Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

The People of Spokane vs. Law Enforcement Abuse, Impunity, Corruption, and Cover-up

Archive for January, 2008

4/16/08 Chief Anne Kirkpatrick on Keeping the Community “Safe”

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 31, 2008

Of all people…

On Wednesday, April 16, 2008, the Spokane City Forum will bring Anne Kirkpatrick, chief of the scandal-ridden Spokane Police Department, speaking about “What it takes to keep a Community Safe”.

Interestingly, in the age of private security contractors, domestic spying, and use of illegal government powers, Kirkpatrick will team with the local head of a national company which engages in secret collaborations with the police.

If you would like to see which side of her mouth the Chief speaks on this occasion, or perhaps even hear her sing, “I fought the Police Guild and the Police Guild won”, as well as learn more about private/public cooperation in the age of the police state, please read the following details. Then don’t miss the event…


Phone: 509-777-1555
Fax: 509-747-1171

Remind me of upcoming Spokane City Forums…


Meeting Location:
First Presbyterian Church
318 South Cedar Street
Spokane, WA 99204

Meeting Time: 11:45 A.M.

Take me to…
First Presbyterian Church

Cost to attend is $10.00 and includes lunch. Please make reservations at least two business days in advance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 11:45 First Presbyterian Church, Spokane

Anne Kirkpatrick, Spokane Police Chief & Pat DeVries, President of DeVries Business Records Management

“What it takes to keep a Community Safe”

One of the most fundamental necessities in life is safety. To reach this level of safety, it takes a partnership between both civilian and governmental organizations. Anne Kirkpatrick and Pat DeVries will speak about what it takes to prevent crime from the Police Department down to the civilian level.

* Anne Kirkpatrick, Spokane Chief of Police, has been in law enforcement for more than 25 years, including three posts as Chief of Police in Washington cities. Her diverse experience has given her great perspective on leadership. She will speak in detail about the guiding principles important in leading a Police Department as well as discuss what it takes to lead “through the storms” that come.

* Pat DeVries is the Owner/President of DeVries Business Records Management, a company celebrating 20 years of operation. In addition to his professional experience, he has been leading the charge of crime prevention from the civilian sector. He is the President of “Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest,” a local division of a national civilian crime prevention organization. He will share his wisdom in what civilians can do to collaborate with the Police Department to make our communities safer for everyone.


Posted in Educating the Chief, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Solutions, Unanswered Questions, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Turning a pig’s ear into a silk purse

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 31, 2008

Certainly this is one of the best efforts at spinning a story you will ever seen.

First, read the public relations piece below the picture of Roger Bragdon, former Police Chief of Spokane. It comes from the Spokane City Forum web page.

Former Spokane Police Chief Roger Bragdon

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Roger Bragdon, Spokane Chief of Police
“Community Oriented Policing- How We Can Get Involved in Reducing Crime”
Spokane has been recognized nationally and internationally for its unique community partnerships and programs to reduce crime. Chief Bragdon will address the topic of community oriented policing, its history, why it works and how it has evolved into one of the most successful policing strategies for Spokane – one that other communities are trying to adopt.

Now let’s look at what it says:

Is Spokane “nationally and internationally recognized for its unique community partnerships and programs to reduce crime”? Certainly it has received recognition but its programs are not unique. Nor has it been especially successful. In fact, the city became one of the leading cities for methamphetamine use and production in the United States under the watchful eye of the Spokane Police Department, with much of the problem occurring during Chief Bragdon’s reign and within a several block radius of his office.

At the same time, Spokane under Bragdon was well on its way to developing a “national and international reputation” for lack of accountability, impunity for police crime and corruption, and political leaders unable and unwilling to bring the good-old boy network to heel.

A pig’s ear indeed.

*******************************

A month prior to the aforementioned talk by Bragdon, the Spokesman-Review published a story on the involvement of Chief Bragdon and Deputy Chief Al Odenthal, among other SPD officials, in the leasing and planned purchasing of a Hillyard warehouse from retired Spokane Police captain Chuck Crabtree. Crabtree had once supervised Bragdon.

As reported in the article:

(quote)

The proposed purchase is not the first time Bragdon’s friendship with Crabtree has made news.

In 2003, Bragdon urged judicial leniency for Crabtree’s son, Jim Crabtree, a former Spokane County deputy sheriff turned drug dealer, who was convicted in a drug-related auto crash that nearly killed sheriff’s Sgt. Earl Howerton in 2001.

Jim Crabtree was sentenced to five years in prison for vehicular assault, two counts of possession and four counts of selling crack cocaine.

(end quote)

For more on Bragdon’s controversial reign, see –

The Spokane Police Guild unanimously voted this week to file a complaint against Chief Roger Bragdon over his order to dismiss a traffic infraction filed against the son-in-law of former Spokane County Prosecutor Don Brockett.

See item # 8 at This Week’s Corrupt Cop Story for more on the Bragdon/Crabtree matter.

For more on former Deputy Chief Al Odenthal, please read this blog posting at DogWalkMusing as well as the comments which follow it.

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Racism — new blog by Arroyoribera

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 29, 2008

Racism in Spokane – a 21st century reality

by Arroyoribera on January 24th, 2008

Racism in Spokane?

Not a topic that will make you very popular among those you know in Spokane, especially if they are white.

Twice today it was suggested to me by whites I know that if people (a category which clearly was intended to include me) are unhappy with the situation of race in Spokane or the white dominance of Spokane or the exclusion of non-whites in Spokane, then I or anyone else with similar concerns can move to Seattle or anywhere else that we chose and where – it was implied – we will see more people of color on a routine basis.

Other interesting reactions to the topic of “racism in Spokane” can be seen in the anonymous postings on the blogs of the Spokesman-Review and even in the Spokesman’s publication/blog for area high school students.

Instead of leaving Spokane, I decided to begin this blog – Spokane Racism.

We will explore not only the perception and reality of racism in Spokane but also the reaction to the suggestion that Spokane is racist as well as the reaction to the evidence that Spokane is racist.

We will look at Spokane’s beginnings through the violent and unlawful taking of the lands of the native peoples and nations that lived, and fished, and roamed, and played, and celebrated, and raised families on this land and along this river.

In addition, we will look at the use and abuse of language and imagery of race, as well as the enshrinement of the areas racist past.

We will look at the history of explicitly racist organizations in the Spokane area from the Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations and Washington State Militia to Phinneas Brotherhood and White Order of Thule.

And we will look at the realities of community and organizational exclusion in Spokane from our media and our local governments to our police forces, our schools, and our cultural life.

I invite those with comments on the topic to send them to SpokaneRacism@google.com

Posted in Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Solutions, Statistics, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call | Leave a Comment »

How to beat a red-light camera

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 27, 2008

Hard 7 blogmeister, indy-journalist, and leading Spokane Police critic Frank Sennett has moved on to Chicago where he will edit the British-owned Time Out Chicago. As soon as Sennett left Spokane, the Spokesman-Review blocked access to the enlightened and left-leaning commentary and dialogue of Sennett and his readers. The S-R deemed to unblock that access a few days ago and I have been reviewing Sennett’s insightful and informative writings. Here is one from February 9, 2007:

How to beat a red-light cam

If Spokane approves the hugely flawed red-light camera system–studies show they increase rear-end collisions dramatically while longer yellows do more to reduce side impacts–this week’s column details how frustrated motorists can hide in plain sight.

But hopefully the City Council will look beyond police department hype, examine the uncooked data and opt to increase the length of those yellows–as traffic engineers recommend–instead of sticking Spokane motorists with a backdoor tax that won’t make them safer and will enrich an out-of-state contractor.

And while you’re waiting for the light to turn green, please sign up for the free Alternative Source podcast.

