Posts tagged “fusion centers

Police Use of Orwellian Technology Raises Red Flag

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/Police-Use-of-Orwellian–367577431.html

In response to this post, a vigorous debate between the cops of yore and those of the job today occurred on Facebook (please see the link):

https://www.facebook.com/steve.spingola/posts/1290292374319479?pnref=story

——————————————
Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.


Blind Squirrels get it Right: Mike Koval Named Madison’s New Police Chief

As a criminal justice instructor, it is important to identify trends that might prove problematic for future law enforcement officers.  In 2009, the Spingola Files began spotlighting the issue of government surveillance.  Due to the influence of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and at various state houses throughout the country, domestic spying has grown persistently worse.  In an effort to conceal the impact of America’s ever growing electronic iron curtain, at least one government official — James Clapper — has lied to congress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV7ecTqvkOc

President Obama has also told a whopper as well.  During an August 2013 appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the President declared, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/08/06/209692380/obama-to-leno-there-is-no-spying-on-americans

Holed-up in the White House, one has to wonder if the President is simply out of touch or has lifted a page out of the NSA’s playbook by attempting to sweep the truth under the carpet.  Just take a short drive along most major thoroughfares in southeastern Wisconsin.  Then, spend a few minutes counting all the cameras mounted at large intersections, the square white box cameras posted along the interstate, and the automatic license plate readers attached to squad cars — all paid for, in large part, with federal government grant money.

Yesterday, however, something out of the ordinary occurred.  The City of Madison appointed a new police chief.  Sgt. Mike Koval has worked for the Madison PD — save a two-year stint with the FBI — since 1983 .  A well-liked, gregarious police trainer with a law degree, Koval is uniquely qualified to have his finger on the pulse of liberty and security.  After his appointment was announced yesterday afternoon, Koval promised “to change the talking points” now circulating within the nation’s law enforcement community.

“Koval said he wants to reform an image of officers so that they’re seen as guardians of the public rather than militarized warriors,” wrote the Wisconsin State Journal’s Nico Savidge.

“We have to strike that balance,” said Koval, “between individual rights, personal liberties (and) police limitations on those powers that have been granted to us.”

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/mike-koval-picked-for-madison-police-chief/article_467b4026-cf9b-54a7-8458-8404cfd1ed8b.html

President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes.”  SF is pleasantly surprised that a usual “blind squirrel,” the Madison Police and Fire Commission, ‘got it right’ by selecting Koval.  Hopefully, during one of the state’s junkets for police chiefs, Koval and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, who hasn’t seen a Big Brother surveillance system that he hasn’t liked, will have a heart-to-heart chat about America’s post-911 version of COINTELPRO, and the state’s two, 21st century versions of the old Special Assignment Squad, now dubbed intelligence fusion centers.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Wisconsin Lawmakers’ Attempt to Rein in Surveillance State

Whether one thinks of him as a traitor or a whistleblower, Edward Snowden’s leaks of information pertaining to NSA spying illustrate one thing: our government and its leaders will lie to the American people whenever they deem it necessary.

Typically, these so-called “noble lies,” a term coined by the philosopher Plato, are premised on protecting our national security interests.  In reality, no matter what the underlying purpose, untruthfulness on the part of public officials undermines the rule of law at every level of government.

In August, President Obama, during an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, proclaimed, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”

Even though he is isolated in the White House, even a casual observer must wonder what planet the President is living on.  Has he driven down a major thoroughfare in his limo and observed surveillance cameras capturing the movements of Americans?  What about the millions of closed circuit television cameras (the square white ones) found virtually every mile or two on high traveled portions of interstate highways?  Has the President conveniently forgotten that his own administration is providing grants to local law enforcement for automated license plate readers that capture, geo-tag, and store data on the locations of our vehicles absent a reasonable suspicion? What about the NSA’s Utah Data Center, a facility that creates electronic dossiers on millions of Americans?

During my tenure at the Milwaukee Police Department, a long-time detective frequently echoed the mantra that “abuses lead to restrictions.”  If this now retired detective’s warning rings true, then the wide spread abuses and overreaching of our government, at all levels, is about to be met with a slew of regulations.

Fortunately, the state legislature in Wisconsin is finally grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns.  Two proposed bills seek to curtail the ability of the government to spy on its citizens.

