Lifting Iran Sanctions may be threatened by bill compensating American Hostages

Posting this from April in draft form right now….so far it has only been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations 

CRS Report from July 30, 2015 The Iran Hostages:Efforts to Obtain Compensation

Many might be unaware that the 52 American mostly military and diplomatic personnel held hostage in Tehran for 444 days continue to strive for significant compensation for their ordeal. The former hostages and their families did receive a number of benefits under various civil service laws, and each hostage received from the U.S. government a cash payment of $50 for each day held hostage. The hostages have never received any compensation from Iran through court actions, all efforts having failed due to foreign sovereign immunity and an executive agreement known as the Algiers Accords, which bars such lawsuits. Congress took action to abrogate Iran’s sovereign immunity in the case Roeder v. Islamic Republic of Iran, but never successfully abrogated the executive agreement, leaving the plaintiffs with jurisdiction to pursue their case but without a judicial cause of action. Having lost their bids in the courts to obtain recompense, the former hostages have turned to Congress for relief. This report outlines the history of various efforts, including legislative efforts and court cases, and describes one bill currently before Congress, the Justice for Former American Hostages in Iran Act of 2015 (S. 868). 


Kristina Dei told me this is “not gonna happen.”  But here we go anyway.

One day after President Obama had threatened to veto a new bill in Congress that would prevent the White House from lifting Congressional economic sanctions on Iran, Obama has now said he would sign the new law.  Obama can still veto the vote that opposes the Iran deal.  Yesterday (April 14th) on NPR’s All Things Considered David Welna explained the changes to host Robert Siegel.

SIEGEL: David, as recently as yesterday, the White House said that President Obama would veto any bill that put constraints on his freedom to negotiate with Iran. Now the White House indicates that the president can support this bill. What changed?

WELNA: The bill changed. The period for a congressional review of the final deal, during which sanctions could not be lifted was shrunk from 60 days to 30 days in a bipartisan deal that was worked out last night. And the bill was also stripped of language that was a deal-breaker for the White House, which would have required that the president certify every 90 days to Congress that Iran had not been involved in any terrorist activities against the United States.

Now the bill simply requires that the president report to Congress any terrorist activities Iran may have been involved in. And with those changes, the White House was no longer wielding a veto threat today.

The deal could also be threatened by Iran if they continue to insist that sanctions be lifted at once and negotiators don’t agree to that condition.

“The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran,” said Rouhani

There are in place many sanctions against Iran.

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/iran.aspx

State Dept
http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/iran/index.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_Iran


CRS Iran Sanctions March 2015 https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS20871.pdf

BBC Iran sanctions http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-15983302


But this bill could pose a threat to any lifting of sanctions later down the road.  
http://www.govexec.com/defense/2015/04/us-hostages-1979-iranian-revolution-may-finally-be-compensated/110260/

Attached to the larger Iran negotiations bill is a bill (S. 868) that would seek compensation and justice for the hostages—most of whom endured torture– by imposing a 30 percent surcharge on the fines of any entity such as a business that violates economic sanctions against Iran.


TIME Joe Klein Iran http://time.com/3814979/bye-bye-great-satan/

“The question is,” Ramin went on, “how can America remain the Great Satan if you’re making deals with them?” That’s why people were dancing in the streets of Tehran. “It was the prospect of a better economy, for sure, but it was also the hope that this was the beginning of the end of the Islamic Republic.”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/hostages-what-hostages_914652.html

Last December, it appeared justice might be served. Funds for hostage compensation were put in the U.S. budget. The money would come from fines collected from violators of sanctions against Iran—money not covered by the Algiers Accords. But that compensation was yanked from the budget at the last minute.

Now, with the Obama administration and Iran on the verge of a deal aiming to curb the Iranian nuclear program, Congress may act. A bill introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) would provide compensation. How much? In recent years, a consensus among federal judges has been reached on the amount a hostage, if injured, should receive. Each of the 39 hostages still living—all of whom endured physical or mental injury—would get $10,000 for each day in captivity, and spouses and children would get half that figure.

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Sabrina de Sousa and the Rendition of Abu Omar

Former CIA agent Bob Baer says 

If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan.

If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria.

If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt.

Mother Jones reported that

Then-CIA director George Tenet testified before the 9/11 Commission that there were more than 80 renditions before September 11, 2001. We found information on 29 cases of extraordinary and ordinary rendition prior to 9/11. Of the 14 that qualify as extraordinary renditions, 12 were to Egypt.

This is the story of Abu Omar, a prisoner sent to Egypt that we heard from again, and Sabrina de Sousa, one of the CIA agents charged in his rendition case of kidnapping.  Both continue to fight for justice more than 10 years later.  Abu Omar’s case was heard on June 23, 2015 at the European Court of Human Rights.  Italy denied it’s role in the rendition, claiming that Abu Omar

“was captured exclusively by CIA agents”, Paolo Accardo, lawyer for the Italian government, told the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“The applicant was never – not even for one moment – in the hands of Italian authorities, nor has he been lawfully detained for some time by Italian authorities,” said Accardo.

The Rendition

On February 17, 2003 as more than 3 million protesters gathered in Rome against the imminent war in Iraq, with millions more protesting in cities around the world, Sabrina de Sousa was

chaperoning her son’s high school trip at Madonna Di Campiglio, a popular ski area in northern Italy.

Working for the CIA since the mid-1990’s, she was transferred to the US Consulate in Milan in the spring of 2001.

She was one of more than 20 convicted in 2009 in absentia of orchestrating the rendition of Abu Omar from Italy to Egypt.

She was denied immunity from the State Department and has been fighting ever since to clear her name and hold those who are responsible accountable for the kidnapping and torture of an innocent man. The CIA has denied the existence of records

pertaining to the U.S. government’s investigation of Abu Omar’s rendition as well as determinations concerning the government’s obligation to defend her.

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar, a radical Egyptian cleric, had lived in Italy since 2001 (according to the Italian arrest warrant for Betnie Medero, Vincent Faldo and James Thomas Harbison) after receiving political asylum after the Egyptian government alleged that he was part of a terrorist group.  

