BFP Exclusive- PTSD, Community, and Character: Notes on the Trial of Rasmea Odeh

The Trial: Nothing about United States v. Odeh Seems to Add Up

It was as if all the air had been let out of the room. With a brief pause and puff of his cheeks this past November, Judge Gershwin Drain of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan—just hours after unconventionally lauding the jury for finding Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh guilty of unlawfully procuring her U.S. citizenship––sided once more with the government’s lead prosecuting attorney, Jonathan Tukel, in moving to revoke Odeh’s bond and have the 67-year-old immediately detained.

The possibility that prosecutors would seek to establish Odeh as a flight risk prior to her sentencing reportedly took her attorneys by surprise in a hearing that many assumed to be a mere formality, including the friends and supporters who filled the benches of the Detroit courtroom to capacity in their support, a large majority having made the 300-mile trek from Chicago the night before. Odeh, dressed in an emerald-green taqsireh––an embroidered, waist-length Palestinian jacket––maintained her usual poise as the arresting officers barreled toward her, appearing almost instantaneously, as if mere fixtures of the art moderne architecture. Hulking over her as they handcuffed her arms behind her back, she was quickly rushed forward.

“We love you, Rasmea!” a woman shouted out from the back row, cutting through the shock waves of nervous disbelief that had suddenly pervaded the room.

“I love you!” Odeh responded, her chin lifted up toward the ceiling, adding last-gasp before being whisked away entirely: “Don’t mind––be strong!”

And then she was gone.

Why the trial was assigned to Detroit in the first place is in itself a point of contention. Odeh originally immigrated to Michigan via Jordan in 1994 to join her brother and help care for their father who was suffering from cancer, but by 2004––the same year that she acquired her U.S. citizenship––she had begun her work with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), a Chicago nonprofit dedicated to strengthening Chicagoland’s Arab American community through education and cultural outreach. Advancing from volunteer to her current position as associate director, she developed the Arab Women’s Committee within the organization, establishing an impressive base of a six hundred woman collective aimed at promoting leadership among Arab immigrant and Arab American women, along with challenging forms of oppression between the binds of patriarchy and racial discrimination.

Odeh’s strong commitment to her vocation, and the positive, significantly widespread impact that she has had not only upon her own community in Chicago, but all across the globe, is a direct testament to her character, and thereby strongly influenced by her personal life experiences and history. On February 28, 1969, Israeli soldiers and secret security police forcibly entered Odeh’s family home in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank and violently arrested her without a warrant or explanation, along with her father and two sisters. Hundreds of other Palestinians were likewise arrested in a massive, slipshod round-up following a week of resistance operations in response to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank following their “Six-Day War” of June 1967. Odeh was accused of being involved in two separate bombings allegedly credited to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): one involving a supermarket explosion in East Jerusalem and another at the British Consulate in Tel Aviv, the former killing two university students. She maintains that she was brutally tortured for 25 days while in custody, with a total of 45 days spent at Jerusalem’s infamous Moscobiyya Detention Center. Described as “more than hell” by a former detainee, it is primarily used as a place of interrogation before moving Palestinian prisoners to an Israeli prison. As Nahla Abdo writes in her book Captive Revolution: Palestinian Women’s Anti-Colonial Struggle Within the Israeli Prison System: “Transferring political prisoners from an occupied territory to the territory of the occupier represents a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention.”

From the moment that she was arrested and transported to the initial jail site, to the horrors of Moscobiyya, Odeh was beaten nonstop with fists and clubs, repeatedly raped, and subjected to further traumas in the form of threats, humiliation, deprivation, and electrical torture. Court documents filed by her defense team cite the torture she faced as being “consistent with reports from Israeli and Palestinian lawyers, the United Nations, Amnesty International and the American Vice-Counsel in Jerusalem.” Three months passed before she saw a Red Cross representative, during which time she was finally coerced into signing a false confession prepared for her in Hebrew (a language that she could not read or understand), taken before an Israeli military court, and given a life sentence. She was 21 years old.

