BART Police Arrest Journalists, Cite KGO, KTVU at BART Protest. Homeland Security Present

Thursday’s No Justice No BART protest–which shut down Powell Street Station in San Francisco–turned into an ugly attack on free speech and freedom of the press when BART police arrested between 25 and 30 people, a third of whom are reported to be journalists, including seven student journalists from San Francisco State University and the Chronicle’s Vivian Ho. Ho, and others were cited for interfering with transit; the student journalists were not cited. Also arrested: No Justice No BART organizer Krystoff.

During the event protesters and the press stayed outside the platform areas of the station. No Justice No BART had called for the demonstration to take place in front of the fare gates in an effort to force BART to open the emergency exits, allowing passengers walk out for free. The portion of BART stations before the turnstiles is considered to be, has been stated by BART to be, a free speech area.

Also on hand, the Department of Homeland Security.

 

BART police cited the local ABC and CBS news crews reporting on the protests, and some journalists had their San Francisco Police Department-issued credentials confiscated by the SFPD, who aided the BART cops.


The student journalists’ adviser/instructor Justin Becker–whose Twitter feed was instrumental in our reporting of the BART Board of Directors meeting last month–Tweeted

in response to:

Reporter Joshua Wolf–who spent 226 days in prison for protecting his sources, longer than any other journalist in U.S. history–was also detained, but was released and posted great photos. One student journalist tweeted that another was jabbed in the stomach with a baton when she tried to take a photo.

Police surrounded protesters then told them to leave or they would be arrested, a point one reporter brought up doing the press conference above. (During an earlier #OpBART protest, some protesters claimed SFPD arrested them for blocking traffic after ordering them off the sidewalk.)

Arresting journalists for doing their jobs? Arresting students for doing their homework? WTF, BART Police? Anonymous #OpBART said it best:

BART caused the ongoing BART protests and drew Anonymous’s wrath when they shut off cellphone service August 11 to prevent a potential demonstration by No Justice No BART–the organizer’s of Thursday’s event, supported by Anonymous–protesting the shooting death of Charles Hill at the hands of a BART police officer.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that most of the arrestees were cited for:

violation of Penal Code Section 369i, which makes it a crime to disrupt rail service, outlawing activities that “would interfere with, interrupt, or hinder the safe and efficient operation of any locomotive, railway car, or train.”…

The professional journalists in the group have been released after being detained for about 30 minutes, and they’ve been shepherded into an area where they can no longer see the group of arrestees. But a group of three to five San Francisco State University journalism students who don’t have press credentials remain in custody, despite repeated appeals to the police by their faculty advisor Justin Beck.

The Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) unit

an anti-terror unit charged with protecting transportation infrastructure from potential acts of terrorism run by the Transportation Security Administration.

were also present at Thursday’s protest, as they were on August 30. The Department of Justice was present at all #OpBART protests, KALW also reports:

The United States Department of Justice also had personnel on hand for the recent protests by the hacktivist group Anonymous. Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, confirmed that DoJ sent a member of its Community Relations Service to all three OpBART demonstrations this month. CRS, formed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is DoJ’s “peacemaker” for conflicts and tensions stemming from racial or ethnic tensions or civil disorder. Hinojosa also confirmed that CRS staff were present at July and November demonstrations in Oakland over the conviction and sentencing of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Oscar Grant.

VinceintheBay snapped this shot tonight, a perfect expression of San Francisco. But with BART Police behaving as they did Thursday and on August 11, not to mention shooting people at BART stations–free speech is getting squelched, and with it the heart and spirit of San Francisco.

Vince also has raw footage of the protest on his YouTube. Here’s part 1

photo 1:  estimarlqk, via OpBART Twitter (estimarlq was also cited by BART Police)

photo 2: VinceintheBay, via OpBART Twitter

Late Night: Coffee, Tea or Panties? JetBlue Sued Over Lingerie Query

Gosh, you’d think security at LaGuardia Airport would be able to tell if a woman were wearing unmentionables under her shorts and tee-shirt–I mean isn’t that why we have the new see-through screening box?– but apparently JetBlue supervisor Victor Rodriguez, who was working the airline ticket counter, decided to check for himself once Malinda Knowles had boarded her flight to West Palm Beach, Florida.

According to the suit Ms Knowles filed and a conversation her attorney, Brian Dratch, had with ABCNews.com, she was

in her seat sipping orange juice when she said JetBlue supervisor Victor Rodriguez approached her, demanding to know “with a smirk” if she was wearing underwear.

“He just came up to me and asked me … basically to show him what I had on, which would have required me moving the tray table and pretty much opening my legs,” she said. “I didn’t feel comfortable doing that.”

But she complied, at which point she

lifted her tray table and then, Rodriguez — who was holding a walkie-talkie — allegedly “stuck the antennae in her crotch,” between her legs, to see what she had on underneath her T-shirt.

