The NYPD Will Record Your Opposition to Drone Strikes
One of the most fascinating moments in the deposition of the NYPD’s Intelligence Chief, Thomas Galati, comes when he discusses what kinds of political conversations might be recorded by the NYPD.
A I would say that if there was an event in the world that resulted in some type of violence or disruption, anywhere in the World or within the state that was related to terrorism activity, yes, they would go. They would basically see if it’s going to have any implications in New York City.
Q Would it be fair to say that their job was to see whether people were talking about it and how people were talking about it?
MR. FARRELL: Objection.
A Their job was, if they hear people talking about it, you know, they should inform us. If what they’re hearing is hostility towards the United States or to the general public at large, you know, as a result of these events, would something happen here as a result? Their job is to listen for that.
This, of course, is dangerous ground for the NYPD, as it suggests the Department is recording people’s protected right to oppose policies of the US. Presumably seeing that danger, Galiti dodges the next question, whether all it takes is to express political opposition to US policies to get your opinions recorded by the Department. Rather than answer, he suggests it doesn’t have to do exclusively with opinions about US actions.
Q You used the word hostility towards the United States. I want to make sure that I don’t misunderstand you.
A lot of people talk. They don’t like what’s going on, what this person is doing, they don’t like what the United States is doing.
Are you talking as broadly as the hostility in the United States, in the sense of expressions of opinions that were contrary to the policies of the United States —
MR. FARRELL: Objection.
Q — or objected to the policies of the United States?
A I would say that it doesn’t even have to involve the United States at all; its general policing to prevent violence.
But then Galiti offers up an example of a US-related world event in response to which the NYPD might send people out to listen how people respond. That event? Drone strikes.
If we deployed them because of an event that took place in a particular part of the World, a drone attack, we would want to know and we would instruct them that people are upset about this drone attack. If they are, that’s something that would be important for us to know, that would be something we would want to know.
At one level, the NYPD actually has reason to want to know when people are pissed off about drone strikes. After all, one of the two real terrorists to attempt to attack NYC since 9/11, Faisal Shahzad, was motivated by the drone strikes in Pakistan.
Contrary to what John Brennan likes to claim, drones really have motivated people–even one in the vicinity of NYC–to become terrorists.
That said, there are a lot of people who express opposition to drone strikes–even ones that take out horrible people like Anwar al-Awlaki. The vast majority of those people will never consider terrorism in response to America’s use of drones.
But that doesn’t mean a record of your opinion won’t be in a computer at the NYPD.
Of course, given the scope of surveillance and retention it otherwise appears is under way (at least at a national level), it is equally certain that your electronically expressed opinions about gas prices, the presidential election, cats and toothpaste flavors are all in a computer somewhere — just awaiting the initiation of a search algorithm by somebody whose toothpaste preferences may be strongly held and different than yours. That, of course, is OK because Obama is a Good Man and would never abuse such a capability. Nor, of course, would the NYPD. Just keeping you safe, you know. You, me and all the other frogs in the pot.
@What Constitution: Crazy rich people running the world draw the lines where ever they want. We will all have dossiers in the data center in Utah.
On the basis of these transcripts, it seems that the NYPD could
save the taxpayers a great deal of money by replacing MR. FARRELL with
a robot that emits “Objection.” at random intervals.
@What Constitution: “That, of course, is OK because Obama is a Good Man and would never abuse such a capability.”
See comment on Naked Capitalism by “Daily Kos reader”: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/links-81912.html#comment-792369:
(I wonder if NYPD has a snark detector?)
Was Anwar al-Awlaki horrible? I don’t know that. I don’t know him. His dad liked him. I guess his son liked him, RIP. What would a jury of his peers have said if he was charged with… wait, I forget, what was he charged with? And what was the evidence?
Somebody has a Killer Drone Database. There have been 400 “strikes” with three thousand people, insurgents, terrorists, and bad guys killed.
I was trying to remember, who was it that the thing he was most proud of was his place on Nixon’s enemies list? I’m thinking, was it Walter Cronkite or Paul Newman? I duckducked. Several people said it. Paul Newman (#19!!!), Daniel Shorr, Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad…
@Frank33: Are the three thousand people named?