In 1979, ten years into her sentence, Odeh was one of 76 Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured during the “Litani Operation” invasion of Lebanon. That same year, she testified before a U.N. special committee in Geneva, Switzerland regarding the heinous torture that was perpetrated against her while in Israeli custody. Living in Lebanon and then settling in Jordan, she worked to assist displaced Palestinians living in refugee camps to obtain U.N. humanitarian aid, in addition to achieving a law degree. On her time spent in prison, she would later relate, “It may have been ten years, but it felt like 100 years.”

Fast-forward to October 22, 2013: Odeh is arrested in Chicago by agents of the Department of Homeland Security, indicted on one charge of unlawful procurement of naturalization, and released on $15,000 bond. Her name and history had been dredged up in a 2010 COINTELPRO-type operation by the FBI that included targeted surveillance and house raids on various community and political activists. 26 people total were subpoenaed to a grand jury that never returned a single indictment from the investigation. As her defense writes: “Over two years later, with nothing to show for its raids in 2010, Ms. Odeh was indicted for falsely answering questions in 2004 in her naturalization application. Interestingly, the indictment was obtained by the office of the United States Attorney’s office from the Eastern District of Michigan through a grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Michigan. The United States Attorney in Illinois, which was the office that initiated the request for the Israeli documents and was carrying out the investigation, apparently passed the case to the office in Michigan, to divert attention from its failed efforts to criminalize the work of the AAAN in Chicago.”

Procuring several hundred documents provided to the Justice Department by the State of Israel––which later included thousands for the trial itself pursuant to the 1998 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Between the United States and Israel––Odeh was convicted of knowingly failing to disclose the nightmare she had survived 45 years prior. In what is essentially a retroactive witch hunt against a law-abiding and prosperous U.S. citizen, the prosecution, aided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, cultivated an argument mainlined by the perceived notion that Odeh would not have been admitted into the country 20 years ago had she properly disclosed details of a personal history all but impossible to have ever kept hidden to begin with. Additionally, the government was allowed to dictate a trial in which her factual guilt or innocence for the crimes she was convicted of in Israel were considered “irrelevant to the question of whether or not she truthfully answered questions on her U.S. naturalization application about whether she ever had been arrested, charged, convicted or imprisoned,” and her claims of torture were barred from being entered into evidence.

After being held for over a month in St. Clair County Jail in Port Huron, Michigan, including two weeks spent in solitary confinement, Judge Drain granted Odeh’s Motion for Reconsideration of his decision to revoke her bond pending sentencing, despite the government’s Response in Opposition. In doing so, Judge Drain retracted and revised many of the reasons originally given for her detainment. In light of the Sentencing Memorandum of the United States filed on February 25 in which the government laid out its request for an unprecedented enhanced sentence of between five and seven years imprisonment––drastically higher than the usual 15-to-21 month guidelines––and with the upcoming sentencing hearing scheduled for March 12 in Detroit, it is increasingly imperative that the Court’s previous decision to detain Odeh be properly dissected.

POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

In disallowing any mention of the torture that Odeh alleges she experienced while in Israeli custody––causing her to be coerced into signing a fraudulent confession––the Court likewise precluded what her attorneys described as the “heart of her defense,” which consisted of the professional diagnosis and testimony of Dr. Mary R. Fabri, a clinical psychologist with over 25 years of expert experience specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of survivors of war trauma and torture. Dr. Fabri met with Odeh six times for approximately three hours each time over a period of four months. She testified before the Court as to her belief that the experiences that Odeh related to her over this significant length of time were “very credible” and diagnosed her with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Citing scientifically grounded facts and examples under both direct and cross-examination, Dr. Fabri stated that it was a “strong possibility” that Odeh’s PTSD would have caused her brain to cognitively interpret the question of whether or not she had ever been convicted of a crime to apply strictly to her time in the U.S., thereby unconsciously protecting her from activating the terrible memories of her past traumas. “We all try to find ways of coping with our stresses,” she explained, “whether they’re extreme or mild. For survivors of severe trauma, they work really hard to develop filters that help keep the reminders out, so that during acute phases where someone is symptomatic, those filters aren’t working very well, and, again, that cognitive processing part is diminished.”