Posted in Know Your Rights, Solutions, Unanswered Questions, Videos | Leave a Comment »

SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga fired for “conduct unbecoming”

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 27, 2008

[Comment from blog author: The Uberuaga incident has all the indicators of an initiation into a police club or unit. As in, “Make sure she is drunk so that her allegations can’t hold water, you have to do it in an official vehicle, and you have to bring back evidence, such as a photo of her breasts on your cell phone.” Please send your thoughts and comments on this scenario to spokanepoliceabuses@gmail.com ]

Jason Uberuaga –

  • 1997 Gonzaga University graduate and star baseball player (All-West Coast League Honorable Mention)
  • joined the Spokane Police Department in 1998
  • decorated Spokane Police officer who teamed with Sgt. Dan Torok in the March 2006 killing-by-cop of Otto Zehm
  • deputized member of DEA Regional Drug Task Force
  • member of the Spokane Dodgers of Men’s Senior League Baseball (The MSLB slogan is “Don’t go soft, play hardball!”)

On October 11, 2007, apparently finding his life not sufficiently interesting, Uberuaga decided to engage in some “conduct unbecoming” of an officer and found himself accused of rape (video). Uberuaga’s law enforcement colleagues maintained the solidity of the “thin blue line“, concluding that the victim’s story was inconsistent and thus deciding not to charge Uberuaga.

On January 23, 2008, Uberuaga was fired by the Chief of Police of Spokane who concluded that Uberuaga had engaged in “conduct unbecoming” of an officer when he used his cell phone to photograph the woman’s breasts, had sex with her, and drove his patrol vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Uberuaga had been bar hopping with other Spokane law enforcement officers at the time.

Still, the odds are that the system will come to the rescue of Uberuaga.

Many still remember another recent moment in the storied annals of Spokane area law enforcement. On June 16, 2006, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Mastel exposed himself to a barista at an expresso stand in Airway Heights, a couple miles west of Spokane. Like Uberuaga, Mastel was terminated for “conduct unbecoming” of an officer.  Subsequently, the Spokane County Civil Service Commission reinstated Mastel and ruled he could collect his pension in full.  No less a friend of law enforcement than anonymous blogger “Spokane Valley Insider” has opined that Mastel’s offense was a “more serious offense compared to having sex with a willing participant in a private parking lot of a privately owned business” and does not believe that “Uberuaga’s termination fits the offense”.

Spokane Valley Insider goes on to write:

(quote) I would be surprised if his termination holds up.  Uberuaga is guilty of making a bad decision.  He doesn’t deserve to be a part of a task force if he is going to drive the company car to taverns and use the company phone to take topless photos of women.  But is that conduct unbecoming?  Should his actions that night determine his future and wipe out the spotless record including awards of merit he has received during this ten years of service?  Uberuaga should be suspended without pay for 30-60 days, relieved of his task force detail, and required to remain on patrol for an indefinite amount of time. He should also be docked a step in salary. (end quote)

A few clarifications are in order.

First, Uberuaga is at the least guilty of making several bad decisions, not just one.  According to published reports, bar patrons watched Uberuaga go out to the parking lot and engage in what essentially became a public act of sex in the vehicle. He and his law enforcement buddies hit more than one bar that afternoon.  He drove the patrol vehicle under the influence of alcohol, which the Chief had specifically forbidden.

Second, Uberuaga was not the only law enforcement official involved in the cavorting with reports indicating that the his accompanied by Spokane County Sheriff Deputies.

Third, Uberuaga does not have a spotless record, in that the matter of the homicide of Otto Zehm (in which Uberuaga was one of seven Spokane cops participating in the killing along with the notorious Sgt. Dan Torok) is still open with both an FBI probe and the followup Mike Worley report still pending.

Fourth, Uberuaga — whose salary in 2002 was $61,475 — has been paid throughout these 3 1/2 months despite early admissions on his part regarding the “conduct unbecoming” on October 11, 2007.

(Note: Read Spokane County Board of Commissioners’ response to Civil Service Commission reinstatement decision on Mastel)

One similarity between both the Uberuaga and Mastel cases is their “blame the victim” strategy. Both cops put the blame on the woman involved, with Mastel claiming that the barista “led me on” and Uberuaga claiming that the his activities were consensual.

Spokane seems to have a serious problem of lack of accountability by law enforcement. Two other cases come immediately to mind. In the Firehouse Sex Scandal, two Spokane Police detectives (Sgt. Joe Peterson and Sgt. Neil Gallion) “instructed” a Spokane fireman to delete photos of a teenage girl with whom he had engaged in sexual activity. In another case, SPD officer Dave Freitag allowed 65-year-old level three sex offender Thomas Hermann to resided in the basement of his home and stored the convicted felon’s firearms (Hermann was among 22 suspects arrested in the U.S. as part of an international child pornography investigation.)

In all four cases, the total number of officers arrested was…? You guessed it. Zero.

 

Posted in Corruption, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Sibel Edmonds — Blowing the lid off the FBI, CIA, and high level US Traitors

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 21, 2008

Sibel Edmonds is the most gagged person in US history. The government has repeatedly invoked the State Secrets Privilege in her case – not for reasons of ‘national security’ but to hide ongoing criminal activity. Please call Congressman Henry Waxman and John Conyers as well as Senators Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy to demand public open hearings into Edmonds’ case and the State Secrets Privilege.

Sibel Edmonds — PEN Newman Award RecipientPEN American Center has named Sibel Edmonds, a translator who was fired from her job at the FBI after complaining of intelligence failures and poor performance in her unit, as the recipient of this year’s prestigious PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.

Sibel Edmonds — Investigations Thwarted — Why have so many investigations been dropped? Whose interests are being served? Demand hearings.

Sibel Edmonds: A Patriot Silenced, Unjustly Fired but Fighting Back to Help Keep America Safe — ACLU

Jan. 6, 2008 The Sunday Times (of London) — For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

Jan. 20, 2008 The Sunday Times (of London) — FBI Accused of Covering up Government Dealings with Network Stealing Nuclear Secrets

Let Sibel Edmonds Speak — Official documents prove FBI lied to protect US Officials

Daniel Ellsberg on Failure of US Media to Report Coverup by FBI, CIA, and Department of State Treason — 1 and 2.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Up 40% year-to-date

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

Usage statistics for this blog show readership up 40% year-to-date. On-line just 6 months, SpokanePoliceAbuses will go over 20,000 hits in the next couple days and reached a single week high with a day remaining in the week.

Whether it is satellite imagery of the CIA’s SERE Torture Training facility outside Spokane, video of police brutality and arbitrary exercise of repressive powers by the Spokane Police Department, or links to SPD officers such as bodybuilding undercover SPD cop Mel Tramell or recently fired SPD cop and deputized federal drug task force member Jason Uberuaga (alleged rapist), you will find information on it here.

Want to see pictures of weaponry in the militarized arsenal of the Spokane area law enforcement? You will find it here.

Concerned about Spokane Police officers blogging under pseudonyms and phony names on Spokesman-Review blogs? Get the story and analysis at SpokanePoliceAbuses.

Not aware that Spokane was the site of mass civil action and brutal repression against the likes of Elizabeth Gurley-Flynn in 1909?

Did not know that martial law was declared in Spokane by the federal government in 1917? Click here.

Concerned about possible ethical issues involving Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick? Read more.

Information on those matters and more can be found here at SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com

Want to know more about Spokane area law enforcement “personalities of note” such as Ron “Rocketsbrain” Wright, Mark Fuhrman, Alan Chertok, and Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak?

Looking for statistics, reports and information for your own investigations and efforts to bring to Spokane Police Department under civilian oversight?

Concerned about the unresolved homicide-by-cops of Otto Zehm?

Disturbed by the involvement of FBI agent Jason Oakley in the spying on and infiltrating of local activist organizations? See also FBI Watchlist — Spokane Edition.

There are also numerous videos, some related to the Spokane Police Department such as “You Honkey, We Drinkey — or Officer Brownlee’s Excellent Adventures” and those related to the Police Riot against Youth in Riverfront Park on 7/4/07.

