Archive for the ‘Police State’ Category

Cops jump on swine-flu power: Shots heard ’round the world

September 3, 2009
Posted: September 01, 2009
9:11 pm Eastern
 

 

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

POLICE STATE, USA

Pandemic bill allows health authorities to enter homes, detain without warrant

 A “pandemic response bill” currently making its way through the Massachusetts state legislature would allow authorities to forcefully quarantine citizens in the event of a health emergency, compel health providers to vaccinate citizens, authorize forceful entry into private dwellings and destruction of citizen property and impose fines on citizens for noncompliance.

If citizens refuse to comply with isolation or quarantine orders in the event of a health emergency, they may be imprisoned for up to 30 days and fined $1,000 per day that the violation continues.

Massachusetts’ pandemic response bill

“Pandemic Response Bill” 2028 was passed by the Massachusetts state Senate on April 28 and is now awaiting approval in the House.

As stated in the bill, upon declaration by the governor that an emergency exists that is considered detrimental to public health or upon declaration of a state of emergency, a local public health authority, with approval of the commissioner, may exercise the following authorities (emphasis added):

  • to require the owner or occupier of premises to permit entry into and investigation of the premises;
  • to close, direct, and compel the evacuation of, or to decontaminate or cause to be decontaminated any building or facility, and to allow the reopening of the building or facility when the danger has ended;
  • to decontaminate or cause to be decontaminated, or to destroy any material;
  • to restrict or prohibit assemblages of persons;
  • to require a health care facility to provide services or the use of its facility, or to transfer the management and supervision of the health care facility to the department or to a local public health authority;
  • to control ingress to and egress from any stricken or threatened public area, and the movement of persons and materials within the area;
  • to adopt and enforce measures to provide for the safe disposal of infectious waste and human remains, provided that religious, cultural, family, and individual beliefs of the deceased person shall be followed to the extent possible when disposing of human remains, whenever that may be done without endangering the public health;
  • to procure, take immediate possession from any source, store, or distribute any anti-toxins, serums, vaccines, immunizing agents, antibiotics, and other pharmaceutical agents or medical supplies located within the commonwealth as may be necessary to respond to the emergency;
  • to require in-state health care providers to assist in the performance of vaccination, treatment, examination, or testing of any individual as a condition of licensure, authorization, or the ability to continue to function as a health care provider in the commonwealth;
  • to waive the commonwealth’s licensing requirements for health care professionals with a valid license from another state in the United States or whose professional training would otherwise qualify them for an appropriate professional license in the commonwealth;
  • to allow for the dispensing of controlled substance by appropriate personnel consistent with federal statutes as necessary for the prevention or treatment of illness;
  • to authorize the chief medical examiner to appoint and prescribe the duties of such emergency assistant medical examiners as may be required for the proper performance of the duties of office;
  • to collect specimens and perform tests on any animal, living or deceased;
  • to exercise authority under sections 95 and 96 of chapter 111;
  • to care for any emerging mental health or crisis counseling needs that individuals may exhibit, with the consent of the individuals

State and local agencies responding to the public health emergency would be required to exercise their powers over transportation routes, communication devices, carriers, public utilities, fuels, food, clothing and shelter, according to the legislation.

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Local public health authorities will be required to keep records of reports containing the name and location of all people who have been reported, their disease, injury, or health condition and the name of the person reporting the case. In addition, citizens may be subject to “involuntary transportation.”

Line 341 of the bill states, “Law enforcement authorities, upon order of the commissioner or his agent or at the request of a local public health authority pursuant to such order, shall assist emergency medical technicians or other appropriate medical personnel in the involuntary transportation of such person to the tuberculosis treatment center. No law enforcement authority or medical personnel shall be held criminally or civilly liable as a result of an act or omission carried out in good faith in reliance on said order.”

