A Surveillance State for Cops

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The dreaded so-called “surveillance state” was held in contempt by many in the media until President Obama announced that he would extend it to police officers. All of a sudden, the idea of the National Security Agency (NSA) targeting the thin blue line between the public and the criminals became a great, “progressive” idea.

Obama euphemistically calls it the “Body Worn Camera Partnership Program,” and insists it will “help strengthen accountability and transparency.”

Perhaps these body-worn cameras ought to be used by high-level government officials, in order to sniff out corruption such as the location of missing IRS emails.

Obama bases his policy on the idea that “officers and civilians both act in a more positive manner when they’re aware that a camera is present.” In other words, in an unprecedented move, Big Brother is going to be watching the police so that the Department of Justice can more easily monitor and prosecute police officers for alleged misconduct.

The catch is that Big Brother can also use the cameras to monitor the people, and that could be against the laws of various states. It would represent a potential violation of the Fourth Amendment, supposedly held sacrosanct by “privacy advocates” on the left and the libertarian right.

Nevertheless, liberal Washington Post reporter Nia-Malika Henderson calls it “technology to prevent more Fergusons,” and “something plenty of people with very different views of what happened could agree upon.”

In fact, a body worn camera in Ferguson would have recorded what witnesses testified to—that Michael Brown attacked Police Officer Darren Wilson in his patrol car and tried to take his gun.

Trying to change the subject to the latest so-called outrage for the cop-hating media, she insists, in a knee-jerk response, that “the videotaped death of [Eric] Garner and the failure to get an indictment will likely be used by activists to push for much more than just cameras.”

Those “activists” are typically on the left and opposed to surveillance when it is directed at them.

The video of the Eric Garner police takedown in New York City, which has been replayed over and over again, was not able to indicate how much of a role Garner’s various health problems, including obesity, asthma and heart disease, played in his death. The video did show that he was resisting arrest while claiming, “I can’t breathe.”

Garner was a career criminal with 31 arrests. Before being taken down, he challenged the officers, saying, “I’m tired of it. It stops today.”

On the www.PoliceOne.com website, where police officers can comment on cases anonymously, the reaction (edited for the sake of brevity and clarity) has included:

  • Garner was taken to the ground by his head and neck. This was NOT a choke hold where he was held for a long period of time and lost consciousness. This man clearly had health issues that contributed to his untimely death. Sorry this man passed away on a day where he simply could have put his hands behind his back and taken his 32nd arrest.
  • This man most likely died from a heart attack and shock. The headlock did not kill this man. NYPD officers were doing their job.
  • If you can talk you can breathe! A strong and deadly choke hold would not allow a person to talk. Clearly this subject unfortunately had underlying health issues, no doubt brought on by lifestyle choices.
  • Anytime a person says, “I’m tired of it. It stops today,” that will almost always end with the use of force. He made that decision, not the police. The police must affect the arrest and rise above any resistance.

Obama’s proposal for federal monitoring of local police agencies is part of a “community policing initiative,” which will include “more resources for police department reform.”

In their zeal to monitor the police, however, the proponents of the cameras have failed to take into consideration the fact that, according to the National Institute of Justice, “federal law blocks the warrantless capturing of photo or video images of people where they have an expectation of privacy, and most states have similar laws.”

In other words, how can you monitor the police without monitoring the civilians at the same time?

A 2014 federal study, “Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence,” reports that the Seattle Police Department “determined that use of body-worn cameras would violate Washington state law” against audio recording of private conversations without the consent of those involved.

The report also notes that body-worn cameras “capture in real time the traumatic experiences of citizens” who are “victims of crime, who are involved in medical emergencies and accidents, and who are being detained or arrested.” It said, “Recording these events may exacerbate citizens’ trauma.”

What’s more, the cameras represent “a wide range of potential health and safety concerns [for police officers], from neck injury resulting from the weight of the camera to electrical shock.”