However, there are many other videos. Want to see the infamous UCLA tasering video, or the tasering of the University of Florida student who attempted to address Sen. John Kerry, or the Polish man tasered and killed in the Vancouver International Airport?

These videos are evidence of the danger of misuse of tasers by poorly trained, unskilled, and out-of-control police officers. They are also evidence of the lie of freedom and democracy in North American which rapidly being disclosed to the people of the world by citizen journalists armed with cameras, cell phones, and recording devices.

David Brookbank — owner, administrator and author of the SpokanePoliceAbuses blog — believes that there is an intimate and demonstrable connection between abuses of police power in Spokane, Washington, and the unrelenting imperialist brutalization of the globe by the government of the United States. As a result, this blog also hosts a number of articles, commentaries, photographs, links, and videos related directly to fascism, imperialism, Iraq, Vietnam, Nixon, Bush, anti-war protest, U.S. government spying and lying, and numerous other subjects.

Thus one will find here music videos, some with commentary, such as Call it Democracy, Welcome to 1984, Ohio, and La Coartada.

A favorite video of mine is “What it’s like” by Everlast, presented in the context of a Spokane Police Officer’s statement to a community health worker: “I have a job to do. I have to get these shit bags out of the park”.

There are documentary clips such as Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, U.S. government waterboarding training videos, and Ward Churchill on Perpetual War: State Sponsored Terrorism.

Please visit this site frequently. Send the link to those you know looking to bring accountability to the Spokane Police Department and those abusing power around the world.

And finally, please send your suggestions, leads, and comments to me at spokanepoliceabuses@gmail.com

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Jason Oakley and the FBI, License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane LE Personalities, Statistics, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

Video of Spokane protest arrests shows lack of respect for free speech

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

Though the event occurred on June 27, 2007, I have just come across this video and commentary about the arrest of two protesters during then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s secret meeting with Spokane area law enforcement. The importance of this information falls in two areas — 1) the text reprinted below is an excellent statement by a Spokane journalist on Spokane police acting arbitrarily against peaceful protesters, and 2) it includes an exceptionally revealing video of the arrests of both the wheelchair-bound Rebecca Lamb and local populist Dan Treecraft. (Note: as of 1/24/08 Frank Sennett will be a Chicago journalist, having just taken over the position of editor for Time Out Chicago.)

(quote)

Video of Spokane protest arrests shows casual lack of respect for free speech

Watch this video of the June 27 protest against U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and you’ll see a peaceful group of demonstraters calling for an end to the war.

But the Spokane Police Department can’t just let the proceedings play out calmly. Instead, an officer moves to arrest a woman in a wheelchair–Rebecca Lamb–after she refuses to move behind an arbitrary free-speech line officers are setting up with traffic cones and yellow tape. That’s even though the group is showing no tendency toward disorder or disruption.

With this capricious exercise of police authority (and authority granted by whom?–certainly not the Constitution), the officers turn the heat up on the proceedings and earn some chants along the lines of “No more cops.”

Soon, they arrest protester Dan Treecraft for crossing the street.

The SPD leadership must set a much higher threshold for triggering arrests of peaceful protesters in Spokane.

This is not a police state nor a security state.

People require the latitude to express themselves peacefully under the law without being bullied and ordered around by officers who somehow perceive 55-year-old, wheelchair-bound activists as threats to public safety.

UPDATE: Here’s another video of the arrests, forwarded by a reader.

(end quote)

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Spokane Police Bloggers at Spokesman-Review — Hard 7 Blog Purged by S-R Editor

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 18, 2008

The only daily newspaper in Spokane, Washington — the Cowles family-owned Spokesman-Review — is plagued by Spokane law enforcement personnel, most notably Spokane Police Department officials, blogging under false names and partial names.

Most notable is the regular and extended participation of Spokane Police Department Detective Dan Torok, who killed the unarmed Jerome Alford on 3/24/07, and who was one of the direct participants on 3/18/06 in the brutal homicide of Otto Zehm, an unarmed disabled Spokane native.

Torok participates in newspaper blogs under the name “Dan” and posts at all hours of the day and night on matters related to the Spokane Police and other law enforcement matters. Torok is well-known for staunch on-line defenses of his own police activities, as well as those of seriously disgraced police colleagues here and elsewhere in the country, such as the soon-to-be ex-SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga.

(Note: Uberuaga is the SPD veteran who was alleged to have raped a woman during a bar-hopping incident with Spokane Sheriff Deputies. Uberagua used a cell phone camera to photograph the woman’s breasts, had sex with her, and drove his unmarked patrol car under the influence of alcohol. Uberuaga was immediately removed from the Federal Drug Task Force of which he was a deputized member but the decision to fire him from the Spokane Police Department was not taken by SPD chief Anne Kirkpatrick until January 17, 2008.  Uberuaga involved along with Torok in the 3/18/2006 homicide killing of Otto Zehm, a brutal murder which involved seven Spokane cops beating, tasering, hog-tying, masking, and kneeing the unarmed Zehm on March 18, 2006.)

Also active on the Spokesman-Review blogs is Sgt. Jim Faddis. Sgt. Faddis was unmasked blogging under the pseudonym of “Kevin”. He was repentant and promised he would never do so again but continued to blog as “Jim” or “Jim F”. In his blog writings, Faddis was often the backup to Torok’s verbal assaults on citizen bloggers. Faddis is a former Internal Affairs officer and Special Investigations Unit member.

Some Spokesman-Review bloggers have expressed concern regarding whether or not Torok and Faddis, as well as Det. J.R. Russell, have used official duty time and resource for their blog activities. (According to Spokane City records, then-Sergaent Dan Torok was paid $75,744 in 2002 while at that same time, Sergaent Faddis was paid $76,480.)

Others have expressed concerns about police officials lurking about blogs and intervening under the guise of citizens with no connection to the police in an effort to bolster a severely tarnished police department.

On a rare occasion Torok would intentionally sign a posting as “Det. Dan Torok” and explain that he was acting in an official capacity. Then there was the occasion when he signed in that fashion and had to return and write a disclaimer that he should not have signed as an SPD employee. Wow! Just sign Dan Torok and clarify that you are a cop, especially when the topic is the cops, including yourself!

The whole affair raises serious questions for those blogging openly under their real names (as I have made a practice for a few years now) or for those concerned about the identities of those with whom they are engaging in public blogs, not least those owned and run by newspapers.

Despite the important information disclosed at the Spokesman-Review’s Hard 7 blog by SPD officials Torok, Faddis and Russell about the Spokane Police Department and highly prejudicial attitudes held by them toward the mentally ill and disabled as well citizens in general, the Spokesman-Review recently purged its site of all postings at Hard 7 on January 4, 2008. That action was taken by Ken Paulman, one of the Spokesman-Review’s primary censors and the editor of the S-R’s collection of columns known as “7″.

Among the information purged by Paulman are very important public discussions involving citizen blog-posters engaging both Torok and Faddis regarding the lack of independent civilian oversight of the Spokane Police Department; the unprovoked brutality on July 4, 2007 against young people by the SPD Tactical Response Unit in Riverfront Park; the excessive force arrest on June 27, 2007 of Dan Treecraft by SPD officers at the location of the secret meeting between Spokane law enforcement officials and then-US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez; the incomplete investigation of the homicide of Otto Zehm in which Torok was a participant; Torok’s killing of the unarmed Jerome Alford; tasers; high powered police weaponry acquired by the SPD; the use of the Spokane Police Guild website and forum to carry on private discussions about “LE friendly and LE hostile businesses“; and the use of the Guild website to post a private link to this blog (first denied by Faddis and subsequently admitted by him).

