NYT Article: Police Surveillance of Cyclists as Political Dissidents

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Elisa Francesca Roselli, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Tony Raven <[email protected]> writes:
    > Tom Keats wrote:
    >>
    >> The P.J. O'Rourke article pretty much follows the
    >> rec.autos.driving party line. It's all very
    >> unoriginal stuff, oft-repeated over the last
    >> century and well into this one. So the validating
    >> is already done. We've been stuck with these attitudes
    >> probably since bicycles were invented.
    >>
    >>

    >
    > ITYM since cars were invented ;-)


    I figure they're roughly contemporaneous. At least, the
    initial popularity & availability of both the safety bicycle,
    and of the motor car.

    But I wouldn't be surprised if equitators in the past also
    harboured antipathy toward bicycles and cyclists.
    Those damn horsie people :) :)


    cheers, & actually I like horsies too,
    Tom

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  2. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] writes:
    >
    > Tom Keats wrote:
    >
    >> The P.J. O'Rourke article pretty much follows the rec.autos.driving party line...

    >
    > Exactly! But the question remains, is it genuine satire or is its
    > intention, at best, just to give the car-centric a cheap laugh by
    > playing up to their prejudices?


    The old "funny because it's 'so true'"?

    Yes, the latter (playing up to their prejudices.)

    Dogs have fleas, gardens have weeds, and cyclists
    have prejudiced drivers.


    cheers,
    Tom

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
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  3. Marc Brett

    Marc Brett Guest

    On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 17:39:56 GMT, "Bill Sornson" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    > Yeah, liberating millions of people
    >and losing 2200+ solidiers and spending ga-jillions of dollars was just such
    >a SELFISH ACT! Bad USA!


    The ones who voted to go to war don't have their OWN kids over there -- they're
    not that crazy. The ga-jillions of dollars being spent (and misspent) are the
    same ga-jillions *not* being spent on medicare, schools, and food stamps. The
    poor grunts and poor civvies are the ones being generous. As usual.

    Put the Bush children into baggy green jump suits, give them a rifle and a
    parachute and send them into the desert. That'll convince me a lot more than
    WMD! Nookular bombs! Look, another terrarist behind you!
     
  4. To return to the original post, I am surprised that no one has yet
    brought up the fact that there is evidence that the NY police has also
    tried to manipulate evidence and video tapes in order to try to get
    convictions against those attending anti-Republican rallies. (And after
    all it is the involvement of cyclists in such rallies which seems to
    have led to the current activity by the police). See:

    http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2005/Dennis-Kyne-Vindicated12apr05.htm

    http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2004/Kyne-Charges-Dismissed18dec04.htm

    Also:

    New York Times
    April 12, 2005
    Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest
    By JIM DWYER

    Dennis Kyne put up such a fight at a political protest last summer, the
    arresting officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him
    down the steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue.

    "We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed,"
    the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. "I had one of his
    legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own."

    Accused of inciting a riot and resisting arrest, Mr. Kyne was the first
    of the 1,806 people arrested in New York last summer during the
    Republican National Convention to take his case to a jury. But one day
    after Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single
    witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges.

    During a recess, the defense had brought new information to the
    prosecutor. A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne
    agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library
    steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere
    to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the
    arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed
    complaints.

    A sprawling body of visual evidence, made possible by inexpensive,
    lightweight cameras in the hands of private citizens, volunteer
    observers and the police themselves, has shifted the debate over
    precisely what happened on the streets during the week of the
    convention.

    For Mr. Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings
    provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the
    charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers
    and prosecutors.

    Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who said he was arrested while going
    to pick up sushi.

    Last week, he discovered that there were two versions of the same
    police tape: the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had
    been edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop
    behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more
    complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop's lawyer,
    prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a technician
    had cut the material by mistake.

    Seven months after the convention at Madison Square Garden, criminal
    charges have fallen against all but a handful of people arrested that
    week. Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent
    ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after
    trial. Many were dropped without any finding of wrongdoing, but also
    without any serious inquiry into the circumstances of the arrests, with
    the Manhattan district attorney's office agreeing that the cases should
    be "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal."