The federal study said, “Skeptics have also suggested that citizens, including witnesses and confidential informants, may be less willing to provide information to police, knowing that the encounter is recorded and can be viewed by others later.”

But none of this seems to matter to the pro-Obama media, which are eager to stampede Congress into approving funds for a new federal program that puts local police under more federal control.

After all, Max Ehrenfreund of the Post reports that Obama is only trying to “help” local police departments “to record interactions with the public.” That sounds mighty nice.

And if local police agencies don’t want to be part of the federal scheme, don’t worry. He notes that, after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) “proposed making cameras mandatory for any police agency receiving federal funds.”

McCaskill is one of the senators (along with Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky) who rushed to judgment on the alleged militarization of police, warning that the police had too much firepower to cope with criminal elements bent on riots, destruction, and looting.

After businesses in Ferguson started burning to the ground and the police pulled back from well-organized, communist-led mobs, they seemed to abandon their crusade to disarm the police.


JINSA Honors American Military Heroes

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Last month the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs held its annual event honoring six young military heroes for their bravery in the war on terrorism. The six represent each of the five branches of the U.S. military and the U.S. Special Operations Command. These Grateful Nation awards have been held since 2003, and I have been fortunate enough to attend just about all of them.

Mac Thornberry JINSA 2014As part of its mission, the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, JINSA, focuses heavily on national security issues affecting the U.S. and Israel. The honoree of the evening was Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), who received JINSA’s Distinguished Service Award. Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX), who introduced the Congressman, described his “steady leadership and influence in national security,” as well as recognition as a “pro to watch” by Politico. Congressman Thornberry is a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was one of the first in Congress to recognize the need to confront terrorism, even well before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He said that Russia’s recent actions, a potential nuclear-armed Iran, and the ISIS terrorist threat serve to bolster the need to preserve a strong U.S. military and end unnecessary defense budget cuts. The entire speech can be watched online here.

Also honored that evening was Tom Neumann, who passed away earlier this year. Tom served as Executive Director of JINSA for more than 20 years, and was greatly responsible for building JINSA into a vital and dynamic organization. Tom was a close friend of my family. The tribute to him was deeply moving and very appropriate.

JINSA’s Master of Ceremonies of the evening was once again Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, who was the recipient of Accuracy in Media’s 2013 Reed Irvine award for investigative journalism for her work on the terrorist attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Those receiving the Grateful Nation awards are chosen by their respective branches of the military. The recipients of these awards are living tributes to the heroism exhibited daily by all of the men and women in our nation’s military.

Regrettably, the media continue to ignore this very powerful and moving event, thereby overlooking the achievements of these outstanding Americans.

You can read the stories of these six military heroes, as written in the event program, below:

Staff Sergeant Adel M. Abudayeh – United States Marine Corps

Staff Sergeant Adel Abudayeh has repeatedly distinguished himself during his thirteen years of devoted service in the United States Marine Corps. He has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on three occasions and also supported Operation Enduring Freedom on two combat tours.  While serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on December 3, 2009, nine days after being wounded in a prior combat engagement, his unit was engaged by intense machine gun fire from multiple positions in the vicinity of Haji Taj Mohammed village. He moved from his covered position, exposed himself to enemy fire, and directed an assault on an enemy machine gun. As a result, his lead team was able to clear the remaining enemy positions. When his unit was counter-attacked with sniper and machine gun fire, Staff Sergeant Abudayeh identified an enemy rocket propelled grenade team maneuvering on his unit’s flank. Staff Sergeant quickly requested close air support to neutralize the firing position. He then established a patrol base and conducted key leader engagements with local elders. Staff Sergeant Abudayeh’s efforts denied the enemy the ability to use the village as a safe-haven and allowed stabilization to take hold. For his extraordinary service to our nation, Staff Sergeant Abudayeh was decorated with a Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts, and three Navy Marine Corps Achievement medals.