In purging the entire history of postings at Hard 7, Paulman wrote:

(quote)

And that’s a wrap…

Posted by Ken Paulman, 7 editor • 4 Jan 9:38 AM

As most of you already know, Frank Sennett, author of the Hard 7 column and blog, is on his way to the great Midwest to become the new editor of Time Out Chicago.

Unfortunately, that means the Hard 7 blog is closing up shop.

Frank is no longer posting or moderating, and unattended blogs tend to become magnets for spam, flame wars, and other garbage. So I’ve had to shut down comments on the blog. This unfortunately means all of the archived comments aren’t visible, but we’ll see about getting them back online soon.

(end quote)

Hard 7 author and blogmeister Frank Sennett had barley left Spokane for a new job in Chicago when Paulman struck in the first days of 2008. It will be a measure of the credibility of Spokesman-Review and the integrity of Paulman — one of the Spokesman’s primary monitors and censors of public’s participation in its dialogue with the town’s only daily newspaper — if Paulman keeps his word to “see about getting them (the missing archived comments) back online soon.”

Paulman admits to his “banning” and censorship activities at the S-R, having written previously, (quote) I had banned Brookbank back when I was moderating the “old” News is a Conversation, so that may have added to the confusion. Posted by Ken Paulman | 20 Dec 9:08 AM (end quote)

(The other primary S-R censor is Doug Floyd, S-R editorial page “editor”. Floyd has known no other employer other than the Spokesman-Review since 1969, three years after he graduated from journalism school in Oregon, and thus is likely eminently qualified to represent the censorial red pen of S-R publisher Stacey Cowles.)

Frank Sennett’s postings are still there to read at Hard 7 but the public forum that is a blog — including substantive discussions by the public of the above mentioned topics of great importance to the community — were summarily removed. The advent of the internet and interactive media such as blogs have resulted in a worldwide process of remaking the institution known as “the newspaper”. One traditional role of newspapers has been as the “paper of record” for towns, regions, and countries. Thus, in the process of remaking the newspaper, a central and crucial question for the future of the free press and free expression will be the role of newspapers as the “source of record” for events and of dialogues on matters of crucial public interest, as well as the role to be played by related electronic media used by newspapers today, such as blogs, comment sections, etc.

At the present moment, the direction of the Spokesman-Review (already severely crisis stricken) bodes ill for that future. The S-R editors have chosen to take refuge in their privileged position and the belief — expressed on multiple occasions by S-R editor-in-chief Steve Smith– that what is in play on Spokesman-Review blogs is not a matter of freedom of speech. Rather, Smith argues, the reader and blog writer must understand that what they mistakenly believe to be a right to freedom of speech in the public’s blogging activities is in fact a gift given to them by the newspaper’s publisher and therefore not a right at all but rather an honor and a privilege bestowed on the blog reader/writer by the editor on behalf of the publisher. Furthermore, per Smith, that gift, honor, and privilege may be abridged or completely taken away at the discretion of the editor or his minions.

And therein lies the danger to free speech constituted by grossly consolidated media ownership in the US and globally. The owner is effectively the censor, even if indirectly, through his editors. The publisher invites participation. The editor monitors participation. The editor censors participation.

This is a perfect sub-theme for the disgrace of the media’s open and unquestioning complicity with the US government in the “war on terror” and the phenomenon of “embedded journalists” and “lapdog reporters”. The media no longer even pretends to be a watchdog or a source of objective truth. When — as in the case of the Spokesman-Review’s Doug Floyd — a newspaper has as its editorial page ‘editor’ a careerist with nearly 4 decades working loyally for that institution, there is truly a danger. More so when the institution is actually a family dynasty which has dominated, if not at times run, a city for well over a century.

Such is the history of our fair town, Spokane, Washington. Police bloggers, newspaper censors, and a disempowered public.

Where art thee now, Frank Sennett?

(I know, I know. Chicago. And good luck to ya!)

Posted in Censorship, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest and Free Speech, Spanking the Spokesman, Spokane Police Guild, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home, Yes ma'am Chief | Comments Off

Canada Puts U.S. on Torture Watch List

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 18, 2008

The Canadian government has put the United States on a watch list of countries that could practice torture. The mention is made on a secret Canadian government document not intended for public release. The document cites the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and lists U.S. interrogation techniques including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.” Other countries on the list include Israel, Syria, China, Iran and Afghanistan.

(reported 01/18/2008 on Democracy Now! website — Democracy Now is daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 650 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S.)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

War Made Easy

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 13, 2008

Watch the trailer… then buy the DVD

WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian past to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Comments Off

La Coartada

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 11, 2008

La Coartada” (Alibi) del album Contra el Silencio (Against the Silence) por Héctor Kabacoff

La Coartada

Quien se atreve, a pesar de tus cadenas,
A valorarte el acierto o desatino?
Quien puede ser el juez de tu camino
Sin ver al semi-dios que te condena?

Quien puede bendecir tu sacrificio
Sin reprobar el peso de tu yugo?
Quien será el partenaire de tu verdugo
Reabriendo el tribunal del santo oficio?

Se prepara consejo de notables
Para participar de esta coartada
Rehenes de esta farsa descarada
Esta persecución imperdonable

Hay quién alza su voz para salvarte
De las fieras que afilan sus colmillos
Avalando tu sitio en el banquillo
Y esta absurda manera de enjuiciarte

La mesa esta servida y los señores
Van a participar de esta coartada
Rehenes de esta farsa descarada
Esta caza de brujas y de flores

Habrá otra vez jurados y habrá fuego
Cuando vuelvan por cada uno de ellos
Habrá acusados con la soga al cuello
Entre los que hoy jugaron este juego

La mesa esta servida y los señores
Van a participar de esta coartada
Rehenes de esta farsa descarada
Esta caza de brujas y de flores

Habrá otra vez jurados y habrá fuego
Cuando vuelvan por cada uno de ellos
Habrá acusados con la soga al cuello
Entre los que hoy jugaron este juego

****************************

(Lyrics to Alibi translated to English)

****************************

Thoughts of David Brookbank, former U.S. vice consul in Havana, Cuba, upon listening to this song and viewing the video:

The injustices imposed at the individual, family and community level upon tens of millions of people in the United States through the politics, laws, policies, philosophies, religion, and police state of the ruling class, combined with the silent complicity and cowardice of the U.S. populace, are merely a reflection of the injustices which the United States government imposes in our names on the peoples of the world by the tens of hundreds of millions. Yet patience is running short and the peoples of the world are awakening, no longer willing to remain silent, even if those in the U.S. remain asleep. Cuba has survived the coercion of the U.S. for 50 years and this long international witch hunt — a modern day inquisition — and shown the world the meaning of the words “resistance” and “solidarity”. Long live the global struggle against oppression, injustice, and imperialism!

U.S. Imperialist Hands Off Cuba!

Posted in Espanol, Photographic Evidence, Spanish, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Comments Off

Rampant Police Misconduct Scandals in U.S. — (Part 1)

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 10, 2008

“The history of these kinds of scandals is that cops go right back to acting as they always have when the dust settles, because the pressure they most feel is the pressure to produce results, the constant demand to get the job done.” (FBI Official Michael Kramer, “How cops go bad,” Time magazine, December 15, 1997.)

(To add to this list of police scandals, please send information to spokanepoliceabuses@gmail.com)

Nationwide — “America’s National Scandal — Nationwide Police Misconduct” — (quote) Gary Sykes, director of the Southwestern Law Enforcement Institution and the Center for Law Enforcement Ethics in Dallas, has found that a surprising number of cities have had to deal with police corruption. “I’m talking about abuse of authority and patterns of misconduct,” he said. “There isn’t any major city that hasn’t gone through some embarrassing events that call into question the trustworthiness of police departments.” (end quote)

Tacoma, Washington — “Child-sex defendant was face of police” (Tacoma News Tribune, August 4, 2006) — Tacoma Police officer and spokesperson is accused of molesting a developmentally disabled boy who now resides in Spokane. The officer, Lee William Giles Jr, represented the Tacoma Police department in the media and in the schools.