The first initiative would restrict the ability of so-called Intelligence Fusion Centers from using GPS cellular telephone technology to monitor the movements of citizens without court authorization.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/bill-would-require-warrants-for-law-enforcement-tracking-of-cellphones-b99158195z1-234978781.html

As things currently stand, operatives at the Southeastern Wisconsin Threat Assessment Center, located on the second floor of Milwaukee’s Police Administration Building, can keep close tabs on any cellular telephone user who leaves their “location services” on.   The software used is very Orwellian.  Even though local tax dollars are used to fund the MPD’s fusion center, federal officials and city leaders believe much of the data captured and stored is exempt from Wisconsin’s open records law.

Another bill takes aim at information accumulated from Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs).  These devices are either mounted on squad cars or at fixed locations.  Once a license plate is capture it is time stamped and geo-tagged.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/proposed-wisconsin-bill-would-set-rules-for-license-plate-readers-b99155494z1-234324371.html

The proposed bill would limit the amount of time that law enforcement can maintain the license plate information after its capture.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Milwaukee Police Department has photographed over 9.6 million license plates since 2008.

Of course, Wisconsin’s law enforcement community is not particularly pleased with these restrictions, which limit its authority to spy on citizens absent a reasonable suspicion on any wrong doing.  Statist politicians, such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and big government police chiefs, like Milwaukee’s Edward Flynn, appear to view electronic surveillance and other measures that stretch the Constitution to its limits and beyond as a god send.

For example, Flynn, like Bloomberg, is a supporter of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which require officers to have a reasonable suspicion to stop a person but seems to forgo the reasonable articulable suspicion necessary for a lawful pat down.

http://inpublicsafety.com/2013/08/the-ongoing-battle-of-stop-and-frisk-nypd-faces-epic-battle-today-while-detroit-police-chief-pledges-to-continue-practice/

Yet if surveillance initiatives are a god send then why does the government feel the need to conceal their activities from open records laws or, as was the case with the NSA, outright lie about them? Could it be that these leaders are fearful of what its citizens may learn: that America has become the land of the watched and home of the “Brave New World” that Aldous Huxley foretold in 1932?

————————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


The President’s Ignoble Lie

BWS_bestofspingola_300dpi

Only a politician who knows that the mainstream media is in the tank for him would appear on national television and—with a straight face—tell such a whopper.

In early August, President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and told the host, “We [the United States government] don’t have a domestic spying program,” even though media reports abound that contradict this statement.

“Everybody knows I love this president, but this is ridiculous,” said Van Jones, a far-left former Obama administration advisor, while appearing on CNN. “First of all, we do have a domestic spying program, and what we need to be able to do is figure out how to balance these things, not pretend like there’s no balancing to be done.”

Splitting hairs like virtually every politician does, President Obama’s answer is, of course, predicated on what is considered “a domestic spying program.”  The reality is that the federal government, as well as state and local law enforcement (funded, in part, by the federal government), is up to their ears in  spying on Americans.

The most visible sign of domestic spying initiatives are the millions of cameras posted along interstate highways, mounted on poles at key intersections, or those little white boxes containing cameras found, in some instances, every mile on stretches of southeastern Wisconsin freeways.  This data is recorded and archived by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s State Traffic Operations Center in Milwaukee—an Orwellian facility funded, in part, with federal grant money.

At the national level, the National Security Administration (NSA) operates programs, described in detail by fugitive Edward Snowden, which can watch Americans type instant messages and e-mails in real time.  The NSA is set to open its Utah Data Center this month.  This 1,000,000 square foot facility will house trillions of Americans’ telephone conversations and e-mails. Once a user of telephone and/or an electronic device utters or types one of over 1,000 keywords, every conversation or message to-and-from that device is recorded and stored by the NSA.  Under the auspices of the USA Patriot Act, this type of wiretapping is no longer concerned eavesdropping, unless the government chooses to open an individual’s electronic dossier and listen to the recordings.

“A requirement of the 2008 law is that the NSA “may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States.” A possible interpretation of that language, some legal experts said, is that the agency may vacuum up everything it can domestically — on the theory that indiscriminate data acquisition was not intended to “target” a specific American citizen,” wrote CNet’s Declan McCullagh.

And that is precisely what the NSA does and what the Utah Data Center was built to store.

If the NSA and Wisconsin’s DOT’s spy center still doesn’t have one convinced that President Obama was either lying to Jay Leno or is simply inept, consider the 77 intelligence fusion centers spread across the United States.  Wisconsin has two such centers: one operated by the Milwaukee Police Department and the other housed in a benign office park on Madison’s north side.  The equipment used by these centers was purchased with Department of Homeland Security grant money.  Moreover, federal funds underwrite about 20 percent of the Milwaukee fusion center’s budget.

