Tag Archives: SWAT

‘Vape Ban Warning’ Issued for 26 Oklahoma Counties

super cell 1

Kaye Beach

Jan. 25, 2014

Feb 11, 2014 UPDATE: On Feb. 10th the TSET apparently decided to revamp their entire website and all of the informative links below were rendered dead.  THANKFULLY the Internet has a very long memory and all links were restored on Feb 11th via The Wayback Machine.

 

An electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer (affectionately known by its fans as a ‘vape’) is a battery-operated device that heats a liquid containing nicotine (but not always) and various flavors to produce,  not smoke, but vapor, thus eliminating tar and toxins associated with burning tobacco cigarettes.   Thousands of Oklahomans have switched from smoking to vaping, potentially improving their health and longevity.

The good news about this safer alternative to smoking is being clouded by a potent mix of financial and political interests making conditions ripe in 2014 for potentially disastrous vaping bans and other dangerous political phenomena such as unreasonable taxation of vaping products.

Oklahomans should be advised that the political environment may turn treacherous at any moment.

At 4:59  PM CT AxXiom for Liberty’s Nanny State Prevention Service has issued a Vape Ban Warning for the following Oklahoma counties:

vape ban watch

The previous  state-wide Vape Ban Watch is now upgraded to a Vape Ban Warning for these counties.

TSET funds at work

Residents of these twenty-six Oklahoma counties are advised to expect a whirlwind of TSET funded anti-tobacco coalition agitation at the city level, accompanied by media saturation of anti-electronic cigarette propaganda, local political maelstroms, and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) team activation.

Immediate city level organization is necessary to  protect life and property from dangerous government overreach.

Don’t wait until the vape ban is on top of you – take your  big government precautions now!   

Oklahoma TSET Communities of Excellence In Tobacco Control

Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control FY 13 budget: $6 million (Source: TSET Program Fact Sheet)

A Vape Ban Watch means that conditions are favorable to the formation of e-cigarettes and vaping bans.  85% of Oklahoma has been under the Vape Ban Watch since last fall when the same political influences that threaten areas in 2014 produced damaging bans in Oklahoma communities such as Shawnee, Ada and others.

Sporadic outbreaks of vaping bans and e-cigarettes prohibitions this fall prompted vigilant vapers and other Oklahomans leery of the nanny state  to take action on impending bans.  Oklahoman’s may feel overwhelmed by sudden storms produced by the explosive combination of cold cash and hot air but as the residents of Tahlequah demonstrate, citizen preparedness and quick action can save the day.

Be proactive.  Call your city council member now and tell them that TSET bribes are not a good reason to ban vaping!

Please remain vigilant.  Under normal circumstances, community health coalitions are relatively benign and even helpful entities but when fueled by tobacco settlement funds granted by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these entities can coalesce becoming supercells that produce twisted efforts that can devastate opportunities for Oklahomans to improve their personal health.

tobacco free coalitions TSET

Right now these coalitions are primed to start firing off  Vaping Bans in cities that fall under the 26 county (highlighted in green pg 31-33)Vape Ban Warning area.

Detail is as follows:

These twenty-six Oklahoma counties are part of a ‘Communities of Excellence’ coalition/consortium and are  eligible for TSET Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding for  fiscal year 2014.

In 2014, flush with tobacco settlement cash extracted from predominately low-income smokers, the TSET has doubled the grant funds available to communities as part of the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant for Tobacco Control.

If you live within one of these twenty-six  counties, chances are good that your city will be targeted by one or more TSET funded anti-tobacco groups operating in your area in over the course of this year.  TSET has set aside 4.1 million dollars in 2014 just to fund the anti-tobacco coalitions that you will find agitating for the Vape Bans.  (Page 3 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf )

‘Additional grant money of $42,000 would be granted to Choate’s group as part of TSET’s Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control.

An amount of $200,000 is received annually by her group from the tobacco settlement.

She emphasized that it is not money that motivates them to push ecig ban.’