Odeh’s own personal coping devices were developed over the course of over 45 years and without the aid of therapy, making what she has been able to accomplish as an active member of society all the more impressive. People with chronic PTSD are vulnerable at all times to the effects of different sensory reminders of stress or past trauma; a constant, unpredictable handicap of sorts.

As Dr. Fabri testified:

When there’s a trauma happening, it can be overwhelming and the cognitive part of our brain can become overwhelmed. So if we look at different brain centers, and I’ll keep this simple, there is the emotional center, which is the hippocampus. There — I mean, I’m sorry, the amygdala, which is mediated by work of the hippocampus and pre medial frontal cortex. They mediate information.

So all of us process emotional information through the amygdala and if the hippocampus and the pre medial, the pre frontal medial cortex are functioning well, they’ll sensor for us so we don’t say or do things that are emotionally reacted.

During the traumatic event or, like torture, war trauma, many other things that are intense stress, those mediating parts of the brain become overwhelmed, and so in an experience of torture the memory is encoded in an emotional way, in a very sensory way in the amygdala so that when there are reminders of that past trauma and the memory is recalled, it’s recalled in a very emotional intense way without that cognitive processing.

She additionally submitted a 15 page psychological affidavit consisting of typewritten notes from her sessions with Odeh, along with her psychological assessment consisting of her behavioral observations, diagnosis, testing data, and treatment recommendations. Included in the affidavit were extensive details of Odeh’s torture at Moscobiyya: endless beatings with hands, fists, wooden batons, and metal rods; sleep-deprivation; denial of medical attention and legal resources. Left naked for the majority of the time, she was beaten in front of male detainees, and was likewise witness to the sights and sounds of others being tortured, including her father and sisters. At one point she was forced to watch the death of a man from electrical torture. Using chains to restrain her arms and legs, she was raped, tortured with electrical wires, and experienced pain and trauma so severe that she would often fall in and out of consciousness.

Dr. Fabri additionally interviewed Odeh following her five week imprisonment in St. Clair County Jail and wrote a letter indicating that her PTSD symptoms had been reactivated as a result of her recent arrest, trial, conviction, and imprisonment.

PTSD is an enduring condition that has profound implications for emotional and physical health. Reactivation of symptoms result in severe stress reactions in the body and has been demonstrated in multiple studies that PTSD contributes to a higher prevalence of mental illness, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

It is this evaluator’s opinion, to a reasonable and psychological certainty, that someone with chronic PTSD has a higher risk to develop serious health conditions that impact psychological and physical health as they age. Ms. Odeh falls in this category as a 67-year-old woman with a history of multiple traumas and a diagnosis of chronic PTSD.

While the jury was never told a word about Odeh’s alleged torture or her PTSD diagnosis, Judge Drain had all of this information at his fingertips, and even surmised during the detainment hearing that it would be “very one-sided” and “unfair to the government” if he were to allow Odeh to properly testify about her real life experiences. One doesn’t have to be an expert in psychology to be able to accurately predict the serious mental and physical effects that incarceration can have on a woman of Odeh’s age and background, including the possibility that she could be placed in solitary confinement. Such punishment is known to cause PTSD symptoms in inmates, further evidenced by a 2011 report by a U.N. Special Rapporteur defining prolonged solitary confinement to be in excess of 15 days, during which time “certain changes in brain functions occur and the harmful psychological effects of isolation can become irreversible.”

Odeh was inexplicably placed in solitary confinement for the last two weeks of her incarceration in the St. Clair County Jail, completely segregated and confined to her cell for all but a half-hour of each day. The jail’s disciplinary records indicate that she was originally sentenced to six days over a dispute with a guard that seemingly consisted of a mere misunderstanding, perhaps heightened by a possible language gap. An excuse to then keep her in prolonged solitary confinement was possibly invented out of a previous incident in which another inmate discovered an article about Odeh’s trial in a local newspaper and shared it with her before the newspaper was “taken and disposed of.” From this arose a questionable narrative that Odeh was being kept in solitary for her own safety, an implication that was strongly rebuked by Hatem Abudayyeh, the executive director of the AAAN and lead spokesperson for the Rasmea Defense Committee. Speaking to Ali Harb of The Arab American News, Abudayyeh described the explanation that he received from a prison administrator for the punitive measures taken against Odeh as “utter nonsense.”