Then Rodriguez called Port Authority police and had her escorted off the plane. The Port Authrotiy report said she was

unruly

and the captain asked that she be removed. Knowles says she never saw the captain or spoke with him. The flight was delayed half an hour, and then she was put on a later flight because the captain did not want her on board.

For the record, she was wearing underpants beneath her denim shorts and a long tee-shirt.

Could airlines just issue dress codes?

Tuesday Late Night: Bad Vibes?

TSA’s super-frisky frisking vs their really rad–as in radiation–full body scan prompted  witty  manufacturers to churn out underwear with the 4th Amendment  screened in metal ink. The magic undies send a firm message about privacy while shielding (what could be) the fun stuff  from prying eyes.

But  libertines, courtesans, romantics and even Ted Haggard had better think about what they’re packing in their hand-held luggage, since a Minnesota man, Terry Allen Lester,  has developed a new tool terrorists could use to shake things up: a remote controlled exploding vibrator. Lester had planned to send it to an ex-girlfriend as a holiday gift. Wow.

The Smoking Gun reports that Lester:

placed “gun powder, BB shot, and buck shot from shotgun shells” into the modified device, which had “black and red wires that connected to a trigger with a battery port,”allegedly was planning on giving the vibrator as a Christmas gift to one of three former girlfriends, with whom he had relationships that “ended badly.”… The woman who contacted police said Lester told her that “when the device was inserted into the female he would pull the trigger and it would blow them up.”

Lester, according to tsg:

also left behind tools, cords, cables, and the remains of a drill that was disassembled “to use the parts for the vibrator bomb.”

So first the threat of liquids led to  passengers being ordered to drink carry-on formula and breast milk; the shoe bomber made security lines even more sole-less;  the panty bomber and and rumors of  exploding breast implants gave us gate rape. But if you stop having sex the way you like it, then the terrorists (and uptight nutbags) have won. Keep America free by keeping her sexy!

So will  TSA  post a new sign telling travelers to put sex toys in plastic tray along with computers and cell phones and eagerly start rifling carry-ons for bullet-vibes, the rabbit and ben wa balls?  Is nothing sacred?!

TSA Wants to Sniff My Pie

The TSA is trying to defuse the “Don’t touch my junk” aspect of travel with a cuddly holiday  reminder, letting us know what’s cool to travel with: Leave the snow-globes, cranberry relish, gravies and salsas behind, unless you’re carrying under 3 ounces. But pies are fine. Wait — whut? Pies are okay?!

What are they thinking!?  Pies could be made with Paxo, and I don’t mean the British stuffing mix, but rather the old school Troubles version, potassium chlorate and paraffin, which can react pretty violently with sugar, an item found quite commonly on airplanes.

And that aside, pies are usually secured in metal pie pans and foil. Heck, I wrapped my precious pie safely to prevent heinous radiation damage (yes, the little man in the boat wears a tin foil hat to travel), though I knew was risking a frisking. So I guess TSA will just have to take a deep whiff to make sure my pie is cherry, pumpkin.

Late Night: Exclusive! First Celebrity Backscatter Scan! And Willow Drops the Fa***t Bomb on Facebook

It was only a matter of time before some celebrity’s Naked Airport Machine scan was saved by TSA and uh sent to the media, in this case me.  Guess which star is below the fold!

(more…)

Full Body Scan or Pat Down?

I am flying soon and am wondering which to do: The daring, racy and novel full body scan (X-rays=hot!) or the tried and true pat down (fun, if done correctly; otherwise, pesky and mild). I may try one flying out and the other on the way back, just to see which I like best since I have yet to experience the anticipated soothing brusqueness of a  homegrown TSA frisk.

I had some some pretty nice pat downs this summer in Europe while traveling. I don’t get all fussy over a pat down; they are so not a big deal. I mean, what does it say about us as a nation that we won’t let other Americans get paid to run their hands up and down our  thighs? Or perhaps we suspect that there are ulterior motives for security wanting to pat down Grandma and not Aunt Jenny.

I am still trying to figure out the issues behind the full the body scan aside from getting microwaved or macrofried or whatever. Could they see my tattoos? Do I care?

And like seriously, aside from the potential life-threatening, cellular-disrupting, DNA-damaging sizzle of  electrico-magnetic Kryptonitic theremin waves–or the concern that there might be some transporter beam glitch and you’d end up hanging with the Sleestaks or centaurs–why are people so upset at having their naked meat suits seen by total strangers? You’d think with reality shows, amateur porn, and people sending each other rather intimate images via text-tickles and twits (and getting medical body scans!), it’d be all like, “So what?”

Fear of the search must come down to Puritanical roots combined with the belief that our fellows will mock our defects. Alongside simmers the perverse hubristic  hope that they might also do something sticky with our X-rays.

How can we think so lowly of our fellow Americans?! Surely we all live by the Golden Rule of doing unto others as we would have done to us. And I like  Larry Flynt’s addendum:

Only do it first


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