Mexico — Evidence of the missing

memories of murder

The view from the hills around Iguala, Mexico, was stunning. But the more Christopher Gregory walked along the paths, the more his eye was drawn to the objects scattered along the way: scraps of clothing, beer bottles, trash. To him, these castoff items were possibly linked to the hundreds of people reported missing — presumably kidnapped, if not killed — by drug cartels that have long operated with impunity…

Little more than six months after 43 students were abducted and presumably killed in Iguala in Guerrero State, Mr. Gregory is wondering about all the other people who have vanished in that region. He had wanted to do a project on the missing students, but abruptly changed his mind when, during the early stages of the search, a mass grave was found with the remains of 28 people.

None of them were the students.

That became a flash point for him and Jeremy Relph, a writer with whom he had teamed up for the story. Once they got to Iguala, they discovered that disappearances had been going on for years, and on an alarming scale. While the government has put the tally of missing people in Guerrero State at about 120 from January to November of last year, local advocates working with families reported that some 400 people had been reported missing in Iguala alone in recent years.

“The photo is an evidentiary document,” he said. “There is no way to witness these kidnappings or document these violations of human rights, other than to point at the residue and try to have a conversation about what it means, how it looks like and how do we navigate these complex social and political issues, as well as the psychological issues. You can’t believe anybody or trust anybody in these areas because for all intents and purposes, they’re lawless.”

RTFA. Take a good look at what lawless means. You don’t need to go to the Arabian Peninsula or the Horn of Africa.

Secret deal between FBI and police hides spying from the courts

Innovation = police state
Innovation + Police State = Lots of profits + no oversight

The FBI is taking extraordinary and potentially unconstitutional measures to keep local and state police forces from exposing the use of so-called “Stingray” surveillance technology across the United States, according to documents obtained separately by the Guardian and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Multiple non-disclosure agreements…revealed in Florida, New York and Maryland this week show federal authorities effectively binding local law enforcement from disclosing any information – even to judges – about the cellphone dragnet technology, its collection capabilities or its existence.

In an arrangement that shocked privacy advocates and local defense attorneys, the secret pact also mandates that police notify the FBI to push for the dismissal of cases if technical specifications of the devices are in danger of being revealed in court.

The agreement also contains a clause forcing law enforcement to notify the FBI if freedom of information requests are filed by members of the public or the media for such information, “in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels”.

The strikingly similar NDAs, taken together with documents connecting police to the technology’s manufacturer and federal approval guidelines obtained by the Guardian, suggest a state-by-state chain of secrecy surrounding widespread use of the sophisticated cellphone spying devices known best by the brand of one such device: the Stingray.

“The device has the ability to pull content, so all the sudden your text messages are at risk, your phone calls are at risk, and your data transmission, potentially,” said John Sawicki, a former police officer who consults attorneys on technological evidence, of the Stingray device made by Harris Corporation…

The ACLU has shown that at least 48 agencies across 20 states likely use the devices. Documents obtained by the Guardian show police from states as such as Texas, Florida, Washington, Minnesota, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, Illinois,Arizona, and California utilize the devices.

The Florida agreement – obtained from the Hillsborough County sheriff’s office by the Guardian after a series of Stingray-related Freedom of Information Act requests sent over the past seven months – reads in part:

“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will, at the request of the FBI, seek dismissal of the case in lieu of providing, or allowing others to use or provide, any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment/technology, its associated software, operating manuals, and any related documentation.”

Law enforcement agencies that sign NDAs similar to the one in Hillsborough County are barred from providing “any information” about the Stingray-style devices in search warrants, pre-trial hearings, testimony, grand jury proceedings, in appeals or even in defense discovery. Per the agreement, police can only release the “evidentiary results” obtained with the device.

RTFA. Just in case you mistakenly thought you lived in a country where constitutional freedoms were honored and the government is working to bring a new level of transparency to law enforcement.

California Deputies caught on camera beating a suspect

Cops beat crook on camera
Cops too dumb to realize that News Choppers may have cameras

An alleged horse thief went down in a swarm of San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies Thursday while an NBC helicopter captured the brutal scene from above.

NBC reports the cops began chasing the man when he fled the scene of a search warrant—apparently in a Dodge minivan. Eventually he abandoned the car and continued his escape on stolen horseback.

Officers were eventually able to tase him off the horse—and thus commenced a two-minute beatdown so large some officers had to step back to let other officers get a chance to hit and kick the man.

The group surrounding the man grew up to five sheriff’s deputies as several appeared to kick, hit, and punch him dozens of times over a two-minute period. In the two minutes after the man was stunned with a Taser, it appeared deputies kicked him 12 times and punched him 29 times. Eleven blows appeared to be to the head as seen from aerial footage…

After the frenzy subsided, the man reportedly lay still, without any medical attention, for more than half an hour. A sheriff’s spokesperson tells NBC two officers were treated for dehydration and one may have been kicked by the horse.

I’m surprised the deputies didn’t shoot and kill the horse.

Bag of dog poop only item stolen in vehicle burglary


Now there’s some poop worth stealing

The Des Moines Police Department responded to a report of an attempted burglary around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. Upon arrival, a man told police someone broke into the driver’s side door of his truck sometime last month.

According to a police report, the person who tried to steal the truck checked the bed of the vehicle and grabbed what turned out to be “a bag of dog feces.”

Police say they haven’t identified any suspects in the crime, but that he or she could face third-degree burglary charges.

The Des Moines Register reports that the dog poop has been valued at $1.

Who would pay a dollar for a bag of dog poop?