“She had no issues with other inmates. She was getting along with them and had actually formed relationships with some people there.”

Such accounts are consistent with the ways in which Odeh was able to survive her previous imprisonment in Israel: building strong bonds and relationships with other inmates by educating and organizing; protesting prison conditions, going on hunger strikes together, and, most importantly, keeping their sumud, their determination.

COMMUNITY

In granting Odeh’s request for bond pending sentencing, Judge Drain asserted that her “dedication to her community work and the people that such work assists, as well as the presence of relatives in Chicago, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that she is not as significant a flight risk as originally believed.”

Such a statement is so vastly contradictory of the opinions that he previously expressed during the November 10 detainment hearing that the sincerity behind his “as originally believed” pivot seems, well, difficult to believe.

In very indelicate fashion, and before a courtroom full of the many women whose lives she had touched and deeply affected through her work at the AAAN, her family, Judge Drain contended that Odeh “doesn’t have any real ties to the Chicago community,” labeling her community ties via the AAAN as insignificant, while insisting that she could easily be committed to “doing the same work in another country.”

Such blunt disregard for Odeh’s assimilation into her adopted country is notable for two reasons. For one, it represents a manifestation of what Odeh and her supporters have suspected from the very beginning: that her indictment was a product of selective prosecution rooted in the discriminatory targeting of those doing political work in Arab and Muslim communities, particularly pro-Palestine activists. Furthermore, the government had made reference to the Rasmea Defense Committee’s “wide-ranging media campaign” as far back as July, culminating in their almost comical Motion to Empanel an Anonymous Jury and to Take Other Measures Necessary to Ensure an Untainted Jury. Claiming that Abudayyeh’s publicly stated goal of “filling the courtroom, rallying outside the courthouse, and chanting while holding posters” constituted a “concerted effort to sway the jury,” the prosecution even went so far as to cite the recent Detroit trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallah, the so-called “Underwear Bomber,” as an ideal example for how the Court should approach Odeh’s case. In what equated to a very translucent effort to paint both Odeh and her supporters in a terrorist light, the tenacity with which the government pursued the empaneling of an anonymous jury should have at least adversely alerted Judge Drain to the support she had from her community—branded as mobs and hoards by the government. Though he rejected their request, he did allow for a partial sequestration, meaning that the jurors arrived at an off-site location and were driven by federal marshals to the courthouse garage.

Just as absurd as the government’s plea for an anonymous jury was the flight risk narrative that it had concocted, surmising that Odeh might flee to the Palestinian Authority or Jordan ahead of her sentencing, which runs completely contrary to why she chose to exercise her constitutional right to a trial in the first place. The government had offered her a plea agreement that would have guaranteed no more than six months imprisonment and she would have been given 90 days to depart the country voluntarily, instead of being held in immigration custody awaiting deportation. “To speak of torture,” she told Dr. Fabri, “is to be tortured again.” That Odeh, a woman who suffers from chronic PTSD, chose to go through an entire federal trial undoubtedly guaranteed to activate her symptoms, gambling on the prospect of years of incarceration in the process, certainly speaks volumes of her will to remain in America.

At one point while she was under cross-examination, Dr. Fabri, being pestered over the fact that she had recommended to Odeh that she continue seeing a therapist, and that Odeh had declined, seemed to suddenly remember something.

“But, actually,” she began, “what Ms. Odeh told me is that her community supported her and she really didn’t feel the need.”

CHARACTER

According to the government’s expert witness Douglas C. Pierce, the section chief of U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) in Detroit, Michigan, submission of the Israeli police and trial records relating to Odeh’s conviction would have been a “more than sufficient basis for USCIS to conclude that the defendant lacked the requisite good moral character to become a USC.”

