Glenn Greenwald’s continuing coverage of Police State USA at the RNC

Posted on September 2nd, 2008 by bile
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Following up on this weekend’s extreme raids on various homes, at least 250 people were arrested here today in St. Paul, Minnesota. Beginning last night, St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be, even more so than Manhattan in the week of 9/11 — with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured.

Sunday night he reported:

Today’s Star Tribune added that the raids were specifically “aided by informants planted in protest groups.” Back in May, Marcy Wheeler presciently noted that the Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force — an inter-agency group of federal, state and local law enforcement led by the FBI — was actively recruiting Minneapolis residents to serve as plants, to infiltrate “vegan groups” and other left-wing activist groups and report back to the Task Force about what they were doing. There seems to be little doubt that it was this domestic spying by the Federal Government that led to the excessive and truly despicable home assaults by the police yesterday.

So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it’s not difficult to see why. As the recent “overhaul” of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated — preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror — we’ve essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.

He goes on to speak of his disgust for those who claim these people deserve this and questioning why the liberals who were denouncing the Chinese for the very same actions weeks ago at the Olympics aren’t speaking out against this now?

I know why Glenn… it’s because they are part of this system. They not only are complacent in it’s creation, they desire it.

ATF dropping ‘Always Think Forfeiture’ slogan

Posted on May 21st, 2008 by bile
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The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is dumping the “Always Think Forfeiture” motto it’s used for more than a decade to help combat crime.

U.S. Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho, and others complained that multipurpose tools engraved with the slogan could be seen as encouragement to seize property, including guns, of law-abiding citizens.

The pocket tools were to be given to federal, state and local law-enforcement agents participating in the agency’s asset forfeiture training programs, as a reminder of one way to disrupt or dismantle criminal organizations.

None of the engraved tools, stored in the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., have so far been distributed. And now they won’t be, at least until the engravings have been removed.

The agency will no longer use the slogan on materials given out during its training programs, said Robert Browning, chief of ATF public affairs in Washington, D.C., adding it was never intended to undermine lawful gun rights.

Sali had said that the ATF “through its engraved motto, sends a message that these rights are secondary to the government’s apparent goal to ‘always’ seek forfeit of private property.”

The tools also included the words “ATF – Asset Forfeiture.”

Sali’s outrage over the customized pocket tools is just the latest incident in which the ATF has been in the crosshairs of Idaho’s gun-rights lawmakers. U.S. Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo placed separate holds on President Bush’s 2007 nomination of federal prosecutor Michael Sullivan to lead the agency, saying the ATF was being too tough with gun dealers, including a Twin Falls shop that was stripped of its license.

The ATF had revoked the gun dealer license at Red’s Trading Post in Twin Falls after record-keeping violations. A U.S. District Court judge then stayed sanctions after finding the agency had record-keeping problems of its own. That case is ongoing. Sullivan still hasn’t been confirmed to lead the ATF.

By law, the agency can seize firearms, ammunition, explosives, alcohol, tobacco, money and certain real property if such items are involved in breaking the law. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies rely on asset forfeiture to break up criminal activity, on the contention some groups would continue to operate if the only thing officers could do was lock some leaders in prison.

ATF has used the “Always Think Forfeiture” slogan for more than a decade on materials for training classes it conducts across the United States to increase awareness for officers about forfeiture laws. This is the first time a complaint has been lodged, the agency said.

“We’ve had it brought to our attention from several different congressional members,” Browning said. “In hindsight, we certainly would not have used this slogan if we knew that it would cause so much concern among the public. Nothing in this program is intended to deprive the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Sali, who said a constituent brought the engraved tools to his attention, said he’s drafting legislation to prevent the agency from using similar slogans in future training campaigns.

“I’d hate to put a time on it,” Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman said of the proposed bill. “It’s something we just started. It’s one of the congressman’s priorities.”

It’s a nice gesture but it’s not like they will stop using asset forfeiture just because they stop using the slogan. These people are above the law and will continue to steal from people as they desire.

Like how they make it out to be that primarily it’s gun owners effected by this? That means a good portion of the public who are anti-gun won’t pick up on the seriousness of this “tool.” Though if we throw in this story I’d bet those same people would get a bit upset but then the anti-immigrant, pro drug war crowd wouldn’t care.