Communication breakdown

Two innocent police officers were murdered in New York last week. However, something about the official statement from the NYPD really troubled me. « A [New York] Daily News investigation found that at least 179 people were killed by on-duty NYPD officers over the past 15 years. Just three of the deaths have led to an indictment in state court. In another case, a judge threw out the indictment on technical grounds and it was not reinstated.

Happy medium needed

In Chicago, the police are asking loyal citizens to report anyone seen using a map or binoculars, or taking photographs. Meanwhile in California, police are stopping drivers who have done nothing wrong in order to compliment their driving and give them $5 gift vouchers. Both of these seem to me to be misguided. The former is obviously nutty; do they really want the 911 dispatchers bothered by some paranoid who just saw someone take a picture of Chicago’s art deco architecture?

Transparent society update from Chicago

An amazing article from the Chicago Reader describes a recent incident in which an out-of-uniform police officer who was late arriving to work, shot an unarmed man in the head at point blank range, in full view of security cameras. The officer lied and said that at the time of the shooting he was surrounded by 4 or 5 men who had threatened his life. When police discovered that the video footage existed, the story was changed to say that the victim had raised a fist and attempted to disarm the officer, and that the cop had raised his arm and accidentally shot the victim through the head.

Foxes guarding the henhouse?

The 9/11 Commission recommended setting up an organization to help safeguard civil liberties. Sure enough the Bush administration has gone ahead and created a President’s Board on Safeguarding Americans’ Civil Liberties. Ignoring for the moment the issue that civil liberties should, constitutionally, be protected for everyone and not just US citizens, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the people who are being put in charge of safeguarding your freedoms.

PATRIOT II

More about the sequel to the “PATRIOT” act: it’s called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act. Amongst the planned improvements to the legal system: Law enforcement to be able to wiretap you for up to 48 hours without needing a warrant or court order. New ‘secret subpoenas’, where you can be compelled to testify and also prohibited from revealing to anyone that you’ve been served a subpoena. New search warrants, valid throughout the USA, to be issued if police accuse you of computer hacking.

Customer references

From Business 2.0: On a rainy night eight years ago in the Colombian city of Cali, crack counter-narcotics troops swarmed over the first floor of a low-rise condominium complex in an upscale neighborhood. They found no drugs or guns. But what they did find sent shudders through law enforcement and intelligence circles around the world. The building was owned by a front man for Cali cocaine cartel leader José Santacruz Londono.