Facebook Jailing & Voting Rights Act................. (I'm afraid of Americans)

    Unconcern about all the privacy scandals often wraps around "yeah, but it doesn't really affect you, theoretically these things could happen but in real life..."

    I made one of those comments out with a friend on 9/10 2001, something about the wisdom of the American people pulling back from too much hysteria.

    So here's Texas jailing a teen for violent-sounding (but fairly obvious joking) Facebook comments - now in his 5th month in jail awaiting trial, bail at $500K, charges up to 8 years in jail. Even if he's found innocent, he's served 5 months for a joke.

    Still rare, right? What me worry? It's about intimidation. Like giving old nuns 30 years for disrupting national security with a bit of tape and spraypaint and singing.

    Every time these folks are embarrassed from their mistakes & incompetence, they up their tough-guy response. Soldiers in intelligence will not only see Bradley Manning's verdict - they'll see 3 years waiting for trial being stripped naked in a cold cell being woken up every few minutes, the feds even now trying to convict him of trumped up aiding-the-enemy charges.* Potential Muslim terrorists or sympathizers will see eternal detention & force-feeding at Gitmo as their fate. All reporters will be a lot more careful after tapping of 100 AP reporters phones (that scandal went away quick, no?) Hacker sympathizers will see a life at a minimum detained hours at customs with all their belongings confiscated & searched - worse acts will see living in an embassy or airport limbo for years if lucky - or sitting in an anonymous cell or harassed to suicide. We play "shoot the messenger" - we don't actually fix the problems, and it's often more effective & doable to intimidate as to actually charge someone with enough evidence to convict.

    And I realized today it has similarities to a black or Hispanic going to a polling place where they're checking IDs. Most blacks haven't done anything wrong - no need to worry, right? But it's those mistakes, the mistaken identity that can find someone down on the ground tasered or with a gun pointed at his head or dragged to a jail cell. Or if there's an issue about alimony payment or something else... Or just the opportunity for someone with a little piece of power to fuck with you - because interfering with a poll operator's probably a federal crime, so if you weren't guilty of something, by the time they finish giving you an unfair going over, you will be.

    Only happens in Texas, right? (not that I want to slur all Texans). Federal agents are more in control, right? Well, it's not like there aren't any of these same Texans in federal government, including the last president. There's plenty of representation of all of these people we dislike at all levels of government, in all regions, like Sheriff Joe Arpaio out in Arizona running his roughshod county, or stop-and-search in New York.

    And just to prove they've got no shame, they're busy now in the 2 weeks post-VRA annulment running around passing a bunch of new voter ID laws, based on a non-existent problem but a sure way to keep at least 1 consistently Democratic ethnic group away from the polls.

    I used to say that you give up your rights when you step in a car, even as a passenger. These day you do it going to vote, being within 50 miles of a border, going through an airport (especially customs), and now apparently blogging on Facebook.

    *PS- one of the scary things about Manning's trial is that the government claims he's guilty for any material that inadvertently ended up in Al Qaeda's hands, or other enemy, even though tracing Manning's history showed no interest in these groups. It's a huge scary loophole to use for an organization using civil airplanes & IEDs in a never ending war on terror. I can only guess how they'd like to test civilian speech or writings for helping the eternal enemy via talking to Wikileaks, Glenn Greenwald, a Congressperson, the Washington Post or your priest.

    PPS - really nice version below - not just Sonic Youth - all-star cast including Marilyn Manson on keys it looks like?



    There seem to be three different groups. One group committed a criminal act trespass and security breach.The second group committed no criminal act,but are presumed guilty of voter fraud or weapons/ drug possession, the third is a case were the law has not caught up to technology.A threat is assumed and law enforcement does not recognize the " jk" symbol that allegedly appeared after the online threat.

    Manning faces military law. The nun faces the federal system. Probably lawyers move up by the number of cases they win and perhaps the harshness of the charges. Voter ID are geared to discriminate. Texas may be stopped by Section 3 of the VRA. The legal system may end "Stop and Frisk".

    People charged with crimes get put into the system in the first grouping.Theststem is trying to humiliate people in the second group. The system is incompetent in the third case. Striking differences.

    So cutting through a fence as protest to place tape & spraypaint is worth 30 years, just prosecutors following guidance? Even when the facility didn't even notice the break-in at first? (i.e. it didn't shut down the facility). What's the typical penalty for taggers?