In 2002 Egypt issued an arrest warrant for him after it was requested that they do so by Jeffrey Castelli.

While in Italy, Abu Omar spoke out publicly and vehemently against U.S. military action in Iraq prior to the March 2003 invasion. Italy responded by placing him under surveillance.

However at the time of his rendition Abu Omar was not under investigation.

The Kidnapping

Around noon on Monday, Feb. 17, 2003, Abu Omar left his apartment on Via Guerzoni in Milan for his daily walk to his mosque. Some at the CIA believed he had been plotting a 2002 attack against a bus full of students headed to an American school in Milan, Italian court records say.

A small car purred alongside him. Then a big white van. An Italian law enforcement official, who was collaborating with the CIA team, stepped out of the car and asked to see Omar’s identification. Moments later, two men burst out of the van. Omar, a hefty man, then about 40, was forced into the back. His mouth was taped shut. His feet and hands were bound. He was blindfolded, according to Italian court documents.

Hours later, the van sped onto Aviano Air Base in northeast Italy. From there, Omar was flown to a U.S. air base in Germany, then on to Egypt, where he was thrown into a Cairo prison. He was beaten, his wife told Italian investigators, according to the court documents. His genitals, she said, were subjected to electric shocks.

(Harvard National Security Journal footnote 2 page 2)

The abduction purportedly derailed Italy’s investigation of Omar. An Italian counterterrorism prosecutor claimed that “if Abu Omar had not been kidnapped, he would now be in [an Italian] prison, subject to a regular trial, and we would have probably identified his other accomplices.”

Italian counter-terrorism officials claimed that Omar fought in Bosnia and Afghanistan and recruited fighters for extremist Islamic causes. Omar’s attorney acknowledged that Omar illegally entered Italy in 1997 but that prior to that he had merely been traveling in Jordan, Yemen, Albania, and Germany. (MSNBC)

The court referred to Omar as a “[m]ilitant in Egypt of the Egyptian extremist organization Gama’a al Islamiya.” (footnote 1 pg 172)

The Trial

By analyzing cell phone records Italian prosecutors were able to “In July 2006, the prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for De Sousa, whom he identified as one of the four U.S. officials mainly responsible for the alleged kidnapping.”

Abu Omar ultimately was not charged with a crime and was released in February 2007.

That same month, an Italian judge indicted 26 U.S. government officials, including the plaintiff, for their alleged roles in the kidnapping. Six Italian officials were also charged.  Abu Omar, for his part, filed a separate civil suit in Italy.

Sabrina de Sousa returned to the United States in early 2004 after finishing her tour of duty in Italy.  (Pg 3, Opinion, Sabrina de Sousa vs State Dept)

The State Department only invoked diplomatic immunity for one person, Robert Seldon Lady, allegedly the CIA station chief in Milan.

“Lady received a sentence of eight years. The Italian judge found that a third alleged CIA operative, Jeffrey Castelli, the alleged CIA station chief in Rome, could not be convicted because he possessed diplomatic immunity.”

In 2009 de Sousa sued the State Department for failing to invoke diplomatic immunity, and in November 2014

She submitted FOIA requests to State, the CIA, and the Department of Defense for records pertaining to the U.S. government’s investigation of Abu Omar’s rendition as well as determinations concerning the government’s obligation to defend her. The CIA issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records. The other agencies did not substantively respond to her requests and De Sousa finally filed suit.

According to an exchange with a prosecutor, Mr Spataro, Abu Omar may have been kidnapped in order to recruit him as an agent.

“With regard to the question of whether Abu Omar had been kidnapped with the objective of recruiting him, Mr Spataro said that it was possible that there had been attempts to recruit him after the kidnapping, but he did not consider that Abu Omar’s possible recruitment was the aim of the kidnapping.”

Map of CIA Rendition Flights from Mother Jones


Abu Omar Rendition



In a 2007 Congressional hearing (video 2hrs 39) former CIA agent Michael Scheuer testified that

to the best of my knowledge, not a single target of rendition has ever been kidnapped by CIA officers. The claims to the contrary by the Swedish Government regarding Mr. Aghiza and his associate and those by the Italian Government regarding Abu Omar are either misstatements or lies by those governments.

An Italian arrest warrant issued on September 27, 2005 goes into more details about the torture Abu Omar endured, including threats made against his family as well.

Page 6

he added that he was made to sign a statement after the torture where he declared he had turned himself in to the Egyptian authorities of his own free will…

According to my husband, at first the Egyptians were astounded at having him there with them; this fueled my husband’s belief that he had not been kidnapped by Egyptians.. once freed, the Egyptian authorities told him he could go back to his work in Egypt, open up a store or even take up studying again, but he had to stay away from spreading any kind of Islamic propaganda. Some of the details I am recounting have also been learnt by my sister-in-law… I cannot provide precise information as to the traumas he endured.. I heard about the torture from his kin… at any rate, he said he had lost about 20 kilos as a result of the detention.. I do not believe my husband was able to provide any of the information they were after.. they merely ordered him to quit his propaganda activities..

Here from pages 7-8

“He had to meet an important personality.. the Egyptian Home Secretary HABIB AL ADLY…. In fact the minister… basically told him that if he agreed to work as an infiltrator for the Egyptian secret service, he would be home in 48 hours… otherwise he would have to bear full responsibility for his refusal.. Abu Omar refused.. he was forthwith taken to other Cairo premises, also managed by the secret service, where he stayed continually until his release on April 20th 2004.. He was subjected to serious torture.. the first measure was to leave him in a room where incredibly loud and unbearable noise was made.. he has experienced damage to his hearing.. The second kind of torture was to place him in a sauna at tremendous temperature and straight after to put him in a cold storeroom.. occasioning terrible pain to his bones.. as if they were cracking.. The third was to hang him upside down.. and apply live wires to the sensitive parts of the body including his genitals.. and producing electric shocks.. he has suffered damage to his motory and urinary systems.. he became incontinent.. They tortured him accusing him of being an Al Quaeda terrorist and a militant against the Egyptian regime.. they wanted to wrest information from him that he was unable to give.. they told him to consider himself, along with myself, Abu Imad (i.e. the imam of V.le Jenner) and Abu Saleh as terrorists … and that sooner or later the same fate would befall the three of us.. they would catch us as soon as possible.. they said they had agreements with the Italian authorities… that could easily ensure our capture.. If we didn’t turn ourselves in voluntarily.. they would kidnap us…

