- Rain Next Week?
- Goof of the Day
- Hare Creek Commercial Center
- Freedom to Petition
- Child Torture Case Delayed
- Underlying Social Contract
- Kent State Truth Tribunal
- NPR Irrelevant
- Drought Tip of the Day
- Potter Valley Baseball Phenom
- CIA/Amazon Conflation
- Police Reports
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE says some big rains will arrive the middle of next week. In the mean time, Chris Skyhawk of Albion reports on the Navarro River. “I went down to the beach today and it is already closed. Looks like the closure is recent as the berm separating the river and ocean is thin, but that was a very short-lived opening. I guess that thirsty ground captured the run-off already.”
THE NAVARRO was open long enough for quite a few steelhead to get upstream. Hopefully, next week's rains will blast the river open again.
ON-LINE WEATHER COMMENT OF THE DAY: “So two things are likely to come out of this: (1) Hopefully, the drought will be downgraded from Old Testament style, civilization-ending catastrophe to just a major environmental disaster, and (2) we'll get to listen to a bunch of Californians do what comes naturally: gripe and complain about ‘bad’ weather for a few days.”
JIM ARMSTRONG points out our goof of the day via Drought Tip of the Day from the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency: “Assume that all open bodies of water in Mendocino County may be contaminated with giardia, a harmful bacteria.” Giardia, as Armstrong points out, is a flagellated protozoan parasite, not a bacteria.
THE LONG-PROPOSED shopping center at the junction of Highway One and Highway 20, Fort Bragg, has been stymied, primarily, by lack of water. It's on again.
THERE WERE ALSO objections to the scope of previous shopping center plans, which included some dread big box emporiums and, as mentioned, inadequate water.
BUT FORT BRAGG is in the process of developing two new sources of water not far north from the proposed center; these new supplies aren't enough to sustain massive development but sufficient for a small shopping center.
CALLED The Hare Creek Commercial Center, the development would face Highway One on the west side of the road and rest on six undeveloped acres just south of the Emerald Dolphin miniature golf course. (All of South Fort Bragg seems to be inspired by Willits. It's an ugly sprawl of mismatched enterprise, and miniature golf is always a sure sign of economic desperation. I've never seen a soul on that course myself, but then I don't live in Fort Bragg.)
HARE CREEK would consist of three big buildings for a total of 29,500 square feet. Group II Real Estate is the developer. They (I think “they” is actually one guy these days) also own the Boatyard Shopping across the street. The architect is Debra Lennox of Mendocino. She promises all manner of cool-o environmental enhancements.
MENDOCINO COUNTY SETTLES FREE SPEECH CASE.
Changes Policies Re Petitioning at Shopping Centers
February 20, 2014 (Ukiah, CA) The County of Mendocino today settled a lawsuit brought by one of its residents after a county deputy interfered with petitioning at a local shopping center. From now on, store owners/managers cannot just call the police to roust petitioners and others engaged in free speech activities near their stores; they must first get a court order that such activity is interfering with their business.
“You cannot deprive someone of an essential right without due process of the law,” said Dennis O’Brien, a retired attorney who filed the lawsuit. “Shopping centers and malls may be private commercial property, but the California Supreme Court has determined that they are the modern day equivalent of a town square. People have the right to engage in free speech and petitioning so long as they are not directly in front of a store entrance or otherwise interfering with the normal course of business. They can’t just be rousted by the police at the beck and call of corporations who do not like the politics of those engaged in protected activities.”
The event leading to the lawsuit happened in April 2012. Mr. O’Brien was approaching the Raley’s supermarket at the Crossroads Shopping Center on State Street just north of Ukiah. A woman was standing about 15 feet to the side of one of the entrances, collecting signatures for to get propositions on the state ballot. One of the propositions raised taxes on high incomes. Before Mr. O’Brien could finish signing the petitions, a uniformed deputy of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office appeared and said that the store manager wanted them to leave (the petitioner had informed the manager of her activities and shown him the petitions as a courtesy). After a discussion of free speech rights, the officer said that if Mr. O’Brien and the petitioner did not leave, he would arrest them. Both left.
