Archive | March 2012

NYCLU challenges Constitutionality of NYC’s “stop-and-frisk” program

The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) controversial stop-and-frisk program, Operation Clean Halls, is once again under fire.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of residents that were subjected to questionable police frisking that oftentimes resulted in an arrest for trespassing.

Under the program, the City police patrol thousands of buildings in high-crime residential neighborhoods in an effort to prevent drug use and sales. Landlords can request that the police conduct patrols in the hallways and stairwells to remove non-residents who may be trespassing. Because the NYPD has access to the privately owned buildings through written contracts with landlords (landlords often give police officers keys to the buildings), the NYCLU says those agreements could be rescinded.

This program sets up an argument for the “Rule of Law” standard that the U.S. Constitution employs verses the “Law and Order” standard that can be the modus operandi for placing too much authority into the hands of discretionary leaders, according to the NYCLU.While many residents are grateful their buildings are safer, many civil liberty union activists say some officers have allegedly abused the law’s stop-and-frisk intention and turned it into an “arrest-and-jail” of innocent residents.

While the line between keeping the peace and maintaining civil liberties is a delicate balancing act, the NYCLU lawsuit wants the City’s stop-and-frisk program to follow a written protocol with which all parties agree.

Some judges have labeled the exercise of unlawful trespassing arrests as a “dreadful practice,” and it’s simply a trap to ensnare “innocent individuals” trying to live their normal lives.

A growing number of civil liberties organizations have voiced their concern and say the heavy-handed program violates the rights’ of residents and their guests.

“Operation Clean Halls has placed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, mostly black and Latino, under siege in their own homes,” Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director explained. “For residents of Clean Halls buildings, taking the garbage out or checking the mail can result in being thrown against the wall and humiliated by police. Untold numbers of people have been wrongly arrested for trespassing because they had the audacity to leave their apartments without IDs or visit friends and family who live in ‘Clean Halls’ buildings. This aggressive assault on people’s constitutional rights must be stopped.”

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly couldn’t disagree more.

“I would suspect that the attorneys in this case live in buildings with doormen and they have a level of safety that people who live in tenements, which most of those buildings are, don’t have,” Kelly said. The purpose of the program is to provide Landlords and Tenants with a safe environment in some of NYC’s worst crime and drug riddled areas pursuant to a contractual relationship between the Police and Landlords.

But civil liberties groups contend that the police department continues to blur the lines of personal safety and police state tactics. The NYCLU believes that the NYPD’s enforcement of Operation Clean Halls is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the New York State Constitution and the Federal Fair Housing regulations.

The lawsuit also alleges that the citywide practice unfairly targets lower-income minorities who tend to live in those higher risk neighborhoods.

“The NYPD uses Clean Halls as a license to stop anybody, at any time, on suspicion of trespassing,” said lead NYCLU attorney Alexis Karteron. “As a result, people who live in Clean Halls buildings are under constant threat of being stopped, frisked, harassed and even arrested by police officers. This type of activity has no place in a free society, and we’re confident the courts will put a stop to it.”

One of the plaintiffs, Jacqueline Yates, lives in a Bronx apartment complex that is enrolled in the contentious frisking program. Yates’ said NYPD officers harass her teenage sons while they socialize in the buildings’ stairwells, lobby and courtyard. She also complained that friends and family are reluctant to visit her home because they are afraid of being arrested for trespassing.

“My children shouldn’t be treated like criminal suspects in their home. They shouldn’t expect to be bothered by police officers every time they leave our apartment,” Yates said. “I believe the NYPD has a role to play in our community. But right now, they don’t make us feel safe. We feel under attack in our homes.”

In an effort to combat illegal activity in high-crime areas, the NYPD introduced the controversial stop-and-frisk program in 1991. Now, 20 years later the small program has grown into a labyrinth of 3,895 buildings that condones stop-and-frisk arrest practices.

The NYCLU criticizes the harsh tactics and says the police department does not employ any meaningful standards or oversight.

The stop-and-frisk practice even ensnares minors. Another plaintiff A.O., who cannot be identified by his full name because he is 17, says he was unlawfully stopped and arrested for trespassing last year shortly after exiting a Clean Halls building with two friends in Queens where he was visiting. Once the boy was arrested, he was taken to a local police precinct and charged with trespassing. However, the Queens County District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the minor.

“They arrested me even though I was doing nothing wrong – just walking with some friends, minding our own business,” he said.

According to NYPD data, NYPD officers made 329,446 stops on suspicion of trespassing between 2006 and 2010, representing 12 percent of all stops. Civil liberties groups suggest those numbers do not represent all the stops. The statistics also show that only 7.5 percent of reported trespass stops ended in arrests. “The 10 precincts with the most trespassing stops in 2010 – at least 28,209 stops – accounted for nearly as many stops as reported in the remaining 66 precincts combined. More than 5,000 people were stopped for suspicion of trespassing in the Bronx’s 40thPrecinct alone,” according to the NYCLU.

Residents of the affected communities complain that the NYPD is dictating the rules outside the Constitution and undermining the community’s relationship with law enforcement, yet the contracting Landlords have not been named in any legal proceedings thus far.

“The NYPD’s Clean Halls program impacts the entire community – mothers, fathers, neighbors and
friends – not only those arrested,” said civil rights attorney Chris Fabricant, director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at Pace University Law School. “This practice has steadily eroded the community’s faith in the police, and undermined the legitimacy of our criminal justice system. For every one of the plaintiffs who spent months fighting their wrongful arrests, there are hundreds of others who were forced to plead guilty to crimes that they did not commit because they did not have the resources to attend countless court appearances contesting the charges. Any faith in our justice system is destroyed by this process.”