Vaccinate or isolate

Whenever the commissioner or a public-health authority decides it is necessary to prevent a serious danger to the public health, they are authorized:

(1) to vaccinate or provide precautionary prophylaxis (preventative procedure) to individuals as protection against communicable disease and to prevent the spread of communicable or possible communicable disease, provided that any vaccine to be administered must not be such as is reasonably likely to lead to serious harm to the affected individual; and(2) to treat individuals exposed to or infected with disease, provided that treatment must not be such as is reasonably likely to lead to serious harm to the affected individual. An individual who is unable or unwilling to submit to vaccination or treatment shall not be required to submit to such procedures but may be isolated or quarantined … if his or her refusal poses a serious danger to public health or results in uncertainty whether he or she has been exposed to or is infected with a disease or condition that poses a serious danger to public health, as determined by the commissioner, or a local public health authority operating within its jurisdiction. (emphasis added)

Under such circumstances, authorities are also allowed to decontaminate individuals and perform physical examinations, tests and specimen collection to determine whether “an individual presents a risk to public health.” If a citizen refuses, he or she may be isolated, quarantined and/or detained “for as long as may be reasonably necessary,” the bill states.

Law enforcement authorities are authorized to “arrest without warrant any person whom the officer has probable cause to believe has violated an order for isolation or quarantine and shall use reasonable diligence to enforce such order. Any person who knowingly violates an order for isolation or quarantine shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than 30 days and may be subject to a civil fine of not more than $1,000 per day that the violation continues.” (emphasis added)

Other state quarantine orders

 

As WND reported, a blank document from the Iowa Department of Public Health has been discovered online, designed to be filled in with the name of an H1N1 virus victim who is required to relocate from his or her home to a quarantine facility.

The form, which began appearing Aug 31 in e-mails and on the Internet , has concerned a confused public already swimming in conflicting reports about the severity of the swine flu and intrusive government measures that many fear may be taken if the disease becomes a pandemic. 

The Iowa document, which WND confirmed with state officials is authentic, has done little to calm the public’s fears.

“The Iowa Department of Public Health has determined that you have had contact with a person with Novel Influenza A H1N1,” the form reads. “The Department has determined that it is necessary to quarantine your movement to a specific facility to prevent further spread of this disease.

“The Department has determined that quarantine in your home and other less restrictive alternatives are not acceptable,” the document continues, before listing mandatory provisions of compliance with relocation to a quarantine facility.

According to the CDC, the following states have implemented legal actions in response to the H1N1 virus:

Florida – the Florida surgeon general suspended distribution permit requirements Florida statutes to allow wholesale distribution of Tamiflu and Relenza. The state has also distributed a series of blank quarantine order forms, including a voluntary home quarantine agreement, a quarantine to residence order, a quarantine to residence order (non-compliance), a quarantine to facility order, quarantine detention order, quarantine of facility order, building quarantine closure order and area quarantine closure order.

Iowa – In addition to the facility quarantine order listed above, Iowa has also made available forms for voluntary home confinement, home quarantine and home isolation.

Massachusetts – Massachusetts lists its own procedures for isolation and quarantine.

North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released a draft isolation order that would provide for imprisonment for up to two years and pretrial detention without bail for any citizen who fails to comply with an isolation order.

Washington – Washington grants authority to local health officers to issue emergency detention orders causing citizens to be immediately and involuntarily isolated or quarantined for up to 10 days.

In addition, governors and health commissioners in the following states have declared a state of emergency since April following concerns about the H1N1 virus: California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Next step: Mandatory swine flu vaccines?

According to the White House, “Since the novel 2009-H1N1 flu virus emerged in the United States during the third week of April, the president has received regular briefings and asked his Cabinet to spare no effort in addressing this national security challenge.”

The White House also lists as a priority, “Preparing for a voluntary, but strongly recommended, H1N1 flu shot program to be available to all Americans that wish to participate over a period of time.”

Barbara Loe Fischer, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, referenced the controversial Massachusetts bill in her commentary, “Swine flu vaccine: Will we have a choice?

Fischer said, “Public health doctors have persuaded legislators to pass pandemic influenza legislation that will allow state officials to enter homes and businesses without the consent of occupants, to investigate and quarantine individuals without their consent, to require licensed health-care providers to give citizens vaccines and to ban the free assembly of citizens in the state.” She said World Health Organization doctors “immediately

 

 

 

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Dallas police pioneering new photo lineup approach

August 21, 2009

AP

By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer,  Fri Aug 21, 7:30 am ET

DALLAS – Frustrated with a string of wrongful convictions, the Dallas police department is now the nation’s largest force to use sequential blind photo lineups — a widely praised technique designed to reduce mistakes made by witnesses trying to identify suspects.

Dallas is not the first department to use the pioneering method. But experts hope that by using it in the county that leads the nation in exonerating wrongly convicted inmates, Dallas will inspire other departments to follow suit.