    In the case of Thomas Drake they charged him with probably 60 years worth of crimes, and he ended up after years pleading to a simple misdemeanor just to be done with it - let the prosecutors save a tiny bit of face.

    Aaron Swartz, again being guilty of downloading academic JSTOR files, wow, was charged with 35 years & $1 million in penalties.

    Is there anything wrong with charging someone who did a simple crime with some comparable time for that crime? I could steal $1 billion from investors and they'd give me 2 years suspended.

    But it's plain unbalanced abusive intimidation - prosecutors don't even have to convict - they can drag out someone's pain for years in the courts bankrupting them while state money's behind the prosecutors. Plead guilty to something anything, or they'll just increase the number of charges until you do. The defendant has no good way to counter this state pressure.


    Read what I wrote.. The Feds overcharge, that and conviction rates are probably how they get promoted. They want to send a message. Because the legal system does not require defenses to have access to resources equal to the Federal government, the government knows most people will plead guilty to a lesser sentence.  Local legal systems operate in identical fashion. People are jailed prior to trial and stay jail if they don't have the financial resources to come up with bail. Innocent people lose income and jobs on a daily basis. It's not right, but its legal.

    The above is separate from a voting system with few examples of voter fraud selecting a population for voter suppression or assuming a person of a certain ethnicity is a threat and should be happy to support a safe city by submitting to the humiliation of being frisked in front of their friends and  family.



    Sigh, read what I wrote - they're all examples of state-sponsored intimidation. ID checks aren't to check ID's - they're to intimidate people from showing up and subjecting themselves to abuse - so it's the easiest way to intimidate them from voting.

    Overzealous witch-hunts for leaks aren't to find out who leaked - they're to send out the message - you will be destroyed, plus by requiring co-employees / co-soldiers to face penalties for not reporting, it turns into a little tattle-tale state, everyone watching everyone.

    Intimidation. The word for the day.

    Double Sigh

    If you  are in the military and you dump a ton of classified stuff without being selective, you are not being intimidated, you are being charged with a crime. If you leak a video of reporters getting killed, you are still committing a crime, but you could argue about being a whistle- blower. As I understand it, Military Code of Justice virtually guarantees that you will be charged. If releasing the documents is not a crime then anyone would be able to release any document at will. If there are things classified as secret, there will be consequences to the leak.

    the question of how to get justice in the military is another issue.If you go through channels, you may be asking the person who committed the crime to allow you to report the crime. This scenario also plays out in the military rape scandal. A superior officer may be the criminal. A superior officer may nullify a guilty verdict because a guy was a good pilot. Apparently other nations have a legal system outside of the chain of command from preventing abuse. The Manning situation fits into that category.. If he wanted the video shown, there should be extra military review process.

    Manning did a huge data dump. He committed a crime. He got charged, not intimidated

    People trying to vote are being intimidated. They committed no crime. People being frisked because because they are Black are being intimidated, they committed no crime.

    The military legal system needs change. Innocent people are being intimidated.Criminals are facing the same legal system that overcharges day in and day out. The legal system wants to get done with your case quickly.. What they are doing is Constitutional.

    Attacking innocents is not Constitutional.texas may find itself charged under Section 3 as I said above. The people stopped in NYC may be found to have their rights violated.Two separate situations. Combining the two is overly simplistic as the relief may be found directly in the Constitution in the case of the innocents and probably requires legal changes in the case of those charged with a crime like Manning.

    They need to separated because the solutions differ. Legal changes are need for whistle- blowing in the military ( Manning did a data dump). What to do with a peaceful trespasser on a nuclear facility requires a much more difficult change in the legal system.

    In the voter suppression and frisk case, current laws can be applied.Even with the gutting of the VRA, remedies still exist. If a community does set up a discriminatory voting system. It can still be challenged in court.Previoulsy Pre-clearance would have prevented the need to file a suit at the state or local level.

    His clothes were taken away and he was kept awake every few minutes 24x7 for months. It's taken 3 years to get him to trial, and government still can't make the case that he intentionally helped the enemy.

    That's "intimidation".

    And documents were not just dumped - they were reviewed by Wikileaks and partner newspapers for selective release, except for one screwup.

    But I'm not going to keep repeating basics of this case years after they happened.