He told me the torture had been particularly ferocious for the first seven months in detention.. it had then diminished.. except whenever questions were asked about his role and his alleged involvement.. in the final stage of detention.. he underwent medical treatment.. also after his release.. He told me that he had been summoned one day by one of the superintendents of the secret service, who said that if he wanted to get out alive from that jail, he would have to declare he had left Italy for Egypt voluntarily, in order to clear his position.. he would have to keep quiet on everything else.. from the abduction to the torture.. they told him they would find out about any violation of the rules since everything was “under surveillance” also with the backing of the Egyptian judiciary.. if he rejected this proposal.. he would not leave the prison alive.. Before making a decision Abu Omar consulted other inmates.. who told him nobody gets out alive from that jail.. so they told him to accept.. So he did.. he was taken to an office in Alexandria.. he brother was told to fetch him there.. upon release Abu Omar was deprived of his papers.. and he was ordered not to disclose anything to anyone neither in Italy, nor Egypt, and certainly not to the press.. Abu Omar “breached” the agreement.. and for fear of being arrested again, he asked me not to divulge the information I had given him.. I had no other direct communication with Abu Omar aside from that first time and on May 7th.. for all other matters, I just got news from his wife..”

Abu Omar was only one of more than 50 people who were renditioned that Mother Jones magzine was able to count as of 2008 

What is Rendition and why was it used?  Amnesty International said in a statement for the record that

Amnesty International uses the term ‘‘rendition’’ to describe the transfer of individuals from one country to another, by means that bypass all judicial and administrative due process. In the ‘‘war on terror’’ context, the practice is mainly—although not exclusively—initiated by the United States, and carried out with the collaboration, complicity or acquiescence of other governments. The most widely known manifestation of rendition is the secret transfer of terror suspects into the custody of other states—including Egypt, Jordan, and Syria—where physical and psychological brutality feature prominently in interrogations. The rendition network’s aim is to use whatever means necessary to gather intelligence, and to keep detainees away from any judicial oversight.

However, the rendition network has also served to transfer people into U.S. custody, where they may end up in detention centers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Iraq, or Afghanistan, or in secret facilities known as ‘‘black sites’’ run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In a number of cases, individuals have been transferred in and out of U.S. custody several times.

continued

Rendition is sometimes presented simply as an efficient means of transporting terror suspects from one place to another without red tape. Such benign characterizations conceal the truth about a system that puts the victim beyond the protection of the law, and sets the perpetrator above it.

Renditions involve multiple layers of human rights violations. Most victims of rendition were arrested and detained illegally in the first place: some were abducted; others were denied access to any legal process, including the ability to challenge the decision to transfer them because of the risk of torture. There is also a close link between renditions and enforced disappearances. Many of those who have been illegally detained in one country and illegally transported to another have subsequently ‘‘disappeared,’’ including dozens who have ‘‘disappeared’’ in U.S. custody. Every one of the victims of rendition interviewed by Amnesty International has described incidents of torture and other ill-treatment. Because of the secrecy surrounding the practice of rendition, and because many of the victims have ‘‘disappeared,’’ it is difficult to estimate the scope of the program.

In many countries, families are reluctant to report their relatives as missing for fear that intelligence officials will turn their attention on them. The number of renditions cases currently appears to be in the hundreds: Egypt’s Prime Minister noted in 2005 that the United States had transferred some 60–70 detainees to Egypt alone, and a former CIA agent with experience in the region believes that hundreds of detainees have been sent by the United States to prisons in the Middle East. However, this is a minimum estimate. Rendition, like ‘‘disappearance,’’ is designed to evade public and judicial scrutiny, to hide the identity of the perpetrators and the fate of the victims.”

On page 12 Michael Scheuer testified about the origin of the rendition program under President Clinton

The CIA’s Rendition Program began in late summer, 1995. I authored it and then ran and managed it against al-Qaeda leaders and other Sunni Islamists from August, 1995, until June, 1999. There were only two goals for the program: First, to take men off the street who were planning or had been involved in attacks on the United States or its allies; second, to seize hard copy or electronic documents in their possession when arrested. Americans were never expected to read those, and they could provide options for follow-on operations.

I would like to add interrogation was never a goal under President Clinton. Why? Because it would be a foreign intelligence or security service without CIA being present or in control who would conduct the interrogation, because the take from the interrogation would be filtered by that service holding the individual and we never knew if it was complete or distorted, and because torture might be used and the information might be simply what an individual thought we wanted to hear.

The Rendition Program was initiated because President Clinton and Messrs. Lake, Berger and Clarke requested that the CIA begin to attack and dismantle al-Qaeda. These men made it clear from the first that they did not want to bring those captured to the United States or to hold them in U.S. custody. President Clinton and his national security team directed the CIA to take each captured al-Qaeda leader to the country which had an outstanding legal process for him. This was a hard-and-fast rule which greatly restricted CIA’s ability to confront al-Qaeda because we could only focus on al-Qaeda leaders who were wanted somewhere for a legal process. As a result, many al-Qaeda fighters we knew of and who were dangerous to America could not be captured.

CIA warned the President and his National Security Council that the U.S. State Department had and would identify the countries to which the captured fighters were being delivered as human rights abusers.

In response, President Clinton and his team asked if CIA could get each receiving country to guarantee that it would treat a person according to its own laws. This was no problem, and we did so. I have read and been told that Mr. Clinton, Mr. Berger and Mr. Clarke have said, since 9/11, that they insisted that each receiving country treat the rendered person it received according to U.S. legal standards. To the best of my memory, that is a lie.

Amnesty International called for accountability for renditions (PDF pg 5)

It is Amnesty International’s position that it is the illegal behavior of U.S. agents overseas and policies that directly contravene international law that have interfered with U.S. relations with its allies. Rather than criticize European bodies for investigating alleged human rights abuses, the United States should fulfill its own responsibility to conduct investigations and cooperate with others in order to ensure transparency and accountability for policies that violate its laws and treaty obligations.

