Posts Tagged ‘FBI’

Apple’s Grapple

Monday, February 29th, 2016

UNMAC_NELSON_WHERE EXCUSES GO TO DIECreation of Homeland Security not enough?

Office of Total Information Awareness left for the day?

Is the heart-shaped flower of police militarization wilting?

Did D.A.R.P.A. go dark?

Has the Patriot Act pooped out?

Nope. Nor have the corporations and power brokers of the surveillance state yet tapped out American taxpayers. 

In other words, the FBI does not need the Genius Bar. 

From Feds to street-corner cops and home security companies, law enforcement has more than enough control, technology, and boots-on-the-ground for continued counterterrorism success. And probably lots of fun civil liberties secrets, too.

The FBI has all the tools it needs and plenty more to keep American citizens safe. And when I say “safe,” I mean relatively safe, just as we’ve been since September, 2001. Stuff will happen; that’s just the trajectory of history, especially when we’ve been messing around with it as much as we have. But in trying to force Apple to write new software that will help them unlock an iPhone belonging to the perpetrator of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, the Bureau is overstepping its constitutional bounds. Apple worries that, if they comply, anyone who can grab or mimic their software will have access to every confidence Americans hope to keep electronically secure. (more…)

Prison Escape Powerball

Friday, January 29th, 2016

MANHUNT HOTLINE_Where Excuses Go to DieWelcome to Apocalypse Hoosegow 10, the Lotto jackpot of potential prison escape movies (and the impossibly straight faces of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department).

Man, this story has got it alland it ends in the parking lot of novelty grocery store, Whole Foods.

Killer convicts chipping their way through steel and concrete – check! Laughably low estimates of escaped prisoner capabilities – check! Brutal cellblock battle to distract guards – check! Cougar-teacher helping misunderstood love interest – check! Tied together bed sheets and socks and stuff – check! Months in the making, mistake-free master plan – check! Violent terror-inmates on the loose in conservative county – check! FBI dudes elbowing local badge bumblers outta the way – check! Adam-12-era hoosegow gettin’ last laugh on OC budget dorks – check! Incredibly straight-faced cop brass asking for public help in catching penis-severing Muslim blowtorch monster – check! check! check!

Apocalypse Hoosegow 10_Where Excuses Go to DieOoh, and don’t forget: District Attorney’s office infighting – check! Unauthorized D.A. office statements made public – check! Open criticism – check! Gorilla-goons scratching their heads at escape hole – check! Magic gnats flying out of inmates mouths like in The Green Mile – ok, not that, but Range Rover-driving, Islamophobic blondes blessed with new hero – checkity check!  (more…)

LA County Sheriff’s “CRRC”

Monday, May 26th, 2014

And it begins – the rehabilitation of the LA Sheriff’s Department…

LA County Sheriffs Department calls for a Do-overInterim LA County Sheriff John Scott’s news conference last week announced the opening of the Sheriff’s Department’s Community Reentry and Resource Center (CRRC). It’s a new component of the department’s  Education Based Incarceration/Merit Program

As he has several times before, Scott stood in contrast to the Department’s typically defensive posture, indifference toward matters of prisoner reentry, and former Sheriff Lee Baca’s endless insistence that only more money can resolve overcrowding and the problems faced in running the nation’s largest jail.

In terms of my love-hate relationship with the LASD, some of these men are cops this former criminal happens to be rooting for. I’ll set aside my cynicism and suspicions to appreciate Scott’s effort to repair the damages wrought by corrupt, Nazi-gang-affiliated, vengeful Department brass (and –as described by insiders– its cult-like following).

SO LONG LA Sheriffs Spokesman Steve WhitmoreIt’s no small thing that this first high profile attempt to reverse the Men’s Central Jail’s inhumane and festering image addresses the causes of recidivism rather than demonstrating a tougher resolve or blaming budget woes. Scott is clearly borrowing a page from the national dialog on prison reform, and yes, it’s a little Simpsons-esque to watch this particular department pitch their newfound forbearance to the public. But folks, this is how it’s gonna be for a while. Luckily, I’ve spoken with several respected officers in the department who have an impressive sense of humor about their profession and their beleaguered employer.

And what is the LA County Sheriff’s Community Reentry and Resource Center?

Through the CRRC, return-to-the-community services such as drug and alcohol treatment, job placement assistance, temporary shelter, tattoo removal, family reintegration, and mental health counseling will be made available to anyone emerging from the building that’s been making headlines as “one of the worst jails in America.” Its offices have been set up right across the street from the ‘ol dungeon itself (the one the county might either expand, tear down or, if there is a God, turn into a mall).

So what’s it like to walk out of Men’s Central Jail, anyway?