Mr. O’Brien filed a formal complaint with the MCSO. Their internal review board found the complaint to be “unfounded.” Mr. O’Brien appealed the decision, ultimately meeting with Sheriff Tom Allman in early 2013. Sheriff Allman offered his personal apology and agreed that 15 feet from an entrance was a reasonable distance for free speech activity. All he needed to change the department’s policy was approval from then-County Counsel Tom Parker. But when County Counsel failed to approve the change before the expiration of the statute of limitations, Mr. O’Brien was forced to file a lawsuit to protect his rights. The County responded by filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the area where the free speech activity occurred was not protected. After filing opposing briefs, the parties met with local attorney Barry Vogel and hammered out the settlement, the first of its kind in California [per County Counsel’s office].
The key provision of the settlement is the County’s acknowledgment that free speech rights exist in shopping centers and malls, even though they are private commercial property. If someone is engaged in petitioning or other protected free speech activity and is not directly in front of an entrance, then the store owner/manager will need to obtain an injunction or restraining order before the sheriff’s office will intervene. Absent some criminal activity, like vandalism, it will be considered a civil matter. If an owner/manager believes there is criminal activity, they can still institute a citizen’s arrest, but the consequences of wrongfully doing so can be costly, as with the case against the local Walmart for a false arrest a few years ago.
“This is a major change in the policy and procedures of local law enforcement. Instead of enforcing the whims of powerful corporations, they have acknowledged the right of the people to gather peacefully, to speak freely, and to petition their government,” said O’Brien. “These rights are being fought for even now in the streets of Kiev and around the world. They are the very basis of our democracy, and if we do not honor them, then our society will quickly be engulfed in the turmoil of political repression. Without those rights, we might as well live in Putin’s Russia, where people are jailed merely for singing protest songs.”
“This settlement would not have been possible without community support,” continued O’Brien. “The folks at the Mendocino Environmental Center and Occupy Ukiah provided essential feedback and moral support throughout the process. It is difficult for any one person to ‘take on city hall.’ But when the people come together to assert their basic rights, few forces can stop them. Fortunately, we don’t have to take to the streets and build barricades to protect ourselves; in this country, the pen is still mightier than the sword. No matter how powerful corporations become, no matter how much they spend to influence elections, they must bow before the right of the people to engage in the political process.”
“I would like to thank Sheriff Allman for his willingness to find a solution that benefits the entire community,” said O’Brien. “My father was a police officer most of his life, and I know how difficult the job is. The police are on the front lines when it comes to making public policy a reality, and it is difficult to please everyone. This settlement will actually relieve officers of an unfair burden, of having to take sides in a civil matter. It is not an officer’s job to make the law, only to enforce it. The new protocols will provide clear guidance for officers, store owners/managers, and the people. I haven’t seen a single petitioner since the incident in 2012; our free speech rights were effectively ‘chilled.’ This settlement will encourage robust political debate and engagement by the people in the political process.”
The case is O’Brien v. County of Mendocino, case no. SCUK-CVG-13-61758, filed in Mendocino County Superior Court in Ukiah. Raley’s had also been named a defendant, but was dismissed when the case settled, as were all claims for money damages. “The money means nothing. It is the rights that are priceless,” said O’Brien. The County was represented by deputy County Counsel Terry Gross (707-234-6885). Her last day working for the County is Friday, February 21, 2014. County Counsel Tom Parker abruptly retired last Friday, February 14. It is not known to what extent, if any, this case influenced their decisions.
For more information, please contact Dennis O’Brien at 707-463-1829 or email@example.com.