    Also of interest...

    Guardian
    Monday October 18, 2004
    Any means necessary

    In the 60s, police dogs and billy clubs kept black Americans from the
    polls. Today's methods are more refined.

    There is nothing George Bush likes more than extolling the virtues of
    democracy in faraway places...Back in the US, however, the Almighty
    seems far less generous. Bush's enthusiasm to export democracy is not
    matched by his desire to defend it at home. With just a fortnight to go
    to the presidential election, efforts to obstruct and deny the vote,
    particularly to black and Latino voters, are intensifying. Forty years
    after the civil rights act enshrined the franchise in the constitution
    for African-Americans, freedom is being crippled.

    The group most likely to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they are
    ostensibly extending democracy and freedom - African-Americans - is
    most likely to be denied those rights in the US. There is nothing new
    in this contradiction. In the cold war, when the US lectured the
    eastern bloc on the delights of democracy, black Americans couldn't
    vote...

    African-Americans, however, remain the principal target of the
    Republican campaign to block the vote. Unlike the 60s, when black
    Americans were barred from the polls by police dogs, water cannon and
    billy clubs, the means today are more refined...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5041498-103390,00.html

    'Land of the free?' What a joke!
     
  5. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Elisa Francesca Roselli <[email protected]> quotes:

    > "Ryan Kuonen, 32, who took part in a "ride of silence" in memory of a
    > dead cyclist, said that two undercover officers - one with a camera -
    > subverted the event. "They were just in your face," she said. "It made
    > what was a really solemn event into something that seemed wrong. It made
    > you feel like you were a criminal. It was grotesque.""


    Reminds me of back in the '60s and '70s, when the narcs would
    try to blend in with the crowd at rock concerts.

    Anyway, I think this "radical cyclists" bugaboo hails from well
    before 9/11. Maybe even before the Seattle WTO convention, which
    certainly instilled paranoid ideas about the Great Unwashed into
    the corporate mammon worshipers. Or maybe it just brought their
    latent paranoid notions to the surface.


    cheers,
    Tom

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    -- Nothing is safe from me.
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  6. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > Mike Kruger wrote:
    >
    >> >

    >> Can't you do better than Noam Chomsky and some comedian I've never heard
    >> of?
    >>

    >
    > Assuming you are an American,

    Correct.
    > the fact that you have never heard of
    > Bill Hicks reinforces much of what I was saying. Americans talk about
    > 'freedom' but being 'free' to think what you want counts for little

    <some ranting omitted>
    > Bush, as Bill Hicks would have said, 'Sucks the dick of Satan.'
    >

    I'm lost. Completely lost. According to
    http://www.billhicks.com/
    Bill Hicks died in 1994. I'm not sure GW Bush was sober yet in 1994, and
    certainly wasn't president.
    There are millions of people who would agree with the statement "Bush sucks
    the dick of Satan", or something reasonably close to that.

    I would agree myself, although I would phrase it more politely and less
    theologically.

    Why bring a dead comedian into it?

    If I had heard of Bill Hicks, how would that mean that I was "'free' to
    think what I want"?
     
  7. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > I have a feeling that most US readers of this thread will not have
    > heard a word about any of the above.


    You covered so many points that most of us have heard many of them, and some
    of what you present as fact is, to put it mildly, controversial.

    US readers of this thread, to judge from the posters on this thread, are an
    eclectic lot but most seem to have sources for information beyond Fox News
    (Rupert Murdoch's news channel).
     
  8. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > James Annan wrote:
    >>
    >> I find it unsurprising that such a high proportion of USAians approve of
    >> torture, given such an unremittingly positive portrayal of it. But it is
    >> nevertheless disappointing that their attitudes may be so strongly
    >> determined by TV fiction.
    >>

    I'll concede that there is certainly a strain of thought among some
    Americans that torture is OK if we do it because we're good.

    >...websites such as righwingstuff.com selling T-shirts with
    > logos reading 'Bush's to do list: 1) Bong Iraq (crossed out) 2) Bomb
    > Iran 3) Bomb France.