These high-tech fusion centers can access one’s personal information from private sector data mining companies, such as ChoicePoint, in order to ascertain an individual’s financial transactions, book purchases, vehicles and properties owned, credit information, as well as names and addresses of relatives and neighbors.  Fusion centers also use software to track cellular telephones absent judicial oversight.  This technology enables an agent of the government to follow a cell phone from room-to-room within a particular building or structure.

If recording electronic communications, obtaining personal data from private sector companies, and following cellular telephone users in real time, still doesn’t have one convinced the government is spying on virtually all of us on a daily basis, automated license plate readers—considered by some the crown jewel of state and local government surveillance—should.

In Wisconsin, over 37 law enforcement agencies use automated license plate readers (ALPR), which are generally mounted on patrol vehicles, although some are placed at fixed locations.  These devices scan hundreds of license plates of passing vehicles each minute to check on the driver’s license status, possible warrants, or other fugitive data.  These devices also record the date, time, and location that the vehicle was scanned.  This information is then stored in various databases.  Most of these automated license plate readers are purchased, in part, with federal grant money.

Fox News 6 in Milwaukee ran an excellent segment on ALPRs last November (see the below link):

http://fox6now.com/2012/11/04/fox6-investigators-new-device-helps-cops-track-criminals-as-well-as-the-innocent/

But what about surveillance from the air?  By 2017, some experts believe law enforcement agencies will have access to over 33,000 Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAVs), also known as drones.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs Enforcement Division currently uses Predator drones with very intrusive surveillance equipment, including infrared that can see through the walls of homes.

A little over a week ago, I communicated with a former secret squirrel (law enforcement terminology for an agent or an officer who worked in the area of intelligence gathering), who, having observed my name on the dedication page of Mitchell Nevin’s new novel, “Psychic Reprieve,” seemed perturbed by the book’s detailed descriptions of the drone surveillance of a terror suspect and a sneak-and-peek search of the target’s home near San Diego.  He was not complaining about the novel’s factual description of the events, but that the author provided too vivid of a portrait of government operations.

So, President Obama, don’t lie to the American people. The government is spying on Americans 24 x 7 and federal money is paying for most of the gadgets as well as some of the manpower. Granted, the President knew Jay Leno wouldn’t call him out on domestic spying, which is precisely why he uttered his ignoble lie on The Tonight Show and not in front of knowledgeable journalists.

—————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Does Police Chief Flynn Believe the Constitution is Irrelevant?

There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, when members of the local police proudly served their communities free from the yoke of federal law enforcement.  In the 1980s and 1990s, cops on the beat and detectives hunting down suspects kept a distance from the likes of the FBI—an agency that routinely looked down their noses at ‘the locals.’

When watching a television drama, such as Criminal Minds, I sometimes chuckle when the FBI’s 20 and 30 something agents make veteran police investigators look like second-rate cops.  When it comes to clearing a serious crime, I would much rather have a core group of Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) homicide detectives working with me than a slew of FBI agents, many of whom rarely work the streets, and then rib the handful of their colleagues that actually do.

After 9/11, however, the federal government realized that its agents desperately needed the intelligence gleaned by ‘the locals,’ whose officers pounded the pavement 24 x 7.  In order to bring state and local law enforcement agencies into a national fold, Uncle Sam dangled billions of dollars in grants in front of the noses of mayors and police chiefs.  This “free money,” as it is insanely described by the likes of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, became a powerful drug that quickly turned some police chiefs into addicts constantly on a lookout for their next fix—another federal government handout.

In the interim, having taken the federal government’s money, local police agencies now served two masters—the residents of their communities and the US Justice Department.   Milwaukee’s chief of police, Ed Flynn, took the fed’s bait money and established an “intelligence fusion center,” an operation staffed by federal agents, members of the National Guard, state agents, and several members of the MPD, even though, in many instances, those who summon the services of the Milwaukee police often wait hours for an officer to respond.

Moreover, as federal, state and local law enforcement morphed together, the decentralization of authority—a concept our nation’s founders saw as a buffer against tyranny—has ebbed to the point where leaders of police agencies in New York City and Milwaukee apparently no longer believe that the Fourth Amendment is relevant and sacrosanct.

On June 11, Wall Street Journal reporter Heather Mac Donald profiled the case of Floyd v. New York, a federal lawsuit brought to “specifically target” the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

A “stop,” based on a “reasonable suspicion” of wrong doing, and a “frisk,” premised on an officer’s “reasonable and articulable” belief that a person might be armed, was a practice upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Terry v. Ohio.