….. 

No diplomatic assurances

• Prohibit the return or transfer of people to places where they are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

• Do not require or accept ‘‘diplomatic assurances’’ or similar bilateral agreements to justify renditions or any other form of involuntary transfers of individuals to countries where there is a risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

….. 

Julianne Smith, director and senior fellow, Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told the hearing that (PDF pg 6)

When it was alleged, however, later in 2005—at the end of 2005 that the United States was detaining top terror suspects in so-called ‘‘black sites’’ in eight countries and that the CIA was flying terror suspects between secret prisons and countries in the Middle East that have been known to torture detainees, the United States image in Europe took another dive.

On the particular issues of rendition, as we have heard earlier, Europeans appear to have two primary concerns, one, Washington’s unwillingness to grant due process to terror suspects and, two, violation of suspects’ human rights during interrogation.

How rendition hurts US intelligence relationships with other countries

pg 9

the United States knowingly removed one of Italy’s better sources in an ongoing investigation. According to a piece in The Chicago Tribune by John Crewdson in January of this year, the Italian intelligence services had had Abu Omar under surveillance for months. Through wire tapping and videotaping, the Italians were investigating Omar’s suspected role in helping young European Muslims travel to Iraq to fight against the anticipated invasion. When the CIA abducted Omar in Milan in February 2003 (despite its knowledge of the Italian surveillance operation), the trail went cold, ending a major Italian investigation. While it is still too early to tell, one wonders whether or not DIGOS, Italy’s anti-terrorist unit (which was not informed of the decision to render Omar), will be as forthcoming with intelligence next time they coordinate with the United States on similar matters.

In an interview with Democracy Now in October 2006 journalist Stephen Grey, who first exposed the use of renditions brilliantly explained the contradictions between the Bush Administration calling for democracy in the Middle East while cooperating with these dictatorships by sending accused terrorists to countries that knowingly torture,

they’ve talked about their agenda of spreading freedom and democracy in the Middle East, and yet the same people who are preventing that democracy from happening, the secret police of these countries, are on the other hand referred to as liaison partners in the war on terror, people we work with, the same people who are locking up dissidents who want to bring the kind of democracy that everyone, I think, in the United States would like to see in these countries.

The American people have been asking since 9/11 “why do they hate us?”  Our hypocrisy towards torture and rendition is certainly a large part of it, because people in the Middle East know what their governments do with the help of the United States, and it is only Americans are the ones kept in the dark.

Recently the link between Egypt and Italy has been in the news again as ISIS claimed responsibility for bombing the Italian consulate in Cairo.

NYT

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a powerful explosion outside the Italian Consulate’s compound in downtown Cairo early Saturday that killed one person and was the first major bombing of a foreign diplomatic mission since the start of an insurgency here nearly two years ago.

The explosion, which occurred about 6:15 a.m., jolted residents awake across the city and brought down slabs of the consulate’s outer walls. Initial reports from state television said the explosion was caused by a car bomb that had detonated near one of Cairo’s busiest intersections and under a major bridge.

….

Over the past few weeks, militants have assassinated the country’s top prosecutor, carried out a large-scale assault on troops stationed in the Sinai Peninsula and tried to attack Egypt’s best-known tourist attractions.

….

The attack on Saturday raised new questions about whether the government’s strategy — including its sweeping crackdown on dissidents — could tame the insurgency. Rather, the militants appeared to be broadening the scope of their attacks after months of targeting the security services and killing hundreds of police officers and soldiers.

Unlike previous statements, the claim of responsibility for the bombing on Saturday did not carry the logo of the “Sinai Province,” an Egyptian group based in the Sinai Peninsula that has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks and last year declared its affiliation with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. It was not clear whether the logo on the latest statement — which said “Islamic State, Egypt” — was meant to announce the arrival of a new group.

The statement did not say why the Italian Consulate had been targeted. The compound was far less heavily fortified than other Western diplomatic missions.

An Italian diplomat told The Associated Press that the consulate was closed at the time and that no staff members were wounded.

At least nine people were wounded, including a police officer and three passers-by who were from the same family, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

The New York Times said that ISIS did not say why they attacked the Italian Consulate, and while some have talked about ISIS’s desire to attack Rome as some apocalyptic goal, others have said it was simply a Western target, and the timing would indicate that casualties were not the aim.

Carol Grayson says that the group is the former affiliate

An IS affiliate previously known as Sinai Province posted their statement of responsibility on the bombing on social media. IS operatives haven’t yet reached Rome in their advance of the Caliphate however they are edging ever closer with today’s attack on an Italian institution.

While ISIS apparently did not cite a reason to targeting the Italian Consulate, other jihadis seem to be protesting the crackdown by the Egyptian coup government 

Egypt has been rocked by violence since then army chief Sisi overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

In an ensuing government crackdown, hundreds have been killed and thousands imprisoned, mostly supporters of Morsi.

Jihadists say their attacks are in retaliation for the crackdown.

Expect more attacks to continue as the response from Italy is more violence in response to violence

Following the blast, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a message posted on Twitter, “Italy will not let itself be intimidated,” announcing his country’s intention “to respond firmly but also soberly… without alarmism.”

No Italian was killed or hurt in the blast, he said.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also said Rome and Cairo would stand together “in the fight against terrorism and fanaticism.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, for her part, condemned the attack and said, “We stand by the Egyptian authorities in their efforts to fight terrorism and bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice.”

The Independent reports that  

The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, spoke with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt after the attack. According to a statement released later from Mr Renzi’s office, he expressed his strong support: “We will not leave Egypt alone: Italy and Egypt are and will always be together in the fight against terrorism.”

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Body Camera News

From PoliceOne  TASER International to split brands, announces Axon division


New division aimed at expanding the company’s technology platform


June 18, 2015 at 8:55 PM

By PoliceOne Staff
TASER International has unveiled a new division aimed at expanding the company’s technology platform.
Headquartered in Seattle, Axon will serve as an umbrella brand for the company’s body-worn cameras, digital evidence management software, mobile applications, analytics tools, and other forthcoming projects.

