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Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: max
Date: June 23, 2019 12:45AM
Quote

’M A JOURNALIST BUT I DIDN’T FULLY REALIZE THE TERRIBLE POWER OF U.S. BORDER OFFICIALS
My work as a journalist has taken me to many foreign countries, including frequent trips to Mexico. On May 13, I was returning to the U.S. from Mexico City when, passing through immigration at the Austin airport, I was pulled out of line for “secondary screening,” a quasi-custodial law enforcement process that takes place in the Homeland Security zone of the airport.

Austin is where I was born and raised, and I usually get waved through immigration after one or two questions. I’m also a white man; more on that later. This time, when my turn came to show my passport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer was more aggressive than usual in his questioning. I told him I’d been in Mexico for seven days for work, that I was a journalist, and that I travel to Mexico often, as he could see from my passport. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He wanted to know the substance of the story I was currently working on, which didn’t sit right with me. I tried to skirt the question, but he came back to it, pointedly.
I was going on three hours of sleep, and I hadn’t had anything to eat in the last 12 hours besides some popcorn and peanuts and a Monster energy drink. Had my blood sugar been higher, I might have cheerfully told him. Instead, I muttered something about not having a legal obligation, under the circumstances, to disclose the contents of my reporting.
The agent, whose name was Moncivias, said we would see about that. He asked me to follow him into the secondary screening area.
Later, I did remember reading a report in February about CBP targeting journalists, activists, and lawyers for scrutiny at ports of entry south of California, but I had never had a problem before, not in a lifetime of crossing the Texas-Mexico border scores of times on foot, by car, by plane, in a canoe, even swimming. This was the first time CBP had ever pulled me aside.
When asked to comment on specific details in this story, a CBP spokesperson responded with a canned statement replete with the sort of pseudo-military terminology that betrays the agency’s sense of itself not as a civil customs service but as some kind of counterterrorism strike force. “CBP has adapted and adjusted our actions to align with current threat information, which is based on intelligence,” the statement reads in part. “As the threat landscape changes, so does CBP.” The agency declined to put me in touch with Moncivias and the other officers named in this account or to make an official available for an interview, but a CBP source mentioned that the “port director” had reviewed “the tape” of the encounter. I found that very interesting, because I had specifically asked Moncivias and the other officers if I was being videotaped or recorded, and they had categorically denied it....
A bespectacled supervisor named Lopez made an appearance. In a polite back-and-forth, I learned that I was not under arrest or suspected of any crime, and my citizenship was not in doubt, but if I didn’t answer the question asked by the “incident officer,” I wouldn’t be allowed into the United States. He handed me some brochures and left the room...
then a third officer, whose name was Villarreal, carefully read every page of my 2019 journal, including copious notes to self on work, relationships, friends, family, and all sorts of private reflections I had happened to write down. I told him, “Sir, I know there’s nothing I can do to stop you, but I want to tell you, as one human being to another, that you’re invading my privacy right now, and I don’t appreciate it.” Villarreal acknowledged the statement and went back to reading.
That was just the beginning. The real abuse of power was a warrantless search of my phone and laptop. This is the part that affects everyone, not just reporters and people who keep journals.
IN GENERAL, LAW enforcement agents have to get a warrant to search your electronic devices. That’s the gist of the 2014 Supreme Court case Riley v. California. But the Riley ruling only applies when the police arrest you. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether the same protections apply to American citizens reentering the United States from abroad, and federal appeals courts have issued contradictory opinions. In the absence of a controlling legal authority, CBP goes by its own rules, namely CBP Directive No. 3340-049A, pursuant to which CBP can search any person’s device, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. If you refuse to give up your password, CBP’s policy is to seize the device. The agency may use “external equipment” to crack the passcode, “not merely to gain access to the device, but to review, copy, and/or analyze its contents,” according to the directive. CBP can look for any kind of evidence, any kind of information, and can share what it finds with any other federal agency,..
when I was being held by CBP. When the officers told me they only wanted to check my devices for child pornography, links to terrorism, and so forth, I believed them. I was completely unprepared for the digital ransacking that came next.

After I gave him the password to my iPhone, Moncivias spent three hours reviewing hundreds of photos and videos and emails and calls and texts, including encrypted messages on WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. It was the digital equivalent of tossing someone’s house: opening cabinets, pulling out drawers, and overturning furniture in hopes of finding something — anything — illegal. He read my communications with friends, family, and loved ones. He went through my correspondence with colleagues, editors, and sources. He asked about the identities of people who have worked with me in war zones. He also went through my personal photos, which I resented. Consider everything on your phone right now. Nothing on mine was spared.

Pomeroy, meanwhile, searched my laptop. He browsed my emails and my internet history. He looked through financial spreadsheets and property records and business correspondence. He was able to see all the same photos and videos as Moncivias and then some, including photos I thought I had deleted.