    Heck, we'll put anyting on a t-shirt. There are even sites that promote both
    sides simultaneously.
    http://www.cafepress.com/shop/politics/

    > Most of all the right in the USA are terrified of
    > the ideology of 'Egality, Liberty and Fraternity', especially the bit
    > about egality...
    >

    One thing I'm sure of. Americans aren't terrified of French political
    thought.
     
  9. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:1135365238.270803.178[email protected]
    >
    > Mike Kruger wrote:
    >>
    >> This reminds me of a story from a few years ago, that a Chinese
    >> "intelligence" agent in the US had picked up a copy of the Onion (a
    >> midwestery satire newspaper) and reported its military speculations as
    >> fact.
    >> This led to a minor diplomatic tiff between China and the U.S., until the
    >> source of the "intelligence" was discovered.

    >
    > So, as a cyclist do you think passages such as the following are
    > genuinely funny or do they perhaps risk validating what many people who
    > are hostle to cyclists already think...
    >

    I wouldn't say these passages are great humor; I'm not a great fan of
    O'Rourke. But they are humor, and I think you are taking them too seriously.
     
  10. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <NN%[email protected]>,
    "Mike Kruger" <[email protected]> writes:

    > One thing I'm sure of. Americans aren't terrified of French political
    > thought.


    Wait'll you get wind of Canadian political thought.
    We just redefined "decency". Anything is okay as
    long as nobody profits, and nobody gets hurt. And
    gross stuff isn't done in public (except American
    television shows about people getting shot, blown
    up, pushed out of aircraft, or otherwise dispatched.)

    Anyways, my prime directive of Life has always been:
    never run out of toilet paper.

    My secondary directive is now:
    never eat while watching TV.

    'cuz fer sher they'll show something that'll kill your
    appetite, like a prostate operation, or Martha Stewart.


    cheers,
    Tom


    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
  11. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    >
    > That said, it is ironic that you should bring up the subject of irony,
    > sorry iron, given that Bush imposed illegal tariffs on steel imports
    > (including British steel) back in 2002. Yet another example of the USA
    > ignoring international agreements when it suits it...
    >

    Indeed he did. The Bush administration eventually had to un-impose the
    tariffs in response to heavy foreign pressure and they are no longer in
    force.
     
  12. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] writes:

    [snip]

    > Also:
    >
    > New York Times
    > April 12, 2005
    > Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest
    > By JIM DWYER


    Good ol' Jym. We haven't heard from him in donkey's years.
    I hope he's doing okay. Best wishes of the season (and
    beyond) to ya, Jym!


    cheers,
    TOm

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
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  13. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <7Y%[email protected]>,
    "Mike Kruger" <[email protected]> writes:

    > I wouldn't say these passages are great humor; I'm not a great fan of
    > O'Rourke. But they are humor, and I think you are taking them too seriously.


    I guess the weather in the UK isn't conducive to riding right now :)


    cheers,
    Tom

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
  14. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Tom Keats wrote:

    >
    > I guess the weather in the UK isn't conducive to riding right now :)
    >
    >


    Also the fact that its midnight ;-)

    --
    Tony

    "The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the
    right."
    - Lord Hailsham
     
  15. The Wogster

    The Wogster Guest

    Tom Keats wrote:
    > In article <NN%[email protected]>,
    > "Mike Kruger" <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    >
    >>One thing I'm sure of. Americans aren't terrified of French political
    >>thought.

    >
    >
    > Wait'll you get wind of Canadian political thought.
    > We just redefined "decency". Anything is okay as
    > long as nobody profits, and nobody gets hurt. And
    > gross stuff isn't done in public (except American
    > television shows about people getting shot, blown
    > up, pushed out of aircraft, or otherwise dispatched.)


    Correction, our courts decided to redefine decency, I for one disagree
    with their new definition, but then I don't agree with their "new and
    improved" definition of marriage either......

    I for one, am thinking of voting for the green party or the marijuana
    party, since the rhinoceros party folded, it's hard to find a "joke"
    party to vote for...... One thing, the Liberals are definitely not is
    funny....

