively minor infraction is more than five years of confinement.
London magistrates are due to consider on Tuesday the arguments of Assange’s lawyers that he should be freed and that after so many years the continuing enforcement of the arrest warrant is disproportionate. Given the blurring of legal and political considerations in this case, don’t hold your breath that Assange will finally get a fair hearing.
Remember too that, according to the UK Foreign Office, Ecuador recently notified it that Assange had received diplomatic status following his successful application for Ecuadorean citizenship.
As former British ambassador Craig Murray has explained, the UK has no choice but to accept Assange’s diplomatic immunity. The most it can do is insist that he leave the country – something that Assange and Ecuador presumably each desire. And yet the UK continues to ignore its obligation to allow Assange his freedom to leave. So far there has been zero debate in the British corporate media about this fundamental violation of his rights.
One has to wonder at what point will most people realise that this is – and always was – political persecution masquerading as law enforcement.
The cannabis growing operation in Smith Falls, a small town southwest of the Canadian capital, Ottawa, is unlike most others in the world.
Occupying 15,600sq metres in a facility that was previously Canada’s first Hershey’s chocolate factory, thousands of cannabis plants sit across the street from a police station.
But as Canopy Growth Corporation, a publicly traded medical marijuana company, plans to expand to the recreational market in July, the company does not seem bothered by the police presence.
“We have hundreds and hundreds of security cameras here,” says Jordan Sinclair, the director of communications for the company.
“We have motion detectors and tremor detectors in the floor,” he tells Al Jazeera.
“But the biggest deterrent we have is that police station.”
Inside the facility employees – wearing facemasks, hairnets and sunglasses to protect against strong artificial lighting – carefully tend to cannabis plants. Small weather stations hang from the ceilings to measure the temperature and humidity.
In another room, workers stand on assembly lines and use shears to cut stray leaves off cannabis buds. They process 60kg of marijuana a day.
Behind a heavy vault door, branded and packaged products are stored for shipping: vials of cannabis oil and small plastic bottles of marijuana sealed like containers of over-the-counter painkillers.
The Smith Falls production facility employs more than 350 people. Eighty-nine medical marijuana-producers have been licensed to operate by the government and will be able to sell cannabis to retailers for recreational consumption.
This summer, Canada is expected to become the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to legalise the production, sale and consumption of recreational cannabis.
And as the expected legalisation date – July 1st – approaches, already licensed producers are moving to increase production capacity as new, sometimes controversial, players try to get their piece of the market.
Canopy Growth Corporation processes 60kg of cannabis a day [Blake Sifton/Al Jazeera]
The rush comes at a time when there are still questions over how distribution will work and how the law will be implemented.
“Right now, we’re producing as much as we can so we can fill shelves in July,” Sinclair says.
Canopy is currently building six more growing facilities around Canada that they expect will bring their overall production space to over 520,000sq metres.
Path to legalisation
Canadians are among the world’s largest consumers of cannabis. A study by the national agency for statistics estimates that Canadians consumed 698 tonnes of the drug in 2015.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001.
The legalisation of recreational marijuana was a key campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 2015 election, with the government hoping to benefit from large tax revenues and deal a blow to organised crime.
Financial institutions, including Deloitte, believe that the country’s legal recreational marijuana market could be worth an estimated $8.7bn annually.
In April 2017, the government unveiled its plan for recreational legalisation.
The Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45, will allow adults to possess up to 30g of marijuana at a time. They will also be able to buy cannabis oil, plants and seeds from government-regulated retailers. Households in some provinces will be permitted to cultivate up to four marijuana plants, while home growing will remain outlawed in others. The bill must still be approved by the Senate, but is expected to pass.
While the Canadian federal government will decide which companies get licences to legally produce marijuana, they have left it up to provincial governments to sort out multiple issues including whether it will be sold in public or private stores, how many such stores can operate, if it can be sold online and shipped, where it can legally be consumed and what the minimum legal age for purchase will be.
Questions also remain on how existing and new restrictions will be enforced.
The uncertainties mean producers will have to adapt as the regulations develop.
“The unknowns don’t particularly concern me,” Canopy’s CEO, Bruce Linton, tells Al Jazeera. “It’s only the beginning.”
Most provincial authorities have yet to decide which licenced producers’ cannabis will be sold in their stores and online, but Linton says he is confident that Canopy will gain access to the market.
‘The Green Rush’
The move towards recreational legalisation has brought with it fierce competition for a slice of the new legal market and a myriad of cannabis producers, entrepreneurs and investors are clamouring to participate in what’s been dubbed the “Green Rush”.
“This is a multibillion-dollar industry going from black to white,” says Vahan Ajamian, an analyst with Beacon Securities in Toronto.