    Quote from the movie Jarhead, which I watched for the first time recently. I immediately thought of Manning when I saw this scene:

    Kruger: This is censorship.

    Sgt. Siek: This is what?

    Kruger: Censorship. You're telling us what we can and can't say to the press. That's un-American.

    Anthony 'Swoff' Swofford: Yeah, what about freedom of speech? The Constitution?

    Sgt. Siek: No you signed a contract. You don't have any rights. You got any complaints you complain to Saddam Insane and see if he gives a fuck.

    Kruger: Why that's exactly what Saddam Hussein does. You're treating us the same way.

    Sgt. Siek: You are a marine. There is no such thing as speech that is free. You must pay for everything that you say.

    To play with your title, I think part of joining the military means you agree to be very afraid of your superiors. And  I think  this is a main reason why he does not get more public sympathy. And as far as the mistreatment in the brig, which in mho, should have resulted in severe punishment for the perps executing it, that was sold as protection for the suicidal Manning, and it's easy to see, given his history and his own descriptions of his state of mind, why many would fall for that narrative, even though I am not one of those people.

    :-)   Good points. I think we fall for a lot of narratives over and over again. Why are we so easy? Those John Wayne us-against-the-world glory films seem to have captivated what's left of our souls.

    Intimidation suggests instilling fear of possible harm or injury. In the case of voters, they may fear arrest if they don't have the correct ID. The young male fears injury if he resists the frisk.

    Torture is actual inflicting of pain. Sleep deprivation seems to cross the line into torture. Manning was charged with a crime. He had jail time as have scores of people awaiting trial in the US. During incarceration, military officers describe acts of physical and mental abuse. A review of Manning's treatment revealed practices that could be considered torture according to a UN expert not allowed to testify at Manning's trial. Todashev wasn't intimidated, he was murdered. Lumping things together takes away impact.


    Intimidation suggests lots of things - could be threatening someone's job (loss of status & money), humiliating someone, & a variety of other common uses.

    Nevertheless, I was referring to intimidation that would be excessive incarceration, bankruptcy, physical abuse, loss of home, being defamed & unhirable or made a fugitive, driven to suicide.

    By your own definitions:

    1. To make timid; fill with fear.
    2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats.
    Can't believe everything is a disagreement. The meaning of "is" is....

    An allegation of torture could be a means of getting a soldier who broke the Military Code of Justice out of jail.

    Manning's been willing to plead guilty to what he did, just not what he didn't do. In fact he already pled guilty to many counts.

    At this point we're past "allegation of torture" - it's well documented in court evidence what the government did to him - even the government doesn't deny it - only a debate of how torturous the torture was.

    Okay, go ahead, disagree with me anyway.

    You said intimidation. I said torture. I'm glad you made the correction.

    No idea what you're talking about. Finished playing Scrabble with you.

    Made my day

    Shorter version 

    Scenario 1

    Judge : Why are you here today?

    Manning: I committed a crime and the jailer intimidated me

    Judge: How did they intimidate you?

    Manning: They locked me up for committing a crime

    Judge: Case dismissed

    Scenario 2


    Judge : Why are you here today?
    Manning: I committed a crime and the jailers tortured me
    Judge: How did they torture you?
    Manning: Sleep deprivation, etc
    Judge: Any evidence of torture?
    Manning: I have an Army Colonel and a UN torture expert as witnesses 
    Judge: Let me set a trail date




    3 years waiting for trial isn't torture. It's intimidation & harassment. Charge of aiding the enemy carries possible lifetime sentence - it's intimidation, not torture. Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 charges, with max 20 years in jail. The judge already reduced his jail time by 112 days due to jail mistreatment / "torture" - pretty insignificant reduction for outrageous behavior. Intimidation via torture gets thumbs up. You can Wiki all this.


    Here is the story of the courts in the Bronx. In one cited case it took 5 years for a murder case to go to trail. There is also the case of a man accused of murder who spent three  years in jail awaiting trial.

    The ruling in the Manning case was that the delays were necessary given the amount of data involved. 

    The power of prosecutors is that problem, and has always been the source of that problem. Surveillance is just a sideshow to that; it is mainly a problem of privacy. But  even if you get rid of most surveillance, you still have the prosecutor problem. You are conflating the two and I don't agree that they belong together. A bad prosecutor will always find ways to torture people, if not abusing surveillance data, will find something else.

