In October 2009, Shawn Nee, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and photographer in Hollywood, California, was stopped by members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) while taking pictures at a stop on the L.A. subway system.
Disturbing information about the police stop reveals startling and troubling information about how the Sheriff’s Department reports on what it considers suspicious terrorist activity. And what’s happening in L.A. is almost certainly happening everywhere across the country.
The encounter was recorded on a body camera Nee wore for protection. A video of the event went viral as viewers watched Deputy Richard Gylfie ask Nee if he was in “cahoots with Al Qaeda” to sell his pictures “for a terrorist purpose.” After detaining Nee with the assistance of his partner Deputy Roberto Bayes, searching through the contents of Nee’s pockets, and holding Nee’s hands behind his back, Gylfie threatened to put him on “the FBI’s hit list.”
“On one level you’re thinking, is this really happening? And then on another level you’re thinking, this shouldn’t be happening,” says Nee of the incident. Nee became a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department along with two other photographers and the National Photographer’s Rights Organization. Nee is represented by Peter Bibring at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
“Photography is not a crime, it’s artistic expression,” says Bibring. “There is no reason to believe that just [because] he’s taking photographs he’s engaged in any kind of criminal or terrorist activity.”
Bibring says that millions of people every day use their cell phones, point-and-shoot cameras, and even professional-grade cameras to document their lives and the world around them. “In public areas, on public streets, no law bars people from taking photographs,” says Bibring.
The interesting part starts at the five minute mark.
Where in the world does something like this make sense? You put students into a situation that they are likely to never truly be in because the entire district has bought into the fear mongering of the government and media. The school district, law enforcement, and all the adults watching the “training” are the ones terrorizing the next generation, not any terrorist.
In the scenario: A school bus is en route to an event when suddenly it’s hijacked! A camera inside the bus captured the whole thing while an audience of school teachers, administrators and transportation directors watched it all unfold on a live feed.
The hijacker even tied some of the students up and told them to keep their heads down. The bus eventually ended up at Owens Center for Emergency Preparedness.That’s where first responders and SWAT teams were ready to move in.
“Every driver, administrator will take something away from this saying that this could actually happen on my bus. That’s what our focus was. This could happen on any bus”, says Jeff Culler, Rossford Schools Transportation Director.
This drill is teaching children to simply do whatever the man with the gun tells them to do. It is indoctrinating them into believing a police state knows what’s good for them instead of thinking for themselves.
Remember that Michael Hayden was in charge of the NSA from 1999-2005 (under Bush) and was responsible for XKEYSCORE. He later moved on to the CIA as director. He also carried out the illegal warrantless wiretapping under Bush. Remember this when Hayden defends the program on CNN.
It was under Hayden’s directorship that NSA programs designed to hoard data and metadata on almost every online and phone communication within and going out of the U.S. were developed. His comments reflect the government’s troubling attitude towards online and open-data activists: they are prefiguratively framed as criminals and terrorists, and are treated as such. Although no longer at the NSA’s helm, Hayden’s attitude suggests with disturbing honesty the potential manner in which the government will treat groups who fight for whistle-blowers like Snowden, who risk their lives to reveal the darker side of U.S.’s nexus of cyberpower.