FROM THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:
The Parties have agreed to resolve this dispute by developing a mutually agreed upon training for Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies related to First Amendment rights in shopping centers based on certain underlying principles as follows:
1) Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will generate a policy/training materials regarding how to handle complaints related to the public’s exercise of their First Amendment rights of free speech and petitioning at shopping centers located in the County’s unincorporated area.
2) The training materials will be based on the presumption that there is a constitutional right of free speech and petitioning at shopping centers in the County’s unincorporated area and that a store owner/manager can challenge that presumption by using the available judicial process including but not limited to restraining orders, civil injunctions and citizen’s arrests.
3) The Parties acknowledge that this area of law is evolving and that the use of the foregoing presumption in the Sheriff’s training materials in no way reflects the County’s legal opinion on whether or not any given incident is in fact a constitutionally protected activity.
4. The policy/training materials will be considered Public Records and available to the public and shop owners for their review upon request.
5. The foregoing presumption will not apply to stand-alone stores.
6. The policy/training materials will not apply to interference with labor disputes.
6. If a store owner/manager initiates a citizen’s arrest, the Sheriff’s office will use existing protocols for responding officers. The arrest itself may be challenged by any arrestee(s) in a judicial action.
D. The Parties agree that upon plaintiff’s approval of the policy/ training materials, plaintiff will dismiss their lawsuit with prejudice. The parties have negotiated costs and attorneys’ fees as follows: each side is to bear their own costs and fees. The Parties therefore desire to enter into this Settlement Agreement, contingent upon approval of the MCSO training Ordinance.. The Parties understand and agree that this Settlement Agreement must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
* * *
A new County policy will developed which will read: Responding to Complaints from Owners/Managers of Stores Located in Shopping Centers or Malls related to Potential First Amendment Rights Issues.
The following outlines the Mendocino County Sheriff Office’s approach to responding to complaints regarding trespass and the potential interference with free speech activities in shopping centers and/or malls open to the public, located in the County’s unincorporated area. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office shall operate from the presumption that free speech activities are constitutionally protected in shopping centers and/or malls within the unincorporated area and that these are civil matters to be resolved by the judicial system. This approach is to ensure that Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office handles all such complaints regarding potential interference with constitutionally protected rights, from either the public or property owners, with uniformity and diligence. The intent of this policy is to comply with all local, state & federal laws.
Upon arrival at the scene the responding personnel shall contact the involved parties, namely the person or persons engaged in the alleged First Amendment activities and the person responsible for the complaint or representing the property owner or store manager. Personnel will operate under the presumption that free speech activities are constitutionally protected in shopping centers/and or malls. This presumption shall not apply to stand alone stores.
Personnel shall gather all information from all parties involved in order to determine if there are any violations of the California Penal Code Section602(k), violations of Mendocino County Code Section 8.44.010. If there are documented violations of these provisions, personnel shall take appropriate action using your discretion.
Absent any violations of these provisions, personnel should explain the options to the store manager/ property owner and the petitioners in an attempt to come to a mutual agreement and keep the peace. In many circumstances these disputes can be resolved by discussion and the explanation of the laws and a reasonable compromise, such as the movement of the petitioners or their equipment away from store entrances. Obstruction of access or egress or interference with normal business operations is not permitted.
Absent any violations of the law, either penal code or local ordinance, the burden is on the property owner to take action as follows.
The property owner may wish to proceed with a citizen’s arrest. Personnel must explain to the property owner the protocols to be followed in making a citizen’s arrest.
Personnel shall further advise the property owner of their right to seek a temporary restraining order, an injunction or other civil remedy to remove petitioners through the judicial process.
If the activities are part of a labor dispute, and lawful activities related to a labor dispute, inform the property owner that a judicial order will be required prior to taking any action.
If there is evidence that a member of the public enters a commercial property with the intent to interfere with legitimate business operations, an arrest and conviction may be based on PC § 602(k). Again, this policy does not apply to labor disputes, picketing, or demonstrations.