Nationwide — “Inappropriate police responses to critical mass rides worldwide” (Critical-Mass.info) — Throughout the U.S., police departments have suppressed, surveilled, and brutally repressed Critical Mass bike rides. Among the cities where police repression has occurred include Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Spokane, Washington; Bellingham, Washington; Tempe, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; Buffalo, NY; San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Spokane, WashingtonPolitical Scandals of the United States — Spokane Mayor James West, an opponent of gay rights, denied accusations of having molested two boys while he was a sheriff’s deputy and Boy Scout leader in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but came under investigation (2005) for offering municipal jobs to men he met in gay online chat rooms. West was ousted in a recall vote December 2005.

Spokane, Washington — “Tapes, Witnesses Contradict Police Accounts of Zehm Arrest” (The Inclusion Daily Express) — Seven Spokane Police officers participated in the brutal homicide of Otto Zehm, a man with a mental disability and a mental illness.

Kalamazoo, Michigan — “Minority complaints rarely upheld” (Kalamazoo Gazette, June 11, 2000) — (quote) A Kalamazoo Gazette study shows Kalamazoo police rarely uphold minorities’ complaints against officers. Even less likely is that a police-dominated review board will side with a minority complainant in an alleged excessive force case, according to a review of city documents. Since 1997, a Police-Community Relations Board – comprised of a police union official, a chief’s office representative and a city manager’s designee – has rejected all 26 citizen complaints of excessive force, the Gazette review found. Most of those complaints were filed by minorities, who also are far more likely than whites to be pepper sprayed here, the documents showed. (end quote)

San Francisco, California — “Scandals punctuate the history of the San Francisco Police Department” (San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2005) — The recent video scandal involving SF police officers is only the latest in years of scandal going back decades.

San Francisco, California — “Bay area police scandal tarnishes top brass” (Christian Science Monitor, March 6, 2003) — (quote) Indictments in cover up case show that top police can be held accountable but reform is still needed. (end quote)

Port of Seattle, Washington — “Investigators: Report says handling of E-gate scandal was botched” (King 5 TV, May 31, 2007) — Scores of Port of Seattle police officials were involved in mailing of sexist and racist e-mails and videos over a period of two years.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — “Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States” (Human Rights Watch) — When the police are indistinguishable from the bad guys, this society has a serious problem, said Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

Schenectady, NY — “Grand jury blames poor leadership for Schenectady police scandals” (Times Union, November 19, 2007) — According to the Times Union, the Grand Jury report “blames nearly two decades of Police Department scandals on lax oversight of vice cases.” To read a PDF of the grand jury report on the Schenectady Police Department’s vice squad, click here.

Chicago, Illinois — “Scandals bring down Chicago’s elite police unit” (NPR, October 10, 2007) — (quote) The Chicago Police Department is disbanding its elite Special Operations Section. Seven officers have been charged with robbery and kidnapping. Chicago Tribune reporter Dave Heinzmann says Chicago Mayor Richard Daley cited systematic problems within the S.O.S. and the way the unit operates during the announcement of the unit’s closure. (end quote)

Houston, Texas — “45 Houston crime lab cases get legal review” (Houston Chronicle, March 15, 2006) — (quote) Faulty evidence needs scrutiny, Project Innocence co-founder says. (end quote)

Boston, Massachusetts — “Source of Boston Police Department exam scandal still unknown” (WBZ-TV, January 4, 2008) — (quote) Boston police officers accused of cheating on a promotion exam. he department has spent months investigating what happened and the commissioner says his own officers didn’t cooperate. (end quote)

Dallas, Texas — “Dallas Officers Demoted Following Scandal” (TalkLeft-The Politics of Crime, December 4, 2004) — (quote) Concluding that the indictment of four police officers who arrested more than 20 people on bogus drug charges resulted from “a failure of management supervision,” the Dallas Police Department decided to demote two highly ranked managers. (end quote)

New York City — “A History of Police Misconduct Charges” (New York Times, January 23, 2008) — (quote) In the last five years, the New York Police Department has been embarassed by a number of scandals involving the conduct of officers on duty. (end quote)

State-by-state accounts of specific incidents of Police Misconduct at Bad Cop News (each incident includes a link to the original news story at the end of the posting).

Posted in Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, No Sir Officer ____ | Leave a Comment »

Urgent Call– Protest to close down Guantanamo — Friday, Jan. 11, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 10, 2008

GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION

Tell the government, tell the community, tell the world

GUANTANAMO MUST BE CLOSED!

- 108 N. Washington St, Spokane (downtown at corner Riverside and Washington)

- Friday, January 11, 2008 at 4 PM

- Bring your signs. Bring your friends. Bring your OUTRAGE.

The Spokane American Legion Building at 108 N. Washington houses the offices of psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the architects of the military’s psychological torture plan used at Guatanamo, Abu Ghraib, Baghreb, and the secret so-called “black sites”, known by thinking people as “torture centers”.

The Role of Spokane, Fairchild, and the SERE/JPRA Program in U.S. Torture and Geneva Convention Violations (this post includes links to the major exposes on Mitchell/Jessen, Guantanamo, and videos of waterboarding, etc.

- Called by PJALS – Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane

Friday, January 11, 2008 marks the 6th year since the opening of the prison and torture center at Guantanamo Bay. As Americans responsible for funding this horror, many of us in Spokane plan to make known our abhorrence of that awful place, and will continue to demand that it be shut down – and shut down in a way that does not involve simply circulating its prisoners to other secret U.S.-run prisons.

PJALS (Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane) 35 W. Main, Spokane WA 99201 509-838-7870

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Surveillance Rights for the Public

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

“Mike Elgan has an interesting take on surveillance technology, and how audio and video recordings should be used in private and public life. He cites the case of a New York City Police Detective who was secretly taped by a suspect during an interrogation that the detective initially denied took place during the suspect’s murder trial, as well as a case involving two parents in Wisconsin who slipped a voice-activated recorder in their son’s backpack after suspecting he was being abused by his bus driver. In the first case, even though the detective was later charged with 12 counts of perjury, Elgan notes that the police interrogation probably would not have taken place had the suspect announced to the detective that he was recording the session. In the second case, the tape was initially ruled inadmissible in court because Wisconsin state law prohibits the use of “intercepted conversations” (it was later allowed as evidence). Elgan argues that there should be no questions about members of the public being allowed to record such interactions. He says surveillance should be “legalized, normalized or even required” when members of the public have interactions with police, and the public should be allowed to record interactions between caregivers and children, meetings between politicians meet with lobbyists, court sessions, and phone conversations. Elgan says, “Surveillance technology is on the rise. Powerful organizations — law enforcement, corporations, governments and others — have demanded and won their right to videotape the public, often secretly. They do this in order to hold individuals accountable for their actions. Yet the rights of individuals to use similar technology to do the same are often restricted. Why should shoppers, pedestrians, bank customers and citizens be held accountable, but politicians, police, judges and others are not? What kind of democracy is that?” What’s your take? Would Elgan’s proposals improve democracy and the rule of law? What kinds of complications or unintended consequences might result?”

http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9055126&intsrc=hm_list

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/03/2232218&from=rss

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Unanswered Questions | Leave a Comment »

Spokane’s Para-military SWAT Team — Police, Propaganda, and Pavlischak

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

[Before the Vietnam War was even over, the Spokane Police Department began forming its own para-military unit with the assistance of former Marine Corps member, Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak. Then, after 27 years as a member of the Spokane Police Department, Pavlischak turned to training mercenaries and human rights abusers as an employee of special police and military operations training companies.

The following text is derived from a Spokane Police Department propaganda tract. Links have been added to certain text to provide additional information and context. The Spokane Police Department SWAT team is a para-military organization which engages in extracurricular activities of a potentially illegal nature. In addition, there are apparent conflicts of interest between former SPD employees (including former SPD SWAT team members), weapons companies supplying the SPD, and mercenary training organizations which currently employ them.]