As for evidence relating to Odeh’s claims of innocence of her underlying convictions, the government writes:

“Evidence of defendant’s factual guilt or innocence for crimes of which she was convicted in a foreign country (Israel) is irrelevant to the question of whether or not she truthfully answered questions on her U.S. naturalization application about whether she ever had been arrested, charged, convicted or imprisoned… Rather, this case focuses on the truthfulness of her answers in the immigration process, not the level of due process afforded her in Israel.”

And once more, just for clarification:

“What is relevant here is not the truthfulness or accuracy of the Israeli charges themselves, but only whether defendant was untruthful when she denied them.”

“Truthfulness” and “candor” seemed to stick to the tongue of Judge Drain as he listed more of the reasons why he needed to incarcerate her.

“She does have a little bit of history of flight,” he noted, citing her alleged escape attempt from prison back in 1975. Exhibits as to the authenticity of her fingerprint taken at the scene following her arrest were even entered into evidence.

This idea that she lacked the proper amount of respect for the criminal justice system was floated in numerous ways, most recently documented in the prosecution’s sentencing memorandum, quoting a comment Odeh gave to reporters following her conviction in which she states: “I felt the verdict is not justice, it was a racist verdict.”

“Given the clarity of defendant’s violation of United States immigration law,” writes the government, “the criminal history from Israel which she concealed, and the bombings which she undertook, as discussed in detail above, anything less than a significant sentence would grossly fail to promote respect for the law.”

Within the same paragraph, the government begins to cite the current world affairs issue of “foreign fighters” who fight on behalf of “ISIS and other designated terrorist organizations,” and then return home.

A light sentence in this case would be a signal to anyone who has fought overseas for ISIS or a similar organization that there is not much risk in coming to the United States, hiding one’s past, and seeking citizenship. If not caught, such a person derives all the benefits of citizenship. After perhaps 15-20 years of living in the United States, as was defendant Odeh, a person who is simply given a slap on the wrist and then deported is much better off than that person would have been by not having come to the United States in the first place.

Lastly (and notice I have not spent a great deal of time expounding on any of these quotes and incidents as to Odeh’s character much, as the arguments themselves speak louder than the words do), there is the issue of her blurting out while under intensive cross-examination the inadmissible “claim” that she was tortured while under Israeli custody. Also included was the fact that she called herself a “political prisoner” and stated that she was innocent of the crimes that she was charged with in Israel.

And so the underlying theme here for Odeh seems to be that she simply cannot win. She is punished either way, whether she is honest or (allegedly) not. When you put all of the statistics of the case together; the intangible attributes therein, nothing about United States v. Odeh seems to add up.

* * * *

One last lasting memory of Rasmea Odeh: speaking to her supporters a few hours before her detainment hearing, megaphone in hand, some still wiping tears from their eyes––a tenacious, impromptu piece of oratory outside of the Detroit Federal Courthouse shortly following her conviction. “We can find the justice in some place,” she solemnly began, reaching out toward the towering 10-story limestone structure: “There’s a justice in this world. We will find it. Don’t worry. We will find it. We will find the justice!”

Staring down the immediate prospect of prison, she was altruistic and brave. “I don’t mind,” she avowed. “I don’t want you to feel weak! We are strong!” she yelled out to the impassioned crowd, her voice strained with fervor: “We will be stronger than that!”

It reminds me of a quote from a woman who was in prison with Odeh in Israel. Remarking on the incredible fury and passion of the speeches that she would sometimes give to the women there, she wrote: “Her words were so strong; they could melt iron.”

# # # #

Mark Mondalek – BFP contributing author, is a writer and editor based in Detroit.

Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: De-Militarizing Local Police

Peter B. Collins Presents Elizabeth Beavers

While we’ve been exposing the expanding American police state here for years, many Americans got their fist glimpse watching the coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri this August. Elizabeth Beavers describes the Pentagon’s 1033 program and Homeland Security’s grants to local agencies as the pipelines for military hardware adopted by local cops all over the nation. While these transfers are rationalized as part of the failed wars on some drugs and terrorism, the scenes of snipers atop MRAP’s targeting unarmed civilians were disturbing to the public, media pundits, and even the White House. Beavers supports a new bill from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) that would put sharp limits on such transfers. We also talk about the “vertical integration” of law enforcement over the last decade.