“If Dallas can do it … then others are going to rise to the occasion,” said Iowa State psychology professor Gary Wells, a national expert on police lineups.

The department switched to sequential blind lineups in April. Before that, Dallas police administered most lineups using the traditional six-pack — law-enforcement lingo for mounting six photos onto a folder and showing them to a witness or victim at the same time.

In sequential blind lineups, mug shots are shown one at a time. Detectives displaying the photos also don’t know who the suspect is, which means they can’t purposely or accidentally tip off witnesses.

Showing possible suspects all at once tends to make a witness compare the mug shots to one another, Wells said. But if they are shown sequentially, “witnesses have to dig deeper, compare each person to their memory and make more of an absolute decision.”

“It makes witnesses more conservative, more cautious,” he said.

An analysis of 26 recent studies shows that presenting mug shots sequentially instead of simultaneously produces fewer identifications but more accurate ones, Wells said. Overall, identification rates in sequential lineups are 15 percent lower than simultaneous lineups — but misidentification rates also drop by 39 percent, he said.

Dallas is taking other measures to try to cut back on misidentifications. Police try to record every lineup to make them more credible, and a lineup unit tells witnesses that police will investigate the case regardless of whether an identification is made. That’s designed to reduce pressure on a witness to make an ID for fear the case will stagnate, said Dallas police Lt. David Pughes.

Dallas police also ask witnesses to express how confident they are in their identifications, Pughes said. That’s to avoid what Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck calls a “forced-choice response” when police, intentionally or not, nudge a witness into expressing certainty.

That’s what happened to Thomas McGowan, a wrongly convicted Dallas County man released last year after nearly 23 years in prison for a rape and robbery he did not commit.

Police in the Dallas suburb of Richardson gave the victim, who was held captive by her attacker for several hours, several photos including McGowan’s and the man that DNA eventually proved to be the rapist. She picked out McGowan’s photo, saying she “thought” he was the attacker. Police told her she had to be certain and “couldn’t just think it was him.” It was then she said McGowan was “definitely” the attacker, according to court documents.

McGowan recently met his accuser, who apologized. He said he believes police should use an independent person to administer lineups. The Richardson department now has a written policy that states a preference for but doesn’t require an independent lineup administrator.

“They showed me the picture of the guy, and to me the guy looked nothing like me,” McGowan said. “I’m still trying to figure that one out.”

Nationally, more than 75 percent of DNA exonerees who have been released since 1989 were sent to prison based on witness misidentification, according to The Innocence Project, a New York legal center specializing in overturning wrongful convictions. It’s the most common element in a wrongful conviction, the center said.

Since 2001, 21 people in Dallas County have had convictions overturned after DNA proved their innocence. A majority of them were in the city of Dallas.

In May, Jerry Lee Evans, of Dallas, had his conviction overturned after spending 23 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon. The rape victim wrongly identified him as her attacker.

In another case, Johnnie Earl Lindsey spent more than 25 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. The victim said her attacker didn’t wear a shirt. A year later, the victim picked out Lindsey — one of two shirtless men among the six photos. Lindsey, of Dallas, was released last year after DNA showed he was innocent.

Boston, Minneapolis and Denver use sequential blind lineups or some variation. New Jersey and North Carolina have mandated police do the same. Most police departments, however, continue to use the six-pack or other traditional methods.

“There’s a belief that as long as what you are doing is legal, then you just keep doing it because you believe it is working for you,” Wells said.

In Dallas, police were initially resistant to the new lineups because “they thought we were creating obstacles to getting bad guys off the street,” Assistant Chief Ron Waldrop said.

But after about 1,200 lineups, identification rates have not changed — though it is too early tell if there’s been a decline in mistaken ID rates.

ACLU sues over man’s arrest for videotaping police

August 14, 2009

By Jill King Greenwood
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 13, 2009

The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Hill District man who was arrested for recording an incident between his friend and police.

The suit, filed today, stems from an April 29 incident between a friend of Elijah Matheny, 29, and University of Pittsburgh police officers. Matheny and his friend, who isn’t named in the suit, went to Oakalnd to search for furniture and other items discarded by Pitt students leaving for the semester and were picking through a Dumpster outside Bouquet Gardens on Oakland Avenue when the University police approached, according to the suit.