Staff Sergeant Abudayeh continues to inspire others as he fights through his multiple combat injuries while at Wounded Warrior Battalion East. He is the definition of a true combat leader and his devotion to the Marine Corp is unquestionable and inspirational.

Captain Daniel J. Beirne – United States Air Force

Captain Daniel J. Beirne distinguished himself as Flight Commander and Air Liaison Officer, 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. CPT Beirne has nine combat deployments for Operation Enduring Freedom, including eight as an AC-130 gunner, during which he participated in 129 combat sorties. During these sorties CPT Beirne’s AC-130 saved 40 pinned-down Special Operations Forces, prevented a 100-man unit from the 82nd Airborne from being overrun, enabled the capture of five Taliban in a Tier 1 direct action mission on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, and killed twenty enemy combatants while rescuing an ambushed Marine team. On at least three occasions CPT Beirne identified and resolved inflight malfunctions, saving both the $160 million aircraft and its 13-crew members.

As a Joint Terminal Attack Controller, CPT Beirne controlled 393 missions over a nine-month period in support of the 101st Airborne Division, including seven named operations, four reconnaissance patrols, and one Category-1 MEDEVAC that saved a soldier’s life. He also executed A-10 and F-16 strikes against two Taliban IED teams that saved 217 U.S. and Afghan forces. For these achievements, CPT Beirne was awarded the Bronze Star, and his distinctive accomplishments reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Captain James Boston – United States Army

Captain James Boston, United States Army, is a combat tested warrior who has served his country proudly in Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism. While serving as cavalry platoon leader, 2nd Platoon, Cherokee Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, in Afghanistan, Captain Boston’s platoon and their partnered Afghanistan National Army (ANA) platoon came under heavy enemy fire. While leading the counterattack, Captain Boston was in close proximity to two enemy-fired rocket propelled grenade blasts. The first blast threw Captain Boston into an irrigation ditch. Undeterred, Captain Boston continued leading his soldiers as they sought to locate and destroy the enemy. Throughout the fight Captain Boston’s poise allowed him to maintain situational awareness and command of his platoon. He continued directing direct and indirect fire onto the enemy positions. While under machine gun and RPG fire, the ANA platoon began to retreat in order to evacuate a wounded soldier. Captain Boston moved to their location and convinced the ANA commander to keep his platoon in place and fight alongside Captain Boston’s men. Shortly thereafter, Captain Boston was hit with a second RPG blast, which sent shrapnel into his left shin. After quickly evaluating his wounds, Captain Boston continued leading his platoon, again coordinating direct and indirect fires in order to break contact from the enemy.

For Captain Boston’s efforts that day, he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal for Valor and the Purple Heart. As a result of his leadership, Captain Boston’s company was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation during his last deployment.

Lieutenant Commander Andrew W. Boyden – United States Navy

Lieutenant Commander Andrew W. Boyden, United States Navy, distinguished himself with outstanding service to the U.S. Navy and the nation for the past 14 years. As a proven combat leader between 2010 and 2013, Lieutenant Commander Boyden deployed multiple times to Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the Horn of Africa as Intelligence Director (J2) of joint, combined special operations task forces prosecuting strategic GWOT targets. Under his expert leadership, his joint, interagency intelligence teams drove special operations forces’ successful execution of multiple combat operations, with hundreds of enemy captured or killed. For his efforts, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Lieutenant Commander Boyden aggressively led the national-level targeting strategy against Al-Qaida’s safe haven in Afghanistan in 2013. His experience and guidance were essential to the most robust winter kinetic targeting campaign in the task force’s history. His efforts directly resulted in multiple, successful kinetic strikes against senior Al-Qaida and enemy leaders in Afghanistan.