*Elizabeth Beavers is Legislative Associate for Militarism and Civil Liberties at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Visit her blog here

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De-Manufacturing Consent- New World Border: Homeland Security State & the Politics of Walls

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Todd Miller

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by Todd Miller, a journalist and author of the new book Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security. We discuss the emergence of the "border-industrial complex," and how its political effects extend beyond the Southwestern United States and are now being felt across the country and around the world.

We also touch on the remarkable story of Arivaca, Arizona, a small border community that has come together to collectively resist the encroachment of Homeland Security and Border Patrol, and the potential for similar activism to spread across the "constitution-free zone."

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NarcoNews-DHS Investigating Death of Detained Honduran Immigrant

Individual Allegedly Denied Access to Medication & Kept for Days in Frigid, Overcrowded Border Patrol Cell Designed to Hold Detainees for 12 Hours

By Bill Conroy

Honduran national Lelis Rodriguez, 50, died on July 31 of a cerebral hemorrhage at a hospital in Harlingen, a small town on the Texas border.

At the time, he was in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to an ICE press release. He was apprehended crossing the border in Hidalgo, Texas, on July 16 and transferred to ICE custody on July 22, the press release notes. Rodriguez suffered a massive stroke a week later, on July 29, and was rushed to the Valley Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead two days later. [Read more...]

Failure to Obey Suspicionless Interrogation

Checkpoint Refusal Activism & the CBP Backlash

In my last column, I laid out the history of the area near the border of the United States known as the “constitution-free zone” (CFZ). This policy, rooted in xenophobia and stemming from restrictions on immigration, prohibitions on substances associated with immigrants, and the all out “war on drugs,” has made casualties out of freedom of movement, rights to privacy, and human dignity at border crossings. [Read more...]

The Constitution-Free Zone: Fact and Fiction

Misconceptions and Lack of Historical Context Undermine Gravity of the Issue

By Guillermo Jimenez

In recent months, there has been a growth in the level of interest and curiosity regarding the area near the border of the United States known as the “constitution-free zone.” Persistent civil disobedience, viral “checkpoint refusal” videos on YouTube, and unlawful arrests of several activists in the area have caused the issue to reach newfound levels of awareness.

For those who have worked towards generating a wider public discourse, the increased media attention and revived dialogue is undoubtedly a good sign. [Read more...]

Corbett Report: How to Foil Your Own Terror Plot

The EyeOpener- TSA: Tyrants Sucker America

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Of all of the myriad agencies, bureaucracies, laws and legislation that have sprung up to oppress the American citizenry in this age of the unending war against an abstract noun, perhaps none have garnered as much ire and opprobrium as the innocuously named Transportation Security Administration.

Originally placed under the Department of Transportation and tasked with securing the nation's transportation system from future attacks, TSA, in just a matter of months, was transitioned into the newly-created Department of Fatherland Security and began turning the relatively benign process of clearing airport security into an ordeal that traumatizes and humiliates virtually everyone who has to endure it. Taking advantage of the general public's ignorance of their rights in the legally ambiguous airport screening areas and the 21st century American citizenry's newfound penchant for prostrating themselves before anyone with a badge and a uniform, the TSA quickly began positioning itself as the most totalitarian agency in the entire complex of the American security establishment.
This is our EyeOpener Report by James Corbett presenting TSA-Tyrants Sucker America, and examining the gross abuses of human dignity that the agency engages in every day, the reprehensible nature of its history of lies to the American people, and its utter failure to perform any of the tasks that it has been assigned.

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[jwplayer mediaid="12317" image="http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/wp-content/themes/bfpost/images/bfpvideostill.jpg"/]

*The Transcript for this video is available at Corbett Report: Click Here

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The EyeOpener- Police State Gadgets & the Technology of Enslavement

Taser: Popular Technology of Pain Compliance in Law Enforcement

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The popular conception of the police state, derived mainly from works of science fiction,
revolves heavily around the deployment of exotic technologies for keeping the populace firmly under the thumb of an authoritarian government. Perhaps it is the frequency with which these devices are presented to us in fictionalized form that prevents many from noticing that this technology is not the stuff of sci-fi fantasy, but increasingly a part of our everyday lives.