The officers asked Matheny and his female friend for identification. His friend gave police her name but did not have ID and was placed in handcuffs after police could find no record of her in their system, the suit states.

Matheny took out his cell phone and began recording the incident. Police were able to verify his friend’s identity and she was released but Matheny was arrested for violating the state’s Wiretap Act, said Witold Walczak, ACLU-PA legal director and one of the attorneys representing Matheny.

Matheny was also charged with “possession of an instrument of crime” in regards to his cell phone, Walczak said.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office is also named in the lawsuit because Assistant District Attorney Chris Avetta talked to Pitt officers and agreed that Matheny had violated the state statute and authorized the arrest, Walczak said.

In July, a judge dismissed all charges against Matheny.

A message left with University of Pittsburgh police Chief Tim Delaney and with Mike Manko, spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. were not immediately returned.

Walczak said the state law is “absolute” in its terms regarding obtaining permission to record people in public but said case law states that public officials — including police officers — are exempt.

“This is a widespread misunderstanding among law enforcement and the staff at the District Attorney’s office,” Walczak said. “If the police are doing something wrong, a citizen has a right to record it. For the same reason the police want cameras on the front of their police cars, citizens should be able to record the behavior and actions of police officers. It’s for everyone’s benefit.”

Walczak said he worries that “dozens of lawsuits” will result in September if police arrest protesters and others recording interactions between them and officers at the Group of 20 summit.

“If there are problems at the G-20 you can bet people will be whipping out their cell phones and recording what is happening,” Walczak said. “The police will have enough going on with people vandalizing and breaking things, and they don’t need to be arresting people who are simply recording them. We need to educate local police before the G-20 or this is going to be a nightmare.”

Court says strip search of child illegal

June 25, 2009
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press Writer 4 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a school’s strip search of an Arizona teenage girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal.

The court ruled on Thursday that school officials violated the law with their search of Savana Redding, who lives in Safford, in rural eastern Arizona.

Redding, who now attends college, was 13 when officials at Safford Middle School ordered her to remove her clothes and shake out her underwear because they were looking for pills. The district bans prescription and over-the-counter drugs and the school was acting on a tip from another student.

The high court, however, said the officials cannot be held liable in a lawsuit for the search. The justices also said the lower courts would have to determine whether the school district could be held liable.

A schoolmate had accused Redding, then an eighth-grade student, of giving her pills.

The school’s vice principal, Kerry Wilson, took Redding to his office to search her backpack. When nothing was found, Redding was taken to a nurse’s office where she says she was ordered to take off her shirt and pants. Redding said they then told her to move her bra to the side and to stretch her underwear waistband, exposing her breasts and pelvic area. No pills were found.

A federal magistrate dismissed a suit by Redding and her mother, April. An appeals panel agreed that the search didn’t violate her rights. But last July, a full panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the search was “an invasion of constitutional rights” and that Wilson could be found personally liable.

The case is Safford Unified School District v. April Redding, 08-479.

New Security Cameras To Give Pittsburgh Police Extra Eyes

March 28, 2009

 

From WTAE TV in Pittsburgh

$4 Million Worth Of Cameras To Be Installed

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh is going high-tech to fight crime with the aid of $4 million worth of surveillance cameras.

 “These cameras will include video intelligence, license plate recognition technology, gunshot detection technology,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The installation of the cameras was made possible through Department of Homeland Security grants.

 The cameras, which will be installed in the weeks and months ahead, can scan 360 degrees, see blocks away and records during the day and night.

 “When these cameras roll out, we will see a reduction in crime and officers will have a very valuable tool,” said Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper.

 As many as 80 cameras will be installed in city neighborhoods, with the Mexican War Streets the first to get them.

 Patrol cars will also be equipped with wireless video feeds.

 “Also allows for very high resolution video and excellent zoom capabilities, as well as mobility,” said Mark Jules of Avrio Group, which will install the cameras.

 Officers checking the video for evidence will also be networking with private security system cameras throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Judge: Man Who Gave Pittsburgh Cop ‘Finger’ Didn’t Break Law

March 24, 2009

Federal Lawsuit Claims Flip-Off Gesture Is Protected Speech

PITTSBURGH — A federal judge said a man who flipped his middle finger at a Pittsburgh police officer shouldn’t have been cited for disorderly conduct.

 

David Hackbart, of Pittsburgh, said he made the gesture at another driver while trying to back into a parking space on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill in April 2006.