As a member of the Navy Information Dominance Forces Command Team, Lieutenant Commander Boyden provided expertise in Intelligence manpower, equipment, and training to nine separate subordinate units, encompassing 300 personnel deployed directly supporting the global war on terrorism worldwide.  He directly ensured the fulfillment of over 100 Individual Augmentation assignments supporting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Major Timothy J. Rott – United States Special Operations Command

Major Timothy J. Rott, United States Air Force, distinguished himself as Chief of Unmanned Operations and Predator/Reaper Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Planner, Aviation Tactics Evaluation Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As the Command’s subject matter expert on remotely piloted aircraft, Major Rott oversaw rapid development of groundbreaking technology and game changing tactics, techniques, and procedures, saving countless lives on the battlefield. He provided leadership in support of U.S. efforts to identify, track, and resolve key individuals from hostile groups targeting U.S. citizens and interests. Major Rott served as an Operations Officer for the 27th Special Operations Wing for 41 days where he provided Command and Control for nine different aircraft operating around the globe that executed over 2,000 hours in support of operations within the U.S. and abroad.

Major Rott is also directly responsible for integrating and fielding unique capabilities for unmanned aircraft to meet the needs of Special Operations. The distinctive accomplishments of Major Rott reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Chief Boatswain’s Mate Douglas H. Schneider – United States Coast Guard

Chief Boatswain’s Mate Douglas H. Schneider, United States Coast Guard, displayed superior service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From August 2011 to July 2014 he was on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard Training Team East and Special Missions Training Center. During this period he served as Lead Instructor for 1,200 U.S. Coast Guard personnel for service in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. Chief Boatswain’s Mate Schneider’s students included the crews of six U.S. Coast Guard Cutters assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, responsible for patrolling the high-risk waters of the Persian Gulf.

He also displayed exceptional service while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 2009 to November 2010. Then Petty Officer First Class Schneider, a Coast Guard Reservist, volunteered for active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard Redeployment Assistance and Inspection Detachment Team 11. He deployed to over 40 remote forward operating bases, combat outposts, and fire bases where his outstanding work ethic and attention to detail were instrumental in the U.S. Army’s ability to safely and securely transport hazardous materials and equipment out of the operating theatre.

Additionally, Chief Botswain’s Mate Schneider used his civilian paramedic skills to volunteer in the Air Force Theatre Hospital in Balad, Iraq and at the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Takrit, Iraq, providing emergency medical care and treatment to civilian and military casualties.

This is the fourth year I have documented this event. You can read the past three years stories of other American heroes here.


UVA rape story retracted; and three other fake news stories

By: Renee Nal
New Zeal

We deserve a rape free campus Christine Baker_The Patriot-News _Landov

We deserve a rape free campus Christine Baker /The Patriot-News /Landov

After pro-truth journalists and others began to raise legitimate questions surrounding a highly irresponsible Rolling Stones article that described an alleged university gang-rape in jarring detail, the story began to unravel. The fake assault, which was said to have taken place at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia, was portrayed a part of an initiation. While the student’s account, originally reported by Sabrina Rubin Erdely of Rolling Stone, was truly horrifying; as reported previously by this author, it “fall[s] a bit too comfortably in line with the current narrative of a ‘rape culture’ on college campuses.”

T. Rees Shapiro of the Washington Post reported that the accused fraternity,

…has been vilified, had its house vandalized and ultimately suspended all of its activities on campus after the Rolling Stone article…

Those who dared to question the story were attacked in some instances, and even deemed “Gang Rape Truthers” by the highly partisan Tara Culp-Ressler of ThinkProgress.

If one reads the work of Hans Bader at Liberty Unyielding, see here, here, here, here, here, and here, the narrative crystallizes.As some worked to get to the bottom of this gigantic hoax, it finally fell apart and Rolling Stone magazine was forced to retract the story.

Will Dana, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, wrote in part,

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.

There are plenty of other stories reported as fact, however, that are not facing such scrutiny. The obvious disclaimer is that these stories could be true, but this author has suspicions. The media bias is simply too prevalent to ignore.