In New York City, however, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s stop-and-frisk policy omits the “reasonable and articulable” part of the equation.  In plan speak; the NYPD’s policy thumbs its nose at the Fourth Amendment and the judicial precedents established by our nation’s highest court, which, prior to the Patriot Act, was respected as the rule of law.

In her article, Ms. Mac Donald appears to find a prominent supporter of Ray Kelly’s frisk without cause policy on the seventh floor of Milwaukee Police Administration Building.

“Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has said that it will be a “tragedy” if his city is forced to curtail the pedestrian stops that have reduced crime in inner-city neighborhoods,” wrote Ms. Mac Donald.

“That’s what worries us about what’s happening in New York,” Chief Flynn told the Los Angeles Times in April. “It would just be a shame if some people decided to put us back in our cars just answering calls and ceding the streets to thugs.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324063304578525850909628878.html

Asking the police to follow the guidelines put in place by the U.S. Supreme Court that frisks should be based on an officer’s “reasonable and articulable suspicion” that an individual is armed hardly equates to shuttering officers inside their squad cars.  Chief Flynn, as Commissioner Kelly, took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Ray Kelly’s willingness to trample on the Fourth Amendment, and Chief Ed Flynn’s apparent support for such a policy, illustrates why public officials should be viewed skeptically when they ask the public to trust them with the use of drones, cellular telephone monitoring technologies, and widespread government data collection.

This new American age of Machiavellian-type governance; whereby, the “ends justifies the means,” might work well for autocrats in China, Russia, and Cuba, but should have no relevance in the United States, where our nation—once the home of the free—has, in a historical blink of an eye, mutated into the land of the watched.

———————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


A Few Thoughts About Boston

Some observations about the terrorist acts on Boston—the second, not the first, successful attacks in the U.S. since 9/11.

People in this country react in bizarre ways. For example: gathering in a park and cheering after the second suspect was taken into custody, as if the US had won some type of international sporting event. I used the conclusion of this event as a somber moment to reflect upon the fact that two relative simpletons managed to terrorize an entire city, kill innocent civilians, and law enforcement officers.

As far as the lock down, call it 20/20 hindsight, but the tactic itself may have actually helped the suspect elude capture, as thousands of eyes remained inside. Ironically, once the “stay sheltered” ban was lifted, a set of eyes observed something suspicious. Plus, this tactic sends a message to other wannabe Jihadists that they can shutter an entire metro area with a few pressure cookers.

Certainly, the boots to the ground teams on the street did an outstanding job. However, I think this case merits a thorough, top-to-bottom policy review. Once again, all the high-tech fusion centers, NSA electronic listening, etc. failed to provide the intelligence needed to prevent the attack. The shoe bomber hopped aboard an airliner undetected; the underwear bomber successfully took a commercial flight, even though he was on the no-fly list (due to his name being misspelled by one letter); while a bombing in Time Square was prevented by a faulty detonation device and a vender who had spotted a suspicious SUV. In each of these instances, surveillance—as a means to prevent terror attacks—failed miserably.

So much for sacrificing liberty for security—a doctrine Benjamin Franklin warned against.

Sure, after the fact, video surveillance has proved valuable; although it appears private video footage broke the Boston case open. Moreover, during this investigation Americans learned that suspect #1 traveled overseas for six months, posted strange things on social media, and was red flagged by a foreign government (probably Russia), which asked the FBI to check into his activities. One would have thought suspect #1 would have been one of a hundred individuals fusion center operatives would have kept close tabs on.

So, the question needs to be asked: was the $500 billion our nation has spent since 9/11 to employ over 800,000 people and create a vast electronic intelligence apparatus worth the expense?

In the past, I have argued that surveillance does little to protect Americans.  It is like saying surveillance can prevent a homicide.  No doubt, if the police are proactive, officers can stop suspicious persons or investigate information that comes to their attention, but, at the end of the day, law enforcement generally locates the deceased, chalks out the body, erects crime scene tape, and attempts to find the perpetrator—all, of course, after the fact. If a person is intent on dying as a part of a terror attack, surveillance will do little besides enable investigators and the media to replay the blast.

What can the government do to prevent terrorism? Discontinue the surveillance of large swaths of the American populace, 99.999 percent of whom will never commit an act of terror, and, instead, focus our resources on those with a motive.  Think about it: how do the surveillance cameras mounted atop traffic control signals on 124th and Burleigh prevent acts of terrorism? Wasting taxpayer dollars to conduct surveillance of Americans diverts resources from the real problem: extremist groups and foreign nationals overstaying student visas that pose a real threat to this nation’s security.