(Reported by North West Watch http://www.northwestwatch.org/news/speculations-that-money-push-council-to-ban-ecigarettes/)

These health related coalitions work within our communities to promote public health education and policies that many of us welcome and support but the TSET and it’s partners have decided to focus in on eradicating the imaginary scourge of e-cigarettes and are funding the coalitions to be the tip of the spear in this misguided effort.  Given the well established and devastating effects of smoking, redirecting health activists’ efforts away from this and other pressing health concerns can only be described as perverse.

turning point coalition e cigarette

Coalition applicants must develop work plans to address five (required) Core Indicators defined in TSET’s 2014 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding. (Page 24 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf)

Required “Core Indicator 1″ is a city-wide tobacco-free policy which is defined to include e-cigs/vapor products.

CI red lined

Pg 25 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf

Oklahomans fed up with the ever encroaching nanny-state would do well to inform themselves by spending a little time perusing the TSET’s website http://www.ok.gov/tset/    (Well, not so much now since they have removed MANY public information links!) You should get to know these coalitions that are getting their paychecks and marching orders from TSET while professing to represent ‘the community’ and thus YOU!

Each of the twenty-six  counties eligible for TSET tobacco control grants in 2014 are listed below.  They are linked with their respective TSET funding pages that identifies the lead coalition as well as their most recent yearly and cumulative total TSET funding to date.

Coal
End Advisory.
When the political weather heats up, stay tuned to AxXiom for Liberty, we’ll keep you advised.

‘Pesky Critters’ and the Oklahoma Drone Summit 2013

UAS summit

Kaye Beach

**Update June 11, 2013

“Most recently in March 2013 Oklahoma was host to a UAS Summit in Norman,
OK which provided a platform for the state to describe its plans and
objectives with respect to UAS. The Summit covered a diverse set of
subjects and topics including the use of UAS for agriculture, advanced
weather monitoring and research, along with law enforcement and military
applications of UAS technology” Link

March 26, 2012

The 2013 Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Summit was held today in Norman. http://www.uasoklahoma.com/agenda2.pdf

I would have loved to attended this event but the attendance conditions were quite intimidating even if I had of found out about it in time.  I did scout about for information on social media where often tech events are heavily covered, without much luck.  Monitoring twitter proved disappointing.  Strange since the Summit included a ‘social media’ meeting last night.  Actually, I found just one person that was attending the event that was using twitter.  Courtney E Howard, the Editor in Chief – Avionics Intelligence.  You can read her tweets on the event here

This tweet of Howard’s I thought was rather funny;

People do say things [about #UAVs] that are ridiculous & they say it loudly.–Professor of Political Science at University of Oklahoma (OU)

She is quoting one of the last panelists in the line up today who were covering Privacy and Social Implications of drones.  This panel was chaired by Prof. Stephan Henderson

I wonder what ridiculous things people say loudly about the drones?  One of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard about drones actually comes from one of today’s speakers at the Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Summit.  His name is Kirk Kloeppel and he was slated to speak on the Department of Homeland Security’s RAPS program that Oklahoma was chosen as the test site for back in June of 2012.  RAPS stands for Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety.

First reports from the RAPS trials being run in our state struck me as pretty ridiculous since the press release from the Governors office studiously avoided mention of the rather obvious role that the police would play in the DHS’s RAPS program.

Governor Mary Fallin Joins Department of Homeland Security, Oklahoma National Guard to Announce New Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program in Oklahoma

Gov. Fallin assures the public that ‘drones for use by the military or police investigations will not be tested at the Oklahoma site.’

Source: NewsOK, June 29, 2012, Oklahoma chosen as test site for drones http://newsok.com/oklahoma-chosen-as-test-site-for-drones/article/3688386

Here is an excerpt from a reporters observation of the very first trials of RAPS;

FORT SILL — The small, winged drone quietly soared overhead as SWAT team members closed in on a building at Fort Sill.

When a suspect sprinted from the structure, the drone banked through a cloudless afternoon sky in an effort to track the person.

A few miles away, two Lockheed Martin technicians sat in a converted bedroom of a ranch-style house using a laptop computer to control the drone’s movements. They followed the action on a video relay.