The company’s weapons division, which includes the X2 and X26P less lethal devices, will continue to use the TASER brand.
In a video announcement released this morning, TASER CEO Rick Smith detailed the company’s rationale for separating the brands, comparing TASER’s situation to that of Microsoft when it decided to split its Xbox gaming division in order to differentiate from its parent company’s association with office technology.
“Axon was the name that we used for selling cameras historically, but we realized that brand had the room to grow and encompass all of our connected technologies,” Smith said. 
Smith noted that Axon will function collaboratively with TASER in that its smart weapons use or interact with the same technologies found in the Axon suite. The company’s goal is for the two brands to reinforce each other and together form “a powerful set of products and services for law enforcement.”
For more information on the announcement, watch the launch video here.

***END of Article***

Here are my previous posts on body cameras

1) “2015 will be our Superbowl” says TASER where I discuss body cameras, Tasers and the money being made off of police brutality and a policy solution to the problem.

2) House passed Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill including some important amendments for police reform, including Joaquin Castro providing $10 million dollars for body cameras
3) The House also passed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included other amendments regarding police reform
4) There is an event on June 25th discussing police body cameras and privacy in Washington DC. 

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Bond Hearing of AME Church Shooting and Confederate Flag

Today was the bond hearing, shown live, of the AME church shooter

The families of the victims showed us all what true Christianity and love and forgiveness looks like

everyone was shocked when the Judge offered words of sympathy towards the family of the shooter, saying they are victims too

Here is the February arrest warrant for the shooter Here is the arrest warrant for the church shootings

 

Here is the South Carolina law

SECTION 16-11-535. Malicious injury to place of worship.

Whoever shall wilfully, unlawfully, and maliciously vandalize, deface, damage, or destroy or attempt to vandalize, deface, damage, or destroy any place, structure, or building of worship or aid, agree with, employ, or conspire with any person to do or cause to be done any of the acts mentioned above is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not less than six months nor more than ten years or fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.
SECTION 16-11-770. Illegal graffiti vandalism; penalty; removal or restitution.

(A) As used in this section, “illegal graffiti vandalism” means an inscription, writing, drawing, marking, or design that is painted, sprayed, etched, scratched, or otherwise placed on structures, buildings, dwellings, statues, monuments, fences, vehicles, or other similar materials that are on public or private property and that are publicly viewable, without the consent of the owner, manager, or agent in charge of the property.

(B) It is unlawful for a person to engage in the offense of illegal graffiti vandalism and, upon conviction, for a:

(1) first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than ninety days;

(2) second offense, within ten years, is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year; and

(3) third or subsequent offense within ten years of a first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not more than three thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than three years.

(C) In addition to the penalties provided in subsection (B), a person convicted of the offense of illegal graffiti vandalism also may be ordered by the court to remove the illegal graffiti, pay the cost of the removal of the graffiti, or make further restitution in the discretion of the court.





South Carolina

A common property damage crime is called malicious injury in South Carolina.  Under SC law, it is illegal to willfully or maliciously injure, damage, or destroy the property of another. This includes buildings, animals, land, or any other personal property.  The charge and potential penalty you face for this offense depends on the value of the damage committed.
Damage Value Charge Potential Sentence
$5,000 or more Felony Up to 10 years in prison
$1,000 to $5,000 Felony Up to 5 years in prison
Less than $1,000 Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in jail.
Ref: SC Code §16-11-510

Malicious Injury to a Place of Worship

If the prosecution has probable cause to believe you willfully, unlawfully, and maliciously damaged, vandalized, or destroyed or if you attempted to do any of these things to a place of worship, you will be charged with this serious felony offense.
Malicious Injury to a place of worship is a felony that carries a potential sentence of 6 months to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. This means that you will serve at least 6 months if convicted of this crime.
Ref: SC Code §16-11-535

Burning Personal Property to Defraud Insurer

The charge of burning personal property to defraud insurer is the legal term in South Carolina for arson by fraud. If you are charged with this arson, the prosecution has reason to believe that acting with an intent to defraud, you willfully set fire or burned insured personal property of any kind (whether your own or someone else’s).
This is a serious felony offense which carries a potential sentence of at least one and up to 5 years in prison.
Ref: SC Code §16-11-130

Negligently Allowing Fire to Spread to Lands or Property of Another

This offense is committed when you carelessly or negligently set fire or burn any grass, leaves, or other combustible matter on land in a way that allows the fire to spread onto the land of another. Whether you set the fire or were an accomplice in the matter, you could be charged with this offense.
This is charged is cases of arson without fraudulent or deliberate intent to damage property.
This is a misdemeanor charge and for a first time offense the potential sentence is from 5 days to 30 days in jail and a fines reaching from $25 to $200. If you have been convicted of this offense before your sentence would be from 30 to 100 days with fines of $100 to $500.
Ref: SC Code §16-11-180
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The Fight for 15

Until we can realize the problems with capitalism as a system based on inequality and establish real equality at work in the form of Socialism/Marxism, (see here and here) I am supporting the next best thing which is the Fight for $15/hour minimum wage.  It is well past time.



and while minimum wage should be at least $18 an hour
Senate Democrats are patting themselves on the back pushing for $12 an hour in 2020 with the Raise the Wage ActThis is really good though 

The legislation would also eliminate an exemption for restaurants and other companies that allows them to pay tipped workers less than the minimum wage.


Liberal groups are also backing this bill like CBBP

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Charleston AME Church Shooting Prayer Cricle

Watching MSNBC last night they were talking over the prayer circle that happened in the streets. Then MSNBC played an interview that was done with WCSC Channel 5’s Raphael James interviewing the people in the prayer circle.  I wanted to know who they were.  Their words were so eloquent.

Chris Cason pushes back against reporter Raphael James saying this is not about race

Here is some of the prayers and thoughts

 

Here is a longer version

 

I had the interview that WCSC’s Raphael James did with some of the members of the prayer group from WCSC Channel 5’s livestream but I took it out when it rolled off of the page.