Here are just three that do not pass the smell test:

1.) Anti-gay white obese man attacks newlywed lesbian after recognizing her from the news

An unnamed woman was allegedly attacked by three anti-gay white men as she was walking through an apartment complex parking lot in Michigan in April. The men, the victim claimed, recognized her after she was featured on a TV news segment about same-sex marriages. The victim described the aggressor as “a heavy or obese white male…wearing a dark gray or black hooded sweatshirt and high-top shoes.” She could not describe his accomplices. According to the Daily Tribune, “The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office says it believes the assault was a hate crime.”

Why it doesn’t pass the smell test: At the time of the alleged attack, the author wrote at Liberty Unyielding,

It is a stretch that three anti-gay men would be hanging out in a parking lot waiting to pounce on a woman that they recognized as a lesbian from the news.

Since April, the author contacted the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office on several occasions to determine if the victim would be willing to talk and to see if anyone was in custody for this crime. The answer has always been no on both counts.

This story was reported as fact at the Detroit Free Press, the Daily Mail, the New York Daily News, USA Today the Huffington Post and numerous local sources.

2.) Robocall tells people to “Do what you did in 2010, stay at home”

Last month, Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press quoted Barbara Arnwine, the Executive Director of the progressive non-profit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law as saying that a robocall in Georgia and Florida urged voters to “do what you did in 2010, stay at home.” The heavily cited article did not elaborate, and went on to cite other examples of “voter suppression.”

Why it doesn’t pass the smell test: The claim about the robocall is unsourced, and numerous requests for more information about this claim to Jesse J. Holland, Barbara Arnwine, and to her far-left organization have gone unanswered.

As reported at Liberty Unyielding,

Unless perhaps Arnwine’s assertion was paraphrased, this author can find no evidence of such a robocall.

This story was reported as fact by ABC News, the Huffington Post, and many others (see here, here, here, here and here).

3.) White Supremacists target a church in Ferguson after Pastor receives 71 death threats

The Flood Christian Church’s Pastor Carlton Lee, who also serves as the Ferguson chapter president of Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, suspects that “white supremacists” torched his church in Ferguson, Missouri in the hours following an announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for murdering Michael Brown. As reported at BroadsideNews.com, Lee claims to have received 71 death threats after he called for the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson.

The Washington Post reported Lee received “hateful messages and death threats…from Wilson supporters, from white supremacist groups and from Internet bigots.” It is unclear if the 71 death threats include “hateful messages” from “internet bigots.”

This author gets quite a few of those herself.

The author of the WaPo story, highly partisan Wesley Lowery, reported:

Pastor Carlton Lee said threats are mailed to the church or left on the door. Lee said people have threatened to kill him or burn his church with everyone inside. Lee believes he is a target because he has been protesting against police brutality.

Lowery added,

Buying the church property — which once housed an auto repair shop — took everything Lee had. It cost all of his savings, and all of the money he had put away for his children, to front the $160,000.

An online funding request for $500k. has raised over $64k at the time of this writing.

Why it doesn’t pass the smell test: Pastor Lee, who has loudly called for Officer Darren Wilson’s arrest, is a political activist. Not only is his claim that an angry white mob targeted his church questionable on a night where massive and widespread destruction occurred by supporters of Michael Brown, his claim that he received numerous death threats is also highly suspect.

Yet, his accusation surrounding death threats was reported as fact by KVOA, who assured readers that the FBI has even gotten involved and are “not surprised by the dozens of threats against him because they are investigating similar cases in the St. Louis area.”

Watch a local report here:

Other questionable “news” stories, most likely examples of an over-eager progressive establishment trying to prove a point have been proven as hoaxes. Those stories, not surprisingly, initially receive national attention but when proven false, quietly go away, again reflecting the media bias. Three particularly troubling examples of this ongoing trend can be found here, here and here.

After updating to include new information on the UVA story, this article was cross-posted from Broadside News.