NewsOK, Dec. 31, 2012 Wary eyes shift to the skies as unmanned aircraft are tested in state

So the RAPS program itself might strike some as being at least mildly ridiculous but what Kirk Kloeppel is best know for, his ‘Pesky Critters’ would almost certainly strike most as utterly ridiculous.

robofly

Pesky Critters was written by Kloeppel in 2005.  Here is a brief excerpt from the paper;

“The hunter-killer pursues specific individuals and eliminates them. These devices have the unique deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) signature for individual leadership in their memory and examine the environment for a match. Once the proper candidate is isolated, the fly inserts a probe into the victim, injecting a toxic substance or altering the victim’s own genetic material with a virulent composition, causing quick incapacitation. The victim notices the “sting” from the robot but considers it a pest and thinks nothing of the consequences.

A day or two would pass before the targeted leader is not a further factor in the warfighting. These miniscule vehicles offer a unique, stealthy cap ability for a government. From the exterior, the robots appear to be common houseflies. They mimic the performance of the housefly in nearly every aspect except for the internal composition. Their innocuous existence offers implementers military advantages. While the development of a hunter-killer weapon may breach legal boundaries, its potential is illustrative of the possible alternative applications, many of which, such as the intelligence and surveillance approaches, are perfectly legal.

The above scenario may seem implausible—something dreamed within the mind of a science fiction writer—but the capabilities are closer to reality than one might imagine. The design, manufacture, and use of an unmanned aerial vehicle the size of a common housefly is feasible and worth exploring.”

Read 34 more pages of ridiculousness here

Or check out some more recent work by Colonel Kirk Kloeppel;

Air Force scientists are looking for robotic bombs that look — and act — like swarms of bugs and birds. In a recent presentation, Colonel Kirk Kloeppel, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s munitions directorate, announced the Lab’s interest in “bio-inspired munitions.”

These, “small, autonomous” machines would “provide close-in [surveillance] information, in addition to killing intended targets,” the Colonel noted.  And they’d not only take out foes in urban canyons – the self-guided munitions would “operat[e] within buildings,” too.

Jan. 1, 2008 Wired, Air Force: Bug-Like Robo-Bombs for Indoor Ops

Or this Kloeppel presentation from 2009

Here is the most ridiculous thing of all about the drone explosion that has been actively courted and developed by Gov. Fallin with our tax dollars; not one thing has been done to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of the people she was elected to serve.

In fact, it was the direct intervention of Gov. Fallin and Stephen McKeever, her Secretary of Science and Technology, that killed the fairly narrowly tailored legislation that would have simply prohibited the police from doing targeted surveillance of individuals and equipping them with weapons.

This is what I call ridiculous!

Mary Fallin puts an end to Oklahoma’s drone privacy bill

Mary Fallin puts an end to Oklahoma’s drone privacy bill

fallin dronesKaye Beach

March 13, 2013

House Bill 1556 authored by OK Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, working in conjunction with the Oklahoma ACLU,  would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before using drones for surveillance and prohibited civilian drones from carrying weapons.

But today the Governors office put an end to this bill.

Reported by KFOR-TV March 13, 2013;

Bill on drone surveillance put on hold

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before using a drone for surveillance has been put on hold.

House Bill 1556 will be held over for the next session.

. . . The move comes as a result of opposition from Gov. Mary Fallin.

Read more and watch the video report at KFOR http://kfor.com/2013/03/13/bill-on-drone-surveillance-put-on-hold/

Enjoying a groundswell of popular support that notably spans the political spectrum, HB1556 appeared to have a great chance of being passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives until the Governor’s office decided it was time to intervene.

Citing concerns that pending legislation would hurt Oklahoma’s chances to be one of the six states chosen by the FAA to be a testing site for drones, Governor Fallin’s office took issue with the bill.  However, upon closer inspection of the FAA”s application by the bill’s author and the Dir. Of the OK ACLU, Ryan Kiesel, it was found that the FAA is explicitly does not automatically treat pending legislation as a negative.  

This fact, when raised made no impact on opposition to HB1556 by the Governor’s office which begs the question: Why would the Governor be opposed to the passage of this very modest bill?