Leading the prayers was identified by the news as Pastor Thomas Ravenel

Reverend Tory Phils (spelling?) spoke with WCSC Channel 5’s Raphael James

Embedded image permalink

And Christopher “Poppa Smurf” Cason (I initially got his name wrong here)

Embedded image permalink

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Statement from AQAP on death of Nasir al Wahishi

I am posting this video because it was deleted from the original account.  I am publishing this as journalism.

The video has been deleted from the original account.  Here it is in Arabic.

Here is the English Translation 

“Statement Regarding the Martyrdom of Sheikh Abu Basir Nasir al Wahishi – Rahimahullah”

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds and peace and blessings be upon the noblest of the prophets and the messengers. Thereafter:

We are al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and we mourn our leader Sheikh Emir Abu Basir Nasir ibn al Karim al Wahishi, rahimahullah. He was killed as a result of an American strike which targeted him and two of his mujahidin brothers, may a merciful Allah have mercy upon them and accept them among the ranks of the shuhada. As a result of this incident and despite being busy with fighting the Houthis and the supporters of the deposed on more than 11 fronts in different parts of Yemen, and despite the harsh security circumstances, Allah facilitated a meeting of the biggest number of Shura council members who agreed the successor is the righteous Sheikh Abu Huraira Qasim al Rimi, may Allah protect him. He was given our pledge of allegiance (baya’a) in that matter, thanks be to Allah.

Oh Islamic Ummah, this is a hero of heroes, and a leader of leaders. He pledged to Allah, and stayed true to his word and fulfilling his promises. He fought hardships to make hijrah, end his travels, and fulfill his obligation. Afghanistan knew him as one of its mountains, and praised him for the days of hardship he endured while in Tora Bora. Allah blessed him as he was a close friend and secretary for the mujahid Sheikh Umama bin Ladin, may Allah have mercy on his soul. He was a part of the first generation of fighters against American in different parts of the world since the 1990s. He continued on the path of jihad and was not affected by the fitna, uninterrupted by the current events, and undefeated by the trials. He was arrested but then he was arrested but persevered and remained steadfast until Allah granted him and a group of brothers an escape from the taghut’s prison. He worked hard with his brothers until Allah gave him a glorious conquest on them in the Arabian Peninsula and allowed them to establish strong leadership for jihad. He built buildings and handled matters wisely and kindly. A generation of mujahidin filled with the love of Islam and love of redemption were raised under his leadership. They drank from the source of his experiences and learned form his wisdom. They were and are currently at the front of the Ummah and the hope of Muslims. Sheikh Abu Basir has a great history, may Allah have mercy on his soul.

His biography is rich with things and it can’t be summarized in one statement. Regarding this point, if we were requested as witnesses, we would claim that he fulfilled his duties and was truthful. He extended his hand to Allah, raising the banner, and sticking to his religion and remaining steadfast in his principles. At no time was he failing in an issue relating to Allah. He never abandoned jihad or left his post. He came to understand jihad as a young man then he died after reaching his peak. During his life, he showed humility and noble character and was generous.

He held himself back for the sake of Islam and the Muslims and dedicated his life to jihad and the mujahidin. He took up concerns of the Ummah at the expense of his personal issues. He spent many days in jihad in the narrow mountain passes. To his brothers he was an example worth following. He provided a foundation and was a knowledgeable teacher and a guide, and a brother who you could seek advice from and a loving father.

Then he became a martyr, as we consider him, at the hands of the Crusaders of Rome. We congratulate him for having a superior end to his life as this is a great victory.

Oh Muslims, the Prophet, peace and prayers be upon him and his family and companions, passed away, but Islam neither ended or died. Regarding this matter, Allah the almighty said: “Muhammad is no more than a Prophet: there were many prophets that died before him. If he died or were killed, will you turn back on your heels? If any did this, not the least harm will he do to Allah, but Allah will quickly reward those who serve Him with gratitude.” (Quran al Imran 3:144) At no time did the death of a man take away from the strength of Islam, it did not stop the da’wah or hinder jihad. Oh how our current jihad has transformed, by the grace of Allah almighty, from being a jihad of the elite to a jihad of the Ummah. Oh how the Ummah has filled with good qualities of jihad, though its still in its first stages. It is no longer in a state of humiliation and affliction.

It is the victorious religion of Allah. Its rule is in force and its fate is already determined. Verily, it is the Ummah of Islam that resisted and faced dangers. Even while it was at its weakest point, it became victorious. The wars of apostasy, the series of Crusades and the destruction of the Tartars were the best examples of this. The Ummah of Islam faced these in the worst of circumstances. Islam and the Muslims will continue while the enemy infidels will be defeated. Allah almighty said “Allah has promised to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will grant them in the land an inheritance of power, as He granted it to those before them. He will establish in authority their deen, the once which He was chosen for them, and that He will change their state, after the fear in which they lived to one of security and peace. They will worship Me only and not associate anything with Me. If any do reject Imaan after this, they are rebellious and wicked.” (Quran An Nuh 24:55)

In our time, a period of bounties and assassination, the leader of jihad was killed. Has the jihad ended? Has its pulse stopped? Has support for resistance and fighting died between the Muslims? Wa Allah, no, because the blood of this wonderful group has increased its persistence in jihad and added a sense of urgency. Do the enemies of Allah not know their battle is not against a person or an individual, no matter his importance or status? The battle of today, led by the enemies of the nations of crusaders and the collaborators who help them, is the clash of the Ummah of billions from one ocean to the other ocean. A huge Ummah with Muslims and elite who are aware and brave. Do Allah’s enemies not watch this? The elongated war only increase our patience and the costs we pay only increase our resolve. So go ahead and extend the war if you want because we are the people of war, we were born in it and we will die in it. To the sponsor of disbelief America, Allah has saved the worst for you. He will ruin your lives and give you the bad taste of war and defeat until you stop supporting the occupying Jews in Palestine, leave the Muslims’s countries, and stop your support for the murtad rulers. This is a war you will not last in, as it will come for your economy and destroy it. It will come after your interests and destroy them with Allah’s support and strength.

Our final prayer is to praise Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula

Sunday 27 Sha’ban 1436 H

14 June 2015 M

Oh Aqsa, we are coming!