As far as the media, they continue to report that this was the first terror attack since 9/11, which is simply regurgitating the government line.  Ft. Hood was a terrorist attack. As was the case in Boston, the assailant, Army Major Nidal Hasan, was radicalized from within and took his orders from a far. Classifying Ft. Hood as “work place violence” is akin to claiming that Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy is an immaculate conception.

—————————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


2013 and 1984–Liberty at a Crossroads

Strom Shirt

On his first day in office, President Barak Obama promised to “usher in a new era of open government.” Many advocates of federal government transparency, however, believe the Obama administration has went further than his predecessor, George W. Bush, to seal the doors of the federal bureaucracy from public scrutiny.

In 2008, candidate Obama promised to close Gitmo—the U.S. terrorist detention center in Cuba, and claimed, that if elected, his administration would give terrorist suspects trials in civilian courts. The Obama campaign further promised to “revisit” the USA Patriot Act “to ensure that there is real and robust oversight of tools like National Security Letters, sneak-and-peek searches, and the use of the material witness provision.”

As 2012 comes to a close, nearly three months after President Obama was reelected, his administration has not only failed fulfill any of the aforementioned 2008 campaign promises, it has, instead, responded like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on steroids.

In 2007, liberal newspaper columnists ripped the Bush administration for water boarding—a technique that simulates the drowning of a person under interrogation—by rightfully claiming this tactic violated the protocols of the Geneva Convention. The vast majority of these same columnists have since remained silent as the Obama administration has chosen to simply assassinate terror suspects, including American citizens, absent due process, as if assassination is somehow morally superior to so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’

A post by liberal blogger Taylor Tyler, entitled “A Liberal Argument Against Barak Obama,” spotlights the 180 degree reality of Obama’s campaign rhetoric and his policies.

“While Bush favored the capture and indefinite detention of suspects,” Tyler notes, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (otherwise known as drones) are Obama’s go to weapon in the War on Terror. Drone use began under Bush and greatly increased under Obama, with drone related deaths sharply rising. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that since 2004, drone deaths in Pakistan total between 2,583 and 3,378, including between 475 and 885 civilian and 176 children. Since 2002, deaths in Yemen are reported to be between 365 and 1,055, with between 60 and 163 civilian deaths. Deaths in Somalia, since 2007, have been reported to be between 58 and 170, with between 11 and 57 civilians killed. Drone death numbers may vary because, as the New York Times reports, the Obama Administration has continued the Bush Administration’s policy of redefining civilians.”

And yesterday, President Obama, who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, continued to trample on the document by signing an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The only thing “foreign” about this act is its willingness to ignore hundreds of years of judicial and legislative precedents concerning the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions of unreasonable searches. By extending FISA to 2017, the Orwellian National Security Agency (NSA) will now have access to over 1.7 billion daily text messages, emails, and telephone calls that take place on American soil.

Even left-wing producer Oliver Stone has joined the ‘whatever happened to the Bill of Rights’ chorus—a mix of Democrat Party civilian libertarians (Oregon Senator Ron Wyden) and Republican libertarians (Kentucky Senator Rand Paul).

“He [President Obama] has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them,” Stone told Russian Television, claiming that the U.S. is now an “Orwellian” surveillance state.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/12/29/Oliver-Stone-to-Russian-TV-US-has-become-an-Orwellian-State

And, to a certain extent, Stone is right. Since 9/11, the NSA has secretly recorded more than 20 trillion telephone calls. Under FISA, recording these calls is no longer considered eavesdropping unless an NSA operative chooses to listen to the actual conversation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVv-SqByboc

Meanwhile, most Americans, as long as they have access to their electronic gadgets, seem ambivalent that every Web page they visit, every purchase that they make online or with a credit or debit card, and many of their telephone conversations—if they say one of hundreds of key words—are being secretly recorded and stored in an NSA database.

“If you want a picture of the future,” George Orwell wrote in his book, “1984,” imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Unfortunately, the American future is now the present. Whether it is biometric ID (Real ID for those of you in the mainstream media), Iris scans, surveillance cameras throughout the interstate and on light poles and busy intersections, Big Brother is watching, chronicling and storing what you say, where you travel, what you purchase and what you advocate.

And for those believing in the Starbuck’s mantra of “come together” bipartisanship, about the only thing the majority of Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama,  and even the judiciary seem to agree on nowadays, is that the society depicted in Orwell’s “1984” wasn’t so bad after all.