This unanswered question takes me back to the press conference that I attended that was held by Gov. Fallin, along with her Secretary of Science and Technology,  Stephen McKeever,  and drone industry representative Michael Toscano, the president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International on Jan 16, 2013 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Fallin_UAS_0

When it came time to take questions from members of the press, not surprisingly, the very first question asked was in regards to privacy and civil liberties.  At that time the Stephen McKeever made it crystal clear that they were not amenable to any statutory or even policy level changes that might protect the privacy rights of Oklahoman’s.  McKeever was quite clear in his statements explaining that while it was not unreasonable to have some concerns about drones and privacy, he was opposed to any real efforts to secure our privacy rights for fear that it might hinder  the drone industry in some way in our state.

That is when I knew that any legislation to advance the protection of our rights was going to be an uphill battle to say the least. 

Recently, the Congressional Research Service issued a report;  “Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues”

The report states that “perhaps the most contentious issue concerning the introduction of drones into U.S. airspace is the threat that this technology will be used to spy on American citizens.” 

That this is an issue is not a surprise to anyone. Yet with all of the time, money and effort invested by this state to ensure that Oklahoma becomes drone central, USA,  nothing has been done to hear the concerns of Oklahoma citizens or ensure the rights of Oklahomans are protected.

There has been years of groundwork laid in making Oklahoma the premier state for the drone industry.

In 2009 the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma (USA-OK) was created to promote the emerging unmanned systems industry in Oklahoma.

In 2011, Gov. Fallin issued an Executive Order to create the Unmanned Aerial Systems Council and appointed 13 members to her Unmanned Aerial Systems Council.  The council was to advise the governor on ‘all issues related to UAS, including education, economic development, job creation and investments’ so that Oklahoma could become a national leader in the UAS industry. 

This Council was created to advise the Governor on “all issues related to UAS”

How surveillance technology laden drones might infringe upon our Fourth Amendment rights has not been a primary or even secondary issue worth considering when officials were obviously working so hard at covering all the bases.

In all of the materials covering Governor Fallins efforts to develop the drone industry in Oklahoma that I have read, I have found  but one brief mention of the fact that drones present a real threat to our civil liberties.  It is in the Report of the Governor’s Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Council, released on July 8, 2012.   This recommendation made by the Oklahoma UAS Council, a small as it was, is one that should have been given some attention.  It wasn’t.

The Oklahoma UAS Council stated that  “The growth of UAS has the potential for enormous good and economic benefit for all residents, introducing new capabilities simply not possible at present. As with any new technology, however, new capabilities come with the potential for abuse. The state of Oklahoma takes these issues and concerns seriously. We support calls for thoughtful and informed dialogue to address these concerns and for the industry to work with privacy advocates, policymakers and legislators to provide the necessary protections against misuse.”  Source: Report of the Governor’s Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Council  A Strategic Plan for the Development of an Unmanned Aerial Systems Enterprise in the State of Oklahoma 

To my knowledge, no one from the drone industry or the Governor’s office reached out to the ACLU, OK-SAFE, or any other organization that is known for privacy advocacy in the state.

No.  It was not until HB1556 gained real traction and only after a last minute attempt by the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce to kill the bill in committee did the Governor’s office make any effort to connect with anyone and that was to put the brakes on the bill.

Rep. Wesselohoft worked openly and diligently to address any possible concerns by law enforcement or any others over the language in the bill.  Nevertheless, he was sideswiped by the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce shortly before the bill was to be heard in the House Aerospace and Energy committee when a Chamber representative told him that her organization was unhappy with the bill but refused to specify exactly what was problematic denying the Representative any opportunity to address their concerns.  The Chamber representative then proceeded to pass out to all committee members what was described as a ‘hit piece’ on the bill in an attempt to kill the legislation.

Despite this last minute attempt by the Chamber to sink HB1556, the bill passed the committee by a vote of 23-4.

To protect the rights of the people of the state of Oklahoma is the first duty of our elected representatives,  especially the Governor.  In reality, protection of our rights has registered dead last on Governor Fallins drone ‘to do’ list and this is unacceptable!

Another example of what I consider to be bad faith on the part of the Governor regarding the drone issue is her studied lack of forthrightness on the nature of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s RAPS program currently active in Oklahoma.

