Massive Domestic Spying was Wrong in the Past..It’s Wrong Today

NSA signIt’s a damn shame that with all that’s going on, the biggest news in Hip Hop this week is that rapper 2 Chainz did not get robbed while visiting San Francisco..Hell I was just in SF the other day and I didn’t get robbed either.. Why is this news? One would hope that the big news for 2 Chainz is while he was in the Bay he donated one of two chains to charity, he went to a group home to work with youth or that he’s doing a new song about Trayvon Martin or one that he addresses the NSA spying drama…

Which brings me to my next point, as we look at all this massive spying and surveillance of innocent people, we should keep a couple of things in mind.. First watch the media distraction where they are now getting. All these corporate backed news outlets have tuned into a PR firm for the government where they are doing massive spin control by getting everyone to debate whether or not Edward Snowden the man who blew the whistle on all this is a traitor or patriot. One would think and hope the main thrust would be centered around the actual situation of us being spied upon by private corporation using govt money and resources.. Snowden is the guy who gave of us the info.. He’s not the one in power and should not be the main focus. The questions should be what are private companies doing with all that data? What’s the guarantee it wont be abused or compromised?

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

The other thing to keep in mind, is since we’re talking Hip Hop news, perhaps folks should make the connection as to whats going on now with what was going down in Hip Hop a few years back New York City had a Hip Hop cop division that spent countless hours collecting dossiers on rappers and their entourages. 2Pac was being tailed, Biggie was being tailed and to this day all this intel gathering has not led to an arrest and conviction of their killers… At the time many rappers played up being surveilled as part of their whole mob/gangsta image and proof that there was bit of an edge to them…Considering the long legacy of CointelPro and how the FBI, CIA and other government agencies  spying on artists and using culture as a weapon against us, more should have been concerned and outrage then, as they should be now.

Under Cointel-Pro irreparable damage was done, not just in the Black community via the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, but also the Chicano Movement, American Indian Movement, Puerto Rican Independence Movement and the Anti-War Movements. Prior to Cointel-pro we had the McCarthy Era where major damage was done to journalists, entertainers, academics and any other thought leaders who were thought to be connected to Communism.

Like Cointel-pro many during the McCarthy Era who were 100% innocent were caught up in the wide net used by the government to battle what was actually described by some even back in those days, as a Fight Against Terror..There’s no excuse for folks who understand this history not to speak out now.. As we see a lot of this unfolding..one has got to wonder whats really going on? Maybe Hip Hop was surveilled in such a way as to get folks used to this practice so they wouldn’t sound the alarm once this spread and became a bit more Draconian.

Civil Rights Lawyer King Downing

Civil Rights Lawyer King Downing

Below is an interview we did with Civil Rights lawyer King Downing who is the founder of the Human Rights Racial Justice Center and has long dealt with the issues of privacy, unwarranted surveillance, racial profiling and over reach by the government. King is also formerly of the ACLU which is now suing Obama and the NSA for their egregious actions. In 2006 when I first met King, the ACLU was suing George Bush and his administration for spying on the American people http://www.aclu.org/national-security/aclu-sues-stop-illegal-spying-americans-saying-president-not-above-law. Sadly not much has changed, if anything the government has doubled down.

A few years ago, King and myself along with a number of scholars, law enforcement, civil rights people, artists and activists sat on two round tables put on by the ACLU that dealt with the use and abuse of government informants. Lastly King was featured in the documentary Black and Blue: Legend of a Hip Hop Cop which focused on NYPD and their Hip Hop  division which collected large numbers of dossiers on artists, most of them innocent of any wrong doing.

He breaks a lot of things down in this Hard Knock Radio interview including the fact that the surveillance of rappers went far beyond NYPD but was actually coming from Washington DC itself..He connects a lot of dots and firmly makes the case of how the invasive profiling tactics used in the failed War on Drugs that crippled many who lived in the hood and inner cities has expanded under the Patriot Act and the War on Terror. He notes that all of this is connected and in totality make up what he describes as the surveillance state….

Hard Knock Radio logo

During our interview with King Downing I mentioned I would play/post up the excerpt of former FBI informant Darthard Perry speaking about how he and others in the bureau did massive surveillance on Black culture so as to weaken the people…This interview took place in the 1970s..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHnUFpCeGxQ

Spying NSABuilding off what we covered with King Downing, we sat down with professor of communication Christopher Simpson of American University..
Simpson is author of several books, including; BlowbackScience of Coercion and National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations.