CHILD TORTURE CASE DELAYED IN COURT
Evidence still piling up, investigators say
by Tiffany Revelle
The preliminary hearing for a Talmage couple accused of sexually abusing and torturing their children was put off for nearly three weeks Wednesday in Mendocino County Superior Court.
The preliminary hearing — the district attorney's chance to show a judge enough evidence to bind the defendants over for trial — was set for Tuesday. The hearing was rescheduled for mid-March while investigators continue to gather evidence.
“It's a multiple-charge, very complex case,” said Deputy District Attorney Heidi Larson of the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, who prosecutes the office's sex crimes. “We continue to receive evidence, and there's an ongoing review.”
Donald Earl Dunakin, 61, and his girlfriend of 30 years, Ina Selene Medina, 47, are each charged with 21 counts of torture, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault on a child age 10 or younger, child abuse and committing sexual acts with a child age 10 or younger. The charges stem from incidents that date back to 1997, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Andrew Higgins of the Mendocino County Public Defender's Office, who represents Dunakin, said “discovery (evidence against a defendant to which the defense is entitled) is ongoing,” and that there may be a need to split the case and have each defendant proceed through court separately.
Lewis Finch of the Mendocino County Alternate Defender's Office, who represents Medina, told the court his client would not waive her right to the hearing within 60 days of arraignment.
Authorities believe the couple abused at least two of their five children at various times over a 13-year period, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Greg Van Patten said previously. He said last month that investigators were still working to determine which of the children were abused.
The MCSO reported previously that the children believed to have been victims ranged in age from 3 to 16 years old at the time of the alleged abuse.
The couple are held at the Mendocino County Jail, where they were booked last month under $250,000 bail each. Within days, a judge raised Dunakin's bail to $3 million and Medina's to $2.75 million. Larson, who is prosecuting the case, said at the couple's Jan. 29 arraignment on the charges that the higher bail amounts are “based on the fact that they face the possibility of life (in prison) without parole.”
The couple was arrested the night of Jan. 23, after county Child Protective Services called the Sheriff's Office the day before. The children were taken from the home, and no information is forthcoming from the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency about their condition or living arrangements.
Larson told judge Ann Moorman previously that she would need “four to five hours” for the hearing, and on Wednesday that the hearing would take a day.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
THERE IS NOBODY in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I wanna be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea, God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
— Elizabeth Warren
FINAL UPDATE TO THE KENT STATE TRUTH TRIBUNAL SUBMISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) was founded in 2010 upon the emergence of new forensic evidence regarding the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre. KSTT is a non-governmental organization focused on revealing truth and bringing justice to Kent State victims and survivors. Representing Allison Beth Krause, 19-year-old student protester slain at Kent State University on May 4, 1970: Doris L. Krause, mother and Laurel Krause, sister.
The Kent State Truth Tribunal seeks an independent, impartial investigation into the May 4th Kent State massacre (Article 2 (Right to remedy); Article 6 (Right to life); Article 19 (Right to freedom of expression); Article 21 (Right to peaceful assembly)).
In 2013 KSTT submitted information and a shadow report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee surrounding the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings where Krause family member Allison was wrongfully killed. KSTT Submission: http://bit.ly/1f2X25i, KSTT Shadow Report: http://bit.ly/1kBSjfa
US military bullets silenced Allison Krause’s protest against the United States war in Vietnam and President Nixon’s announced escalation of the war into Cambodia. On May 4, 1970, Allison stood and died for peace.