On June 29, 2012 Gov. Fallin announces Oklahoma is the first state chosen by the Dept. of Homeland Security as a testing site for small unmanned aircraft (drones) in the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) program.

Gov. Fallin assures the public that ‘drones for use by the military or police investigations will not be tested at the Oklahoma site.’

Source: NewsOK, June 29, 2012, Oklahoma chosen as test site for drones http://newsok.com/oklahoma-chosen-as-test-site-for-drones/article/3688386

However, the Dept. of Homeland Security’s own documentation describes the RAPS program to include; “real-time law enforcement tactical operations support, and crime scene situational awareness.”

DHS explains that “Typical test scenarios include search and rescue missions, fire and
hazardous material spill responses, and simulated law enforcement tactical operations.”

Source: Privacy Impact Assessment for the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) Project http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/privacy/PIAs/privacy_pia_st_raps_nov2012.pdf

And then on Dec. 31, 2012 we get a real New Year’s surprise from a news article describing the first RAPS tests taking place in Oklahoma as a SWAT policing exercise.

FORT SILL — The small, winged drone quietly soared overhead as SWAT team members closed in on a building at Fort Sill.

When a suspect sprinted from the structure, the drone banked through a cloudless afternoon sky in an effort to track the person.

A few miles away, two Lockheed Martin technicians sat in a converted bedroom of a ranch-style house using a laptop computer to control the drone’s movements. They followed the action on a video relay.

The simulated chase this month was among the first test flights in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security program designed to evaluate the possible civilian use of “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”

Source: NewsOK, Dec. 31, 2012, Wary eyes shift to the skies as unmanned aircraft are tested in statehttp://newsok.com/wary-eyes-shift-to-the-skies-as-unmanned-aircraft-are-tested-in-state/article/3741815

Governor Fallin misrepresented this program.  That is very concerning to me.

What is it that the drone industry plans on doing in Oklahoma that makes a simple piece of legislation protecting basic rights so offensive to Governor Fallin?

Here is the bottom line for the grassroots activists who are rightfully outraged by the governors direct role in quashing this bill; it is up to you to make sure that such actions by our governor politically painful enough that she will think twice about disrespecting the rights of the people of this state which she has sworn to defend.

First, call her office and register your opinion of her actions.

The Office of Governor Mary Fallin

Local: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353

Don’t forget.  You can also connect with Governor Fallin on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GovernorMaryFallin

And Twitter https://twitter.com/GovMaryFallin

No need to be rude or threatening but tell her this is truly a blatant example of profits over people and she needs to get her priorities straight!

Contact the news stations and ask them to investigate the relationship between the industry and state officials.  Ask them to cover the ire of the people of this state about the amount of investment in this industry and the lack of attention to our concerns about privacy and arming the drones with weapons.  Do your own research and see what you can uncover.

Find out where Governor Fallin is speaking and show up with signs to let people know how little she respects them.

And last but not least, when she runs for re-election, make this issue a campaign issue that she will have to answer to!

Be creative –  but please do something to expose this problem!  If we don’t make this an issue-no one else will!

Wary eyes shift to the skies as unmanned aircraft are tested in state

ok dragonfly

Kaye Beach

Dec. 31, 2012

Waking up to read this article has really put a damper on my Happy New Year.

Unmanned aircraft are being tested in Oklahoma for possible civilian uses, such as by police departments. But testing of the state-of-the-art crafts also has raised privacy concerns.

By Phillip O’Connner  Published: December 31, 2012

FORT SILL — The small, winged drone quietly soared overhead as SWAT team members closed in on a building at Fort Sill.

When a suspect sprinted from the structure, the drone banked through a cloudless afternoon sky in an effort to track the person.

A few miles away, two Lockheed Martin technicians sat in a converted bedroom of a ranch-style house using a laptop computer to control the drone’s movements. They followed the action on a video relay.

The simulated chase this month was among the first test flights in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security program designed to evaluate the possible civilian use of “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”

Read more

Oklahoma Insurance Department spends $180K on guns, police vehicles

swat 2Kaye Beach

Nov. 30 2012

 

Reported today by Sean Murphy, AP;

 

The Oklahoma Insurance Department spent more than $180,000 on high-tech shotguns, bulletproof vests and seven police-package vehicles that agency officials say were needed as part of its expanded focus on criminal insurance fraud.