Jack Cover, a NASA researcher, began development on the taser which was completed in 1974, although not widely adopted by police departments until the last decade. Since its inception as a standard police implement the taser has courted controversy, with critics blaming the weapon for as many as 515 American deaths since 2001. It has also been denounced by the United Nations Committee Against Torture, Amnesty International, and other organizations as a potential weapon of terror.

This is our EyeOpener Report by James Corbett, introducing and presenting the taser, the use and implementation of this ‘pain technology’ in other settings, including airplanes, airports as the front line of the police state and a testing ground for new police state technology, and how the police, TSA and other law enforcement agents are being actively recruited and encouraged to be as aggressive as possible in dealing with the public, and aided in doing so by the federal government, the courts, and the upper ranks of their own departments.

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BFP Report: Meet the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘Distinguished’ Privacy Advisory Committee Members

Let’s See Who is Watching DHS Mega Fusion Center

GovSpyYesterday I came across an article on DHS plans to create its own internal fusion center so that its many agencies can aggregate the data they have and make it searchable from a central location. Let’s read a few excerpts from this typical half-hearted MSM attempt to provide a semi-complete picture of the state of ‘things’ when it comes to our government:

Information sharing (or lack thereof) between intelligence agencies has been a sensitive topic in the U.S. After 9/11, there was a push to create fusion centers so that local, state, and federal agencies could share intelligence, allowing the FBI, for example, to see if the local police have anything in their files on a particular individual. Now the Department of Homeland Security wants to create its own internal fusion center so that its many agencies can aggregate the data they have and make it searchable from a central location…

Of course this is another troubling development in an extremely troubling state of ‘things.’ However, this wasn’t the focus my attention. Here comes the not-really-reported angle in this half-covered story [All emphasis mine]:

The DHS is calling it a “Federated Information Sharing System” and asked its privacy advisory committee to weigh in on the repercussions at a public meeting in D.C. last month…

So what is this ‘privacy advisory committee’ and who are its members? This is what the article provides on that front: [Read more...]

Police State: Time to Bring Back the Pigeons & Falcons!

The Only Way to Circumvent NSA, DHS, FBI & the Rest

privacyNow it is confirmed and official: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirms that it intends to develop guidelines for how officials go about collecting intelligence from the sites. Yes. The Department of Homeland Security is not going to take a second seat to the FBI or NSA. It is flexing its muscles. It is stomping its feet, and it is determined to get its way. It is all set and ready to create its own policies and operations for monitoring social network media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook:

Caryn Wagner, undersecretary of the DHS, told an audience Monday at the National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense in Colorado Springs that the agency began to draw up guidelines for monitoring social networking sites after the sites were heavily used during government uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa this year.

According to an Associated Press report Tuesday, federal agents are still mulling over how to best pull intelligence from social media sites and determine whether it is valid or Web chatter."We're still trying to figure out how you use things like Twitter as a source," said Wagner, according to the AP report. "How do you establish trends and how do you then capture that in an intelligence product?"

Oh, let’s add this idiotic comment by Dan Olds, an analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group as well:

"Some users might be disturbed, but what would they expect?" Olds asked. "The info they post online is essentially in the public domain in most cases and it's easy to understand why the government would look for any edge they can find vs. terrorists."

Please, someone contact this ‘yoyo’ and ask him: Since when does the government distinguish between public domain, private and those that fall in the middle? Is he high on something? Or maybe shows signs of an onset of dementia? Hello? [Read more...]

BFP Select Nightly News & Editorials

CIA Secret Sites in Somalia, the Next Massacre: Pakistan, What Panetta Saw-What we got, Questioning the ‘Truth’ about 9/11 & More!

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The CIA's Secret Sites in Somalia

Officials: NATO Kills 16 Civilians in Afghan Air Strike

Next Up: Pakistan- Ominous signs of a major new war

Why Ahmed Wali Karzai was so controversial

Ahmed Karzai: From dishwasher to drug kingpin

Anger spreads in Egypt as military warns protesters

UK Police Intel Expert: Government, Not Islam, Real Terror Threat

Petraeus at the Head of the CIA: Business as Usual?