Translated by:

file1.jpeg
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House amendments for police reform

The House was in session until almost 2am last night (Wednesday) discussing the 2016 NDAA, which I learned later Obama has threatened to veto regarding a disagreement with Republicans over ending sequestration, which is hilarious because Republicans love to hate it. (Rigell, McCain, McCain talks sequestration in relation to catfish).  Sequestration was discussed a lot in confirmation hearings for both Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

There were many different amendments, (this is just some of them) discussed and voted on, but I want to discuss here recent police body camera amendments, some from last night and others recently passed.

I wrote about body cameras last month, discussing the business side that is not discussed much in the news.

Just as a reference here are all the votes for the current House of Representatives.

For daily references to votes and amendments click here for the Republican CloakRoom

OK, now for the policies.

Here is text of the amendment.

The text is very general in my opinion, basically just supporting the work police do and the role body cameras could play, referencing a study from England’s Cambridge University.

Rachel Levinson-Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice told me that it was a good point and important that this was in there

(3) encourages State and local law enforcement agencies to consider the use of body-worn cameras, including policies and protocols to handle privacy, storage, and other relevant concerns.

Rachel will participate in an event discussing privacy policy and police body cameras on June 25th.

She also found redacted body camera footage from Seattle PD as part of a pilot program.


It looks like they’re experimenting with different styles and levels of redaction.



Additionally, Rep Hank Johnson introduced two amendments, one regarding transfer of MRAPs to local police, and one to prohibit transfer of flash-bang grenades to local police. (Turns out like Tasers which kill, flash-bangs are also lethal weapons).

Here Rep Johnson discusses the amendment, which according to voice vote fails, and the recorded vote is postponed.

http://static.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.1432065698.swf?clipid=4540587


On June 2, Rep Joaquin Castro introduced an amendment to HR 2578 (see my post on CJS here) related to funding police body cameras

And then there is Rikers prison in New York.  Last week Kalief Browder committed suicide, who was imprisoned at Rikers for 3 years with no charge, accused of stealing a backpack.  He was released in 2013, but had attempted to kill himself several times before. Democracy Now! interviewed journalist Jennifer Gonnerman, who wrote about him last year for the New Yorker. http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2015/6/8/traumatized_by_3_years_at_rikers

Then there is Mayor de Blasio, who after the death of Kalief finally promised reforms that he should have done last year when the story of Kalief first made news.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says a young man who committed suicide after he was imprisoned for three years at Rikers Island jail without charge did not die in vain. Kalief Browder was just 16 years old when he was jailed at Rikers without trial on suspicion of stealing a backpack. He maintained his innocence, but was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed. The case was finally dismissed. On Saturday, Browder took his own life at the age of 22. Speaking at a news conference, de Blasio mourned him.

Bill de Blasio: “There is just no reason he should have gone through that ordeal, and it’s a tragedy and it has touched so many of us and it’s going to lead to change. I wish we had not lost him. This is a tragic loss, but once his story became public it caused a lot of people to act, and a lot of the changes we are making at Rikers Island right now are a result of the example of Kalief Browder. So I wish, I deeply wish we hadn’t lost him, but he did not die in vain.”

And now with the attention focused on Rikers, there are more stories.

 

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Some Thoughts on the OPM Breach

**Updates What’s In a Background Investigation, Anyway?

Dissecting the OPM Breach
Ex-DHS Cybersecurity Leader Mark Weatherford Analyzes Hack
By Eric Chabrow, June 5, 2015.



Main Article

On June 4th, the same day the New York Times and ProPublica reported on Snowden documents showing that

the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking

but also shows that

the NSA sought permission to target hackers even when it could not establish any links to foreign powers,

the government disclosed another data breach of government computers, this time at the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that among other tasks related to government employees and employment also conducts

background investigations for prospective employees and security clearances across government, with hundreds of thousands of cases each year.

There have been lots of responses to these revelations.  Amie Stepanovich linked the data breach to the NSA revelation, asking/explaining that they would be doing the investigation. My uneducated guess is that in addition to hunting overseas hackers, NSA is also doing insider threat hunting.  Since the breach happened sometime last year and OPM discovered it in April, some asked why reveal the breach now?







One answer to “why now” is to remember that Snowden’s revelations came right before a US-China meeting where Obama was going to complain about Chinese theft of US intellectual property.  Disclosing last year’s breach now could flip the tables back to the US doing the criticizing

Disclosure of the latest computer breach comes ahead of the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue scheduled for June 22-24 in Washington, D.C. Cyber security was already expected to be high on the agenda.

Marcy wrote about the irony of the hack in the bulk collection debate

The same report notes that the hack may be linked to the hack of similar scope of Anthem earlier this year.

This is, as a lot of the current and former government employees I follow on Twitter are realizing this morning, a devastating hack, one which will have repercussions both in the private lives of those whose data has been hacked as well as generally for America’s national security, because the data in the OPM servers offers a road map for further espionage targeting.

It is also something the US does all the time — and not just against official government employees of adversary nations, but also against civilian or quasi civilian telecom targets, as well as employees of corporations of interest.

continued

The US Intelligence Community let us have a debate over a mere fraction of the bulk data being collected by the NSA — that collected domestically to target Americans. But for the stuff targeting foreigners on a far greater scale, President Obama proclaimed we would continue collecting in bulk but limit its use to all the major purposes we were already using it for before we ever got around to debating the Section 215 dragnet.

(1) espionage and other threats and activities directed by foreign powers or their intelligence services against the United States and its interests;

(2) threats to the United States and its interests from terrorism;

(3) threats to the United States and its interests from the development, possession, proliferation, or use of weapons of mass destruction;

(4) cybersecurity threats;

(5) threats to U.S. or allied Armed Forces or other U.S or allied personnel;

(6) transnational criminal threats, including illicit finance and sanctions evasion related to the other purposes named in this section.

That scope goes well beyond the scope of those affected in this OPM hack.