 

When he heard someone else yelling at him, Hackbart gave the finger again — not realizing that the second person was a police officer.

“While flipping somebody off or using profane language may not be pleasant, it is constitutionally protected speech, especially when it’s uttered towards a public official,” said Vic Walczak, of the American Civil Liberties Union, when he sued on Hackbart’s behalf in September.

 

U.S. District Judge David Cercone filed a 19-page decision Monday, agreeing that the gesture was protected under free speech.

 

Still to be determined at an upcoming trial is whether city police were improperly trained. The ACLU claims city police have filed 188 citations for similar offenses in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

 

 

“The police need to understand that they’re not Miss Manners, they can’t be enforcing nice language, and that it’s inappropriate for them to use the criminal laws to punish somebody because they may use profane language,” Walczak said in September.

More US police using gunfire detection system

March 23, 2009

By TERRY COLLINS, Associated Press Writer

Engineer Stephan Noetzel alerts a police officer to gunshots on Illinois Street AP – Engineer Stephan Noetzel alerts a police officer to gunshots on Illinois Street Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008 …

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. – It happened moments after a police sergeant blasted a shot into a sand-filled barrel to test this city’s expanded gunfire tracking system.

Witnesses suddenly heard “Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop!”

Those gunshots were real. A flashing red “multiple shots” banner and an address appeared on a nearby laptop, and officers quickly located a 28-year-old man who had been shot by a masked man.

He survived. “He’s lucky,” Capt. Carl Estelle said.

East Palo Alto is the first U.S. city completely wired with ShotSpotter, a system of strategically placed acoustic sensors linked to a computer designed to help police locate gunfire in high-crime areas, but the technology is spreading. Thirty-six cities across America are currently using ShotSpotter — triple the number two years ago.

Cash-strapped police departments are receiving millions in federal funds to buy the system, despite debate over whether it effectively fights crime. And now cities such as Indianapolis and Trenton, N.J., hope to use federal stimulus money to pay for ShotSpotter.

Officials from the Mountain View, Calif.-based company say the technology has helped cities reduce gunfire rates by 60 to 80 percent and violent crime by 40 percent. They say the system detects dozens of gunfire incidents daily in 114 square miles inhabited by more than 774,000 people in cities such as Boston, Chicago and New Orleans.

“Every city that has it tells me when they go to where the dot is, they find evidence,” said Gregg Rowland, ShotSpotter’s senior vice president.

But former Boston police lieutenant Thomas Nolan questions whether the money spent on the technology could better be used to hire more police.

“The cops I talk to on the street think ShotSpotter is a joke,” said Nolan, associate criminal justice professor at Boston University.

A square-mile of ShotSpotter coverage costs $200,000 to $250,000 the company said.

Supporters say the system can help police respond rapidly to violent incidents.

“If someone is severely shot, those critical seconds or minutes could be the difference between life and death,” said Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Robert Duffy, a former police chief and chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Criminal and Social Justice Committee.

The largest ShotSpotter installation is in Washington, where it covers 16 square miles. Besides locating gunshots, the system also proved two off-duty D.C. officers did not fire first when they killed a 14-year-old boy in 2007.

In Minneapolis, the technology helped officers find this year’s first homicide victim in subzero temperatures.

Gang-infested East Palo Alto, where nine people were wounded in five shootings in recent months, is now a testing ground for Shotspotter, thanks to a $200,000 federal grant and a deep discount. This working class community of 2.6 square miles and about 30,000 residents sits next to tony Palo Alto.

Some officials at the U.S. Department of Justice, which has awarded millions of dollars in similar grants around the country, cautioned that ShotSpotter’s affect on crime has not been adequately evaluated.

The technology only works when combined with other law enforcement practices, said John Morgan, deputy director for science and technology at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in Washington.

“You hear a gunshot, and naively you think it helps the cops,” Morgan said. “You’re sending a lot of cops on chases, but not necessarily catching a lot of people committing crimes.”

ShotSpotter needs the sort of independent scientific scrutiny that a smaller competitor, SECURES, has undergone, said Peter Scharf, a public health professor at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Last year, Scharf co-authored a report to the NIJ that concluded that while officers thought SECURES was useful, there were high rates of false calls. The report also questioned whether money spent on gunshot detection technology could be better used for more policing. “You have to be skeptical with any technology of this type,” Scharf said. “It’s hard to prove its effectiveness.”