“It’s a very dangerous thing when you’re telling cops they’re soldiers and there’s an enemy out there. I don’t like it all.” Joseph McNamara, Hoover Institution research fellow and former police chief of San Jose and Kansas City * —]


History


The Spokane Police SWAT Team first came into existence in 1972. Back then the Team consisted of five members, who had their own military fatigues and who’s arsenal consisted of two pump shotguns, a privately owned big game rifle, and the department issued six shot revolvers.

Today the team consists of twenty-five highly trained members. The Team is “part-time” meaning that SWAT is a specialty assignment in addition to a primary function like patrol or detective. This speaks to the dedication of the members because it requires them to work the equivalent of two “full-time” jobs. The team structure consists of a commander holding the rank of lieutenant, a four member-training cadre holding the rank of either sergeant or corporal and twenty-one operators who span the ranks of detective to police officer. The ranking member of the training cadre also serves as the acting commander in the absence of the lieutenant. There is one member assigned to full-time SWAT duties providing administrative, equipment, training, and tactical support.

Former Chief of Police, Roger Bragdon and retired Detective Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak both played significant roles in the development of a professional Team that lives up to its motto: “We give it R. Best.” The motto is dedicated to Corporal Robin Best who died training with the Team. Robin’s name is among those on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC and it appears on similar memorials here in the state of Washington.

Member Selection

When a SWAT vacancy opens, a department wide announcement is distributed throughout the department. Any officer holding the rank of Police Officer (PO), Police Officer First Class (PFC), Senior Patrol Officer (SPO), Corporal or Detective is invited to apply. Applicants must have three years law enforcement experience and are screened through a six-step process: formal application, performance review, physical fitness test, marksmanship, oral interview, and administrative approval.

The fitness test components are: a three mile run in under twenty-four minutes, followed immediately by ten overhand chin ups, fifteen dips, fifty pushups, and fifty sit-ups. Both the pushup and sit-ups have to be completed in sixty seconds. Candidates then run obstacle course wearing a tactical style vest. The obstacle course is approximately 400 meters long and includes: a four foot chain link fence, an incline run, a belly crawl, a six foot wall, and a 150 lb dummy drag. Immediately after the obstacle course, candidates run to the firing range where they must qualify by shooting two consecutive targets with a minimum score of 90 % on each. The fire their issued handgun using the Practical Police Course (PPC).

All current SWAT members must pass and maintain the same physical and shooting standards on a quarterly basis. These tests are sometimes unannounced.

Equipment

The Team’s firearms are Heckler and Koch (H&K) with the exception of handguns and marksmen rifles. The team maintains and deploys the H&K MP-5, 33, 53, and the G3 model rifles. Handguns are the Glock .40 caliber fitted with M-3 tactical lights, and the marksman use custom rifles built off Remington 700 actions. The CART Team maintains and deploys all the specialty impact munitions and chemical agents utilizing both 37 mm and 40 mm launchers. Our retired member Skip Pavlischak, who is an adjunct instructor for the H&K International Training Division, provides us with training and technical assistance.

The Team also has the equipment necessary for all types of tactical missions. The equipment includes night vision devices, lighting systems, shields, bunkers, breaching tools, noise/flash diversions (NFDD), and other mission specific tools.

The Team uses two dedicated marked police cars for “quick response” deployment of weapons and equipment during duty shifts by member working patrol. Two Chevy suburbans, retrofitted with extended running boards and handles are utilized for most tactical missions. The Team also has a separate equipment vehicle and recently acquired an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).

Training

Each Team member attends Basic SWAT School, taught by instructors from the Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA). The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) accredits this course.

The team is divided into four squads with one team leader and one trainer assigned to each squad. Two squads train each Friday, with the marksman and CART members receiving additional training on Tuesdays. So, members receive twenty to twenty-four hours of training per month depending on their Team specialty. Six of the Team’s operators are cross-trained as marksman, three as chemical agent deployment specialists (CART), two as emergency medical technicians (EMT), six are certified firearms instructors and three are certified defensive tactics instructors. Training for the full team is held several times a year and usually includes one full week per year commonly referred to by members as “hell week.”

The team regularly trains in the areas of slow and deliberate searching, dynamic and hostage rescue entries, NFDD, marksmanship, immediate action drills, vehicle assaults, special events, active shooter scenarios, security details, open air assaults and camouflaged movement.

The team members also attend WSTOA training on a regular basis augmented by specialty schools such as courses presented by H&K or the Sure Fire Institute.

Deployment

The team is activated for standard tactical missions like high risk warrant service, high-risk arrest, barricaded persons, security details, hostage takers and sniper suppression. Last year the SPD Team was activated on fifty-six occasions spanning the gamut of tactical missions. Because Spokane is the largest metropolitan area in the Inland Pacific Northwest, the SWAT Team occasionally receives requests to deploy in an adjoining or near-by jurisdiction. We also have a close relationship with our local Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team.

(Source — http://www.freewebs.com/thecmclan/swathistory.htm )

“It’s a very dangerous thing when you’re telling cops they’re soldiers and there’s an enemy out there. I don’t like it all.”  Joseph McNamara, Hoover Institution research fellow and former police chief of San Jose and Kansas City * —]

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

2007 Was Worst Year of Iraq Occupation — by Dahr Jamail, IPS News

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

2007 Was Worst Year of Iraq Occupation

by Dahr Jamail, IPS News
Posted on December 31, 2007

http://www.alternet.org/story/72064/

Despite all the claims of improvements, 2007 has been the worst year yet in Iraq.

One of the first big moves this year was the launch of a troop “surge” by the U.S. government in mid-February. The goal was to improve security in Baghdad and the western al-Anbar province, the two most violent areas. By June, an additional 28,000 troops had been deployed to Iraq, bringing the total number up to more than 160,000.

By autumn, there were over 175,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq. This is the highest number of U.S. troops deployed yet, and while the U.S. government continues to talk of withdrawing some, the numbers on the ground appear to contradict these promises.

The Bush administration said the “surge” was also aimed at curbing sectarian killings, and to gain time for political reform for the government of U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

During the surge, the number of Iraqis displaced from their homes quadrupled, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent. By the end of 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there are over 2.3 million internally displaced persons within Iraq, and over 2.3 million Iraqis who have fled the country.

Iraq has a population around 25 million.

The non-governmental organization Refugees International describes Iraq’s refugee problem as “the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.”

In October the Syrian government began requiring visas for Iraqis. Until then it was the only country to allow Iraqis in without visas. The new restrictions have led some Iraqis to return to Baghdad, but that number is well below 50,000.

A recent UNHCR survey of families returning found that less than 18 percent did so by choice. Most came back because they lacked a visa, had run out of money abroad, or were deported.

Sectarian killings have decreased in recent months, but still continue. Bodies continue to be dumped on the streets of Baghdad daily.

One reason for a decrease in the level of violence is that most of Baghdad has essentially been divided along sectarian lines. Entire neighborhoods are now surrounded by concrete blast walls several meters high, with strict security checkpoints. Normal life has all but vanished.

The Iraqi Red Crescent estimates that eight out of ten refugees are from Baghdad.

By the end of 2007, attacks against occupation forces decreased substantially, but still number more than 2,000 monthly. Iraqi infrastructure, like supply of potable water and electricity are improving, but remain below pre-invasion levels. Similarly with jobs and oil exports. Unemployment, according to the Iraqi government, ranges between 60-70 percent.

An Oxfam International report released in July says 70 percent of Iraqis lack access to safe drinking water, and 43 percent live on less than a dollar a day. The report also states that eight million Iraqis are in need of emergency assistance.

“Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare, education, and employment,” the report says. “Of the four million Iraqis who are dependent on food assistance, only 60 percent currently have access to rations through the government-run Public Distribution System (PDS), down from 96 percent in 2004.”

