26 August 2013

Joe Wright
Activist Post



The National Defense Authorization Act strips the right of habeas corpus by applying broad detention power, using terms such as "substantially supported" and "associated forces," thus allowing for the detention of any person, including American citizens on U.S. soil without due process.

Dozens of states and local jurisdictions have continued to move toward nullifying this unconstitutional threat against basic civil liberties and human rights. California is among those who have made significant, bipartisan, nearly unanimous statements to rebuke federal overreach.

However, despite California's apparent advancements toward transparency, the detention of 8 U.S. citizens in Oakland, California is raising concerns among civil liberties experts for its insistence on complete secrecy until the future release of information is determined solely by police.


The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a new crime fighting strategy introduced by Mayor Jean Quan, dubbed Operation Ceasefire, has built-in secrecy regarding details of arrests that are made. It sounds quite a bit like the NDAA in its ability to sweep people into a legal black hole.

Similar to the NDAA, Oakland's Operation Ceasefire is using one segment of crime to create entirely new rules for those who become targets.


The eight individuals who were arrested August 14 and 15 are part of the program which is aimed at reducing gang-related gun violence. However, not a single piece of information is being revealed about these individuals other than the number detained. The department says that releasing more specific information would thwart an ongoing investigation and perhaps endanger those involved. It's a strange assertion given that general details such as simply what crime they are being suspected of wouldn't reveal very much. Nevertheless, civil rights attorneys and a former San Francisco police chief both state that this is unusual at best, and violates core liberties at worst:

"I would say it is unusual," said Tony Ribera, a former San Francisco police chief who runs the International Institute of Criminal Justice Leadership at the University of San Francisco. "I certainly can't think of a situation (where I did it), but that certainly doesn't mean they are doing anything illegal. I don't know how they are building their cases." 
First Amendment attorneys questioned the rationale for withholding the names of suspects in custody for so long and said doing so can violate their civil rights. 
"The very basic rule of law in the United States is that people do not disappear into the hands of police. They do not disappear into the justice system," said Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition in San Rafael. "It is a fundamental principle in this country that the police have to be transparent about who they have arrested and why."

Mayor Quan disagrees:

On releasing the names, Quan's spokesman, Sean Maher, said the mayor deferred to police to "protect the integrity of the investigation." (emphasis added)

Deferring to police instead of the rule of law is what is called a Police State. The police have unilaterally created a program which seems to sidestep core legal principles and are enforcing it with little to no external oversight. But despite criticism, the department is defiant saying that the program will continue and more arrests will be made, with details being given at a future time of their choosing.

Perhaps this new program serves as an example of the trickle down tyranny that takes place amid a lawless environment where "authorities" are permitted to be the law makers, instead of law enforcers.

Source:
http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Secrecy-in-Oakland-on-crime-fighting-strategy-4754816.php