From the revealing Kent State forensic evidence emerging in May 2010, we learned:
"Participating American militia colluded at Kent State to organize and fight this battle against American student protesters, most of them too young to vote but old enough to fight in the Vietnam War. And from new evidence exposed forty years after the massacre, numerous elements point directly to the FBI and COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) as lead agencies managing the government operation of the Kent State massacre, including the cover-‐ up, but also with a firm hand in some of the lead-‐up." http://bit.ly/RQNUWC
In 2012 when the US Department of Justice refused to examine the new Kent State evidence, the US government also failed to recognize that there is no statute of limitations for murder in any US state, applying equally to evidence, investigations and inquiries. There are also concerns regarding reports of the FBI illegally tampering with and destroying Kent State evidence. http://bit.ly/1gcCCWo
Just last month a news story from ‘Burglars of the 1971 FBI Files’ uncovered an extensive body of evidence concurring with KSTT findings that the FBI and its secret army, COINTELPRO, was charged with targeting the “New Left” to silence American antiwar protesters. http://nyti.ms/1iTnnUG
elements point directly to the Kent State was a driving force behind the acts of FBI File Burglar, John Raines: “Protesters, like the Raines, became increasingly convinced the FBI was conducting a covert campaign against them … tapping the phones and infiltrating antiwar groups. We knew the FBI was systematically trying to squash dissent and dissent is the lifeblood of a democracy.”
With more evidence pointing to FBI involvement in the Kent State massacre and the fact that four young American student protesters were killed at the state-‐instigated event, we hope members of the Human Rights Committee will regard Kent State as a unique case of impunity. It is imperative to hold the United States government accountable for these human rights violations so that not one more American protester dies at the hands of their government. http://huff.to/ZLbvwp
American leadership has exhibited a complete failure to conduct fair, credible, independent inquiries spanning back to the killing of peaceful student protesters in the Sixties and early Seventies at Orangeburg http://bit.ly/1h0qg8P for civil rights and at Kent State, Jackson State against the Vietnam war.
At the heart of the killing of American protesters is the FBI, continuing to operate with absolutely no oversight nor accountability.
Even in 2013, the FBI is more interested in claiming its incredible perfect record than in performing as a capable, ethical, investigatory arm of American leadership. American citizens call for the FBI to conform to legal, humane ethos yet the US justice system offers no venues to examine wrongful acts of the FBI or to pursue legal remedies, justice for homicide committed by the State. http://bit.ly/16oY4D6
We must redress the democracy-‐damaging inhumanities of Kent State and reclaim the possibility for American justice. Our call is for the protection of protesters in 2014 and for future generations to be able to know the truth of the 1970 Kent State massacre.
1) When will the United States institute an official, independent, impartial analysis into the new forensic evidence found in the Kent State tape? Seeking all opportunities for UN Human Rights Committee facilitation.
2) What action is the United States taking to ensure any reported excessive use of force, or other human rights violations in the context of peaceful protests, are investigated and prosecuted in a prompt, impartial and independent manner so the perpetrators may be held accountable?
3) What action is the United States taking to iresolution 22/10 on the promotion and protecpeaceful protests? http://bit.ly/1lLXhUO..
— Laurel Krause
DEAR MR. LAMBERT: I have repeatedly communicated with the station re: NPR and its irrelevant broadcasts to this area. Of course there is fantastic programming — with the exception of NPR, so it does not matter to me if the station [KZYX] dies. I support KMUD because it represents the population in the area.
— Cecile Cutler
DROUGHT TIP OF THE DAY: What you can do to stay healthy, conserve water and thrive when it is dry? Today’s tip is: Rainwater harvesting! In a rainwater harvesting system, rain is gathered from a building rooftop or other source and held in large containers for non-drinking use such as watering gardens. To prevent mosquitoes, keep containers covered with a lid or fine screen. If left uncovered, standing water should be used within several days to prevent mosquito breeding. — Mendocino County Health And Human Services Agency.
POTTER VALLEY ATHLETE, WYATT TODD, SELECTED FOR 2014 TROSKY/KALI BASEBALL TRAVELING TEAM
Local Athlete from Potter Valley, Wyatt Todd age 13, received notification through email on Sunday, February 9, 2014 that he was selected to play for the Troski/Kali 2014 Baseball Travel Team, after completing an all intensive try-out in San Jose, on February 1st. There were six open spots and forty-five athletes competing for those spots. The tryout consisted of pitching, fielding, hitting, run speed, stretching technique and fly balls. With an ipad on a tri-pod, every move Wyatt Todd made was captured on video for later review and critiquing to see if he had what it takes to become a member of this elite group of baseball players wanting to play at the next level.