But the purchases have raised eyebrows among some lawmakers who question why the agency’s nine-member anti-fraud unit — which primarily investigates white-collar crimes — needs equipment typically used by police officers and SWAT teams.

“I don’t think Oklahomans as a whole are going to relish the day when their neighborhood is full of official police-package insurance department police cars as they’re executing an arrest on a guy who did a fraudulent insurance claim,” said Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie . . . “For the life of me, I never could come to grasp with why the Insurance Department couldn’t take a local sheriff’s deputy, or someone responsible to the local community, with them when they do these arrests,” he said.

According to Insurance Department records, the agency this year purchased five 2012 Dodge Chargers for $23,590 each and two 2013 Chevrolet Tahoes for $26,505 apiece, each outfitted with police packages that include stiffer suspensions and wiring for additional communications equipment.

The agency also purchased seven Remington pump-action shotguns for $699 each, along with seven mountable shotgun lights that cost $203 apiece and seven bulletproof vests that cost $625 each.

Read More

Robo Copter-Hells New SWAT Toy

Kaye Beach

Aug 23, 2011

Tased From Above! New Robot Copter To Begin Patrolling Our Skies

Forget the idea that weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are only for military operations in wars fought in far off lands. Soon they’ll begin setting their sights on criminals within our borders. And they’ll be packing heat, not the long-range missiles of the X-47B, but with up close and personal stun guns, 12-gauge shotguns and, believe it or not, grenade launchers.

The ShadowHawk is the seven-foot, 50-lb copter that is the toy-sized dealer of destruction from Texas-based Vanguard Defense Industries. The copter is the result of three years of development. If being tased from above sounds frightening to you, I suggest you cease all criminal activities now (simply staying indoors is an option). There’s a good chance ShadowHawk’s spine tingling buzz could be heard approaching a city near you.

As a sign of new law enforcement tactics to come, the Sheriff’s Office of Montgomery County, Texas was recently awarded a grant by the Department of Homeland Security for a squadron of ShadowHawks. Montgomery County’s Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel is psyched. “We are very excited about the funding and looking forward to placing the equipment into the field. Both my narcotics and SWAT units have been looking at numerous ways to deploy it and I absolutely believe it will become a critical component on all SWAT callouts and narcotics raids and emergency management operations.”

Read more

What does the killing of a small girl say about police raids in an age of terror?

June 4, 2010

By GW Shultz from The Center for Investigative Reporting;

A house raid by law enforcement in Michigan that led to the killing of a 7-year-old girl May 16 sheds new light on the question of whether police have become overly militarized in the post-Sept. 11 age of terrorism. The Detroit Police Department was executing a “no-knock” search warrant intending to nab an alleged murderer with the help of its SWAT team when authorities say Aiyana Jones was accidentally shot by one of the officers.

A lawyer for the family insists the shot was fired from outside and that a flash-bang grenade tossed through the window burned the girl before she was fatally wounded by gunfire.

Crew members from a popular reality TV show, “The First 48,” captured footage as the raid occurred and subsequently turned it over to investigators looking into the shooting, according to press accounts. The show is produced by a UK company called Granada Media, also coincidentally the force behind another A&E cable network program called “S.W.A.T.” It chronicles the high-octane work of police special weapons and tactics units from three major cities. One of them is Detroit.

The show’s website features images of Detroit’s special response team dressed in military-style apparel and carrying sub-machine guns capable of spraying 800 rounds per minute. One officer wields an intimidating, large-barreled “multi-launcher,” which fires tear-gas projectiles “to disorient potential threats” and “less-lethal rounds,” such as sand bags that are used for crowd-control situations. Reporters have attributed the shooting of Aiyana Jones to team member Joseph Weekly, who still appears on the site.

Police departments across the United States have used federal homeland security grants to equip these teams with armored vehicles, battering rams, modern devices for conducting surveillance, incident-command trucks resembling RVs on steroids and SWAT attire that seems to visually transform local police into the armed forces.