Furor in the UK right now because Craig Murray named one of Julian Assange’s accusers on British TV the other night, apparently just like the NY Times had done in 2010 when she went public to the Swedish press, and after Australian TV last month actually had a whole program devoted to the controversy, named and showed both women, and interviewed their lawyer. Murray said her name out loud on the BBC. Meanwhile at the Guardian I also happened to see Glenn Greenwald’s first column with an embedded tweet from Pakistan’s Imran Khan:
Stuff I see, stuff I wonder about. I wonder how much care the NYPD is giving to identifying victims as well as suspects, and if we will hear from victims of speech in their own words — wait, can they talk? Is there a board of speech we are to go to to have our speech evaluated, sorted, catalogued and approved/disapproved before we, you know, actually say it in public? The Board of Condonement…
THAT’S what I was trying to remember: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confrontation_Clause
(psst, is the NYPD’s Board of Condonement available to be confronted?)
psst, I’m in California, am I on the NYPD’s list now?
@thatvisionthing: To be safe turn off the gps in your phone. Do not ask for whom the drone trolls it trolls for thee.
What about holding up pictures (in public? does it matter? is it worse if it’s stored on your computer?)? Wish I could embed: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3246/3035507655_f5c0c29db9.jpg
@BSbafflesbrains: That’s not safe. That’s sick.
@BSbafflesbrains: I actually had a funny dream a couple months ago. I’m on a patio terrace, blue sunny happy day. I’m on one of those chaise lounge things with the yellow and white plastic tubing. Michael Moore is on the one next to me. How did that happen, how am I here? And a drone comes. It’s like a hunting dog, zipping back and forth, sniffing, thinking. And then it stops and points and quivers, and I am looking straight at this drone’s nose. And I’m thinking, “Michael Moore is right next to me.”
I mean, where do you start?
@thatvisionthing: I’m sorry but I can’t get past trying to imagine the inflatable chaise lounge that would keep Michael afloat. :)
@thatvisionthing: Scary imbots
It’s easy to “float” when all major rivers are only ankle deep. See the Man-Bear-Pig thread from this morning.
Is the US War, Torture and Assassination Machine targeting Julian Assange? No, says Victoria Nuland of the State Dept.
So is the US prosecuting or persecuting Assange? Make up your mind Vickie. But Vickie has declared Assange guilty of sex crimes. US taxpayers are paying for sex crimes against children in Afghanistan. Vickie and the State Dept. are concealing sex crimes, by DynCorp and that was revealed by Wikileaks.
NYPD secret police spying on Muslims led to no terrorism leads or cases
In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday.
Yeah, right. It’s obvious to everyone but the governments of the US and UK, or at least their spokesbots.
@P J Evans:
America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally.
@thatvisionthing: I agree. We do not have enough evidence to know who or what Al-Awlaki was. Some people in DC certainly trusted him post-9-11.
But I do feel confident there are people who by their own word and/or documented evidence (though not vetted through any judicial process – as yet) did and do horrible thInga, e.g. plotted torture and aggressive war, kidnappings of children, and other felonies and misdemeanors (like lying to Congress).
These people work for or have worked for the US government. I do not need to name names: most of you are familiar with the more famous of them. But I do not advocate extra-judicial killings (assassinations) by drones, firearms, curare (take note, readers of that one), or any violence at all against these people.
But either we have a society of laws or we do not. When the laws can be abridged by those in power we have tyranny. It does not matter what excuses the lawless give.
The question as posed in the late 19th and early 20th century was on whose behalf the tyranny would be waged. The question today is how we can address this infernal human tendency to assert power and control, rendering certain people “horrible” by fiat, not their actions as judged by an impartial court. (oh yes, Athena)
@Jeffrey Kaye: Hi Jeff, thanks. I’m thinking the operational word isn’t “horrible,” it’s “inspirational.” I wrote a long comment to David Dayen about that once. It’s one of those power words, like “terrorist,” that has legal meaning and takes away your rights. The context I had seen it used in was prison, where it could get you put away in a CMU with the key thrown away, with no recourse for you to even know who determined and authorized it. Environmental activist or material supporter, no diff, if you are said to have “inspirational significance” you are gone. Seems to be true outside of prison too.
@BSbafflesbrains: No, it was better than that. Me-in-the-dream reached over and took Michael’s hand and said “I love you.” End of dream. I love it. If that’s the last thought I ever have, when I can’t have another, if I can tell somebody I loved them, I’m good.