Starting at age 5, Wyatt played in the Local North Ukiah Little League Program. Eventually North and South Ukiah Little League merged and he continued to play for Ukiah Youth Baseball League, working on fundamentals and taking advantage of any coach that would give extra pointers. In 2012, he was asked to play for a newly organized travel ball team called the Ukiah Crushers. Wyatt’s parents, as well as many others, were instrumental in getting the travel team off the ground by soliciting funds from business owners and friends to get it up and running. Wyatt continued to play on the Ukiah Crusher’s travel ball team in 2013, but was disappointed in only playing three tournaments that year. In 2013 Wyatt started working with a private Baseball Manager/ prior MLB Player and Pitching Coach, Paige Dumont. This is when Wyatt really got a feel for Baseball at the next level. Having been recruited by a Sonoma County Travel Ball Coach, Wyatt currently is playing for that team in which they were Champions at their last tournament.
A component of Trosky/Kali Baseball that separates itself from other travel ball organizations is Coach Nate Trosky’s and Coach Adam Varteressian’s personal relationship with over 500 college coaches and professional baseball scouts from across the country. The colleges hire Coach Trosky to work their prospect camps with Standford, USC, UCSB, USF, Santa Clara, Sonoma State, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal Poly, LMU, San Diego State, and others.
Coach Trosky works for some of the country’s top showcase/scouting organizations, at their elite invite only, college and professional league events. At these events, Coach Trosky works with over 500 college coaches and pro scouts, events such as Area Code Tryouts, The Area Code Games, The NTIS Team USA Selection Events, the North South Tryouts, the Bay Area World Series, and the Arizona Fall Classic.
In 2011 Trosky Baseball and Kali Baseball partnered up to begin running a more successful travel ball program. In this short amount of time, the response and success has been unparalleled. From the 2012 group, 39 Trosky/Kali players signed National Letters of Intent. From the 2013 graduating class, 68 Trosky/Kali players signed National Letters of intent, and from the 2014 graduating class, 50 players signed National Letters of Intent. Equaling 157 total college commits in a 3 year span.
In the 2012 MLB Draft, 11 players were selected, with four players going to the top 5 rounds, including a 1st round draft pick for the 2nd year in a row. In the 2013 MLB draft, 6 Trosky players were selected, with three players going in the top 5 rounds, including another 1st round draft pick making it back-to-back years with a first rounder.
While his parents are very excited for their son, Wyatt, they realize they too have a huge commitment ahead of them. There will be many miles of driving and many withdrawals from the bank account, but feel compassionate about allowing their child to flourish in a sport he feels great passion for.
WHY AMAZON'S COLLABORATION WITH THE CIA IS SO OMINOUS — AND VULNERABLE
by Norman Solomon
As the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon wants a benevolent image to encourage trust from customers. Obtaining vast quantities of their personal information has been central to the firm's business model. But Amazon is diversifying — and a few months ago the company signed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to provide “cloud computing” services.
Amazon now has the means, motive and opportunity to provide huge amounts of customer information to its new business partner. An official statement from Amazon headquarters last fall declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”
The Central Intelligence Agency has plenty of money to throw around. Thanks to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the CIA's annual budget is $14.7 billion; the NSA's is $10.8 billion.
The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is bullish on the company's prospects for building on its initial contract with the CIA. As you might expect from a gung-ho capitalist with about $25 billion in personal wealth, Bezos figures he's just getting started.
Bezos publicly savors the fact that Amazon has proven its digital prowess — aggregating, safeguarding and analyzing many billions of factoids about human beings — to the satisfaction of the CIA.