The maker of SECURES_ used in East Orange, N.J., Harrisburg, Pa., Prince Georges, Md. and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore_ dispute the report’s findings. Virginia-based Planning Systems Inc. says its product is most effective paired with technology such as surveillance cameras.

“It becomes an alert mechanism for a video system that normally would not be able to react to such events,” said George Orrison, Planning Systems, Inc.’s marketing securities technologies director. “It provides for more ‘ears and eyes’ on the street.”

ShotSpotter was founded in 1996 by San Francisco Bay Area engineer Robert Showen, who was trying to develop a sensor system to detect earthquakes.

Coffee-can sized sensors are usually placed on telephone poles and roofs, and are linked to a central computer. The system can pinpoint shots with the help of Global Positioning System navigation, alerting dispatchers or police officers within seconds.

Ed Hoskins, a project manager at the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center in Charleston, S.C., said he believes ShotSpotter is a good investigative tool. “If it helps catch criminals in the act, then that’s a bonus,” he said.

San Francisco, which had 99 homicides last year, has installed ShotSpotter at three locations. In January, ShotSpotter tracking led to the arrests of three men who allegedly fired at mourners outside a funeral home.

Noting that San Francisco spent more than $50 million in 2007 to treat gun injuries, police Lt. Mikail Ali, a senior advisor in the mayor’s criminal justice office, said it would be worthwhile to expand the gunshot-detection system.

“You can’t just turn the system on and mysteriously have a decrease in gunfire,” Ali added. “Like any other tool, it’s not the tool itself, it’s the carpenter behind the tool

Army reviews troop use after fatal Ala. shootings

March 18, 2009

 By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Army said Wednesday it opened an inquiry into whether federal laws were broken when nearly two dozen soldiers were sent to a south Alabama town after 11 people died in a shooting spree last week.

State officials said the deployment of 22 military police officers and the provost marshal from Fort Rucker was requested neither by Republican Gov. Bob Riley nor the White House, which typically is required by law for soldiers to operate on U.S. soil.

Col. Michael J. Negard of the Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., said officials are trying to determine who ordered the soldiers to Samson, who requested them, why they were sent and what they did there.

“In addition to determining the facts, this inquiry will also consider whether law, regulation and policy were followed,” he said. He declined further comment.

Former Samson resident Michael McLendon, 28, fatally shot nine victims in the town and killed a 10th in a neighboring county. The March 10 spree ended when McLendon killed himself, and the soldiers arrived in the hours after.

Investigators said McLendon was despondent over his inability to hold a job and his failure to become a Marine or a police officer.

Riley isn’t concerned whether the military overstepped its bounds, said Press Secretary Jeff Emerson.

“From what I understand it was a few folks who came to direct traffic or help where they could,” Emerson said. “If it had been more than what it was there might be a reason for concern, but these folks just came to see if they could help and left.”

The White House press office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Reporters and curious citizens poured into the town of 2,000 after the slayings, and city officials said soldiers directed traffic. The town is located near the Florida state line about 35 miles from Fort Rucker, the Army’s main helicopter training base.

Samson’s tiny police force and county officers were stretched to the limit after the shootings, which left investigators with at least seven different crime scenes to check for evidence.

Residents said soldiers from Fort Rucker, a major employer in southeastern Alabama, have a reputation for helping nearby communities in emergencies.

According to a summary by the Congressional Research Service, federal law generally prohibits the armed forces from being used as domestic police. Exceptions include emergencies, when troops can help civilians but don’t directly act as police.

The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, Stephen Gordon, said while many are worried about the use of Army troops in civilian police roles, he doubts there was anything nefarious about the soldiers in Samson.

“There is no apparent harm here, but the principle still needs to be upheld,” Gordon said. “The barrier has been lowered for the next time, and we really need to take a look at what happened.”

 

Soldiers pledge to refuse disarmament demands

March 18, 2009

Posted: March 17, 2009
11:21 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

OBAMA WATCH CENTRAL
Campaign urges members of military to ‘steel resolve’ to ‘do the right thing’

 

An invitation to soldiers and peace officers across the United States to pledge to refuse illegal orders – including “state of emergency” orders that could include disarming or detaining American citizens – has struck a chord, collecting more than 100,000 website visitors in a little over a week and hundreds of e-mails daily.