    >
    > Anyways, my prime directive of Life has always been:
    > never run out of toilet paper.
    >
    > My secondary directive is now:
    > never eat while watching TV.
    >
    > 'cuz fer sher they'll show something that'll kill your
    > appetite, like a prostate operation, or Martha Stewart.
    >


    Every time I hear what kinda crap passes for TV these days, it makes me
    glad that I canceled cable.....

    W
     
  16. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <%[email protected]>,
    The Wogster <[email protected]> writes:

    > One thing, the Liberals are definitely not is
    > funny....


    Meanwhile the foul, rancid taste of the Mulroney Conservatives
    still mercilessly lingers ...

    The current crop of Reformatives should emigrate to Montana where
    they belong.

    I guess we get to choose between Tweedle-Dweeb and Tweedle-Dumb.
    And the guy who looks like a greasy used car salesman.

    If Tooker Gomberg was still around, I'd say force /him/ to be
    Fearless Leader. I've heard it said the best politicians are
    the ones who'd have to be dragged kickin' & screamin' to office.
    I believe it.



    cheers,
    Tom

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
  17. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <%[email protected]>,
    The Wogster <[email protected]> writes:

    > Every time I hear what kinda crap passes for TV these days, it makes me
    > glad that I canceled cable.....


    Actually, there is some good viewing fare, if one is selective about it.
    I rather enjoy some of the PBS offerings such as American Experience
    and Nova.

    And a local, home-grown travelogue on community cable, called "Wings
    Over Canada". It's about a guy who goes around exploring the
    hard-to-get-to niches of the country via bush plane.

    I'll also confess to a certain fondness for Myth Busters
    (Kari has such a charming and heartwarming smile.)


    cheers,
    Tom

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
  18. The Wogster

    The Wogster Guest

    Tom Keats wrote:
    > In article <%[email protected]>,
    > The Wogster <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    >
    >>One thing, the Liberals are definitely not is
    >>funny....

    >
    >
    > Meanwhile the foul, rancid taste of the Mulroney Conservatives
    > still mercilessly lingers ...
    >
    > The current crop of Reformatives should emigrate to Montana where
    > they belong.
    >
    > I guess we get to choose between Tweedle-Dweeb and Tweedle-Dumb.
    > And the guy who looks like a greasy used car salesman.


    We have Paul Martin, the old guard status quo Liberals.

    You know the Conservatives should have milked that one, in the last
    election, pick the nice young fresh faced leader of a new party, or the
    old mouldy Trudeau era Liberal dimwits.

    If Jack Layton were to actually win enough seats to win a minority even,
    I would hop on a plane to a third world country, and claim refugee status.

    W
     
  19. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Peter Cole wrote:
    > Bob wrote:
    > > Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:
    > >
    > >>http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/n...8926beae1ec&hp&ex=1135314000&partner=homepage

    > >
    > >
    > > Oh my god, the police are WATCHING people in public places! How awful!
    > > <yawn>

    >
    > I think you misrepresent the main thrust of the article. It was about
    > police undercover infiltration of groups (with no apparent danger to
    > public safety) and even engaging in provocative behavior -- although I'm
    > willing to accept that may have been individual overzealousness. We've
    > been down this road before and it doesn't go anywhere good...
    >
    > I find it troubling that you, a law enforcement officer I believe, would
    > dismiss this so easily.


    You find it troubling that I, a law enforcement officer, would dismiss
    the *inferences* some would draw from the article so easily. I find it
    troubling that you, someone I have never met face to face but have come
    to respect as an intelligent person through your posts here, is so
    troubled by the police taking reasonable steps to prevent violence.
    Read the article again and watch the videos. Every instance cited had
    to do, not with true infiltration of groups but, with efforts to
    maintain *low profile* surveillance of public gatherings that past
    experience has shown can go from peaceful to rowdy to destructive and
    dangerous in a very short time. Let's be realistic. What if instead of
    using an appropriate number of undercover officers to observe a protest
    march that has the potential for violence, the police response is to
    line the protest route with hundreds of police in riot gear? Wouldn't
    *that* be denounced as police provocation? What if the police don't
    take *any* steps to monitor the situation and instead fall back into a
    purely reactive stance? What happened in Seattle with the WTO
    protestors or more recently in Hong Kong with the farmers or in Paris
    with the unemployed (acts of mob violence aren't confined to the US)
    are sterling examples of how well a purely reactive stance can work.