The company's Amazon Web Services division is “the leader in infrastructure cloud computing,” Bezos boasted at a September 2013 meeting with journalists at the Washington Post (shortly after he bought the newspaper). He lauded the high “rate of invention” of Amazon's technical web team, adding: “Their product offering is far ahead of anyone else.”
Apparently the CIA agrees. The agency gave Amazon the contract for $600 million even though it wasn't the lowest bid.
Amazon's trajectory into the CIA's spooky arms may be a bit more than just corporate eagerness to land a lucrative contract. In late 2010 — amid intense public interest in documents that WikiLeaks was posting to illuminate U.S. actions overseas — Amazon took a notable step. As the Guardian reported at the time, Amazon “pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure.”
It didn't take much for Amazon to cave. “The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off ... only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate's committee on homeland security,” the Guardian noted.
In view of Amazon's eagerness to dump the WikiLeaks site at the behest of U.S. government officials, what else might the Amazon hierarchy be willing to do? Amazon maintains a humongous trove of detailed information about hundreds of millions of people. Are we to believe that the CIA and other intelligence agencies have no interest in Amazon's data?
Even at face value, Amazon's “Privacy Notice” has loopholes big enough to fly a drone through. It says: “We release account and other personal information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law; enforce or apply our Conditions of Use and other agreements; or protect the rights, property, or safety of Amazon.com, our users, or others.”
Amazon now averages 162 million unique visitors to its sites every month. Meanwhile, the CIA depends on gathering and analyzing data to serve U.S. military interventions overseas. During the last dozen years, the CIA has conducted ongoing drone strikes and covert lethal missions in many countries. At the same time, U.S. agencies like the CIA and NSA have flattened many previous obstacles to Big Brother behavior.
And now, Amazon is hosting a huge computing cloud for the CIA's secrets — a digital place where data for mass surveillance and perpetual war are converging.
Amazon is, potentially, much more vulnerable to public outrage and leverage than the typical firms that make a killing from contracts with the NSA or the CIA or the Pentagon. Few people have direct contact with outfits like Booz Allen Hamilton or Lockheed Martin. But every day, Amazon is depending on millions of customers to go online and buy products from its sites. As more people learn about its CIA ties, Amazon could — and should — suffer the consequences.
This is an opportunity to directly challenge Amazon's collaboration with the CIA. Movement in that direction began with the Feb. 20 launch of a petition addressed to Amazon CEO Bezos: “We urge you to make a legally binding commitment to customers that Amazon will not provide customer data to the Central Intelligence Agency.”
After working with colleagues at RootsAction.org to start the petition, I've been glad to read initial comments that signers have posted. Many are voicing the kind of responses that should worry Amazon execs.
“It's never wise for a business to take steps that create distrust by their customers,” wrote a signer from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Another woman, who lives in Amazon's home state of Washington, told the company: “Don't share my data with the CIA. If this is your price, I'm afraid you're not worth it.” And a signer in Cincinnati wrote: “If Amazon chooses to sell out their customers to the CIA, I will never visit their site again. Betrayal shouldn't be the price of convenience.”
The people who run Amazon figured they could rake in big profits from the CIA without serious public blowback. We have an opportunity to prove them wrong.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at http://www.warmadeeasythemovie.org/
POLICE REPORTS for Feb. 19, 2014
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department. To anonymously report crime information, call 463-6205.
Welfare Check On Dog — A caller in the 600 block of South State Street reported at 3:15 a.m. Feb. 11 that a man was going to take his dog down to the tracks and kill it, and requested that an officer check on the animal.
Check Fraud Arrest — An employee at Wells Fargo on South State Street reported at 4:12 p.m. Feb. 11 that a person in the lobby had just tried to pass a fraudulent check with a forged signature. Police arrested a 27-year-old Ukiah man on suspicion of forgery, burglary and possessing stolen property.
Shots Heard — A caller in the 800 block of Cindee Drive reported at 7:40 p.m. Feb. 11 hearing three or four shots. Police didn't find the source.