“It’s like the end of alcohol prohibition in the US. It’s a once in a generation kind of investment opportunity.”
In October, US alcohol conglomerate Constellation Brands, which owns the Corona beer company, bought a 10 percent stake in Canopy Growth Corporation for nearly $200m (245 million Canadian dollars).
“We have a fire hose of capital moving into Canada,” says Chris Damas, editor of the BCMI Cannabis Report, a marijuana investment newsletter.
The three largest cannabis producers in Canada have all seen their share prices more than quadruple within the last year as investment money flows in. Each now has a market valuation in the billions of dollars.
However, Damas thinks investors’ overenthusiasm is partly driving up stock values, raising the spectre of a bubble.
“In just a few days, we can see a 50 percent increase in the share price of the major producers,” Damas says. “This smells of more than just rational investing.”
Analysts estimate Canada’s legal recreational marijuana market could be worth $8.7bn dollars a year [Blake Sifton/Al Jazeera]
Analysts believe that changes to cannabis laws in Canada are being watched closely abroad, and potential changes to legislation in other countries will present international opportunities for Canadian cannabis producers, as well.
“Canada was a trailblazer in medical marijuana legalisation and now the dominoes are falling and other countries are legalising it,” Ajamian says.
Canadian producers now export medical marijuana to Australia, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Germany and New Zealand. Companies also have partnerships with cannabis producers in Denmark, Jamaica and Spain.
Ajamian believes that the way full legalisation unfolds in Canada will also have an impact internationally.
“I think when we have legalised recreational marijuana here other countries will see that it’s not a doomsday scenario and in a few years will also look to legalize it. This puts Canadian operators at a huge global advantage.”
While impending legalisation has sparked excitement among investors, not everyone is pleased with the way the process has progressed.
“There’s no pardons or amnesties or reparations or apologies. There’s no admission that prohibition victims were wrongfully criminalised,” says Jodie Emery, a longtime legalisation activist and part-owner of a chain of unlicensed marijuana dispensaries raided by police last spring. In December, Emery and her husband, Marc, pleaded guilty to a slew of drug-related offences in Toronto.
Illegal storefront dispensaries have openly sold cannabis in many Canadian cities since it became clear that recreational legalisation was on the horizon. While many incorporate medical language into their signage, proof that customers have a medical need for marijuana is lax in many stories.
The government has clearly stated that the dispensaries will not be allowed to participate in the legal market and security clearances are required for those applying for cannabis producing licenses, ruling out many people with criminal records for drug charges.
“The legislation seeks to continue criminalising the industry that already exists in order to promote profit from the new emerging companies in the marijuana space,” says Emery. “The green rush has become a greed rush.”
Linton has little sympathy for the dispensary owners and producers that now find themselves outside of the legal market.
“The people who chose to open dispensaries have done extraordinarily well financially. But that process had a beginning, a middle and an end,” he says. “This is the next chapter.”
While others are cut out of the legalisation process, some former high-ranking police officials who had long-opposed legalisation now occupy prominent positions in marijuana-related companies.
Julian Fantino, the former police chief of Toronto, and Raf Souccar, the former deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, recently opened a medical marijuana business that will connect patients with producers.
In 2004, Fantino likened legalising marijuana to legalising murder.
Fantino says he changed his mind about cannabis legalisation after learning how medicinal marijuana had helped veterans suffering from PTSD and physical injuries.
“For someone like Fantino, who so adamantly opposed legalisation, to be participating now is highly hypocritical,” says Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto.
“Law enforcement shouldn’t be able to profit once from prohibition and then again from legalisation.”
Legal recreational cannabis sales by licensed producers and vendors are expected to be accompanied by a parallel police crackdown on the black market and dispensaries.
Linton believes that, while the illegal market will not disappear overnight, the government won’t tolerate unregulated and untaxed sales.
“This is not like flipping a switch. It is an evolutionary path and it will take a few years.”
This is an intriguing documentary about J Edgar Hoover, founding director of the FBI. It’s largely based on an official federal investigation that occurred shortly after Hoover’s death in 1972 and Anthony Summer’s 2013 book Official and Confidential: the Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover.
The film explores Hoover’s long track record of both low level and high level corruption. The former involved his routine use of FBI employees to drive him to private functions and to remodel and redecorate his home, as well as the routine use of taxpayer funds to pay for private vacations. The high level corruption involved his close association with Mob figures to fuel his (illegal) offtrack betting habit.
Hoover was notorious for his refusal to investigate or arrest organized crime bosses during his tenure of office. He consistently maintained the US had no national organized crime problem. This was the major cause of his three year battle with John and Bobby Kennedy – which ended in the JFK assassination.
