Where are the adults when we really need them? You may have seen on the news recently the spectacle of dozens of cell phone camera-wielding protestors warding off a federal SWAT team. The federal agents appeared poised to crush a curmudgeonly Clark County, Nevada rancher for fighting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over a cattle fee issue. The dispute had been in litigation for some time.
I don’t want to be distracted by who is right or wrong in a fee dispute. Because something far more fundamental is going on.
The Bureau of Land Management ordered in a helicopter and full SWAT teams complete with snipers. Quite a lovely show of force just to make an example of a 67 year-old crank dubbed a “domestic terrorist” by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.
The worst part is, extremist government actions like this one in turn motivate extremists to show up. Which in turn is used to justify additional government extremism. Pretty convenient for the power grabbers, is it not?
The Public is Starting to Notice: Peace
Officers Are Acting More Like Occupiers
It’s all part of a national trend toward the militarization of domestic law enforcement I detailed three years ago. And now even acknowledged by a front page New York
Times story which echoed with the headline, “Officer Friendly, In a Tank? War Gear Flows to Local Police.”
As tensions escalated, dozens of private cell phones recorded the SWAT teams. Numerous but unarmed people held their cell phone cameras in the air as the federal forces appeared to be about to strike. It was at that moment that something astonishing happened. Unable to simultaneously confiscate dozens of cell phones recording
them without looking thuggish, the federal SWAT team and their bureaucratic overlords abruptly retreated. And they have not come back or retaliated.
Now, I understand that many Independent Living subscribers don’t have smartphones or participate in social media or other forms of person-to-person Internet communication. But the rise of this technology is a very big deal – whether or not you use it personally. Some authoritarian rulers around the globe have already been taken down because protest movements skillfully used those technologies. And Mr. Obama and his bureaucrats have noticed.
That’s what’s behind so many Administration efforts to control the Internet. Either through innocuous sounding “net neutrality” schemes, or by ceding control of the Internet to the United Nations. You see, in just a short march of years, official sources of news and information have been replaced.
It is now possible for millions of people of like-minds to communicate directly with each other through social media and other forms of advanced communication.
So in the case of Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch, lots of protestors with cell phone cameras showed up. They were a vocal lot too. And they were not even remotely interested in using the “free speech zone” the bureaucrats set up in an irrelevant nearby location.
If you think this article is about bashing police, you have the wrong idea. Take the video cameras now mounted on all police cruisers… I approve of them. For the
most part, they are used to record suspects being taken into custody, mostly in a professional and appropriate manner. And when suspects make up stories about their
arrest, there is a record for all to see. Sometimes these police mounted cameras document officer heroism.
But what’s great about police cameras mounted in cruisers is added accountability for both officers and offenders. Everyone who cheers for a law abiding society wins.
But transparency and accountability is not a two-way street so far as the political class is concerned. Private citizens who capture cases of police abuse of power hit a sore spot with increasingly militarized local police departments. The more overbearing and prone to military tactics local police have become, the more determined private citizens are about capturing them on cell phone cameras. Especially in situations where citizens are engaged in peaceful protests and use cell cameras to record sometimes overbearing police activities.
I have spent hundreds of hours examining these videos. In many cases heavy-handed police tactics appeared to be legitimate. A “take charge” and “brook no nonsense” demeanor by police officers can defuse situations, save lives, and even result in suspects being let go with a warning. But private camera use also makes clear that militarized police with military weapons and other advanced resources often act more like occupiers than peace officers.
Avoid this Propaganda “Law and Order”
Ploy Used to Make You Feel Defensive
Citizens all over the country have recorded law enforcement thuggishness and shared their videos online with millions of interested people. And the courts are increasingly backing them up, so long as private citizens who record abuses of powers don’t interfere with officers. Unfortunately, it is generally very risky to take cell phone videos of police while they are working. In many cases the individual doing so is threatened, arrested or even tasered.
One telling case occurred when a woman attempted to document a traffic stop in front of her house. The woman was arrested for taking pictures on her own front yard, and then whisked off to jail. There are too many examples of petty harassment of citizen record keepers to recount here. But there is no mistaking it –
police thuggishness is very much on the rise since 9-11.