—————————————————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

 

 


Privacy Advocate: Surveillance Initiatives a Response to Coming Debt Crisis

This week, the Spingola Files (SF) had an opportunity to interview privacy advocate Miles Kinard, whose e-magazine exposé, American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying, shines a light on many of the technologies federal, state and local law enforcement use to monitor and track the movements of Americans.  

http://www.amazon.com/American-Stasi-Centers-Domesitc-ebook/dp/B006YZQFL8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354972345&sr=1-1&keywords=american+stasi

Polls in recent weeks have given President Obama his highest approval ratings in three years. Kinard, however, believes the government is in a rush to construct an Orwellian surveillance infrastructure prior to the coming U.S. sovereign debt crisis.

                                                     *              *               *               *

SF: Now that the election is over, do you see cutbacks in the federal budget affecting the enormous federal grant outlays given to state and local law enforcement for the continued expansion of surveillance?  

MK: I don’t see the Obama administration cutting back on funds for government surveillance. I actually believe these grants will increase.  Do the math. If interest rates climb to eight percent, which they will when once investors realize the risk in U.S. Treasuries, and the national debt hits $20 trillion, the debt service—tax dollars used to pay the interest on the total owed—will consume 75 percent of all tax dollars collected by the federal government. The Obama administration will address the problem by asking the Federal Reserve to print more money—a QE4 or QE5 scenario.  Hyper-inflation will ensue, wiping-out the savings of elderly Americans.  The cost of simple commodities, like as food, will shoot-up 50 to 100 percent in a relatively short period of time.  This will cause government instability and large scale civil disturbances.

SF: What types of policies do you see being put in place in regards to surveillance to monitor and control the population?

MK: Drive down your local inter-state highway and look at what is mounted on those poles on the side of the road, on bridges, or on the roofs of squad cars. Those little white boxes, those are cameras operated, at least in Wisconsin, by the Department of Justice/State Patrol.  Some can be easily retro fitted for RFID readers, which can ascertain the VIN from a passing vehicle from a chip implanted in new tires (See the below link, inserted by SF).

http://www.rfid-ready.com/201202153398/goodyear-integrates-rfid-tags-in-truck-tires.html

Coupled with Automated License Plate Reader technology—generally cameras mounted on squad cars, although some are permanently placed at strategic locations—that capture, time stamp, and geo-tag the location of passing vehicles, and government agents will soon be able to place a license plate into a data base and easily determine the whereabouts of a vehicle.

So you see where this is going. Total surveillance, where everyone is a suspect and their individual data is stored, in some instances, up to ten years on government servers, for retrieval whenever they become a target for whatever reason—criminal or political.

SF: So you believe these enhanced technologies might be used to control constitutionally protected speech and assembly?

MK:  It is not difficult to imagine. Remember Joe the Plumber? He was the man who dared ask candidate Obama a question during the 2008 campaign in Ohio, where Obama admitted that his goal was wealth redistribution.  Within hours a Democratic Party operative in the Ohio state government unlawfully accessed a government data base in an effort to locate dirt on this man.  There they found Joe the Plumber had some type of relatively minor tax lien. This info was then leaked to other Democratic operatives and then the media in an effort to discredit a citizen who did little more than ask a simple question of a candidate for public office.

Now, let’s say a particular individual chooses to take to the streets in order to lawfully assemble, maybe to protest against the sovereign debt crisis or out-of-control government spending, i.e. the Tea Party.  No doubt this person’s image will be captured on some type of surveillance camera. These cameras might be private or public, but the 74 intelligence fusion centers throughout the country, including the two in Wisconsin, have access to the surveillance cameras of their ‘private sector partners,’ or they might be captured by drones. Real ID laws now require individuals in Wisconsin to submit to biometric photographing at the DOT.  Biometrics is a mathematical equation that is given to a facial or bodily image. A computer can then identify this image, using facial recognition software.  

Within minutes, a government agent can determine the protesting party’s identity.  

Then, an NCIC and DOT record check is run.  This will determine if the person is wanted, the status of their driver’s license and the contents of their criminal record.  Now a government an agent can do a work-up with Choice Point, a private company that collects data on all adult Americans and sells this information to the others, including the government.  Next, the agent can conduct an ‘Alpha check’ with the State Patrol do determine what vehicles the individual owns.  With the license plates in hand, data bases are then accessed to determine the travel of the vehicle’s owner.  With data procured from smart phones and computers, agents can determine what Web sites one has visited, what type of purchases were made with credit cards, financial transactions, as well as the particular movies and books a person enjoys.  The next stop is Facebook and Twitter where most Americans—like sheep being led to the slaughter—give their private information, political beliefs, and other details about them away for free. 

