Daily Archives: May 27, 2012

Miami Beach Police Union Rep: “We Have Arrest Quotas Every Memorial Day Weekend”

Miami Beach Police – Crown Victoria. Wikimedia Commons.

miaminewtimes.com | May 23 2012

By Gus Garcia-Roberts

The chief of Miami Beach Police is insisting that his officers do not have a 2,000-arrest quota this Memorial Day weekend. But the department’s union vice president tells Riptide that he witnessed a major announce the quota at an officer roll call — and that his department has such quotas every year during the predominantly-black party weekend on South Beach.

“It’s racial profiling,” says Det. Gustavo Sanchez, “and it’s against our operating procedure.”

Sanchez says that Major Angel Vasquez– widely regarded to be Chief Raymond Martinez’s second-in-command– announced the 2,000-arrest quota to officers.

On Monday, union president Alejandro Bello wrote to chief Martinez, claiming that “numerous officers” reported a supervisor announcing the quota. Bello called the quota “patently unfair and unjust to both our officers and the community.”

In an emailed response, Martinez insisted that “there is no arrest quota for Memorial Day Weekend or any other day on Miami Beach.”

But statistical arrest requirements are nothing new, claims the union veep Sanchez. Though he says the current chief has been smart enough to avoid issuing quotas himself, he recalls former chief Don DeLucca demanding 1,000 arrests before a Memorial Day weekend. (DeLucca now helms the Golden Beach force.)

Slacking on quotas can get you confined to desk duty, says Sanchez. Going arrest-crazy gets you rewarded: “There’s a payoff for the cop who helps fill the quotas, because it effects their evaluation. The first consideration becomes making an arrest. That’s all they care about. They don’t care if it’s a bullshit arrest. They don’t care if it’s dismissed.”

Questioned about Sanchez’s comments, police spokesperson Vivian Hernandez says: “We have no quotas here at MBPD. If there was some sort of quota that they say was issued, it may have been a misunderstanding or taken out of context. Angel Vasquez did not issue any quota.”

Catholic priest defrocked for child sex abuse hired by the TSA at Philadelphia airport

Harkins, once a Catholic priest in churches across South Jersey, now works as a TSA supervisor in Philadelphia. philadelphia.cbslocal.com

Thomas Harkins accused of sexually abusing 11-year-old girl in new lawsuit

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | May 26, 2012

By Rheana Murray

A Catholic priest removed from the ministry ten years ago for sexually abusing young girls has found another job — with the TSA.

Thomas Harkins, once a priest at churches throughout South Jersey, now works as a TSA supervisor at the Philadelphia International Airport, CBS Philly reports.

He was forced to leave the church in 2002, when the Diocese of Camden found him guilty of sexually abusing two young girls.

Now, a third alleged victim has come forward, according to the station.

In a new lawsuit, Harkins is accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl as many as 15 times between 1980 and 1981. One of the alleged incidents occurred in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory of Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, N.J, where Harkins worked at the time.

CBS Philly tracked Harkins down at the airport to ask if the public should be concerned about his past.

Ex-priest accused of child sex abuse gets job with TSA

Priest defrocked for child sex abuse now works for TSA, report says

Thomas Harkin, Former Catholic Priest Accused Of Sex Abuse, Now Works For TSA

“No, they should not be worried,” Harkins said. “I have nothing to say.”

But Karen Polesir, a spokeswoman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) isn’t so tight-lipped.

“They should know who they are hiring,” Polesir told CBS Philly.

“As the public, we are screened to our underwear getting on a plane, and yet they hire a man like that.”

Polesir doesn’t buy into a TSA official’s reassurance that Harkins works mostly with luggage — not people — as a Transportation Security Manager in baggage.

“Sure, that’s his title,” she said. “That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

Because the sexual abuse cases were so old, and the lawsuits were settled with the accusers, criminal charges were never filed against Harkins, which is why nothing registered when the TSA ran a background check, according to the station.