Whistlebower attorney Brad Moss used OPM breach to criticize Snowden

Marcy gives one answer to Brad writing

Once the government does whatever it can to protect the millions compromised by this hack, I hope it will provide an opportunity to do two things: focus on actual cyber-defense, rather than an offensive approach that itself entails and therefore legitimates precisely this kind of bulk collection, and reflect on whether the world we’ve built, in which millions of innocent people get swept up in spying because it’s easy to do so, is really one we want to pursue. Ideally, such reflection might lead to some norm-setting that sharply limits the kinds of targets who can be bulk collected (though OPM would solidly fit in any imaginable such limits).

The other answer for Brad is that Snowden would be criticizing the zero-day exploits that the Washington Post says this attack was (and ZDnet).  As Snowden describes, offensive tools used by the NSA are the same tools used by our adversaries.  Brad does make one good comment though, but I don’t know what the implications are yet.


However one problem I have with the article is the explanation of a zero-day, described as 

“zero-day” — a previously unknown cyber-tool — to take advantage of a vulnerability that allowed the intruders to gain access into the system.

“Previously unknown tool” makes it sound like it is a new hacking tool.  New vulnerability or entry point is a clearer description, as it is not a new tool. 

Tim Shorrock tweeted an article that USIS was still doing security for OPM after doing background checks for Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, and suffering its own cyber attack disclosed last year. 

Robert Caruso has a series of tweets listing categories of people who are affected by the OPM breach, from many national security journalists to almost anyone who flies and in replying to Adam Goldstein explains that USIS was doing OPM’s job for them

OPM announced in response to the breach that

OPM has partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine the full impact to Federal personnel.

Here is a problem with relying on CERT

One difference with this hack of a government system (and not a good one) compared with other recent high profile breaches is

Researchers note that in contrast to the hacks of Home Depot and Target, personal data that might have been stolen from OPM, Anthem and the other companies has not shown up on the black market, where it can be sold to identity thieves. That is another sign, they said, that the intrusions are not being made for commercial purposes.

Back to the new Snowden revelations however, my thoughts right now are that the “hacker hunter” program is really an insider threat program as well.  See here and here


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Amendment to CJS to reform police interactions with mentally ill like Dontre Hamilton

This is an excerpt from this larger post on the House CJS bill.  This post deals with Wisconsin Representative Gwen Moore’s amendment to CJS regarding police interactions with the mentally ill like Dontre Hamilton 

Representative Gwen Moore spoke on the floor of the House yesterday about an amendment to CJS regarding the case of Dontre Hamilton and how police treat mentally ill citizens
Amendment Offered by Ms. Moore
Ms. MOORE. Mr. Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the gentlewoman offering the amendment at this point in the reading? There was no objection. The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment. The Clerk read as follows:

 

Page 34, line 19, after the dollar amount, insert “(reduced by $2,000,000)”.
Page 42, line 24, after the dollar amount, insert “(increased by $2,000,000)”.
Page 44, line 8, after the dollar amount, insert “(increased by $2,000,000)”.


The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentlewoman from Wisconsin and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Wisconsin.

Ms. MOORE. Mr. Chair, my amendment transfers $2 million into the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act for the purpose of expanding and improving police training to safely and appropriately respond to mentally ill individuals. Now, Mr. Chair, we have heard a lot lately in the news about high profile police-involved shootings that have become a major subject here around the country and here in Congress. Not surprising to some of us, especially those of us who hail from large urban cities, this is a widespread problem that has been around for a while. But today, I am offering this amendment to highlight one serious issue that I think should be a major part of our current national dialogue: ensuring that police have adequate training to identify persons with mental illness and to safely, when it is possible, resolve encounters during a crisis. Mr. Chair, indulge me for a moment while I tell you a story about a 31-year- old man in my home district of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who, unfortunately, is no longer with us today. His name was Dontre Hamilton. Dontre, like many people in this country, suffered from a mental illness. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia 1 year prior to the incident and had been off his medication due to an insurance issue. On April 30 of last year, Dontre was taking a nap on a public park bench when employees of a nearby Starbucks called the police. Two police officers came and did a wellness check and left the scene, discerning that Mr. Hamilton was no threat to himself, nor to anyone in the park or the public. Soon thereafter, yet another call came from the Starbucks employee because this gentleman was sleeping on the public park bench. Another police officer, Officer Manney of the Milwaukee Police Department, arrived and started to pat down Dontre. This pat-down turned into a struggle, and Officer Manney pulled outhis baton to help him subdue Mr. Hamilton. The struggle escalated, and Dontre got control of the baton and swung it at Officer Manney. This caused Officer Manney to draw his firearm and shoot 14 bullets into Dontre Hamilton. Officer Manney was terminated for conducting a pat-down in contravention of his training on dealing with mentally ill individuals but faced no charges in the death of Dontre Hamilton. Mr. Chair, perhaps this tragedy could have been prevented. Too often, our mental health infrastructure is woefully inadequate for many Americans. A lack of treatment can turn a treatable mental illness into a severe debilitating condition. Many can’t hold a job or pay rent. Many end up homeless on the streets. In fact, more than 124,000 of the 610,000 homeless people in the United States suffer from a severe mental illness. As a result of many failures in our system, our Nation’s police officers have de facto become our country’s first responders to crisis calls, including those individuals experiencing mental illness. Too often these calls, many intended to be out of concern for the individual in crisis, become a tragic fatality. As we know, mentally ill persons are not generally dangerous, Mr. Chair. In fact, they are actually more likely to become victims themselves than actual perpetrators of violence. Many of these tragic encounters could be prevented if police officers are trained and follow proper procedures. The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act is an important Federal initiative and tool that will help us bridge this gap. This law established a grant program called the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program which helps States and localities develop collaborative approaches to dealing with the intersection of criminal justice and mental health systems. One of the authorized grant uses under the program is training to police officers for exactly these purposes: to safely respond to crisis calls and limit the chance of a tragic and often preventable consequence. I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition, but I am not opposed to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Woodall). Without objection, the gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes. There was no objection.

Mr. CULBERSON. The gentlewoman has a good amendment, and I want to encourage Members to support it. I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Wisconsin (Ms. Moore).

The amendment was agreed to.

Posted in Police Shootings | Tagged | 1 Comment