Hence, the government—one desperately seeking to quell discontent—can develop a dossier to smear virtually anyone who dares question the President or any other representative of the government.

SF: Why is the mainstream media turning a blind-eye to the creation of the surveillance state?

MK:  Well, let me preference the following comments by saying I am a Libertarian.  I did not support either of the big government candidates—Romney or Obama.  This is no longer just a ‘surveillance state.’  We are on the fast track to a police state.  Our judiciary is a joke. Most judges, so-called liberals or conservatives, are simply politicians more concerned about getting reelected to the bench and/or supporting their political party through their decisions than the intent of the Constitution.

Then there is the media, 90 percent of whom voted for Obama.  Never in my lifetime have I witnessed the mainstream press literally cover for a political candidate like they did Obama.  When Ronald Reagan was President, the press went crazy when the budget deficit hit $100 billion.  The press has never seriously questioned Obama on these huge annual deficits. Think about it, when Obama leaves office the national debt will likely be $20 trillion. That means Obama—the 44th U.S. President—will have racked-up more debt in eight years than all 43 prior presidents did in 232 years.

Yet even with all this debt and proof that a turn-key police state is being quickly constructed, the mainstream media simply refuses to ask Obama or any representatives of his administration any tough questions.  After all, Obama ran as the constitutional law professor who valued civil liberties.  Instead, Gitmo is still open, he has given the order to kill at least one American citizen absent due process, and has used drones in Pakistan—a sovereign nation we are not at war with—to kill terrorists and thousands of other civilians who just happened to be around the terrorists when they were killed. Remember the press grilling the Bush administration about water boarding terrorists?  Yet when the Obama administration simply kills them and the other civilians considered ‘collateral damage,’ well, there apparently is nothing for the mainstream press to skeptically see.

SF: What can Americans who value free enterprise, hard work, the true meaning of the Constitution, and limited government do to preserve the rights and freedoms of the republic?

MK: Cut federal, state, and local spending to the minimum needed to provide simple core services. A government willing to print money and borrow money at a record pace to buy votes and create an apparatus to spy on its own people is not a government that can be trusted. Whatever happened to the concept of ‘We the People’?  Support groups like EPIC (www.epic.org), the Rutherford Institute (www.rutherford.org), and listen to straight-talkers like Peter Schiff (www.schiffradio.com).  And, of course, let me make a plug here, purchase American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.

———————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His lastest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Update: New Spingola Files Book Now Available

If you own a Kindle, an i-Phone, an i-Pad, an Android, a Mac or a PC, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You is now available for purchase exclusively at Amazon.com.  Simply download the Kindle app to any of these devices and click this link:

 http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354678740&sr=1-1&keywords=spingola+files

Readers will get my take on a killer drifter, the details of the homicide investigation of two young Milwaukee girls, the guilty verdict of Drew Peterson, an examination of the emerging American surveillance state, as well as 36 additional articles of criminal justice import.

Within 24 hours after the book’s release, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You debuted at #5 on Amazon.com’s criminal procedure list and ranked #15 on Amazon’s list of “hot new releases.”

Kindle gift cards are available at Amazon.com. Give the gift of reading this Christmas!

————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


When Mistaken Priorities Cost Lives

 Sunday’s heinous shootings at a southeastern Wisconsin Sikh temple—dubbed by the FBI a possible act of domestic terrorism—illustrates that, in some instances, the criminal justice system tragically misallocates precious resources.

While the FBI correctly claims that the current state-of-the-law prevents its agents from collecting data on suspected domestic terror suspects, under the provisions of the Patriot Act, law enforcement can purchase information from privately held companies or non-profit organizations. Corporations, such as ChoicePoint and Acxiom, routinely sell detailed dossiers on American citizens to law enforcement. In the 1990s, the Milwaukee Police Department paid for and received information from the Southern Poverty Law Center—the same group that followed the activities of Sheikh Temple shooter Wade Page for the past ten years.

Even though red flags popping-up around active shooters, such as Colorado’s James Holmes, Tucson’s Jared Loughner, and Page, in hindsight, appeared visible, too often the resources needed to monitor trouble individuals are wasted enforcing trivial laws and incarcerating those who are relatively harmless.

This certainly is the case with an Arizona man locked-up on July 9, 2012, for holding a weekly Bible study in his Phoenix home.

The Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead reports that Michael Salman was “fined more than $12,000 and sentenced to 60 days in jail starting on July 9, 2012, for the so-called “crime” of holding a weekly Bible study in his Phoenix home”—a violation of city building codes.