Burglary — A caller on Cherry Street reported at 3:45 p.m. Feb. 12 that a storage unit had been burglarized. Police took a report.
Fake Bill — A caller in the 1200 block of Airport Park Boulevard reported at 9:52 a.m. Thursday seeing a counterfeit $100 bill.
Aggressive Dogs — A caller in the 600 block of Tahoe Court reported at 6 p.m. Thursday that two large, aggressive dogs were in the caller's backyard. The dogs were gone when police arrived.
Fight — A caller in the 200 block of Clara Avenue reported at 6:56 p.m. Thursday a physical fight involving teenagers and dogs.
Dog Chasing Deer — A caller in the 900 block of Low Gap Road reported at 8:29 a.m. Friday reported that a large pitbull was chasing deer. Police checked the area and didn't find it.
Mail Theft — A caller on Betty Street reported at 9:02 a.m. Friday that she had video of someone taking her mail out of her mail box and asked for extra patrol between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Mail Tampered With — A caller in the 1100 block of West Standley Street reported at 12 p.m. Friday that someone tampered with her mail and requested extra patrol in the area.
DUI Arrest — Police stopped Matthew Rupe, no age or residence given, in the 200 block of Mason Street at 2:05 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was cited and released.
Open Mailboxes — A caller in the 200 block of Cherry Street reported at 6:09 a.m. Saturday that four mailboxes were open and two people were walking toward State Street, but didn't know if any mail was taken. Police checked the area and didn't find them.
Pair Opening Mailboxes — A caller in the 800 block of Helen Avenue reported at 7:01 a.m. Saturday that a man and woman were opening mailboxes. Police arrested a Schanna M. Safarion, 29, of Ukiah, on suspicion of receiving stolen property, possessing burglary tools, conspiracy, possessing methamphetamine, giving false identification to an officer and violating her probation terms, and Cody A. Huber, 26, of Ukiah, on suspicion of receiving stolen property, possessing burglary tools, conspiracy, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Threatened With Axe — A caller at Babcock Lane and Talmage Road reported at 3:48 p.m. Saturday that a man threatened him/her with an axe. Police arrested a 72-year-old Ukiah man for making threats.
* * *
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.
Man With Gun — A caller at a business in the 100 block of South Main Street reported at 1:45 p.m. Feb. 12 that a man came into the store the day before with a gun. An officer safety alert was issued.
Mail Theft — A caller in the 300 block of East Cypress Street reported at 10:38 a.m. Thursday that mail had been stolen from a mailbox.
Theft From Vehicle — A caller in the 400 block of South Harrison Street reported at 9:48 a.m. Friday that an unlocked vehicle had been vandalized and burglarized.
DUI Arrest — Police stopped Scott Douglas, 62, of For Bragg, in the 600 block of East Fir Street at 7:56 p.m. Saturday and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was booked at the Mendocino County Jail in Ukiah.
SHERIFF'S REPORTS. The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:
DUI, Marijuana Transport — Donnie E. Miller, 58, of Potter Valley, was arrested at 12:51 a.m. Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence, possessing marijuana for sale, transporting marijuana for sale, possessing methamphetamine and being under the influence of a controlled substance, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him.
DUI — George J. Mendoza, 41, of Willits, was arrested at 4:10 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI With Priors — Adolfo Garcia Cisneros, 27, of Ukiah, was arrested at 8:14 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence with prior convictions and driving with a suspended license, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI — Dewayne I. Arnold, 18, of Upper Lake, was arrested at 9:36 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI With Priors — Maureen D. McVoy, 60, of Moss Beach, was arrested at 11:38 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving under the influence with prior convictions, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested her.
DUI — Charles W. Schlapkohl, 43, of Ukiah, was arrested at 12 p.m. Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence within 10 years of a prior felony conviction, possessing drug paraphernalia, driving with a suspended license and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $92,500 bail. The MCSO arrested him.