Mr. Obama’s Worry: The Power of Individual
Protest is Magnified by Social Media
Social network driven protestors have been used to organize against oppressive governments in Egypt, China and other authoritarian regimes across the globe. Those regimes are already using their control of cell phones and Internet access to shut down legitimate protests the authorities don’t like.
Okay, let’s get back to the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. Many have publicly wondered why the SWAT teams didn’t return to Mr. Bundy’s ranch after all the hoopla died down and the protestors went home. And the answer to that is chilling. You see, the authorities have determined to put an end to cell phone videotaping by private citizens. Even though the courts increasingly support that right.
The Obama response is to develop a capacity to shut down privately held cell phone cameras. You may not want to document police actions yourself, but let me assure you that this is a core freedom issue.
Mr. Obama is removing the right to peacefully assemble and petition our government for redress of grievances. He is striking at new technology tools likeminded people like us can use to communicate directly with each other. So long as social networking, digital picture taking, and the right to peacefully assemble using those technologies are not disrupted, tyranny cannot take full root in this country. And that is exactly what is at stake right now.
We cannot afford to lose this battle.
Mr. Obama’s Crony Capitalist Co-Conspirators
to Steal Your Rights Are Named Here
So here comes the rub. All the makers of smart cell phones, including Google, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, have “agreed” to help their regulatory overlords. They are installing “kill switches” on all cell phones sold after 2015. This means that the U.S. authorities can stop individuals and protestors from taking pictures of abuses of power if they occur. They can shut down the cell service of any group of protestors who attempt to document police actions.
There has been a recent flood of documentation from personal cell cameras of petty abuses of power, including proof that people who record police abuses of power are sometimes tasered. Losing this thin layer of accountability gets pretty worrisome given the increasing militarization of local police we have been witnessing of late.
There’s more. Now the Pentagon is studying the use of social media and how this technique of peaceful assembly to redress grievances against unpopular governments may be anticipated and countered.
The program is called the Minerva Research Initiative. Its goal? To study how individuals use social media to organize public rallies and protests. Of course, it’s supposedly all about how this happens abroad in countries where U.S forces are operating.
So if we are not occupying foreign countries, why is the Minerva Research Initiative even needed? Apparently, our government is putting the pieces in place to “pull the plug” on individual communications between protesters in some future undefined national emergency.
The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Cornell University researchers have come up with a “model for the social movement and contagions.” Contagion apparently refers to protest, dissent and assembly. The model aims to harvest posts by private citizens on Internet gathering places such as Twitter “to identify individuals mobilized in a social contagion and when they become mobilized.”
Another aspect of Minerva is spearheaded by the University of Washington and the U.S. Army Research Office to “uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large scale political and economic change originate.”
Anti-Government Views Seen
as “Contagion” By U.S. Authorities
Who needs nutty conspiracy theories to entertain us anymore when we have reality to scare the socks off us?
That our government sees protests as “contagion” should be of great interest to Americans who are involved with the Tea Party movement. Because it goes far beyond IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, or sending their files to the FBI for criminal investigation. (All of which has already occurred, and none of which has been punished, so now it is a precedent.)
You don’t need to take my word for any of this. An amazing EPA training video surfaced about two years ago. Imprimus magazine, published by Hillsdale
College (of which I am a proud graduate), noted in their April edition an Obama 2009 appointee’s brutal mentality on display in an EPA training lecture. The bureaucrat in the training video cited brutal Roman Empire methods as inspiration for his mode of operation: “The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them. And then you know that little town was easy to manage for the next few years.”
Attorney General Eric Holder recently reactivated a Justice Department Task Force on domestic terrorism. Officially it is aimed at extremists. But given the paranoid state of the U.S. government right now, and its clear fear of accountability to the people, none of us are truly safe.
Pay attention to events my friends. And encourage everyone you know to vote this November. In the meantime, you can get started now on developing your own personal Plan B.
P.S. Technology companies helping the government to take away our rights to peaceful assembly tend to be extremely sensitive when their duplicity is exposed. If you are interested in participating in a letter writing campaign to them, drop me an email at IL@AmericanLanternPress.com.
P.P.S. Please see my supplemental story. A friend of mine, Doug Casey of the Casey Research service, has important news about mega-luxurious “second homes” that you can obtain in South America. Complete with lots of likeminded people, friendly government, lots of perks such as great access to medicine and top luxury lifestyle amenities. It is worth looking into.