    You don't need surveillance to get a subpoena demanding 7 years of someone's personal records, even if that person might be a witness to something and not accused of a crime. Sometimes the result of that is the opposite of a surveillance state: people want to say they saw nothing and heard nothing because they fear being dragged into something where all their privates will be hanging out for the public to see and/or be put between a rock and a hard place with someone or something. Not to mention cost them a lot of money to get an attorney to protect them, days away from their own life, etc. etc.

    Agree it's different subsets of government overreach. I think the prosecutor abuse is more acute in the terrorism arena (more than financial crimes, for example) - but no hard & fast data.

    Maybe it's the new combination of having overzealous law writer, cop, prosecutor, judge, prison guard all closely working together with few limits and most of those limits contestable with public oversight. Even the cramming through new laws at night, attached to unrelated legislation, quick shameful hack at people's rights. Feels like a shift into full-court press.

    So, there's a bunch of stuff at work here and it's beyond the NSA.  Or, the NSA is part of it.  There is also, far scarier, the homegrown overreaction to the possibility of violent crimes, particularly school shootings, which have replaced workplace shootings in the public mind because kids getting shot just seems so much more awful than somebody going postal at a K-Mart.

    This is really a local issue (and I don't mean Texas) in that school districts and local police departments are taking a thoughtless "zero tolerance" approach to everything.  They are locking kids up over obvious jokes.  Accusing them of making bombs for doing kid things like extra-curricular chemistry experiments and playing with fireworks.

    Man, I learned how to make a Molotov cocktail in fifth grade with an older kid from the neighborhood.  That's a jailable offense now!  It's insane.  And, yes, it is related to being in the same kind of country that has an unrestricted NSA and FBI and all of that, but it's also nosy neighbor syndrome and something cultural about our new intolerance for anyone acting out in any way.

    Florida honor student Kiera Wimot has been cleared of charges and is headed to Space Camp. There was a large, common sense pushback against the local Florida school authorities. There is a pushback against voter suppression and Stop and Frisk. The NSA Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board heard initial testimony yesterday. There is too long a lag between the overreaction and justice, but citizens still have power.

    Since you are talking about intimidation, what do you make of the story about the security company hired by a mining company in Wisconsin that TPM is all over right now

    I had ticked the original story for follow up today thinking the major newspapers would have picked it up but apparently not. Not even McClatchey.  Not according a keyword search at their sites anyway. So I went back to TPM to see what else they had by clicking on the lead story's keywords. The first two returned 404 errors, unknown and broken link, respectively. While the the third only returned old stories involving Wisconsin.  I've tried a few times now with same result.

    Question (and I do know how this sounds):  How difficult is it to scrub those keywords from searches?  I ask because I have a well-to-do and secretive acquaintance who pays a company to keep his name off the internet and they do a pretty good job of it. I would guess the degree of success would depend on how frequently keywords are indexed by different sites no?

    Hope this is not too off topic.  It is just that I do not remember having so much trouble following a story before.


    I'm intrigued with scrubbing words. Don't know how it would be done - can only imagine words falling lower in priority (so if you get useless words on the first 3 screens you've won). If you can figure out how to get a name added to "and but or not" unsearched tokens, sure, but how do you? If you hear any details, I'd be curious.

    The protesters are playing a game of showmanship as is the mine. Everybody's out to make their point - I can't really fault the mine as long as they don't shoot anyone or take someone up in a helicopter to scare the crap out of someone or.... Personally, I'd give them superhero costumes - can stop the spin of the earth and such. In any case, the protesters got the mine in the newspaper & on the intertoobz, and now people can ask whether it's really damaging people's health - which I guess the Senators didn't ask.

    Found something that may explain the keyword broken links:

    Google Launches Tool for Online Reputation Management


    Remove a page or site from Google's search results - Webmaster Tools Help (I think you need a Google account to see this one.)

    Basically the urls the keywords linked to may have been blocked or removed from Google search engine.

    NYT, from Venezuelan government official:

    "Comrades: cancel your Facebook accounts, you've been working for free as CIA informants. Review the Snowden case!" wrote Prisons Minister Iris Varela on her Twitter account.

    Now I know why my gut told me to never Facebook.

    He's probably seen this news report.


    Latest Comments