“The Emergency State” undermining American legal and moral foundations

Security is a rallying cry for patriotism, however much it undermines the country’s legal and moral foundations.

“The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at all Costs” by David Unger and “Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security” by Kip Hawley and Nathan Means

washingtonpost.com | May 25, 2012

By Karen J. Greenberg, Published

Last year a Newsweek article made public President Obama’s reading list. Its message was promising: A third of the books focused on former presidencies. Yet according to “The Emergency State,” David C. Unger’s ambitious and valuable overview of 20th-century presidents and national security, Obama has unfortunately picked up the bad habits of his predecessors. They have created what Unger calls emergency state government — policies by which America’s security interests are defined with an ever-increasing expansiveness. Over the past century, Unger argues, America’s presidents have incrementally institutionalized the emergency state and in so doing have weakened the country morally, constitutionally, financially and most of all in terms of security itself.

According to Unger, a longtime foreign affairs editorial writer for the New York Times, the rationale for the emergency state emerged in the early 1900s with Woodrow Wilson’s evangelical promise to make the world safe for democracy. But it took the personality and genius of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the godfather of the emergency state, to put into place its more unsavory elements. In the name of national security, FDR enhanced executive power, crafted foreign policy in secret and devious ways, authorized far-reaching and possibly illegal policies against Japanese Americans, and misled the public about his intentions and behind-the-scenes directives.

After FDR, both Republican and Democratic presidents set the pattern of the emergency state. Harry Truman “locked in [its] policies and politics” by waging an all-encompassing cold war rather than pursuing a more nuanced relationship with Soviet Russia, and overseeing the passage of the 1947 National Security Act, which created the architecture of emergency state government: the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Council. Eisenhower authorized the CIA’s policy of toppling governments around the globe. And, in a move that Unger finds unforgiveable, John F. Kennedy made the executive unaccountable for its decisions by creating the position of national security adviser, a post subject to neither congressional confirmation nor oversight.

For Unger, all this undermines the Constitution and violates the intent of the country’s founders and 19th-century presidents to steer clear of foreign entanglements. By the time Lyndon Johnson entered the White House, all the elements of the emergency state were in place, and each successive president chose entanglements and evasion over transparency, legality and independence. Following “his political mentor and presidential model,” FDR, Johnson lied to the public about his intentions to escalate the American presence in Vietnam, bypassing Congress and relying on covert operations — and ultimately deciding not to seek reelection in 1968 as a result. Richard Nixon and, to a lesser extent, Gerald Ford aimed to strengthen the emergency state but, with Watergate and its aftermath, accomplished the opposite, “discredit[ing] three crucial pillars of the emergency state — the White House, the CIA and the FBI.” Then came Jimmy Carter, singular in eschewing the deceitful and destructive ways of the emergency state but politically naive and ultimately unwilling to give up presidential powers. He tried his best to pull the country out of the dark hole into which it had fallen but was too ineffectual to do so.

It was up to Ronald Reagan to find a way to restore the glory days. Under his command, the emergency state reasserted itself with renewed strength, along with the telltale signs of secrecy, deceit and disregard for the law. With Iran-contra, Reagan’s NSC bypassed Congress and the secretaries of state and defense and reclaimed the confrontational stance taken by Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. Once the Soviet empire — America’s premier rationale for military expansion worldwide — crumbled, it was left to George H.W. Bush to face the challenges of a new kind of foreign policy: one that focused on a new enemy, the “rogue state.”

But no one seems to disappoint Unger as much as Bill Clinton, “the first American president born under the emergency state.” Armed with the leadership qualities of FDR, the global vision of Eisenhower and Nixon, and a Carter-like suspicion of the emergency state, Clinton nonetheless preferred “enlargement” to downsizing. He encouraged Americans who, “by 1993 . . . were politically addicted to the role of leader of the free world,” to intervene around the globe in places peripheral to U.S. interests, such as Africa, Haiti and Bosnia.

Unger’s disappointment overlooks the fact that, in his narrative, Clinton, while committed to expanding America’s global dominance, does not invoke the more nefarious mechanisms of the national security state, such as implementing unconstitutional measures or encasing foreign policy in a never-ending web of secrecy. To maintain his position that all recent presidents have furthered excesses in the name of national security, Unger holds Clinton accountable not for constitutional violations or corruption, but largely for damaging America’s economy by ignoring foreign-policy-related economic challenges, refusing to curtail the military budget and failing to protect the domestic economy, which essentially “hollowed out the remaining competitive strengths of American industry.”

Unger gives disappointingly brief treatment to the two most recent presidencies and, in so doing, unfairly conflates them. One might criticize Obama for failing to make good on his promise to close Guantanamo or to restore rights generally in the war on terror. But to link his tactics to those of the Bush administration when it comes to foreign policy decisions obfuscates rather than enlightens. To give the most glaring example, Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, met repeatedly and secretly with intelligence officials to craft a deceitful story of WMDs in order to lead the country into war with Iraq. This seems a far cry from sanctions and diplomacy that the Obama administration is using in Iran. Here as elsewhere, one can only wonder whether Unger sluffs over distinctions that might make all the difference.

In contrast to Unger’s relentless pessimism, Kip Hawley and Nathan Means’s “Permanent Emergency” provides a more upbeat story by focusing on one piece of the national security apparatus. In memoir fashion, Hawley’s narrative traces the story of the the Transportation Security Administration, created in the immediate wake of Sept. 11, 2001, and charged with improving airport security. In matters of transportation, Hawley demonstrates, the trade-off is not security vs. American values and constitutional protections, but security vs. efficiency, effectiveness and public approval.

By 2004, TSA employees, routinely demoralized by passenger resistance, were overcome by “hopelessness.” Meanwhile, the public was fed up, tired of delays and seemingly indiscriminate searches. In 2005, Hawley inherited an agency whose workers were disgruntled and whose work was thankless.

Hawley’s solution was to professionalize the work by making intelligence a central part of the agency’s mission. After his promotion to administrator, the TSA was newly included in the Department of Homeland Security’s morning intelligence telephone call. Armed with insights into the updated plans of al-Qaeda, Hawley used this information in part to update the agency’s policies and practices.

Hawley’s defensive account of the importance of the TSA extols, among other things, the passions of patriotism as a useful counterterrorism tool. Throughout his narrative he brings to life details of incipient threats around the globe in an effort to justify his agency and to motivate its workers. He brings to the fore the way in which the emergency state that Unger describes trickles down to the average man: Security is a rallying cry for patriotism, however much it undermines the country’s legal and moral foundations.

Whether observed from the heights of the executive branch or the grittiness of the airport security line, the security agenda that defines 21st-century America continues to challenge the sense of safety and trust in its institutions that its citizens deserve.

Phoenix cancer survivor humiliated by TSA at Sky Harbor Airport

abc15.com | May 24, 2012

By Angie Holdsworth By: Angie Holdsworth

PHOENIX – A Phoenix woman claims she was humiliated by TSA when she tried to go through security wearing a prosthetic breast.

Cindy Gates is a cancer survivor who had a mastectomy two and a half years ago.  She was leaving from Sky Harbor Airport a couple of weeks ago when she said was scrutinized for the prosthetic breast.

“I told them when I went through the scanner that it would show up differently,” Gates said. The agent wanted to do a pat down but I asked for a private screening and she said ‘no.’ She then started feeling my breast.”

Gates said she was then told she would need to remove the breast and again was a refused a private room to do so. She said she got so upset she took the prosthetic breast out and tossed it on the table.

“I was so upset,” she said.

A TSA representative said they have not received the formal complaint from Gates but will look into it.  Policy states that passengers wearing prosthetic breasts should not be asked to remove it and passengers are entitled to private screenings.

Passengers with prosthetics can also call ahead if they wish to let TSA know in advance just to assure there are no concerns but it’s not required.