At one point, Pomeroy was standing over my laptop on the desk. I couldn’t see the screen, and he had such a puzzled expression on his face that I stood up to see what he was looking at. “Get back,” he said, clapping a hand on his sidearm. “I don’t know if you’re going for my gun.” At another point, Pomeroy had taken my laptop to the desk in the waiting area, and I thought I heard him call for me to come over, so I did. “Stand back from my gun,” he said, when he saw me approaching; it turns out he had been talking to someone else. Three times during the course of the secondary screening, Pomeroy pronounced words to the effect that he was subjectively forming a reasonable belief that I might grab his service weapon.

It was an implicit death threat and a rhetorical move on part of the police that will be familiar to people of color: I’ve got a gun on you, ergo, you’re a threat to me. .
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: June 23, 2019 07:02AM
Quote
I was not under arrest or suspected of any crime, and my citizenship was not in doubt, but if I didn’t answer the question asked by the “incident officer,” I wouldn’t be allowed into the United States.


Ve have vays to make you talk


CBP is the new Mall Cop, drunk with assumed power. Yet anyone traveling overseas is subject to their whims (and remember, only 3.5 ozs of vaseline is allowed in carryon)



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: deckeda
Date: June 23, 2019 09:29AM
It’s a better read from the source.

[theintercept.com]
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: bfd
Date: June 23, 2019 03:16PM
Freedom is just an illusion.
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: Ted King
Date: June 23, 2019 04:13PM
Quote
bfd
Freedom is just an illusion.

We trade off freedoms for security and then don't hold the security apparatus accountable and thus enabled, our security apparatus takes more and more of our freedoms under the pretext that the danger is so great that those freedoms must be sacrificed.

We need to seriously reevaluate a broad scope our trade-offs of giving up freedoms for security. What dangers are urgent enough to give up freedoms? I just don't see convincing evidence that there is such a danger to American society at large that we have such a militarized and aggressive security force. To me, we need to move the needle a fair distance toward the freedom side of the continuum between freedoms and security. There are a great many unique kinds of situations where freedoms have been traded off for security and each needs to be assessed within the context of those unique conditions. But, overall, it seems clear to me that there are a great many situations where too many freedoms have been sacrificed to too great a degree. The subject of the OP is an excellent example.
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: June 23, 2019 04:44PM
Ted -

I think that the unique freedom to accumulate and hoard as much wealth as is legally permissible (almost limitless today), without any accountability for the material consequences of this concentration, throws a gigantic wrench into your hopes for a shift in the freedom/security balance.

Greater inequity and disparity in access to life-sustaining resources (food, transportation, shelter, healthcare) is historically connected to social friction and activity that strains the system. Those with much often perceive a need to be protected from people who seem adrift, needy, and possibly criminal in their desperation. These fears can be stoked and centered, leading to ever-more-strident responses calling for redistribution of wealth (called 'theft' by the hoarders), the replacement of capitalism, and the elimination of police. Escalation continues, and so on.

In apoplexy-fueled anxiety, those in control of the system can see any criticism of the system as an existential volley shot across the bow, warning of catastrophic dangers represented by proposed reforms. Every dissenting voice becomes a possible traitor, waiting for an opportunity to dynamite the dam or gum up the factory works... The loyal opposition becomes a nation-hating coterie, seeking the destruction of the country's greatness.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: bfd
Date: June 23, 2019 04:59PM
It's the notion that there are "freedom free" zones - these so-called Homeland Security Zones - that needs to be addressed in the law. If one is not under arrest, then one apparently has no civil rights in such a "freedom free" zone. In that case, you get the potential for a "whatever I say goes" zone. Of course, one could just stay home and far away from Homeland Security Zones - thereby alleviating the problem altogether. But where's the freedom in that?
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: Ted King
Date: June 23, 2019 06:15PM
Quote
rjmacs
Ted -

I think that the unique freedom to accumulate and hoard as much wealth as is legally permissible (almost limitless today), without any accountability for the material consequences of this concentration, throws a gigantic wrench into your hopes for a shift in the freedom/security balance.

Greater inequity and disparity in access to life-sustaining resources (food, transportation, shelter, healthcare) is historically connected to social friction and activity that strains the system. Those with much often perceive a need to be protected from people who seem adrift, needy, and possibly criminal in their desperation. These fears can be stoked and centered, leading to ever-more-strident responses calling for redistribution of wealth (called 'theft' by the hoarders), the replacement of capitalism, and the elimination of police. Escalation continues, and so on.

In apoplexy-fueled anxiety, those in control of the system can see any criticism of the system as an existential volley shot across the bow, warning of catastrophic dangers represented by proposed reforms. Every dissenting voice becomes a possible traitor, waiting for an opportunity to dynamite the dam or gum up the factory works... The loyal opposition becomes a nation-hating coterie, seeking the destruction of the country's greatness.