Spokesman Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers told WND his organization’s goal is to remind military members their oath of allegiance is to the U.S. Constitution, not a particular president.

He said the organization deliberately does not collect the names of those who subscribe to Oath Keepers’ beliefs because of their status mostly as active duty soldiers.

He told WND he is scheduled to talk about the issue on G. Gordon Liddy’s radio program tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, and he’s begun working with “Gathering of Eagles” on several projects, including a Pro Troop Events gathering scheduled in Washington in June.

Rhodes said his goal is to “teach them more about what they swore to defend so they will be better able to see when an order violates the Constitution and the rights of the people, and is thus unlawful.”

That review must be done immediately, so they have an opportunity to decide what is right and wrong and then to “steel their resolve to take a stand and do the right thing, whatever the cost,” the organization says.

The U.S., Rhodes noted to WND, was launched as a natural law republic, meaning the founders recognized all rights come from God, not the government.

The founders, many of whom ended up active militarily in the revolution, rebelled “against the principle” that a king or parliament could rule them.

“That’s where we are. We want to make sure men in the military understand in advance what the line is they won’t cross,” Rhodes said.

One testimonial posted by an active duty Army soldier, who was kept anonymous, said that message already has gotten through.

“I want you guys to know I’m with you 100 percent and so are a lot of my fellow soldiers. These kinds of discussions go on between us often, and we all know that we did not swear an oath to any politician (of either party),” he wrote.

“And just for the record not me or anyone else in my platoon would ever follow an order to disarm the American people,” he wrote.

The organization describes itself as a non-partisan group of members of the military as well as peace officers “who will fulfill our oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.”

Among the orders the soldiers are pledging NOT to obey:

  1. We will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people. … Any such order today would also be an act of war against the American people, and thus an act of treason. We will not make war on our own people, and we will not commit treason by obeying any such treasonous order.
  2. We will NOT obey any order to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects – such as warrantless house-to house searches for weapons or persons. … We expect that warrantless searches of homes and vehicles, under some pretext, will be the means used to attempt to disarm the people.
  3. We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal. … Any attempt to apply the laws of war to American civilians, under any pretext, such as against domestic “militia” groups the government brands “domestic terrorists,” is an act of war and an act of treason.
  4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state, or to enter with force into a state, without the express consent and invitation of that state’s legislature and governor. … It is the militia of a state and of the several states that the Constitution contemplates being used in any context, during any emergency within a state, not the standing army.
  5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.
  6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps. … Such tactics … by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, and by the Imperial Japanese in Nanking, turn[ed] entire cities into death camps. Any such order to disarm and confine the people of an American city will be an act of war and thus an act of treason.
  7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext. … Such a vile order to forcibly intern Americans without charges or trial would be an act of war against the American people, and thus an act of treason, regardless of the pretext used.
  8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control” during any emergency, or under any other pretext. We will consider such use of foreign troops against our people to be an invasion and an act of war.
  9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext whatsoever.
  10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

“We will not make war against our own people. We will not commit treason. We will defend the Republic,” the organization’s website states. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually affirm our oath and pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Rhodes said the organization has not even had time to complete its website, but the word is spreading so quickly through its blog that thousands of people are investigating the site each day.

Plans had been to wait on the campaign until a website was established, but recent events accelerated the effort, he said.

One such situation was a training exercise planned by the National Guard in Iowa on which WND reported.

Rhodes said the effort is not a response to President Obama or his policies.

He said the accumulation of power in the executive branch in recent years has been alarming. The fears crystallized when Obama took office and suddenly had access to the accumulated power.

That, he said, is a “powderkeg.”

“We do feel in our hearts that this effort has the potential to change history for the better and to forestall or even prevent this nation from ever experiencing the horrors that plagued so many other nations in the 20th Century,” the website says.

“We are convinced that it is not too late, that there can be a turning of the tide – if we (and that means you too!) can reach enough of our brothers in arms and remind them of their oath, teach them more about what it is they swore to defend, and steel their resolves to stand firm if/when their oath is tested. We feel honor bound to do all we possibly can to achieve that mission.”

WND already has reported on several members of the U.S. military who have raised concerns about the implications of Obama’s possible ineligibility to be commander-in-chief.

One officer who signed onto a case filed by attorney Orly Taitz, the California activist with the Defend Our Freedoms Foundation, immediately was ordered by his commanders not to speak to the media.