The documentary also reveals how Hoover forced Kennedy to accept Lyndon Johnson as his running mate, by threatening to release surveillance tapes the FBI had made of JFK’s extramarital affairs.
Hoover undertook this type of illegal surveillance on most, if not, all major Washington political figures. He also routinely made it known to lawmakers when he had compromising files on them. These files made him virtually untouchable despite fairly wide knowledge of his own corrupt activities.
Hoover, in turn, was held in check by senior Mob figures who had photos of Hoover engaged in sexual relations with his lover and lifetime partner Clyde Tolson. Officially Hoover condemned homosexuality as a sexual perversion and banned gays from serving as FBI agents.
Tests by police drug recognition experts to detect drivers impaired by marijuana can lead to false arrests and are prone to bias, an investigation by The Fifth Estate has found. (CBC)
The federal government plans to invest $81 million to train police officers to smoke out drivers impaired by pot across Canada while using a test experts say is flawed and that is being challenged in a U.S court.
An investigation by The Fifth Estate shows the tests done by police drug recognition experts (DREs) can lead to false arrests, are prone to police bias and according to one scientific expert are no better at detecting drug-impaired drivers than “flipping a coin.”
“You can’t hijack science in the name of law enforcement,” says David Rosenbloom, a clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
“We know that with high enough concentrations [of marijuana] in the blood that driving is impaired so it’s not that we don’t need tests of impairment, it’s just that we need valid tests of impairment, and at this point in time we don’t have them.”
Prof. David Rosenbloom of McMaster University says the science is just not there when it comes to proving drug impairment. (CBC)
The DRE test is a 12-step process that involves examining a suspect’s vital signs, eyes, balance and ability to concentrate and then rendering an opinion.
For Rosenbloom, the science of the test simply is not there.
“It’s equivalent of flipping a coin, it’s 50/50 as to whether we know the person was impaired or not.”
Taxpayers ‘should be outraged’
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union in Georgia recently launched what is believed to be the first civil challenge in the U.S. on behalf of four drivers wrongfully arrested by police officers trained as drug recognition experts.
The ACLU has a warning for Canada.
“I think that Canadian police departments need to think twice about pouring millions or billions of dollars into a failed system that has not worked in the United States,” says Sean Young, legal director for the ACLU in Georgia.
“And the taxpayers of Canada should be outraged that their precious dollars are being wasted on this program that just results in more innocent people being thrown into jail.”
Drug recognition experts have been operating in Canada since the 1990s. However, Canada is set to significantly increase their numbers as marijuana is legalized.
In preparation for the upcoming legalization of marijuana, the federal government is planning for training of an additional 750 drug recognition experts over the next five years. (CBC)
In preparation for legal weed coming in July, Public Safety Canada recently announced it’s going to invest up to $81 million in new law enforcement training, paying to train 750 more drug recognition experts over the next five years and more than 3,000 officers to administer a shortened version of the observational test known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test.
Canada’s minister of public safety, Ralph Goodale, declined a request to be interviewed for The Fifth Estate investigation.
In a statement, Goodale said he believes there is enough evidence to support the use of DREs, pointing to a recent review by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction that found DREs are “valid and reliable.”
That same review, however, also cautions that when it comes to detecting impairment, DREs have a “modest degree of accuracy,” between 43 and 62 per cent.
A recent report from Statistics Canada shows our system for convicting high drivers fails almost half of the time. Suspected drug-impaired drivers walk free nearly 40 per cent of the time, or twice as often as alcohol-impaired drivers.
In his statement, Goodale acknowledges more research in this area is “critical,” but is also hopeful a new saliva test in the works will help police determined if someone has recently consumed drugs.
‘I knew I was innocent’
Two Ontario drivers came face to face with the flaws in Canada’s system last year when they were arrested for impaired driving by drugs after separate car accidents.
Corinne Fardy slammed into a parked construction vehicle while she was travelling on Highway 11 near Parry Sound.
The police report into her accident, obtained by The Fifth Estate, says they found her to be “unsteady on her feet,” she “had a white coated tongue” and that she was “fumbling” and had “poor dexterity.”
She was arrested, handcuffed and put in jail. In the end, a drug recognition expert conducted the test and concluded she was impaired by drugs and charged her with the criminal offence of driving while impaired by drugs.
‘I was in shock.’ – Corinne Fardy
“I was in shock. I knew I was innocent,” she told The Fifth Estate.
The unsteadiness, she says, was caused by injuries to her legs from her airbags going off. Her tongue is always coated white, she says, from medication she takes and she was in shock from the accident, which she says explains her shakiness.
After three months, the police dropped the charges, accepting that the symptoms observed by the DRE could have been caused by the accident.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone