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NYPD Exposed: Hundreds of Officers Who Lied, Assaulted People Kept Jobs

Sputnik – 05.03.2018

Secret files leaked from the New York Police Department (NYPD) have revealed that more than 300 NYPD officers who lied, cheated, stole from or assaulted civilians from 2011 through 2015 were allowed to stay on the force.

BuzzFeed News published an expose Monday based on information garnered from filtering through hundreds of pages of secret international NYPD files that were leaked to the news organization by an anonymous source. The file content was fact-checked by making more than 100 phone calls, interviewing prosecutors, reviewing court records and even visiting officers’ homes.

At least 50 staffers allegedly lied on official reports or under oath and 38 were found guilty of using excessive force by an internal police tribunal. In addition, 57 staffers were found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and 71 were charged with ticket-fixing, a practice in which public officials dismiss or destroy traffic tickets to help family members or friends. One officer even threatened to kill someone, while another sexually harassed a fellow officer. At least 24 of the staffers were allegedly involved in harassing students or selling drugs in schools.

According to BuzzFeed, one officer in the Bronx was accused of atrociously beating a man with his police baton after the victim verbally insulted him in 2009. The man ended up with a deep wound that required 12 staples to close. The same officer was also accused of wrongly arresting another individual, assaulting a third and falsifying evidence against a fourth. In response to his actions, the officer was forced to forgo 45 vacation days. However, he remains on patrol, earning close to $120,000 a year.

In fact, all of the cops who faced disciplinary hearings for their actions were allowed to keep their jobs at their regular salaries, only being assigned “dismissal probations” by police commissioners, making them ineligible for promotion. However, that probation period usually lasted for only a year, according to the documents. Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly were named as the NYPD commissioners between 2011 and 2015.

According to BuzzFeed, the documents were kept out of the public record through the use of a state law to protect “personal records.”

New York is one of only three states, along with Delaware and California, that has such a law allowing police misconduct records to remain hidden from the public.

“The department is not interested in terminating officers that don’t need to be terminated. We’re interested in keeping employees and making our employees obey the rules and do the right thing,” Kevin Richardson, deputy commissioner of the department advocate’s office, told BuzzFeed News in a recent statement.

“But where there are failing that we realize this person should be separated from the department, this police commissioner and the prior police commissioner have shown a willingness to do that,” he added.

Richardson also added that since he joined the department in 2014, he has tried to improve the process by reassessing the penalties given to officers guilty of misconduct.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Corruption | , | 5 Comments

NYPD to Innocent Business Owners: Give Up Your Rights or Get Shut Down

Institute For Justice | October 12, 2016

When undercover NYPD officers offered to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat, near the northern tip of Manhattan, Sung never imagined the sting operation could be used as a pretext to shut down his business. But that’s exactly what happened. Attorneys for the city threatened Sung with eviction merely because a “stolen property” offense had happened at his business.

The city presented Sung with a choice: See his business shut down or sign an agreement giving up constitutional rights—including his Fourth Amendment right to be free from warrantless searches of his business. Faced with the imminent closure of his laundromat, Sung had no real choice but to sign.

In New York City today, this experience is all too common. Under New York City’s so-called nuisance eviction ordinance—more appropriately termed a “no-fault” eviction ordinance—residents and business owners can be evicted simply because their home or business was the site of a criminal offense. Under the ordinance, the identity of the criminal offender is irrelevant. You can be evicted because a total stranger (or a friend or family member) decided your home or business was a good place to commit a crime.

City attorneys churn out no-fault eviction filings by the hundreds, relying on form templates and little more than NYPD officers’ say-so that the targeted home or business was the site of a crime. In many cases, the “proof” of the alleged criminal offense is an affidavit from an NYPD officer relaying vague allegations from unnamed confidential informants.

Moreover, under the ordinance, occupants of the home or business can be evicted without any notice. After being summarily evicted, occupants have just days to put together a case to persuade a judge to undo the eviction order.

City attorneys routinely offer to drop these no-fault eviction proceedings if occupants agree to waive their constitutional rights. Some, like Sung, are forced to sign agreements waiving their Fourth Amendment rights. Others are forced to sign agreements barring family members from the home—including family members who have not been accused of any crime.

Now, Sung is joining with other victims of the city’s conduct to bring a federal class action lawsuit challenging the city’s no-fault eviction ordinance. If the lawsuit is successful, past waivers of constitutional rights will be declared unenforceable and, going forward, this practice will be put to an end once and for all.

http://ij.org/case/new-york-city-evic…

November 1, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , , | 1 Comment

NYPD admits accounting for its civil-forfeiture seizures is hopeless

RT | September 19, 2016

A detailed account of money and property seized by the New York Police Department is essentially impossible, an official says, as a comprehensive effort to report how much money the NYPD takes during arrests would “lead to system crashes.”

The New York City Council is considering a bill that would require the NYPD to offer annual reports of how much money and property it collects as potential evidence through the process of civil forfeiture. The bill aims to make civil forfeiture more transparent, but the NYPD claims it has no idea how much money it seized from New Yorkers and others it arrested last year.

Late last week, in testimony to the city council’s Public Safety Committee, NYPD Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner said detailing department seizures is technologically unworkable based on limitations of the NYPD’s Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS).

“Attempts to perform the types of searches envisioned in the bill will lead to system crashes and significant delays during the intake and release process,” said Messner, according to the Village Voice. “The only way the department could possibly comply with the bill would be a manual count of over half a million invoices each year.”

PETS was put in place in 2012, yet NYPD officials told the council last week that the system is too antiquated to meet the demands of the proposed transparency bill. Upon installation of PETS, however, the NYPD touted it as able to offer “the cradle-to-grave life cycle of property and evidence… visible upon demand,” and entered the system into the 2012 Computerworld Honors, which acknowledges “those who use Information Technology to benefit society,”according to Ars Technica.

When asked by the council whether they had come to the hearing with any kind of idea of how much money the NYPD actually seized last year, the officials said they did not.

“I find it strange that the most technologically sophisticated police force in the world cannot track its own property seizures. I just have trouble imagining that that’s the case,” said city councilmember Ritchie Torres during the hearing. “I’m skeptical about the NYPD’s testimony.”

To retrieve money or property, the defendant, whether or not they were charged with the crime they were accused of, must supply their own lawyer given the seizure is done through civil, not criminal, courts. Thus, the civil-forfeiture retrieval process is one most people cannot afford.

The NYPD did say during the hearing that, in 2015, more than $11,650 was legally forfeited, in which the NYPD made the case to a court why it should keep an amount of seized assets. But much more money is kept by the NYPD, given the process it takes to retrieve money or property seized by police as evidence is nearly impossible unless one has the wealth and legal resources to navigate the department’s administrative requirements for retrieval.

“Can a lay person be reasonably expected to defend themselves against the NYPD in their efforts to retrieve their property?” Torres asked Bronx Defenders attorney Adam Shoop during the hearing, according to Village Voice.

Shoop responded: “I don’t think a person can reasonably be expected to go through any of the administrative steps required to go about retrieving their property.”

The Bronx Defenders defense lawyers offer legal representation to low-income New Yorkers.

Though the NYPD says true reports of its seizures is next to impossible, Bronx Defenders admitted documents as part of its testimony detailing NYPD’s own accounting figures of such seizures. Those documents show that the NYPD had nearly $69 million in cash from seizures as of December 2013. That amount had been seized over a number of years, as the documents showed that the department brought in millions in revenue each month.

While NYPD officials maintained that the department’s technology is incapable of meeting the bill’s demands, they said the NYPD is willing “to work with the Council to achieve the goal of the bill,” Village Voice reported.

In January, the Bronx Defenders filed a federal lawsuit — Encarnacion v. City of New York — that challenged the NYPD’s civil-forfeiture process. The lawsuit, which has now reached class-action status, alleged that the NYPD’s failure to return items it seized related to cases that have been terminated is a violation of constitutional rights.

“Once a criminal case is over, the US Constitution does not permit the City to withhold someone’s personal property without justification,” attorney Eric Brenner said in June. “This City’s current policies violate the basic rights of individuals who need the cash and phones that the City is refusing to return.”

Bronx Defenders’ Molly Kovel added: “For people without access to an attorney, the hurdles they face to get their property back are simply too high, and they often give up. We hope this case leads to much-needed reform.”

Read more:

‘$1.2 billion slush fund’: Justice Dept. resumes controversial asset forfeiture ‘equitable sharing’

Funding ‘toys for police’: Best and worst states to have your assets seized

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , | 1 Comment

Shooting the messenger: Citizen journalists jailed for recording police

RT | August 27, 2016

Police practices are under fire as more and more recordings of excessive force and racist behavior surface. Some police departments have responded by trying to work with communities to regain trust lost, while others try to silence whistleblowers.

The availability of smartphones and cameras has empowered citizens to become guerrilla journalists who feel protected by the First Amendment. However, many have been shocked to discover revealing police misconduct may result in being targeted and harassed by law enforcement.

Filmmakers David Felix Sutcliffe and Laura Poitras have asked the documentary community to show their solidarity for civilian journalists by signing a petition. So far, the petition has at least 306 names, including multiple Academy Award-winning and nominated documentarians.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has endorsed their petition, saying in a statement, “Arrests of grassroots journalists who record police activities implicate not only the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, but also the very legitimacy of our legal system, which grounds its claim to power in impartiality. Yet, around the country, the law has subjected to penalties people pursuing constitutionally protected activities that enhance transparency, while turning a blind eye to the violence prompting residents to place themselves at risk.”

The petition asks the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the arrests of civilian journalists who film police actions. This shouldn’t be a difficult request, because the DOJ has acknowledged it as a problem in prior investigations.

In the DOJ’s 2015 report on the Ferguson Police Department (FPD), they wrote, “FPD officers also routinely infringe on the public’s First Amendment rights by preventing people from recording their activities,” and “the federal courts of appeal have held that the First Amendment ‘unambiguously’ establishes a constitutional right to videotape police activities.”

Despite this, citizens who record police often find themselves in the crosshairs. For example, the day after Chris LeDay filmed the death of Alton Sterling, he was detained after police told him that he “fit the description” of someone wanted on battery charges. He would end up spending the night in jail for unpaid fines, Complex reported.

Abdullah Muflahi owned the convenience store Sterling died in front of and is now suing the Baton Rouge Police Department after that they detained him for four hours while they confiscated his store’s security system along with his cellphone, the Daily Beast reported.

While police may be more aware of citizens’ rights to film them, they still have the power to make watchdogs and whistleblowers’ lives miserable. For example, Ramsey Orta’s name became public news when in 2014, he recorded the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Since then, Orta found himself on the NYPD’s radar. He claims they’ve harassed and targeted him. In January, he told Democracy Now! that after telling the Daily Mail he had a video of Eric Garner’s arrest, he was targeted.

“From then on, I’ve been targeted by the NYPD,” he said, explaining “I got five pending cases right now—two in Supreme Court, three in criminal. Since then, I’ve just been harassed. I’ve been almost killed in Rikers Island.”

It was not just him, but his family as well. His wife was arrested on assault charges.

“She got arrested for assault charges that were allegedly caught on camera,” Orta explained, but the charges were mysteriously dropped when they arrived at court.

His stints at Rikers Island were fraught with tension, as he only ate pre-packaged commissary foods after learning that guards were slipping rat poison into the food, he told Vice. In fact, a local New York newspaper managed to get photos of rat poison tablets in meatloaf.

Unfortunately for Ramsey, some of the charges thrown at him have managed to stick. On Saturday, he will begin serving four years on drug and weapons charges.

On his last day of freedom, he spoke with RT about what he experienced. He told RT that, “Internal Affairs came to my house, tried to get the video from me.”

Orta was no stranger to recording police activities prior to Garner’s death; he had been posting videos of what he believed to be excessive force on YouTube. However, he believes that the ability to do so may be at risk.

“That’s the only reason why they’re trying to pass laws to lock people up for it” he said.

Orta mentioned spending time with Kevin Moore, the man who filmed Freddie Gray’s arrest. Moore was arrested at a protest in May 2015 in a move that he believes was a form of witness intimidation. He told Vice that the police “waited until I got away from the protest and my people to protect me.”

Following the death of Freddie Gray, Moore was surprised to see his own face and personal information shared on the internet, saying he was wanted for questioning.

“They plastered my picture all over the internet hoping people would come forward and tell on me,” he said.

But for those who are willing to film, he advises anyone to “Make sure you have a legal team backing you up.”

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Surveillance guidelines routinely violated by NYPD – report

RT | August 24, 2016

The New York Police Department’s intelligence bureau routinely violated the famous Handschu Agreement, a set of 1985 guidelines that protect constitutional rights, for purely political reasons, according to a new inspector general report.

Inspector General Philip K. Eure of the NYPD released a report on Tuesday that found their intelligence bureau ignored the court-ordered guidelines for surveillance techniques on political activities, such as protests.

The report did not find any improper motivations but confirmed they ignored court-ordered protocol when investigating political activity. For example, Eure found that in 50 percent of relevant investigations, the NYPD continued investigation past the expiration of legal permission.

In addition, the report noted that the NYPD failed to properly document use of undercover agents and informers.

The 1985 Handschu Agreement is a strict set of guidelines that mandate how the NYPD must handle investigations of political, religious or ideological organizations. It resulted from a celebrated court case against the NYPD, filed way back in 1971 in the wake of the unsuccessful prosecution of members of the militant Black Panther movement. Prior to the Handschu agreement, the NYPD had a history of targeting political groups such as communists and the Black Panthers, going so far as to monitor members and infiltrate organizations to act as, “agents provocateurs to disrupt the activities of political organizations and to facilitate the arrests of organizational activists,” the New York Civil Liberties Union said.

Eure’s boss, Mark Peters, the city’s commissioner of investigation, announced: “This investigation demonstrates a failure by NYPD to follow rules governing the timing and authorizations of surveillance of political activity. While we found no evidence of improper motives, these rules are important to protect the rights of all New Yorkers and must be rigorously followed,” amNewYork reported.

The NYPD has scheduled a news conference to discuss the report’s findings.

August 24, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

NYPD Commissioner Bratton Resigns, Takes Job With Pro-Clinton, Pro-Israel Firm

As he moves into his new position at Teneo Holdings, Bratton will go from enforcing ‘broken windows’ to rubbing elbows with those gathered at the nexus between law enforcement, the national security state, the military-industrial complex, and U.S.-U.K.-NATO foreign policy.

IMG_0773

Former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton Speaks at The First National Personal Security Conference in Israel, 2014. (Photo: Israeli Ministry of Public Security)
By Eric Draitser | Mint Press News | August 5, 2016

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton formally announced his resignation on Tuesday, marking the end of a tumultuous second term as the NYPD’s top cop.

Bratton, largely seen as the architect of the “broken windows” law enforcement strategy that targets low-level offenses in order to stop larger offenses, has been heavily criticized by social justice advocates, who have charged that Bratton’s tactics amount to a targeting of people of color who are then saddled with criminal records, promoting further problems for themselves and their families.

While Bratton touts his record on crime – NYC has seen crime, especially violent crime, continue to drop to record lows under Bratton – he has a much more dubious record when it comes to police-community engagement. If anything, Bratton has become a lightning rod for criticism, especially in the wake of the 2014 murder of Eric Garner by NYPD officers, none of whom faced any criminal repercussions. Bratton faced similar criticisms in his other positions, including in Los Angeles and Boston, where he was sharply criticized for many of the same policies.

His resignation provides yet another scandalous example of how Bratton represents the very worst of the political establishment in the United States. While some will be celebrating his retreat from public office, it is critical to note that Bratton has accepted a job with Teneo Holdings, a consulting group closely linked to the Clinton political machine, as well as Israel and its lobby.

And it is here, at the crossroads of the national security state and the political ruling class, that Bratton will continue to protect and serve — the interests of the elite, that is.

Behind the curtain at Teneo Holdings

Teneo Holdings may ring a bell for political junkies, mainly because of the controversy that erupted in 2013 after it was revealed that Huma Abedin, the top aide to Hillary Clinton and wife of disgraced New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, had failed to disclose that she was simultaneously employed by the State Department and as a consultant for Teneo.

Of course, it wasn’t simply the lack of transparency that was of concern, but rather the obvious conflict of interest for a State Department employee with access to top level cabinet officials in the Obama administration to be representing outside interests. Indeed, this sort of highly unethical move by a close Clinton confidante is really par for the course for Hillary (and Bill) whose unethical dealings include overseeing arms deals to Clinton Foundation donors, appointing Clinton Foundation donors to key State Department positions, and raising money from individuals closely connected to foreign governments, among others.

However, it is the relationship between the Clintons and Teneo that is of particular interest.

Teneo Holdings was founded by Douglas Band, a close adviser to former President Bill Clinton, and Declan Kelly, a major Clinton fundraiser and special envoy to Northern Ireland for Hillary when she was Secretary of State. Writing for Politico, Rachael Bade, reported in April:

“While serving as Clinton’s special envoy, reaching out to global corporations for those investments, [Kelly] was also working for two of them as a private consultant — earning about $2.4 million from Dow Chemical, a longtime client of his and one of the firms that participated in Clinton’s Ireland initiative.”

Once again, highly improper conflicts of interest seem to be as instinctive as breathing when it comes to the Clintons. But it is precisely these connections between political elites, major financial and corporate players, and the people behind Teneo, that is of most interest. Again, Bade explains:

“With Bill Clinton serving in the paid position of honorary chairman, and Hillary as secretary of state, Teneo [became] a blend of public relations advice for CEOs and more technical investor relations work. Corporate executives paid $250,000 a month — sometimes more — for consulting and assistance. They also, in some cases, got to hobnob with a former president. The firm forged a mutually beneficial relationship with the Clinton Global Initiative, the fancy annual Clinton Foundation event starring the former president and other world leaders. The New York Times and The New Republic first reported three years ago how the philanthropic gathering provided an ideal nexus for Teneo to both recruit new clients and enhance the visibility of existing clients by getting them speaking roles.”

It’s not difficult to see just what Teneo was doing: using connections and influence peddling to become one of the world’s premier consulting firms, one which could guarantee corporate interests and foreign states access to the most influential individuals in the uppermost echelons of power in the U.S. It’s not exactly the sort of product that just any run-of-the-mill consultancy could deliver.

And so, former NYPD Commissioner Bratton is heading to Teneo to serve as the head of the new risk management division where, according to the Wall Street Journal, he will “advise CEOs on how to deal with issues ranging from terrorism to cybercrime.” And Bratton is not alone; he joins former Clinton and Obama envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, as well as former British foreign secretary William Hague, as Teneo’s latest high-profile hire.

Again, the influence peddling and access is what is critical here. Bratton, Mitchell, and Hague represent the nexus between law enforcement, the national security state, the military-industrial complex, and U.S.-U.K.-NATO foreign policy.

Teneo, Israel, and the U.S. Empire

The connections between key figures in the Teneo/Clinton orbit and Israel abound. Take for instance the fact that Mitchell, one of the most well-connected political operators in the Middle East, is a senior advisor for Teneo while he has maintained working relationships with many members of the Israeli government and state. Crispin Hawes, managing director of Teneo Intelligence, is also closely connected to the region, having been Eurasia Group’s leading expert on the Middle East and North Africa.

Bratton, himself, has cultivated extremely close and friendly ties with the Israeli state. In May 2014, Bratton gave the keynote address at Israel’s National Conference on Personal Security in Jerusalem, a conclave of some of the leading figures in Israel’s (and the United States’) national security apparatus. The conference included influential attendees from around the world.

(Photo: Israeli Ministry of Public Security)

Bratton poses with Israeli officials at the First National Personal Security Conference in Israel. (Photo: Israeli Ministry of Public Security)

But this was certainly not the only time that Bratton had direct dealings with, and praise for, the security state of apartheid Israel. In fact, as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Bratton nurtured cooperative relations between the LAPD and Israeli security forces. As The Jewish Journal reported in 2014:

“The LAPD-Israel bond was in large part fused by former LAPD Chief William Bratton, who made official trips to Israel to learn about the country’s advanced counter-terrorism tactics during his chiefdom from 2002 to 2009. At a town hall meeting in Los Angeles near the end of his term, Bratton said of Israeli intelligence experts: ‘They are our allies. They are some of the best at what they do in the world, and that close relationship has been one of growing strength and importance.’”

In fact, those close ties between Bratton’s LAPD and Israel have endured long since his tenure in Los Angeles was over. The LAPD routinely sends officers and other officials to Israel for training and other initiatives, as do members of other police forces, including Boston and New York, both of which saw Bratton as police chief.

It’s no wonder then that the violent and brutal repression practiced by Israeli security forces against Palestinians has become a staple of U.S. law enforcement. Shoot first and lie about what happened. Shoot first and blame the victim. It works in the West Bank just as it does in Ferguson and Baltimore and Baton Rouge. And, in both cases, the guilty are exonerated while being held up as heroes by the media and political establishment. All the while, the body count keeps rising.

Bratton, of course, has no qualms with this, just as he’ll relish the opportunity to rub elbows with the world’s most influential people as he transitions to his new job with Teneo.

One evening soon Bratton will be sitting with the likes of Doug Band, Declan Kelly, and maybe even Bill and Hillary Clinton. They will toast to each others’ success as they laugh about the Crime Bill of 1994, the mass incarceration state, the prison-industrial complex, and the danger of “superpredators.” They’ll share stories about how their heroic policies, widely perceived as unabashedly racist, changed the American social fabric, making America safe again, to borrow a nauseating line from Donald Trump. They may even lament that they didn’t do more to expand the draconian policies for which they’ve come to be known.

They’ll also be cashing their checks. Big ones. Courtesy of the City of New York, Los Angeles, Israel, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. And it goes almost without saying that at no point will Bratton and his Teneo cronies ever remember just how many hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of lives they’ve ruined, families they’ve destroyed, and children their policies killed.

Such is the sociopathy of power in the Empire.

August 6, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Netanyahu Corruption Scandal Envelops Wealthy U.S. Haredi Family

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | July 17, 2016

… I reported yesterday on an investigation that has caught up Netanyahu, his son, Yair, possibly his wife, Sara, and his former chief of staff Ari Harow. …

Today, a Channel 2 news report snares a new player in the scandal, Shlomo Rechnitz. There’s a baseball saying: you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. As this criminal probe expands, I’ll try to keep the players clearly identified and offer some background.

robert reichnitz & netanyahu

Robert Rechnitz with pal, Bibi Netanyahu

Rechnitz comes from a wealthy, extended ultra-Orthodox family based in California.  The scion of the family and Shlomo’s uncle, is Robert Rechnitz, a real estate investor who founded the Bomel Companies and an Israeli subsidiary, Bomel Israel. He has been vice chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and founded a Congressional lobbying group on behalf of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system (or should I say, “racket system?) the Iron Dome Tribute.  He even developed a branding slogan: “the Humane Defensive Weapon.” I always thought the words “humane” and “weapon” were oxymorons. But not in the topsy-turvy world that is pro-Israel advocacy.

I learned all this not from Wikipedia or Rechnitz’s corporate biography, but from the corporate PR firm Rechnitz hired to polish his image, the Friedlander Group.  Unfortunately, he didn’t hire them to monitor the reputation of his children and close family members. Because now two of them are in very hot water.

His nephew, Shlomo owns the largest nursing home conglomerate in California: Brius Healthcare Services (brius is the Yiddish version of the word for “health”). The State of California has investigated his firm numerous times for violations of health regulations. He was the subject of a class-action suit. His Pasadena nursing care facility was accused of recruiting felons as patients. Several employees faced criminal charges from that escapade. He complained once to the Sacramento Bee that the charges against him made him out to be “the Charles Manson of the nursing home business.” I’m guessing no one from Friedlander was available to accompany him to this interview. That image really sticks in your mind.

Not to mention the time he announced that his employees, for whom he’d purchased 18,000 Powerball tickets, had won the Powerball jackpot. The NY Times even featured him in a major story. Well, it turns out it wasn’t true. It was all a hoax, supposedly perpetrated by the son of one of the “winning” employees.

Rechnitz is also reported to have bought the anti-Haredi blog, Failed Messiah, written for years by Shmaryahu Rosenberg. Rechnitz and many of his associates had been skewered in its posts for years.  Though conditions of the sale were not made public, they apparently bar Rosenberg from creating a new blog; or at least one covering the same subject as his old one. That online property promptly disappeared from the internet.  Clearly, the Haredi community had withstood the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune from Rosenberg’s pen for too long. The tycoon stepped in to end the attacks.  Lately, a new iteration of the blog, Lost Messiah, was launched by readers of the old blog who wished to maintain the service it had done to the Orthodox community and the Jewish world.

Rechnitz appears to be playing a lead role in the Scandal of the Day as a major donor to Netanyahu and the Likud. His uncle, Robert, was the western chair of American Friends of the Likud, which would mean he both donated and raised massive sums from Orthodox Jews on behalf of the Israel far-right. As such, the elder Rechnitz would’ve worked closely with Ari Harow, the man in the spotlight of the current scandal. That’s how Shlomo would’ve come to the attention of the Israeli police investigating the money-laundering operation.

I haven’t dug deeply into the background of Victor Deutsch, Harow’s former business partner. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he too is Orthodox and perhaps a close friend of the Rechnitz family. If this guess turns out to be true, Deutsch would have excellent motive to benefit Harow and the Likud by the sort of fraudulent business transaction they’re accused of arranging, in selling the latter’s company for $3-million in largely unaccounted-for funds.

Jonah Reichnitz

Jona Rechnitz: show him the money!

Another Rechnitz facing the glare of bad PR is Jona, Robert’s son and cousin to Shlomo. Jona attended Yeshiva University and was photographed during his student days visiting the Cave of the Patriarch, a venerated settler holy site where Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers.

Jona began his career in real estate working for Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel. Leviev, who began his own career as a blood diamond merchant to the stars, also maintains vast real estate holdings in the U.S., Britain and Israel. His company has also built Israeli settlements. Jona helped manage the Leviev real estate portfolio in New York until they had a falling out. After that, Rechnitz formed his own company, JSR Capital.

Jona and another wealthy Hasidic Jew have been swept up in the bribery and corruption scandal which has rocked the De Blasio administration in New York City. They did favors for the corrupt head of the city prison officers union, Norman Seabrook, and offered gifts and benefits to senior police officers in the precinct where they lived.  Among the crooked deals was a $60,000 payment to Seabrook (paid in a $1,000 Ferragamo hand bag) in return for the union boss’ steering $20-million to a Rechnitz associate’s investment fund. Seabrook was miffed as he’d been told he could net $150,000 from the arrangement.

Among other favors were all-expenses paid gambling junkets to Las Vegas on a private jet.  Another part of the entertainment provided was a prostitute dressed as a flight attendant whose “services” included far more than providing drinks and snacks.

Presumably, Rechnitz did this so he could gain favorable service response and attention from local police personnel in Brooklyn Orthodox neighborhoods. But he had even bigger ambitions, which led him and his associate to make six-figure donations to various DeBlasio political fundraising vehicles once he’d won the Democratic mayoral primary.

Jona lobbied the City Council and succeeded in gaining a $655,000 “discretionary” allocation to underwrite a “cultural sensitivity” police training seminar hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which was Rechnitz’ pet project.  Presumably, part of the curriculum was learning sensitivity to the special interests of the Haredi community.  You certainly won’t find any sensitivity to the Muslim community in this program.

All of this paints a portrait of a wealthy Haredi family parlaying money into political clout on a local, national and international scale. Unlike other American families in which wealth is wielded within discrete nuclear families, in the Haredi world extended families (clans) unite to pursue objectives that benefit both their families personally and their extended Orthodox communities. It’s certainly cleaner and less deadly than the old Italian mob. But as the Netanyahu investigation shows, it’s no less venal and corrupt.

July 18, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYPD officer dodges jail for stomping on man’s head, adds to ‘not uncommon’ cop crime stats

RT | June 24, 2016

A New York Police Department officer has avoided hard time at notorious Rikers Island prison for stomping on a head of a handcuffed man despite cries for help. Aside from two years’ probation, the cop is required to resign within 24 hours.

“This police officer intentionally and needlessly stomped on the head of a suspect who had already been restrained by fellow officers,” Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said at the sentencing Thursday. “And he did so in broad daylight and in front of a crowd of people.”

In April, Joel Edouard, 38, was found guilty after an amateur video showed him and other police officers arresting Jahmiel Cuffee in the summer of 2014. It was Edouard who, during the attempted arrest, pointed a gun at Cuffee and then kicked him in the head, despite bystanders yelling that he was being recorded.

Cuffee suffered scrapes and bumps, a contusion, dizziness, headaches and nausea.

At first he was charged with attempting to tamper with evidence, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. As charges were dropped for Cuffee, Edouard found himself under investigation.

“He deserved to spend time in jail for committing such a blatant act of police brutality, but we accept the sentence imposed by the court,” Thompson said.

The DA initially recommended sentencing Edouard to 60 days in Rikers Island prison and an additional two years’ probation.

However, Judge Alan Marrus imposed only a part of the recommendation, explaining that he saw no “need to incarcerate” Edouard because “the victim recovered and was compensated through civil judgement,” according to the New York Daily News.

Marrus agreed with two years’ probation and also ordered Edouard, who has been on modified assignment, to resign by his own choice.

“If the [Police] Commissioner doesn’t terminate the defendant in 24 hours, the defendant must turn in a letter of resignation,” said Marrus, calling the case “a setback for police community relations.”

‘Police crimes not uncommon’

Since the 2014 police killing of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, law enforcement agencies across the US have seen community relations significantly sour.

Michael Brown’s death at the hands of white officer Darren Wilson touched off mass demonstrations in Ferguson and across the US against racial profiling, police brutality, police impunity and the judicial system in America.

A recent study by Bowling Green State University titled ‘Police integrity lost: a study of law enforcement officers arrested’ has not enhanced that reputation of police officers nationwide.

It revealed that US police officers get arrested about 1,100 times a year, meaning that roughly three cops are charged every day. The data covers 2,529 state and local law enforcement agencies from 1,205 counties and independent cities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“The first general observation is that police crimes are not uncommon,” the study said. “Police officers get arrested for crimes with some regularity in jurisdictions around the nation.”

Between 2005 and 2011, the period the study covered, the number of arrest cases jumped from 444 to 1,238. In seven years, there were 6,724 criminal cases launched, leading to the arrest of 5,545 individual police officers.

“These cases threaten to undermine public trust in both the authority and legitimacy of state and local law enforcement organizations, and the work of law-abiding sworn officers who go about their job selflessly, efficiently, and professionally every day,” the study read.

The government-funded study reflects a broad range of offenses committed by police, which are commonly related to sex, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence and extortion.

Nearly 60 percent of those crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” lead researcher Philip M. Stinson wrote.

At the same time, he explained, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”

Read more:

Police body cams fail to curb officers’ use of force; linked to surge in assaults on cops – study

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Activist and Author Arrested by NYPD Following Book Launch Event

By Jean Casella and James Ridgeway | Solitary Watch | March 16, 2016

Five Mualimm-ak, an activist, survivor of solitary, and contributor to our book Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement, was arrested Tuesday night moments after leaving a book launch event where he was a speaker, held at the Open Society Foundations in Midtown Manhattan.

Mualimm-ak had read from his essay in Hell Is a Very Small Place to a packed house at OSF, and spoken about his five years in solitary confinement in New York State prisons. Released from prison in 2012, he has gone on to become an activist against solitary and mass incarceration and founder of the Incarcerated Nation Corporation, which aids and organizes formerly incarcerated individuals.

Eyewitnesses say that Mualimm-ak and veteran activist Joseph “Jazz” Hayden, who had attended the event, were leaving the OSF building on West 57th Street when they saw police officers confronting a homeless man. Hayden began filming the encounter and was arrested. Mualimm-ak protested Hayden’s arrest, and was arrested as well.

The two men were taken to the nearby Midtown North Precinct and placed in the cells. Five individuals who had attended the launch event walked to the precinct to inquire after their welfare. Shortly after arriving, they were arrested as well, handcuffed, detained, and finally released after being charged with “refusal to disperse.”

In the early hours of the morning, Mualimm-ak and Hayden were sent from the precinct to Central Booking in Lower Manhattan. They have been charged with Obstruction of Government Administration and are expected to be arraigned today at approximately 2 pm, in New York County Criminal Court at 100 Centre Street. They have legal representation.

More details will be provided as they emerge, here and on Solitary Watch’s social media feeds.

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

NYPD wants to make “resisting arrest” into a felony

By Cory Doctorow | boingboing | February 14, 2016

It’s no secret that “resisting arrest” is the go-to excuse for violence committed against suspects by corrupt cops — it’s practically a running gag.

But if NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton gets his way, resisting arrest will offer near-perfect impunity to his force’s most violent and sleazy officers, who will be able to threaten anyone who complains about gratuitous violence during arrests with long prison sentences and felony records.

The Commission has suggested that he will be able to curb abuses of the new powers by having the police investigate fellow officers who lay higher-than-average resisting arrest charges in the course of their duties.

In theory, a resisting arrest charge allows the state to further punish suspects who endanger the safety of police officers as they’re being apprehended; in practice, it gives tautological justification to cops who enjoy roughing people up. Why did you use force against that suspect, officer? Because she was resisting arrest. How do I know you’re telling the truth? Because I charged her with it, sir.

Consider a few recent would-be felons:

* Chaumtoli Huq, former general counsel to NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, who was charged with resisting arrest for waiting for her family outside the Times Square Ruby Tuesday’s.

*Jahmil-El Cuffee, who was charged with resisting arrest after he found himself on the receiving end of a head-stomp from a barbarous cop because he was allegedly rolling a joint. (“Stop resisting!” cops screamed at him as he lay helpless, pinned under a pile of officers.)

*Denise Stewart, who was charged with resisting arrest after a gang of New York’s Finest threw her half-naked from her own apartment into the lobby of her building. (They had the wrong apartment, it turned out.)

*Santiago Hernandez, who was charged with resisting arrest after a group of cops beat the shit out of him following a stop-and-frisk. “One kicks me, he steps back. Another one comes to punch me and he steps back…They were taking turns on me like a gang,” Hernandez told reporters.

*Eric Garner, who no doubt would have been charged with resisting had the chokehold from Daniel Pantaleo not ended his life first.

NYPD Has a Plan to Magically Turn Anyone It Wants Into a Felon [Andy Cush/Gawker]

February 15, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Documents Uncover NYPD’s Vast License Plate Reader Database

By Mariko Hirose | NYCLU | January 25, 2016

Supporters of license plate readers are fond of saying that unless you’re a criminal, you needn’t fear the invasive technology. But those who adhere to that argument should consider just a few examples from around the country:

  • A police officer in Washington D.C. pleaded guilty to extortion after looking up the plates of cars near a gay bar and blackmailing the car’s owners.
  • The DEA contemplated using license plate readers to monitor people who were at a gun show. Since the devices can’t distinguish between those who are selling illegal guns and those who aren’t, a person’s presence at the gun show would have landed them in a DEA database.
  • A SWAT team in Kansas raided a man’s house where his wife, 7-year-old daughter, and 13-year-old son lived based in part on the mass monitoring of cars parked at a gardening store. The man was held at gunpoint for two hours while cops combed through his home. The police were looking for a marijuana growing operation. They did not find that or any other evidence of criminal activity in the man’s house.

With these stories firmly in mind, the New York Civil Liberties Union’s latest license plate reader discovery is all the more chilling.

Last year, we learned that the NYPD was hoping to enter into a multi-year contract that would give it access to the nationwide database of license plate reader data owned by the company Vigilant Solutions. Now, through a Freedom of Information Law request, the NYCLU has obtained the final version of the $442,500 contract and the scope-of-work proposal that gives a peek into the ever-widening world of surveillance made possible by Vigilant.

Surveillance is about power. Vigilant gives the NYPD power to monitor our whereabouts and, by extension, our affiliations, interests, activities and beliefs.

The scope-of-work proposal explains how Vigilant vastly expands the NYPD’s surveillance capability beyond what was possible with its own license plate database. Known as the Domain Awareness System, it collects the license plate data scanned by the approximately 500 license plate readers operated by the NYPD and combines it with footage from cameras and other surveillance devices around the city. The NYPD holds on to the license plate data for at least five years regardless of whether a car triggers any suspicion.

The Vigilant database raises similar privacy concerns as the Domain Awareness System, but those concerns are greatly magnified because the Vigilant database is massive: It contains over 2.2 billion location data points, and it is growing by almost a million data points per day. The database also isn’t limited to New York City, which means the NYPD can now monitor your car whether you live in New York or Miami or Chicago or Los Angeles. (See Vigilant’s Nationwide Scan Density Map on page 64.) Even more worrisome, the data comes from private license plate readers that scan locations that the police are less likely to scan: residential areas, apartment complexes, retail areas, and business office complexes with large employee parking areas. And, as far as we can tell, there is no limit on how long Vigilant keeps all of this private location data. There is no incentive for Vigilant to delete any data because its business model is to profit off of selling people’s data.

The Vigilant database also boasts “full suite data analytics tools.” These tools allow police officers to track cars historically or in real time, conduct a virtual “stakeout,” figure out which cars are commonly seen in close proximity to each other, and predict likely locations to find a car.

With this volume of private data and these types of tools, Vigilant enables the NYPD to learn intimate details about people’s lives with a click of a mouse. Through the “stakeout” feature, the NYPD may learn who was at a political rally, at an abortion clinic, or at a gay bar. Through the predictive analysis, the NYPD may learn that a person is likely to be near a mosque at prayer time or at home during certain hours of the day.  Through the “associate analysis,” the NYPD may come to suspect someone of being a “possible associate” of a criminal when the person is simply a family member, a friend, or a lover.

Until now, law enforcement agencies under contract with Vigilant, including the NYPD, have said very little in public about how they use the database and what privacy protections they implement. That needs to change. Fifty police officers at the NYPD’s Real Crime Center have access to the Vigilant database and tools every day. The public has the right to know what rules regulate their access and what oversight mechanisms, if any, are in place. They have the right to know when and how the police are using the database and what the consequences are.

Surveillance is about power. Vigilant gives the NYPD power to monitor our whereabouts and, by extension, our affiliations, interests, activities and beliefs. By demanding answers to critical questions about NYPD’s use of Vigilant and other surveillance tools, New Yorkers can begin to take back the power imbalance created by the new era of mass digital surveillance.

January 26, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Transparency is Expensive — NYPD Charges News Network $36,000 For Body Camera Footage

By John Vibes | The Free Thought Project | January 18, 2016

New York, NY – In the wake of growing controversy surrounding police violence, more police departments are equipping their officers with body cameras. However, while police-worn body cameras can bring extra evidence into cases on both sides, they are far from a fix for police brutality. The main obstacle with these cameras is the fact that the footage is still entirely controlled by police departments.

The officer in the field has an opportunity to turn the camera on and off at their discretion. The cops in the office then have a second opportunity to edit the footage or redact parts that might make the officer look bad or incriminate them. Additionally, police departments are often guilty of withholding body camera footage from victim’s families and news organizations.

In one recent case, the NYPD charged a TV news network $36,000 for body camera footage, stating that it would cost them that much to prepare the footage for the network. The network is now suing the police department, stating that the high price undermines the transparency that body cameras have been promised to bring. Charging obnoxious prices for the release of body camera footage is just another trick that the police use to keep their activities from going public.

According to the lawsuit, filed by Time Warner Cable News NY1:

“[NYPD] denied NY1’s request for unedited footage without specifying what material it plans to redact, how much material will be excluded from disclosure, or how the redaction will be performed. Instead, Respondents suggested that they may provide NY1 with edited footage, but only on the condition that NY1 remit $36,000.00, the alleged cost to the NYPD of performing its unidentified redactions.”

The lawsuit also stated that the NYPD’s policy was “counter to both the public policy of openness underlying FOIL (Freedom of Information Law), as well as the purported transparency supposedly fostered by the BWC (body worn camera) program itself.”

The police department claims that their fee is “reasonable” considering the time and effort required to edit the footage.

In a response to NY1, the NYPD sent a letter explaining their costs.

The letter stated that:

“The RAO’s estimate of the cost of processing a copy of the BWC footage was reasonable based on an estimate that the total time of footage recorded during the five weeks specified in the FOIL request was approximately 190 hours, and in addition to the 190 hours required to view the recordings in real time, an additional 60% (or 114 hours) will be required to copy the BWC footage in a manner that will redact the exempt portions of the BWC footage, for a total of approximately 304 hours. The lowest paid NYPD employee with the skills required to prepare a redacted copy of the recordings is in the rank of police officer, and the costs of compensating a police officer is $120 per hour. Multiplying $120 by 304 hours equals $34,480 which closely approximates the amount estimated by the RAO. This approximate cost does not include the time required to locate and collate the recordings, for which no charge is made, as that time is a part of the search for responsive records, and not a part of the time required for copying. In sum, the copying cost, as estimated by the RAO, is reasonable and commensurate with the breadth of the FOIL request.”

Even if their claims are true, which they most likely are not, having the police handle body camera footage “in house” is obviously not the best option for transparency or cost, considering the inflated budgets that police officers enjoy.

Many advocates for police accountability suggest that body camera footage should be open source, and in the hands of the people and not the police. This could likely be handled by teams of volunteers and donors who could keep the project running without a large budget.

When there is a project that has enough support, it will usually receive sufficient donations from individuals, businesses and charity organizations to keep the program operating. We saw this in the U.S. a few years back, when the government pulled the plug on funding for the SETI space program. This was a program that many people still wanted despite the government’s decision to cut funding. In fact, they wanted it around so badly that over 2,400 different donations were received in a single week, easily surpassing their goal of $200,000.

If put in the hands of the public, police body camera footage could work in the same way, but this option has been unanimously rejected by police departments across the country.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment