Two for one: tyranny in the UK

Posted on April 26th, 2009 by bile
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Placing a tea-time meal of beans-on-toast in front of her frail 86-year-old mother Betty, Ros Figg glanced out of the dining room window to see two squad cars and a police van pull up.

Thinking there must be a major incident going on nearby, she pulled back the net curtains hoping to see what had prompted such an impressive show of police manpower.

One of the officers was carrying a battering ram. Was there a criminal on the loose?

A suspected terrorist in hiding? A secret drugs den, perhaps?

None of the above, as it would turn out. The person they’d come for, armed with a warrant, was poor old Betty – a once sprightly great-grandmother who’d recently succumbed to dementia.

‘I couldn’t believe my eyes when four police officers, flanking two social workers and a doctor, walked towards my house,’ says 55-year-old Ros.

‘One of the police officers was holding a red battering ram and I thought: “What on earth does he need that for?”

‘It’s the sort of thing they’d use to raid terrorists, not people like us.

‘I was so frightened I didn’t want to let them in so I leaned out of the window and asked them what they wanted.

‘One of the social workers said a doctor had come to examine my mother. When I opened the door a warrant, giving them the right to search for and remove my mother, was put in my hand.

Betty was then returned to the residential home which Ros removed her from last Saturday, believing her Mum would be better off in her care.

Social services had opposed Ros’s request to care for her mother at home, arguing that the level of care she could offer was not sufficient, and swung into action with the full force of the law when Ros defied them and took her home.

‘I still can’t believe it’s happened. I was made to feel like an enemy of the state rather than a daughter who just wants to do the best for her mother.

‘I can’t believe these Gestapo tactics can be allowed to happen in our society.

‘After they’d gone, I read the warrant they’d left behind, and I felt even more upset. I was insulted.

‘It said Mum was being removed under Section 135 of the Mental Health Act 1983 because she was at risk of neglect or ill-treatment, with no evidence to support that at all.

Anyone who wants to live their life as they see fit rather than how the State wants you to is an enemy of the state and they are in no way shy with using violence to make sure you obey them.

Which brings us to the next story: Fast food police, Caribbean takeaway closed down for opening too close to schools

Read More…

Pushing crime to the suburbs, watching you while you piss in your backyard: Chicago wants cameras on every block

Posted on February 21st, 2009 by bile
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Mayor Daley has argued that security and terrorism won’t be an issue if his Olympic dreams come true because, by 2016, there will be a surveillance camera on every street corner in Chicago.

But even before that blanket coverage begins, the “Big Brother’’ network is being put to better use.

Call takers and dispatchers now see real-time video if there is a surveillance cameras within 150 feet of a 911 call, thanks to a $6 million upgrade to the city’s “computer-aided dispatch” system.

When live video appears, call takers can pan, tilt and zoom those cameras to get the best possible view of a crime or disaster scene.

“As a first responder, I can’t tell you how important it is to have a set of eyes on an emergency scene prior to your arrival. The valuable information they provide from the camera network can ultimately mean the difference between life and death,” said Ray Orozco, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

“Whether you send one ambulance or three, two squad cars or four, it all depends upon the information we are able to gather from the 911 caller,” said Orozco, a former fire commissioner.

During a December test, live video was used to catch a petty thief in the act of sticking his hand in a Salvation Army kettle outside Macy’s on State Street.

But, the crime-fighting potential is “limitless,” said Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

“You know what the suspect’s vehicle might be. It can give us instant leads. . . . We may get some information from that where we may not even respond to that location. We could actually get ahead of it and go to a place where that vehicle maybe was last seen or the individual might be running to,” Weis said.

And, “If we can warn our officers of any dangers they’re facing ahead of time, it’s a tremendous advantage.”

Although the city’s vast surveillance network includes cameras installed at private businesses, universities and homes, Orozco said civil libertarians have nothing to fear.

“We do not and we will not take access to any camera inside of a building,’’ he said. When the city accesses private cameras, workers only see “what you would see if you were sitting on a park bench in front of that building,” he said.

In 2004, City Hall used a $5.1 million federal homeland security grant to install 250 cameras at locations thought to be at high risk of a terrorist attack and link them and 2,000 existing city cameras to the 911 center.

Chicago then launched “Operation Virtual Shield,’’ by linking 1,000 miles of fiber cable to a unified “homeland security grid’’ — complete with hundreds of additional cameras and sensors to monitor the city’s water supply and detect chemical and biological weapons.

On Thursday, Orozco refused to say how many cameras are currently linked to the 911 center. But, he reiterated Daley’s earlier promise.

“We’re going to grow the system until we eventually cover one end of the city to the other,” he said.

Takes access of private cameras? If the government has control over them when they feel like it they aren’t private. Cameras (and mics) inside buildings are exactly what we need. Inside the government buildings where the bureaucrats decide how to further encroach on our rights.

“Limitless”? What’s limitless is the governments ability to abuse any power delegated to them.