In one area of Hawaii, police use a 19,000-pound armored BearCat purchased with $240,000 in grants “mostly for executing high-risk search warrants,” according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The vehicle has detectors on board for radiation and methane gas, and it’s followed on “missions” by a $330,000 mobile-command pos

Read more of GW Shultz’s investigative report;

http://www.centerforinvestigativereporting.org/blogs/author/473

Police State – The Militarization of the Police Force in USA

The Day the SWAT Team Came Crashing Through My Door

Great Op Ed by Mr. Calvo!

calvo

Cheye Calvo at his home before an August 2008 news conference. The dogs in the photo with Calvo and his wife were shot and killed by police. (By Marvin Joseph — The Washington Post)

In the words of Prince George’s County Sheriff Michael Jackson, whose deputies carried out the assault, “the guys did what they were supposed to do” — acknowledging, almost as an afterthought, that terrorizing innocent citizens in Prince George’s is standard fare. The only difference this time seems to be that the victim was a clean-cut white mayor with community support, resources and a story to tell the media

I remember thinking, as I kneeled at gunpoint with my hands bound on my living room floor, that there had been a terrible, terrible mistake.

An errant Prince George’s County SWAT team had just forced its way into our home, shot dead our two black Labradors, Payton and Chase, and started ransacking our belongings as part of what would become a four-hour ordeal.

The police found nothing, of course, to connect my family and me to a box of drugs that they had been tracking and had delivered to our front door. The community — of which I am mayor — rallied to our side. A FedEx driver and accomplice were arrested in a drug trafficking scheme. Ultimately, we were cleared of any wrongdoing, but not before the incident drew international outrage.

This was 14 months ago. We have since filed suit, and I am confident that we will find justice more quickly than most.

Yet, I remain captured by the broader implications of the incident. Namely, that my initial take was wrong: It was no accident but rather business as usual that brought the police to — and through — our front door.

.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/17/AR2009091701680.html

David Olofson Imprisoned for Firearm Malfunction

From Liberty Belles;

The Second Amendment very clearly recognizes our God-given right to own firearms without infringement. Yet, many in the government, media, and education system have made careers out of trampling on this right. The government has ignored the Second Amendment, enacted anti-gun legislation, and even jailed innocent people for decades without repercussion. Even as the Supreme Court is debating the issue, the government is still wreaking havoc on American citizens.

David Olofson, a Wisconsin gun owner, was convicted for transferring a machine gun. In actuality, Mr. Olofson owns a perfectly legal, AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He loaned it to a friend to use at a local shooting range. The gun had fired over 800 rounds of ammunition before misfiring. Upon misfire, it fired two shots in a row and jammed on the third. This is commonly known as a “hammer follow.” The misfire happened twice. Another party at the range heard the multiple round burst and notified police.

The S.W.A.T. team, local police, Sheriff’s Department, and BATFE subsequently conducted a no-knock raid of Mr. Olofson’s house. The S.W.A.T. team kicked down Mr. Olofson’s front door, entered wearing full body armor, then seized all of his guns, gun manuals, and his computer. Mr. Olofson, family man and Army veteran, was arrested.

The BATFE conducted a field test on the alleged machine gun, but was unable to recreate the multiple round burst. Not liking the negative results of the test, the field agent ordered the gun retested using a cheaper form of ammunition which is easier to cause multiple firings if you have a malfunction. Upon retesting, the gun did malfunction which was enough to get Mr. Olofson convicted of transferring a machine gun.

Mr. Olofson is now facing somewhere between 18 months and just over six years in prison along with a possible fine of $250,000.

The firearm manufacturer, Olympic Arms, was well aware of the tendency of this firearm to malfunction and had conducted a recall of the defective part. The BATFE was aware of this recall, but refused to enter the information into evidence during Mr. Olofson’s trial citing tax privacy. It has since been determined that the recall documentation (which would have helped to exonerate Olofson) did not contain any sensitive tax information. Mr. Olofson’s sentencing phase is currently on hold by the court as a result.

This argument that gun control is necessary to combat crime is flimsy and has been disproven numerous times. The overwhelming majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens, like Mr. Olofson, who never hurt anyone.

http://www.libertybelles.org/articles/criminalbatfe.htm

Update on Mr. Olofson from GOA;