Gates said she notified TSA about the situation and is awaiting their response.  She is also considering whether to pursue legal action.


Academics call for One World Government at Rosicrucian symposium

Nigeria: Experts Call for One World Government

allafrica.com | May 25, 2012

By Bestman Joseph

Lagos — Speakers at a public symposium, “Advancing a New World Order for the progress of the Human Race,” organised by the Lagos Zone of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC, at Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, have urged world leaders to evolve new ways of pursuing the collective destiny of humanity by the creation of one world government.

The speakers included the Grand Administrator and Director, Supreme Board, AMORC, Dr. Kenneth Idiodi; Mr. Ekanem Kofi-Ekanem; Professor T. A.T. Wahua of University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt; Professor M.Y. Nabofa, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State; Prof. John Idiodi, University of Benin and Johnson Ikube, Managing Consultant/CEO, JI Global Solutions Limited.

Dr.Kenneth Idiodi, who spoke on “Personal security through internal role-playing,” said the need for security was borne out of the instinct of self-preservation of life itself.

He argued that peace cannot be said to abide in a society where people are living in a constant state of alertness and cannot sleep at night with both eyes shut, figuratively speaking!

In his presentation on whether one world government is desirable, Johnson Ikube argued that this is possible in that the majority of people believed that the universe is one large system under one governance; that of the Supreme Being, God; and also with the inspirations that led to the establishment of the United Nations. This vehicle is already here with us. Its operational modalities can be improved for better deployment; and also the formations of regional integration structures and mechanisms such as the European Union, African Union, the Americas.”

He said a one world government will see the whole world as its responsibility and, therefore, focus on holistic, accelerated growth and development in a sustainable manner ensuring partnership between man and nature according to the will of the owner.

However, for this to be possible, Ikube said “there must be a need to eliminate and rename and reform the Security Council. Its focus should be global and individual member security concerns per se; remove all artificial sources of poverty, degradation and pain and also that the world must head for a universal common language. This will assist in eliminating one common source of suspicion and division.”

DARPA invests $3.5M in TechShop to create pop-up weapons factories

Photo credit: cell105/Flickr

venturebeat.com | May 24, 2012

by John Koetsier

A fundamental tenet of the modern maker movement is that everyone wants to build something. Especially the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Today DARPA took a break from funding next-generation weapons systems, advanced hypersonic aircraft, and frickin’ laser beams to put $3.5 million into TechShop, the paradise for “inventors, makers, hackers, tinkerers, artists … and anyone else who wants to be able to make things that they dream up but don’t have the tools, space or skills.” TechShop currently operates 5 locations around the US, giving members access to a vast array of tools, building space, and lessons.

In authentic military tradition, the project has a funky acronym: iFAB. The Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits partnership between TechShop, DARPA, and the Department of Veteran Affairs is intended to “create a foundry to rapidly design and reconfigure manufacturing capabilities to support the fabrication of a wide array of military vehicles.”

In other words, DARPA wants to create insta-factories for weapons systems and military vehicles. Think a pop-up shop that follows the military through a battle zone: instead of new equipment manufacturing, repairs, and upgrades taking place thousands of miles away, military hardware could be built and serviced near the war zone and returned to battle within days.

“Supporting initiatives that expand the number and diversity of talent contributing to the nation’s defense is critical to DARPA’s efforts in advanced manufacturing,” DARPA director Kaigham Gabriel said in a statement. “The resources made available through this effort enables more people to ‘make,’—the DNA of creativity and innovation.”

According to BusinessWeek, the funding will enable TechShop to open two new locations in Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh, joining locations already in Menlo Park, Raleigh, San Francisco, San Jose, and Detroit.

The Veteran Affairs also gains from the partnership. TechShop announced that, as part of the partnership, 2000 one-year memberships which typically cost over $1000 each, will be made available to veterans. Jonah Czerwinski, director of the VA’s Center for Innovation, said that iFAB supports the VA’s goal of “finding new ways of providing veterans with resources that help them serve an important role in America’s economy.”