With respect to this spying saga Simpson noted:

“The newly public National Security Agency records about PRISM and similar operations demonstrate that metadata about electronic communication is actually more dangerous to democracy than intercepting conversations. That is because the NSA’s analysis of this information is based on mathematical formulas that use guilt by association to construct imaginary networks of people who might, or might not, have some link to political violence, espionage, or to almost any controversy involving international relations.

“Much of what was revealed last week about the National Security Agency has been publicly available for almost a decade, but denied by officials and forgotten or ignored by most big media. The information now on the public record enables any informed person to understand the basics of how these intelligence operations work and why they are dangerous.

During our Hard Knock Radio interview, Professor Simpson expounded upon these remarks.. He laid out the case how this NSA spying situation is the War on Drugs on steroids..If anyone who has dealt with the wide nets used in the War on drugs, then you can probably relate, except, this is bigger and goes a lot deeper..The way the data is being mined, folks are getting tagged and dinged falsely with very little recourse..Y’all better not get caught up in conversations about whether or not Snowden is a Patriot or Hero.. Y’all best be asking what recourse you have from this drama..

Professor Simpson also painstakingly explains how the PRISM program works. He alerts us to how the data is collected and cross referenced with criteria that is secret which in turn determines if you are a potential target for further and more penetrating surveillance..This is no joke.. Peep the interview below..
Hard Knock Radio logo

Prominent Lawyers Group Charge Oakland Police w/ using Excessive Force-Walter Riley, Lawyer & Father of Boots of the Coup Arrested

For those who don’t know, Oakland Police used what they called a containment strategy. This is where they had large numbers of police on all 4 sides of a street which prevented folks who came to speak out from leaving. So what this meant was the heavily publicized speak out which was sanctioned and supported by the city of Oakland had lots of folks come to 14th and Broadway and City Hall. At 8’clock the police shut it down as planned.

The police then announced it was an unlawful assembly and people would be subject to arrest if they did not leave. This included everyone from elected officials to lawyers to press who didn’t have the special green cards that the police had issued to corporate outlets embedded with them..

When people went to leave they walked down Broadway toward the city center where they were met by a line of police who pushed the crowd and started marching in the opposite direction..

As the crowd moved hastily back past 14th street to 16th they were met by another line of riot police who told them they could not go past… This meant the crowd of two hundred or so folks turned to go up 14th only to find another wall of police who were advancing forward. This left one way to go which was toward City hall which had its backstage area and other exit points blocked off or into the BART station.

Police closed the BART. So folks were contained in this human box set up by the police who were advancing forward in full riot gear. People got angry and that’s when the Footlocker on broadway got ransacked.  What was not shown on the news was the police in full riot gear were standing right there. Seems to me they could’ve easily moved in, but opted not to, while at the same time preventing peaceful protestors from leaving.  Some of the aggressive behavior is captured in the footage below..

-Davey D-

http://vimeo.com/13217165

OPD, Law Enforcement Used Excessive Force At Oscar Grant Protests: NLG Decries Police Tactics, Assaults on Peaceful Protesters

Yesterday at 8:31pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Conference Wednesday, July 14, 12 Noon, 14th and Broadway in Oakland

Oakland—Despite claims by Oakland Police (OPD) and city officials that law enforcement used restraint during last Thursday’s protests following the Johannes Mehserle verdict, details emerging paint a very different picture. Police used excessive force against a largely peaceful protest, violently attacking a number of people. Police arrested many demonstrators who had done nothing wrong, and then held them in jail through the night and in some cases through the weekend and beyond.

Among those arrested were NLGSF member, and prominent Oakland attorney, Walter Riley. “Thursday’s law enforcement conduct must be investigated. The police were provocative and seemed determined to instigate violence, which of course, served their police contract negotiations with Oakland at a time when they are facing layoffs of 80 officers,” said Riley. “In the organized rally where protesters, including me, were helping to ensure peaceful protest, the police helped to perpetuate a narrative of violence by allowing a small number of people to vandalize businesses when they could have stopped it.”

Also arrested were Oakland School Board member Jumoke Hinton Hodge, 69-year-old former school principal Susan Harman, journalists and legal observers. Many of the arrestees were seriously injured by the police, including a handful who were taken to the hospital from the scene and at least one individual who was denied medication, causing a potentially life threatening situation to an elderly member of the community.