    IMO, there is a very important distinction between watching what is by
    any definition a public event- antiwar marches, white supremacist
    rallies, anti-multinational corporation protests, anti-gang violence
    vigils, or gay pride parades- and the "infiltration of groups". All of
    the supposedly troubling instances of police "infiltration" of groups
    the article cites were nothing more than police monitoring a *public*
    event on *public* streets. I've been an undercover officer at all of
    the events I've listed above and I have never infiltrated any group or
    incited any violence. I observed and reported any criminal activity or
    threat to the public peace. When I've been in a crowd at KKK rallies,
    I've carried "Klan Go Home" signs. I've chanted, "No blood for oil",
    with the rest of the crowd at antiwar rallies, carried a candle in
    anti-gang violence vigils, and worn a rainbow armband at gay pride
    parades. That is not infiltration. It's simply blending into a crowd.
    What specific horrible acts are alleged here? I see very few specific
    allegations even though the videotapes that are the inspiration for the
    article allegedly number in the hundreds. One specific allegation that
    is made is that on one occasion there was an arrest of an undercover
    police officer (UC) acting as a protestor that sparked resistance from
    the real protestors present. In that instance was there *any*
    allegation that the UC tried to incite or inflame the crowd to 'rescue'
    him from arrest? No. Indeed, the video makes it quite clear that he
    calmly submitted to the arrest and one look at the videotape itself
    (and maybe a hint) is enough for most people to understand why the
    arrest took place. Look at the crowd. Look at their signs. Now look at
    the sign the UC was carrying. Signs elevated in the crowd are
    conspicuously absent, aren't they? The UC's sign appears to be mounted
    on a pipe more suited for displaying a "No Parking" sign than a
    handlettered "No justice- No peace" sign. It's a potential *weapon*,
    for crissakes! The UC apparently paid little or no attention at the
    inevitable pre-staging briefing where I would bet my last dollar every
    officer was told to immediately detain anyone carrying anything like
    the sign the UC was holding. (That has been part of every such briefing
    I've ever attended. You've seen news footage of KKK rallies, I'm sure.
    Why do you think the white robed idiots are always shown carrying their
    standard like a high school marching band instead of on flagstaffs?)
    The two (or more- the article is heavy on opinion and commentary but
    just a little light on actual facts) people that tried to thwart the
    arrest were themselves arrested and now apparently wish to claim that
    it was a "sham arrest" designed to provoke an illegal response.
    Bullshit. If you were that undercover officer and wanted to incite the
    crowd to violence, would you have submitted as quietly and peacefully
    as he did on the video? He knew as soon as he was grabbed that he'd
    screwed up. He also happens to be involved in the only allegation made
    in the article that has any real bite. From the article:

    "The same man was videotaped a day earlier, observing the actress
    Rosario Dawson as she and others were arrested on 35th Street and
    Eighth Avenue as they filmed "This Revolution," a movie that used
    actual street demonstrations as a backdrop. At one point, the
    blond-haired man seemed to try to rile bystanders. After Ms. Dawson and
    another actress were placed into a police van, the blond-haired man can
    be seen peering in the window. According to Charles Maol, who was
    working on the film, the blond-haired man is the source of a voice that
    is heard calling: "Hey, that's my brother in there. What do you got my
    brother in there for?"

    Maybe he *did* shout that. I don't know but I tend to think he did
    because based on the sign incident I'm inclined to think he's not
    qualified to work in a UC capacity in that type of setting. That *one*
    cop screwed up or is not suited for that type of duty though doesn't
    change my opinion that there is nothing at all wrong with the police
    monitoring people at public events to safeguard the general welfare.
    The events are, after all, PUBLIC and safeguarding the public's lives
    and property is not only an acceptable police function in our society,
    it is the *primary* function of police.

    Regards,
    Bob Hunt
     
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