This might be difficult to imagine if you’ve never experienced it, so I’ll start by describing release from MCJ this way: it’s like being kicked out of your own failure, especially if you don’t have someone ready and waiting to get you out of the area. (more…)

No Excuses Book Review #1

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The Skies Belong to UsThe Skies Belong to Us: Love & Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking

In the end, Brendan Koerner’s The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking, is about character. Though it was published nine months ago, it’s a fun choice for No Excuses Book Review #1.

I’m not old enough to remember the plague of airline hijackings that took place in and around American airspace during the hippie era, but I do remember laughing with my mom through a television rerun of The Out of Towners, a 1970 Jack Lemmon comedy. In it, everything that can go wrong for two hapless New York tourists does, and despite the appearance of a happy ending, the two find themselves on a hijacked plane just before the credits roll. “This plane is going to Havana, Cuba!” announces the hijacker as he brandishes a gun. (Apparently a lot of these folks were aiming for Cuba; they envisioned a revolutionary paradise when, in reality, Castro jailed ’em instead.)

Initially that’s why I picked up this book: Because I am old enough to remember the aftermath of the ’60s and ’70s skyjacking plague.

In The Skies Belong to Us, Brendan Koerner provides readers with a central romantic antihero narrative on which his exhaustive research hangs. But nothing hangs so long as to slow things down. Koerner’s approach and writing is solid as cement, yet it moves as quickly as a TV news crawler. (more…)

LA County Sheriff’s Christmas Special

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Top 10 reasons you’re glad these

losers are being made examples of

County Sheriff’s Christmas Special_Where Excuses Go to Die

“There’s no perfect law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, let alone the United States.”
– Sheriff Lee Baca on the FBI indictment of 18 LA Sheriff’s Deputies
(A ceremonial dagger of an excuse for poor leadership if there ever was one.)
(more…)

The Future of the Internet? It’s Selling You Access.

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Nothing sells better than the manifestation of exclusivity

Let’s get something straight. While there may be good reason to be angry about new revelations related to our civil liberties, arguing over whether NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero isn’t where our focus should be.

TIME TO PAY UP SUCKERS_Where Excuses Go to DieRight before our eyes we’re watching ground being broken for a new marketplace: our recent national lack-of-privacy fear just created a commercial demand for PRIVACY™

Get it?

The conservative drumbeat that ObamaCare, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone records represent expanded abusive government and/or a “continuation of policies” is a diversion. And CNN’s idiotic prizefights between privacy advocates and backers of the doozy that started it all – the Patriot Act, are distracting millions from the real government data collection issue. In fact, the part of this week’s surveillance state revelations that stinks the most is the one thing we’re not hearing about: money.

Fact is, telecom corporations don’t need to listen to your phone calls for you to fear they’re listening to your phone calls. They only need you to think that the tools and laws are in place in order to sell you a federally guaranteed “communication plan” or Internet “privacy.” Yup: this whole controversy is about the future of the Internet and monetizing our civil liberties. Anyone who thinks differently is naïve – or not paying attention. (On the other hand, considering that sales of Orwell’s 1984 rose by 7,000% this week, at least some are trying to widen their perception.) (more…)

Robin Hood Drives a Volvo

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

When all else fails, try populism! 

It isn’t official, but given that the Feds love assigning perp nicknames, authorities could dub four alleged L.A. area bank robbers “the Robin Hood Bandits” any minute now. Everyone else has! Having tossed at least a dozen handfuls of money from their getaway car during a pursuit through South Los Angeles, the designation may stick, too, despite speculation that the tactic was more diversionary than charitable. Video clips show people jumping off sidewalks to grab wafting bills, inevitably blocking police vehicles. If I were to guess, I’d say the bandits knew they were sunk and opted to go out with a good PR move.

Maybe they were returning to their childhood neighborhoods as they circled block after block, money and police trailing behind them. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like they took into account the safety of the people upon whom they were bestowing this grand gesture, and at the end of the pursuit a repeat of Florence and Normandie circa 1992 looked about to erupt – unnerving footage for Anglenos here during the King riots. Will these suspects be charged with additional counts of, say, Mayhem or Disturbing the Peace for starting something that could have turned quite ugly? Or will money out the window endear them to the public — and by extension, to a jury? The pursuit footage has already begun to work its anti-hero magic. (more…)

Apocalypse Hoosegow 4: Of Heroin Burritos and “Dings” at L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

I’ve seen the mentally ill scurry from beatings under bunks, behind trashcans, and between walls and toilets. I’ve also witnessed Sheriff’s Deputies chasing these “Dings” down to hogtie ‘em and leave ‘em that way until their wrists and feet turned so purple I wanted to scream in anger. It’s all coming back now – but this time, finally, it’s coming back publically.

First of all, “Ding” is a jail term for prisoners suffering from obvious mental health issues. Jabbering crazy dudes are everywhere in jail, and most of ‘em like to hide – in corridors, showers, laundry areas, etc. They also jump out at you, yell at you, grab your food while you’re eating, and keep you up at all hours. So naturally, Dings get the shit beaten out of ‘em night and friggen’ day. (more…)