Nearly 10 million people depend on the fragile rationing system. In December, the Iraqi government announced it would cut the number of items in the food ration from ten to five due to “insufficient funds and spiraling inflation.” The inflation rate is officially said to be around 70 percent.

The cuts are to be introduced in the beginning of 2008, and have led to warnings of social unrest if measures are not taken to address rising poverty and unemployment.

Iraq’s children continue to suffer most. Child malnutrition rates have increased from 19 percent during the economic sanctions period prior to the invasion, to 28 percent today.

This year has also been one of the bloodiest of the entire occupation. The group Just Foreign Policy, “an independent and non-partisan mass membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy,” estimates the total number of Iraqis killed so far due to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation to be 1,139,602.

This year 894 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, making 2007 the deadliest year of the entire occupation for the U.S. military, according to ICasualties.org.

To date, at least 3,896 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of defense.

A part of the U.S. military’s effort to reduce violence has been to pay former resistance fighters. Late in 2007, the U.S. military began paying monthly wages of 300 dollars to former militants, calling them now “concerned local citizens.”

While this policy has cut violence in al-Anbar, it has also increased political divisions between the dominant Shia political party and the Sunnis – the majority of these “concerned citizens” being paid are Sunni Muslims. Prime Minister Maliki has said these “concerned local citizens” will never be part of the government’s security apparatus, which is predominantly composed of members of various Shia militias.

Underscoring another failure of the so-called surge is the fact that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad remains more divided than ever, and hopes of reconciliation have vanished.

According to a recent ABC/BBC poll, 98 percent of Sunnis and 84 percent of Shias in Iraq want all U.S. forces out of the country.

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who reports from Iraq.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/72064/

Posted in Censorship, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Statistics, Testimonies, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak — Spokane Area Law Enforcement Personalities of Note #4

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

Andrew “Skip” J. Pavlischak — Adjunct Instructor for Front Range Training and Consulting, LLC, and Firearms, Tactical and Specialty Instructor for TeamOne Network

Skippy retired from the Spokane Police department after 27 years of service. A U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, Skip has 26 years experience as an SPD SWAT team member, team leader, and commander in a full-time position. He is a certified firearms, distraction device, and chemical agent instructor. Skip is also a Master Sub Gun and Pistol Instructor. He assisted in the formation of the Washington State Tactical Officers Association and is a past president. Skip was also the lead instructor for basic and advanced SWAT training for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) and worked as a Gang Unit Leader and in the Special Investigations Narcotics Unit. He recently attended a course at New Mexico Tech for certification for instructing in Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings through the U.S. Department of Justice.

[For more on the Washington State Tactical Officers Association and its sponsorship by numerous mercenary training companies such as Triple Canopy and Blackwater USA, see the following links:

All white Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA) — includes photos

WSTOA sponsors — includes links to sponsor companies ]

[For more information on the history of the Spokane Police Department SWAT team, its weaponry, and Skip Pavlischak, please visit this link.

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, License to Kill, Spokane LE Personalities, Trained to Kill, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

Death by TASER – The Tragic Death of Roger Holyfield

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 2, 2008

Death by TASER – The Tragic Death of Roger Holyfield

By Christopher Bollyn

11 December 2006

 

I have taken a special interest in the widespread use of the supposedly “non-lethal” TASER weapon after being assaulted and TASERed without cause or justification at my home in mid-August by a so-called “tactical unit” of three out-of-uniform undercover cops.

 

It was, after all, with no small amount of trepidation that I had returned with my family to our home in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, in July 2006, after an absence of nearly one year.

 

We were compelled to leave our home in the fall of 2005 because we no longer felt secure after discovering that two people who had attached themselves to us over a period of years were actually informing the FBI on our comings and goings. Their daily intrusions had forced us to change our telephone number and make ourselves scarce in our attempt to protect ourselves and our privacy.

 

We had only been back at home a week from a trip to North Dakota when I noticed a strange car loitering around my house with three heavily-armed men wearing body armor. I called 911 to report the suspicious vehicle and was very surprised to see the same three heavily-armed men on my driveway 15 minutes later confronting my wife and 8-year-old daughter.

 

Contrary to the police report, these men did not introduce themselves or explain their presence and adamantly refused to identify themselves when asked. When I turned to get my brother from the house, I was suddenly attacked from behind, handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

 

At this point, the unidentified man who acted like the leader of the group (who I later learned had worked with the Department of Homeland Security), applied the TASER gun without warning directly to my back and shocked the hell out of me. As I now know, at that moment I came very close to death.

 

At least 200 Americans have died recently in similar circumstances after being TASERed. Roger Holyfield is one of them.

 

The case of the 17-year-old Roger Holyfield is a very tragic case which should serve as a wake-up call for Americans. If we learn something from his death and save lives in the future, Roger’s death will not have been in vain. If that happens, Roger Holyfield may be remembered as a martyr whose death served to save others.

 

Roger lived in the village of Dow, near the town of Jerseyville, Illinois, and certainly had not had an easy time of things. Although, he was well-liked he had gone through a very difficult period after his father had committed suicide in the spring of 2003.

 

Like many Americans, Roger had been taking an anti-depressant medication, which created adverse psychiatric side effects, which led to additional prescriptions to deal with the side effects. In Roger’s case, an anti-psychotic medication, Geodon, was added to the anti-depressant Wellbutrin, creating a dangerous pharmaceutical cocktail. He had been taking these medications for several years prior to his death and had only recently been taken off them. The record is not clear but it appears he had been in withdrawal and may have begun taking another medication shortly before he died. In any case, prescription medications had affected his behavior at the time of his death.

 

Through the haze of the pharmaceuticals, Roger was looking forward to being baptized the next day, Sunday, October 29. Unfortunately, he did not survive Saturday night in Jerseyville.

 

He was on South State Street, the main drag of Jerseyville, across from the Pizza Hut, the Arbee’s and the Salvation Army store, holding a Bible in one hand and a cordless phone in the other.

 

“I want my Mama, Jesus,” he had been calling, an eyewitness said, when police intervened “tragically“ and ended his short life. As the people who knew Roger said, “He was simply asking for God’s help.”

 

Although he did not pose a threat to anyone “ including himself“ a local police engaged Roger, but rather than alleviate the situation, they created a conflict. Before the conflict was over, some 7 police officers had become involved in the altercation with the 5-foot 7-inch lad who weighed no more than 130 pounds.

 

Furthermore, while it may be annoying, Roger Holyfield’s calling on God was certainly not illegal or criminal in any way and did not warrant any action by the police. If the police had not intervened, Roger would certainly still be alive. On any given day in an American city one is likely to come across a person calling for God’s help. This is, however, certainly no reason to TASER them.

 

At this point the narratives divide: the police version, which is dutifully reported by the mainstream press, says that seven police officers were overwhelmed by a 130-pound person who exhibited super-human strength as a result of so-called “excited delirium.”

 

This “excited delirium,” which does not even exist as a medical or psychiatric condition, supposedly gave Roger incredible strength and then caused him to suddenly give up the ghost – after the police had beaten and TASERed him.

 

The eyewitness narrative is somewhat different. After the police had confronted Roger, the police had provoked him and put him into handcuffs and a squad car. An eyewitness told the local paper, The Telegraph, that there were at least four police cars, two Illinois State Police troopers and another man in street clothes [Johnny Lawson, an off-duty police officer] surrounding Holyfield.

 

Another witness said there were more than enough police officers present to subdue Holyfield without using the TASER shock treatment. The police had also struck Holyfield a number of times during the encounter, according to the witness.

 

One eyewitness, who wishes to remain un-named, spoke candidly to this reporter about what he saw. When only three officers were on the scene, the eyewitness saw how they had apprehended Holyfield. Officer Lawson, who recognized Holyfield, had said, “Take it easy, he’s sick,” the eyewitness said.