Quite so. I think as part of deconstructing this phenomenon, we need to be clear that property rights and freedom of speech or action are not the same thing. They are closely interwoven in how they function in society, but they are distinct rights. I think that people with a lot of property are easily tempted to conflate the two - and make sure that our legal system binds the two tightly. I think we need to curtail the accumulation of wealth beyond a point at which the concentration of wealth works against the overall benefit of society. Determining where that point is, unfortunately, is very problematic even if the principle is accepted in the abstract.

As you say, though, the wealthy (well, a great many of them anyway) can wield a lot of power and it's a hard struggle to overcome it. A good Democratic populist presidential candidate may be able to bend the power curve some by appealing to what is, I think, a low opinion by a lot of Americans of many large corporations. There might be a couple of those in the running for the presidential nomination.
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: June 24, 2019 08:38AM
Quote
Ted King
As you say, though, the wealthy (well, a great many of them anyway) can wield a lot of power and it's a hard struggle to overcome it. A good Democratic populist presidential candidate may be able to bend the power curve some by appealing to what is, I think, a low opinion by a lot of Americans of many large corporations. There might be a couple of those in the running for the presidential nomination.

Yeah, it's conceivable, but I'm a skeptic. The trouble with populism is that its effectiveness as an electoral tactic is connected to its construction of enemies to be defeated/destroyed, and right now that element of politics is exactly what is tearing us apart.

I don't know how you get through this political crisis by fighting harder against someone/some group of foes. It's troubling, because that's really what we're best at. I'm not a Biblicist, but wisdom comes in many forms, and if the wages of sin is death, our country has a lot of accounting to do.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: June 24, 2019 10:03AM
The terrifying reality here is that 65% of the US population lives within the 100 mile "Border Patrol Zone". And are therefore subject to what should be considered illegal search and seizure ANYWHERE ELSE. Except it's NOT LEGAL.

[www.aclu.org]
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: Ted King
Date: June 24, 2019 04:18PM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
As you say, though, the wealthy (well, a great many of them anyway) can wield a lot of power and it's a hard struggle to overcome it. A good Democratic populist presidential candidate may be able to bend the power curve some by appealing to what is, I think, a low opinion by a lot of Americans of many large corporations. There might be a couple of those in the running for the presidential nomination.

Yeah, it's conceivable, but I'm a skeptic. The trouble with populism is that its effectiveness as an electoral tactic is connected to its construction of enemies to be defeated/destroyed, and right now that element of politics is exactly what is tearing us apart.

I don't know how you get through this political crisis by fighting harder against someone/some group of foes. It's troubling, because that's really what we're best at. I'm not a Biblicist, but wisdom comes in many forms, and if the wages of sin is death, our country has a lot of accounting to do.

What tactics should Democrats use to win the more elections?
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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: $tevie
Date: June 24, 2019 04:29PM
Quote
Ted King
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
As you say, though, the wealthy (well, a great many of them anyway) can wield a lot of power and it's a hard struggle to overcome it. A good Democratic populist presidential candidate may be able to bend the power curve some by appealing to what is, I think, a low opinion by a lot of Americans of many large corporations. There might be a couple of those in the running for the presidential nomination.

Yeah, it's conceivable, but I'm a skeptic. The trouble with populism is that its effectiveness as an electoral tactic is connected to its construction of enemies to be defeated/destroyed, and right now that element of politics is exactly what is tearing us apart.

I don't know how you get through this political crisis by fighting harder against someone/some group of foes. It's troubling, because that's really what we're best at. I'm not a Biblicist, but wisdom comes in many forms, and if the wages of sin is death, our country has a lot of accounting to do.

What tactics should Democrats use to win the more elections?
I know you didn't ask me, but the main tactic I would suggest is to forget about Trump voters, don't try to "win them back" because they were never Democrats. Go back to wooing people of like mind and stop pretending Trump won because of "economic anxiety".



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Re: Annals Of The Police State.....
Posted by: Ted King
Date: June 26, 2019 02:58PM
Quote
Ted King
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ted King
As you say, though, the wealthy (well, a great many of them anyway) can wield a lot of power and it's a hard struggle to overcome it. A good Democratic populist presidential candidate may be able to bend the power curve some by appealing to what is, I think, a low opinion by a lot of Americans of many large corporations. There might be a couple of those in the running for the presidential nomination.

Yeah, it's conceivable, but I'm a skeptic. The trouble with populism is that its effectiveness as an electoral tactic is connected to its construction of enemies to be defeated/destroyed, and right now that element of politics is exactly what is tearing us apart.

I don't know how you get through this political crisis by fighting harder against someone/some group of foes. It's troubling, because that's really what we're best at. I'm not a Biblicist, but wisdom comes in many forms, and if the wages of sin is death, our country has a lot of accounting to do.

What tactics should Democrats use to win the more elections?

Bad question, sorry.
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