What Panetta Saw—and What We Got

Citing Secret Order, Federal Court Dismisses Airline Passenger Lawsuit against DHS & TSA Over Scanners, Virtual Strip Searches & Full-Body ‘Rub-Downs’

Robert Fisk: Even I question the 'truth' about 9/11

Video: Aloha Hawaii New World Order

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Podcast Show #49

The Boiling Frogs Presents Julia Davis

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Julia Davis joins us to discuss her experience with the Department of Homeland Security as a federal officer, her discovery and reporting of serious security lapses within the department, and the unprecedented magnitude of retaliation and abuses she suffered as a whistleblower. She talks about the recently screened documentary on her plight, The Terror Within, how the DHS spent their money on aerial surveillance with a Blackhawk helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane, warrantless surveillance, wiretaps, sneak and peek burglaries, Internet monitoring and On-Star tracking of her and her family, the mainstream media, and more!

JuliaDavisJulia Davis is a National Security/Anti-Terrorism Expert, Investigative Journalist, former Customs and Border Protection Officer and a National Security Whistleblower. Julia is a member of the Academy of Arts & Sciences and Screen Actors Guild. She serves as an Advisory Council member for the Hollywood Stuntman Hall of Fame. Julia earned a Master’s degree as an Aviation and Spacecraft Engineer, she is fluent in four languages and graduated with honors from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Julia wrote the screenplay for an award-winning feature film, authored teleplays for TV Series/ documentaries and is an accredited film and television producer. Her investigative reports, news articles and photographs have been prominently featured by various publications and news outlets.

Here is our guest Julia Davis unplugged!

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A New Documentary: The Terror Within

A new documentary film regarding whistleblower Julia Davis, who worked as a federal officer with the Department of Homeland Security: The Terror Within

“The Terror Within” details the unprecedented magnitude of retaliation and abuses of the PATRIOT Act in the case of Julia Davis. The documentary will show American taxpayers how the DHS spent their money on aerial surveillance with a Blackhawk helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane, warrantless surveillance, wiretaps, sneak and peek burglaries, Internet monitoring and On-Star tracking of the Davis family.

When people hear this story for the first time, they are in disbelief that something like this could happen in America. It shouldn’t, but it did. The truth is indeed stranger than fiction. You might think that events of this magnitude happen only in the movies – until it happens to you,” said Julia Davis.   

You can watch the trailer here.

This site depends exclusively on readers’ support. Please help us continue by contributing directly and or purchasing Boiling Frogs showcased products.

Weekly Round Up for Sunday, April 24

Police State Status, TSA Pornographers, the Ever-Lasting Anthrax Mystery, Drone-Mania, Israel &Colonialism, Our So-Called Ally-Azerbaijan & More!

Hope you all had a nice week. I’ve been nursing my daughter who is recovering from her first strep throat: 103F fever, antibiotics, miserable cough, and of course sleepless nights. Thankfully, this morning she is feeling much better.

maskI’ve received several e-mails from our readers regarding the identity of ‘The Insider from Turkey,’ and some asking whether that’s ‘me.’ To answer your question: I am not ‘the insider from Turkey.’ This is a pseudo name for an accomplished investigative journalist friend of mine in Turkey. He or she is currently employed by a major publication, and considering her/his area of investigations/reporting for BFP, doesn’t want to lose his/her job, or even worse, end up in jail. As we know, Turkey is now the number one country in jailing reporters and truth tellers. We are expecting another controversial article this week from our insider friend in Turkey; stay tuned!

Also this week, Peter B Collins and I will be recording two highly noteworthy podcast interviews. We’ll have Dr. Aland Mizell on Imam Fethullah Gulen, his CIA ties and joint operations, his infamous US Charter School Empire and more, followed by Elizabeth Gould-Paul Fitzgerald on their recently released groundbreaking book ‘Crossing Zero.’

And now our list of noteworthy articles and developments for this Sunday, April 24: [Read more...]