 

“Let’s fry the mother ——.” Officer Todd Witt, a new officer on the force, had said, and is the one who delivered the TASERing.

 

Holyfield was put into the squad car, where according to the witness, the police claim he had damaged the back seat. At this point Holyfield was taken out of the car and TASERed again.

 

Although he was handcuffed, police had shocked Holyfield at least twice with the TASER. The eyewitness said he had seen Holyfield “twitching on the ground.” Holyfield’s rolling on the ground had dislodged the TASER barbs, so he was TASERed again.

 

What is unusual in this case is that the TASERing of Holyfield was done with the weapon firing the electrode barbs into the trunk of the 17-year-old youth. TASER International of Scottsdale, Arizona, had not responded to a written request asking about how the TASER was applied to Holyfield. The only training that police receive in the use of the TASER comes in the form of a short DVD-video presentation presented by the company that manufacturers the weapon.

 

Dr. Phillip Burch, deputy chief medical examiner for St. Louis, said he had done an autopsy of Holyfield on Tuesday, October 31, two days after he died. He had seen a number of burn marks on Holyfield’s trunk and had examined one of them closely. Asked if he thought that the TASERing had caused Holyfield’s death, Burch had simply said, “No opinion.”

 

Burch has promoted the idea that Holyfield died of “excited delirium,” although no such condition exists in medical journals. Asked if an autopsy would reveal if Holyfield had died from TASERing or “excited delirium,” Burch said, “not directly.”

 

When asked how “excited delirium” could be claimed as a cause of death when it is not a recognized medical or psychiatric condition, Burch said, “It exists for me.”

 

Roger’s mother, Rita, said that he had been TASERed about 6 times. He had vomited at the scene and his heart had stopped, she said. The paramedics had tried to revive Holyfield using CPR, but his heart had “stopped right there,” she said. The hospital would not comment on his condition.

 

It is very likely that the anti-psychotic medication that Roger had been taking, Geodon, may have contributed to his death.

 

Geodon is known to have a serious side effect on the heart, which can be fatal.  Geodon has been found to change the heart’s rhythm. It is known that drugs, like Geodon, produce rare, dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities.

The risk of these dangerous side effects increases when Geodon is mixed with other medications. The side effects can be so extreme as to induce coma or death.

 

What may have happened with Roger Holyfield is that his long term use of Geodon and Wellbutrin affected his mental condition and compromised his heart. The stress caused by the TASER may have caused Holyfield’s heart to go into cardiac arrest and directly led to his death.

 

Winn Parker, a licensed medical scientist in Palo Alto, California, said that the barbs of the TASER act like a “cauterizing pin” causing damage to the tissue and organs. “His organs got cooked,” Parker said. “Organs are burnt from trauma.”

 

Marion Fulk, a former staff scientist with the Manhattan Project, said that TASERing is very likely to affect the vital organs “especially the heart.” While TASERing probably does permanent damage to the vital organs, Fulk said, in the case of Holyfield, it may have “induced a systematic irregularity in the heartbeat,” he said, leading to his death.

 

More than 5 weeks after his death, his mother still does not have his death certificate. This is being held up, she said, pending the results of the toxicology reports.


As the signs around Jerseyville say, “Jesus saves. TASERs kill. We love you Roger.”

Photo: Roger Holyfield, the 17-year-old boy from Illinois
who was killed by a police TASER on the eve of his baptism.

FOLLOW-UP and UPDATE to

The TASER: A Police Device for Torture and Death

One month after I posted the article about how the police use the TASER torture device to gain compliance, a 17-year-old boy in Jerseyville, Illinois, was TASERed to death. His name was Roger Holyfield.

Roger’s only offense: Holding a Bible and calling for Jesus near the main street of Jerseyville, a town of some 9,000 people near St. Louis, Missouri.

Roger Holyfield was TASERed at least twice while he was already in handcuffs. There were at least 6 officers involved in the TASER assault of the youth who stood only 5 foot 7 inches and weighed 130 pounds. He had also reportedly been beaten.

I have been told that Roger had already been handcuffed and put in a police car when the police decided to take him out of the squad car and TASER him on the site he had arrested – at least twice.

If this is correct, it would indicate that the TASER weapon was used to torture him for something that he had said or done while he was in the police car and already completely subdued. It was not done to gain compliance or subdue him because he was already subdued, handcuffed, and restrained in police custody.

So, why was he taken out of the squad car and TASERed? What does this tell us about the reason he was TASERed? What are the instructions that police receive about how to use the TASER?

I have learned that Roger had been taking anti-anxiety medication, reportedly Klonopin, and that he had only begun taking it “again” five days before he was TASERed.

This raises a whole host of questions about his mental state, medical history, and possible drug interactions, adverse reactions of Klonopin, and how TASERing could be more lethal when administered to a person in a medicated state such as Roger’s. Did the police even recognize that this person appeared to be having a reaction to his medication?

If Roger was reacting to his medication, why did the police respond with force and TASERing rather than calling his parents or a doctor? This is an unfortunate example of the expression critical of police that no situation is so dire that the presence of a police officer won’t make it worse.

The TASER weapon was used on Roger not in the stun-gun mode but in the barb-firing mode, in which case electrodes are fired at the person and pierce his skin as the shock is applied. The weapon was fired at least twice, although we don’t know how many times Roger Holyfield was actually shocked with the 50,000 volt current. When the barbs are attached to the subject, the shock is given by pulling the trigger. Each shock session lasts 5 seconds and releases at least 50,000 volts. It can be repeated as often as desired by simply pulling the trigger.

The medical examiner said that his body had about a half-dozen burn marks on his trunk. This electric current can easily cause the heart to become dysfunctional and go into an irregular rhythm or cardiac arrest. The electric shock can also cause permanent damage to other vital organs.

After being TASERed, Roger vomited and went into a coma as the ambulance workers put him into the ambulance. He died the following day, Sunday, October 29, the day he was to be baptized.

The TASER is an extremely cruel and dangerous weapon that is considered to be a tool of torture in most of the world. Only the United States and Canada allow police to use this weapon routinely.

Amnesty International (AI), the leading anti-torture watchdog organization, has long called on “U.S. state, federal and local authorities to suspend all transfers and use of TASERS and other electro-shock weapons pending a rigorous, independent inquiry into their use and effects.”

AI considers the use of TASERS to constitute “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment – and torture.”

AI has reported that TASER devices are frequently used to torture and interrogate people such as political prisoners and that TASERS are used by police in the U.S. “particularly for torture to ‘gain compliance.'”

The following video from a routine traffic stop in Boynton Beach, Florida, in which an officer TASERed a 22-year-old woman in 1994, shows how the TASER is abused to “gain compliance.”

WARNING – This video is very disturbing to view.

It lasts for several minutes and there are a few points that need to be made:

The woman is TASERed in order to make her comply with the demands made by the police officer to get out of her car. She is not violent or threatening the officer in any way as she speaks on her cell phone telling her friend or relative that the officer is pointing a gun at her.

When she is TASERed she falls from the car onto the street. She falls from a height of at least 3 feet onto the asphalt. This falling from the vehicle apparently injured her arm and could have killed her if she had landed on her head.

When the police finally lift her from the asphalt and she notices her wounded arm, the officer says that she should not have “taken a swing” at the police. The video clearly shows that at no point did she take a swing at anybody. Her wounded arm is from her falling from the car when she was TASERed.

Photo: A TASER gun – a tool of torture and death – is used by police in the United States and Canada. At least 200 people have been killed by this “non-lethal” weapon. Why do we tolerate such cruelty in this society?

http://www.bollyn.com/editor/?id=10369

Christopher Bollyn
10 December 2006

Posted in Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Spokane taser, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

HGS Savage Family

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 2, 2008

Posted in History of SPD Abuses | Leave a Comment »

 
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