The officer’s identity was withheld to prevent further actions against him.

Taitz said she’s working with more than 100 members of the military in her case.

WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.

Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born

Feds reverse policy cutting ammo supply

March 18, 2009

Posted: March 17, 2009
9:00 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Respond to senators representing outraged gun owners nationwide

 

Responding to two Democratic senators representing outraged private gun owners, the Department of Defense announced last night it has scrapped a new policy that would deplete the supply of ammunition by requiring destruction of fired military cartridge brass.

The policy already had taken a bite out of the nation’s stressed ammunition supply, leaving arms dealers scrambling to find ammo for private gun owners.

Mark Cunningham, a legislative affairs representative with the Defense Logistics Agency, explained in an e-mail last night to the office of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., that the Department of Defense had placed small arms cartridge cases on its list of sensitive munitions items as part of an overall effort to ensure national security is not jeopardized in the sale of any Defense property.

The small arms cases were identified as a senstive item and were held pending review of policy, he said.

“Upon review, the Defense Logistics Agency has determined the cartridge cases could be appropriately placed in a category of government property allowing for their release for sale,” Cunningham wrote.

One of the companies that brought attention to the issue is Georgia Arms, which for the last 15 years has been purchasing fired brass shell casings from the Department of Defense and private government surplus liquidators. The military collects the discarded casings from fired rounds, then sells them through liquidators to companies like Georgia Arms that remanufacture the casings into ammunition for the law enforcement and civilian gun owner communities.

But earlier this month, Georgia Arms received a canceled order, informed by its supplier that the government now requires fired brass casings be mutilated, in other words, destroyed to a scrap metal state.

The policy change, handed down from the Department of Defense through the Defense Logistics Agency, cut a supply leg out from underneath ammunition manufacturers.

Learn here why it’s your right — and duty — to be armed.

The policy compelled Georgia Arms to cancel all sales of .223 and .308 ammunition, rounds used, respectively, in semi-automatic and deer hunting rifles, until further notice. Sharch Manufacturing, Inc. had announced the same cancellation of its .223 and .308 brass reloading components.

“They just reclassified brass to allow destruction of it, based on what?” Georgia Arms owner Larry Haynie asked WND. “We’ve been ‘going green’ for the last dozen years, and brass is one of the most recyclable materials out there. A cartridge case can be used over and over again. And now we’re going to destroy it based on what? We don’t want the civilian public to have it? It’s a government injustice.”

As WND reported, firearm sales have spiked since the election of a perceived anti-gun president, and Americans stockpiling bullets have produced a stressed ammunition market.

The Orlando Sentinel reports months of steady, heavy buying have left gun dealers in Florida facing shortages of ammunition.

“The survivalist in all of us comes out,” John Ritz, manager of a Florida shooting range, told the Sentinel. “It’s more about protecting what you have.”

“People are just stockpiling,” said a spokeswoman for Georgia Arms, which has seen bullet sales jump 100 percent since the election. “A gun is just like a car. If you can’t get gas, you can’t use it.”

WND contacted the Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Defense’s largest combat support agency, several times seeking comment or explanation for the policy change but received none.

The National Rifle Association confirmed to WND that the DLA had been instructed to require the scrapping of the brass casings but declined further comment at this time.

Other gun advocates, however, sounded off on the issue, eyeing the change in government policy with suspicion and filling the blogosphere with speculation that the effects of the policy change may be deliberate.

“It is an end-run around Congress. They don’t need to try to ban guns – they don’t need to fight a massive battle to attempt gun registration, or limit ‘assault’ weapon sales,” writes firearm instructor and author Gordon Hutchinson on his The Shootist blog. “Nope. All they have to do is limit the amount of ammunition available to the civilian market, and when bullets dry up, guns will be useless.”

A writer named Owen at the Boots & Sabers blog suspects the policy change is an effort by an anti-gun administration to raise the cost of ammunition.

“This policy didn’t come out of the blue,” writes Owen. “The Commander in Chief is clearly sending a message to gun owners that they should be paying more for ammunition. If he can’t do it through regulatory action, he’ll do it by forcing ammunition manufacturers to spend more on production.”

Hutchinson reports Georgia Arms was manufacturing over 1 million rounds of .223 ammunition every month, but without the ability to purchase expended military ammunition, the company may be forced to lay off up to half its workforce.