“In such a society,” Whitehead argues at www.rutherford.org, “we are all petty criminals, guilty of violating some minor law. In fact, Boston lawyer Harvey Silvergate, author of Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, estimates that the average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to an overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal and an inclination on the part of prosecutors to reject the idea that there can’t be a crime without criminal intent. Consequently, we now find ourselves operating in a strange new world where small farmers who dare to make unpasteurized goat cheese and share it with members of their community are finding their farms raided, while home gardeners face jail time for daring to cultivate their own varieties of orchids without having completed sufficient paperwork.”

Mr. Salman is currently an unfortunate guest at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 2,000-prisoner tent city, where according to Whitehead, prisoners “battle the heat by positioning themselves in front of a few large fans, but they are of little use when temperatures reach 145 degrees. Stun fences surround the perimeter, with four Sky Watch Towers bearing down on the occupants. Facial recognition software and K-9 units keep track of the people moving about, longing for their freedom.”

In the interim, while law enforcement and our courts incarcerate thousands of people like Mr. Salman for minor offenses, those exhibiting psychotic and/or homicidal behaviors seemingly roam from state-to-state under the radar screen of the newly created American surveillance state.

Moreover, if an organization, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, is able to compile data on individuals like Wade Page and lawfully sell this data to law enforcement, one has to wonder if the 77 intelligence fusion centers—funded in part by federal tax dollars—are up to the task or if these domestic spy operations spend too much time focusing on individuals like Michael Salman instead of keeping their eye on the prize.

———————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

or

www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


Security vs. Privacy: An Interview with WUWM

Yesterday, WUWM aired an interview I did with Lake Effect’s Stephanie Lecci regarding America’s post-9/11 surveillance state. We discussed the use of drones, the expansion of intelligence fusion centers, infrared technology, the spread of facial recognition software, as well as the ever-evolving state of the law pertaining to surveillance.

To hear the interview, please visit the following link:

http://www.wuwm.com/programs/lake_effect/lake_effect_segment.php?segmentid=9105

BOOK UPDATE:  to learn more about intelligence fusion centers and the role of the local police in the surveillance state, checkout privacy advocate Miles Kinard’s magazine exposé: American Stasi: Fusion Center’s and Domestic Spying.  The article is climbing the charts at Amazon.com—listed at #3 at 5 p.m. CST. 

http://www.amazon.com/American-Stasi-Centers-Domesitc-ebook/dp/B006YZQFL8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334787921&sr=8-1

——————————————————————- 

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Old School Sleuths Weigh-In on Most Current Crop of Detectives

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

———————————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012 


 


[1] “Murder Mysteries: National Statistics.” KnoxvilleNews.com. 31 March 2012.  http://www.knoxnews.com/data/murder-knoxville-nation/

[2] “Murder Mysteries: National Statistics.” KnoxvilleNews.com. 31 March 2012. http://www.knoxnews.com/data/murder-knoxville-nation/

[3] Hogue, B. “DNA Collection Bill Proposed.” Wrn.com. March 2, 2012.  31 March 2012. http://www.wrn.com/2012/03/dna-collection-bill-proposed/


Liberty Activists Doing the Job the Media Used to Do

To view this article, please checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, available exclusively at Amazon.com in December of 2012.

——————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012 


 


[1] Beach, K.  “Friday, March 16, 6 to 8 p.m. CST, AxXiom for Liberty Live.  Guest, Former Homicide Detective, Author Steve Spingola.” http://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/friday-march-16-6-8-pm-cst-axxiom-for-liberty-live-guest-former-homicide-detective-author-steven-spingola/

[2] Knickerbocker, B.  “Guantanamo for U.S. Citizens? Senate Bill Raises Questions.” www.csmonitor.com. December 3, 2011.  16 March 2012.  http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2011/1203/Guantanamo-for-US-citizens-Senate-bill-raises-questions

[3] Kinard, M. American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.  Badger Wordsmith, LLC.  Wales, WI. 2012.

[4] Walker, J. “What Cases have the Patriot Act’s Sneak-and-Peek Warrants been used for?”  www.reason.com.  September 7, 2011.  16 March 2012.  http://reason.com/blog/2011/09/07/what-cases-have-the-patriot-ac


SF Reviews “American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.”

To view this article, please checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, available exclusively at Amazon.com in December of 2012.

————————————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Predator Spy Drones: Hoovering Above Your Town Soon?

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

———————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

 © Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


When Big Brother Reaches Out and Touches

To read this article, purchase the Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011