“Last Thursday a court in Los Angeles sent a disgraceful message about police violence, and that message was reinforced by the conduct of Oakland Police and other law enforcement Thursday evening,” said Carlos Villarreal, NLGSF Executive Director. “OPD and outside agencies brought in as reinforcement used overwhelming force on a largely nonviolent assembly, sweeping up lawyers, legal observers, journalists and community members, and seriously injuring a number of individuals.”

Walter Riley Father of Boots Riley of the Coup was Arrested in front of his Law Office

Several years ago the National Lawyers Guild and ACLU obtained a $2 million settlement in a lawsuit over OPD brutality toward demonstrators, and at that time OPD adopted new crowd control policies designed to safeguard freedom of speech in just this sort of volatile situation.

“If OPD had followed its own crowd control policies, the injuries would have been avoided,” explained NLGSF attorney Rachel Lederman. “The aggressive use of police formations, baton beatings and indiscriminate arrests were unnecessary and violated people’s constitutional right to protest. To make things even worse, OPD violated state law by jailing people for long periods of time who had been arrested for very minor offenses.”

The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) condemns the police abuse by OPD and other law enforcement on the scene and is investigating possible legal action. The NLGSF is a human rights bar association founded in 1937 with hundreds of members throughout the Bay Area. Find out more at http://www.nlgsf.org.

Carlos Villarreal

Executive Director

National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter

http://www.nlgsf.org

415.285.5067×304

USSF 2010: Why and How Do Corporations Get to Hire Cops to do their Bidding?

Here at the US Social Forum in Detroit we caught up with longtime Austin based activist Debbie Russell and spoke to her about the growing trend of corporations using cops as a private army or law enforcement wing. Our good friends at Alternet just published a Mother Jones article called Louisiana Off-Duty Cops Working for BP? Corporate Police State Watch

Here this article highlights this disturbing practice with BP Oil being a recent partaker. In the article they detail how BP Oil is using Lousiana cops to enforce BP rules on public property and p[reventing reporters from filming dead oil stained animals.

Last week, Drew Wheelan, the conservation coordinator for the American Birding Association, was filming himself across the street from the BP building/Deepwater Horizon response command in Houma, Louisiana. As he explained to me, he was standing in a field that did not belong to the oil company when a police officer approached him and asked him for ID and “strongly suggest[ed]” that he get lost since “BP doesn’t want people filming”:

Here’s the key exchange:

Wheelan: ”Am I violating any laws or anything like that?”

Officer: ”Um…not particularly. BP doesn’t want people filming.”

Wheelan: ”Well, I’m not on their property so BP doesn’t have anything to say about what I do right now.”

Officer: ”Let me explain: BP doesn’t want any filming. So all I can really do is strongly suggest that you not film anything right now. If that makes any sense.”

Not really! Shortly thereafter, Wheelan got in his car and drove away but was soon was pulled over.

It was the same cop, but this time he had company: Kenneth Thomas, whose badge, Wheelan told me, read “Chief BP Security.” The cop stood by as Thomas interrogated Wheelan for 20 minutes, asking him who he worked with, who he answered to, what he was doing, why he was down here in Louisiana. He phoned Wheelan’s information in to someone. Wheelan says Thomas confiscated his Audubon volunteer badge (he’d recently attended an official Audubon/BP bird-helper volunteer training) and then wouldn’t give it back, which sounds like something only a bully in a bad movie would do. Eventually, Thomas let Wheelan go.

This footage and story should be frightening to everyone who loves their freedom watching it…We should all be asking ourselves, ‘How did things dissolve to this point where corporations own the police who enforce rules put forth by the company?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=344em_5hwcQ&feature=player_embedded

Debbie Russell

Russell who rolls with the ACLU explained this is totally illegal and went into lots of detail explaining why. During our convo, it was pointed out that in recent times we saw police and corporations merge when the employees of the RIAA (Record Industry of America Association) were photographed wearing windbreakers similar to law enforment and physically joining them on raids to arrest deejays selling home made mixtapes.

Unfortunately the practice was ignored by many because it was music industry / Hip Hop thing..However, when word leaked out that Steve Jobs of Apple chaired a board that oversaw a special task force of local Bay Area police officers which  were seen kicking in the door at the wee hours of the morning confiscating the computer of a reporter who took pictures of Jobs ‘lost iphone.

I asked Debbie with companies yeileding this much power, how does the average person counter? Do we get to hire our own cops?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO06FJXVGyk&feature=channel

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