police state

Cops to get 'potalyzers' for roadside marijuana tests

Posted on September 12th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchResearchers at Stanford University have developed a "potalyzer"—a device that can detect human THC levels, so cops can determine if a motorist is too impaired to drive. The hand-held device uses sophisticated bio-sensors to detect THC molecules in saliva. Police officers will supposedly be able collect a spit sample with a cotton swab and read the results on a smartphone or laptop in just three minutes.

North Dakota to get armed police drones

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchNational Public Radio's The Two-Way blog reports that North Dakota police forces are about to get the nation's first weaponized drones, following passage of a bill allowing them earlier this year. Ironically, this is coming about in spite of the legislation's main sponsor, Republican state Rep. Rick Becker. While the law limits the type of weapons permitted to those in the "less than lethal" category—tear-gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray and Tasers—the original bill would have entirely barred weapons from police drones. According to The Daily Beast, Becker told a hearing in March: "In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period."

Baltimore imbroglio over secret aerial surveillance

Posted on September 5th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchOfficials and civil rights advocates in Baltimore are expressing outrage over revelations that a private company has been conducting secret aerial surveillance on behalf of the city's police department—collecting and storing footage from neighborhoods, with no public oversight. Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems has for months been testing sophisticated new cameras afixed to a small Cessna flying over the city, according to an Aug. 23 report in Bloomberg Businessweek, which was given exclusive access to the testing program. Police the following day confirmed the program to the Baltimore Sun, admitting to having collected some 300 hours of surveillance this year.

Deadly underside of Rio Olympics

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilWith the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over, the world media are moving on—but the city's poor favela dwellers are left to contend with a wave of murderous police terror. This was launched a year ago as part of an effort to pacify and sanitize the sprawling megalopolis for the Games. Amnesty International reports that over 100 people have been killed by police in Rio de Janeiro state so far this year—the big majority young Black men. A total of 307 were killed by police in the state in 2015. At least eight people in Rio were actually killed by police during the Games—to little media coverage. The clean-up operation was, of course, disguised as a crackdown on drugs and crime. The inevitable rationale was provided by the narco economy in the favelas—informal urban settlements virtually abandoned by the government for anything other than militarized law enforcement.

Justice Department to end use of private prisons

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

prisonThe US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced plans Aug. 18 to phase out its use of private prisons. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued the decision in a memo instructing officials to either decline to renew contracts for private prison operators or to "substantially reduce" the contracts' scope. The goal, Yates stated, is "reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department's Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security."

'Voluntary' drug testing comes to New Jersey school district

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchFrom New Jersey comes the unwelcome news that the Lacey Township Board of Education has voted to approve a program of "voluntary" random drug-testing for middle school students. "I'm a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say 'no' and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens," district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media after the Aug. 15 vote. Seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs or extracurricular programs will be given the "option" to participate in the testing program, with parental consent. For a first violation, a student would be barred from sports or extracurricular activities for 10 days. With a second violation, it goes up to 45-days, with mandatory attendance of eight counseling sessions. A third strike, of course, means you're out—barred from sports and extracurricular programs permanently. The district already has a similar program in place for high school students.

Busted for donut glaze —yes, really

Posted on August 8th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

FloridaFrom Orlando, Fla., comes the maddening case of Daniel Rushing—who was literally arrested, handcuffed and charged with methamphetamine possession over a tiny flake of donut glaze on the floor of his car. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Rushing was driving home after dropping off a neighbor at the hospital for a chemotherapy session—something he did every Friday—when he stopped at a 7-Eleven to give another friend a ride home. The 7-Eleven was being staked out for suspected drug activity, and Rushing was stopped by police for failing to come to a full stop on pulling out of the parking lot. Threatened with a ticket, he agreed to a search of his vehicle—confident that he had no illegal materials. But the officer found "a rock like substance on the floor board," claimed to test it positive as meth, and dragged Rushing off to jail.

Philippines: military camps for drug users?

Posted on August 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaIn his increasingly draconian anti-drug crackdown, the new Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, actually sent National Police troops to arrest a local mayor—resulting in a shoot-out that left six of the mayor's bodyguards dead. On Aug. 1, Duterte ordered Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town on Leyte to island to surrender within 24 hours—and added: "Otherwise, an order of 'shoot on sight' will be given if they resist and endanger the lives of arresting police officers." Espinosa surrendered to police the next day—but his son, wanted as a suspected drug-dealer, remained at large. The day after that, the gun-fight broke out between the body-guards and police who were on patrol near Espinosa's house. Police of course said the body-guards fired first. The affair began July 28, when five other of Espinosa's body-guards and staff were busted in a sting operation for a street sale of shabu (methamphetamine).

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