Fabricant explains that, “rookie police officers do not know who belongs in the buildings. They do not know the difference between the trouble -makers and the regular kids who live in the buildings, many of who lack government-issued identification, virtually assuring arrest if police stops them. This creates resentment and fear of the police amongst young people, which is counter-productive to effective policing.”

“These officers do not have tenant rosters; they do not know the residents. Put simply, they do not know who is trespassing and who is simply going about their life in a perfectly legally way,” according to testimony from Professor Fabricant.

He further reveals, “As recently reported by The New York Times, in one eight-block section of Brownsville, Brooklyn, police stopped-and-frisked 52,000 people in a four year period, over ninety percent of whom had committed no offense.”

“But those criticizing the policy say that this has nothing to do with the privacy of landlords — especially since landlords participating in the program are required to post information that informs tenants that the building is a part of TAP (Operation Clean Halls),” Karteron said.

The NYCLU lawsuit seeks a declaration that the NYPD’s practices are unlawful and seeks an injunction against the department that requires the NYPD and the City to:

Stop asking people inside and around Clean Halls buildings for their IDs or about their destination without suspicion that they are trespassing or engaged in other wrongdoing;
Stop arresting people for trespassing in Clean Halls buildings without establishing whether or not the person is authorized to be there;
Establish citywide standards for enrollment of buildings in Operation Clean halls;
Establish policies concerning the authority of NYPD officers to enter Clean Halls buildings;
Implement training for officers who patrol Clean Halls buildings;
Submit for review a protocol to significantly reduce the number of unjustified stops and arrests of people in Clean Halls buildings; and
Award compensatory damages to named plaintiffs.
The federal class-action lawsuit filed by the NYCLU, Latino Justice and The Bronx Defenders and names the City of New York, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as well as individual police officers as its defendants.

To watch a video of the plaintiffs, to see photos of them or to read the full complaint, visit; http://www.nyclu.org/news/class-action-lawsuit-challenges-nypd-patrols-of-private-apartment-buildings.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com NYCLU challenges Constitutionality of NYC’s “stop-and-frisk” program – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nyclu-challenges-constitutionality-of-nyc-s-stop-and-frisk-program#ixzz1qXHtEOv8

Border Patrol takes another $1 million of illicit drugs off the streets

Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 8 checkpoint east of San Diego hauled in more than $1 million in cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and heroin in separate incidents over the weekend.

Both narcotics busts yielded an estimated street value of $1,085,800.

The first encounter involved a 43-year-old male United States citizen driving a Volvo. The man’s nervous demeanor prompted agents to direct the vehicle to the secondary inspection area.

“A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle resulting in a positive alert to the driver’s side door. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered two non-factory compartments beneath the driver and front passenger seats,” said Scott Simon, Border Patrol San Diego Sector Information and Communication Division. “The hidden compartments contained 22 bundles of crystal methamphetamine that weighed 34 pounds and had an estimated street value of $510,000. Agents also discovered two bundles of heroin that weighed 5.2 pounds and were worth an estimated $67,600.”

The second drug bust involved a 46-year-old male Mexican national driving a Dodge Ram. Again, agents sent the vehicle to the secondary inspection area and requested the Border Patrol K-9 team to inspect the truck for illegal drugs. The K-9’s alerted Border Patrol agents to a positive drug scent behind the truck’s front bumper and detained the driver.

“Agents searched the truck and discovered 22 packages of cocaine in the frame rails with a total weight of 50.82 pounds and an estimated street value of $508,200,” according to Simon.

The suspected drug smugglers and all the narcotics were seized and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for further investigation. Border Patrol impounded both vehicles.

Border Patrol encourages anyone to report suspicious activity to the San Diego Border Patrol Sector at (619) 498-9900.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports

Only in New York City could three separate law enforcement agencies obfuscate responsibility for upholding gun laws and resort to finger pointing as their defense to shamelessly robbing the public under color of the “rule of law.” Not surprisingly, the Second Amendment receives an inordinate amount of attention, but not much legal scrutiny from self-serving New Yorkers and the entities they represent.

New York authorities rely on the honesty of air travelers transiting through the state with lawfully owned firearms, who become victims upon disclosure under Federal law of their weapon possession, to create a well-oiled, gun-eating, revenue-raising machine. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg’s interpretation of the Second Amendment nabs unsuspecting airline passengers (hundreds have been ensnared the past few years) jails and fines them.

New York City is a gun-free zone, and one requires permission from Bloomberg’s administration to carry a weapon within the city– and that permission rarely happens. For security purposes the City often relies on the service of off-duty or retired NYPD to keep the peace in the bustling metropolis of the Big Apple. However, unsuspecting travelers at area airports are apprehended for simply passing through this City to their final destination where it is lawful to have a firearm in their possession.

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Combine these heavy-handed tactics with the Department of Justice (DOJ) policy of suing states for laws it favors and Americans have a new recipe for dictatorial leadership. Lately, Attorney General Eric Holder has been in the business of suing individual states for allegedly trumping federal law, most notably illegal immigration and voting laws. While the DOJ picks and chooses its causes, they have chosen to let New York’s Port Authority Police seize lawfully owned firearms from travelers at its airports.

After 9/11, the U.S. government set up a number of safety measures to protect air travelers, and as a result they created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the federal overseer of airport security. TSA is in charge of security at most major U.S. airports—except New York, which has hijacked control from local TSA agents.

New York City’s firearms interdiction and enforcement interferes with the airport security chain of command. It is here the finger pointing starts and the doubletalk reigns supreme.

The responsibility and non- responsibility approach

This reporter’s recent visit to TSA’s Washington DC headquarters seeking a resolution of this jurisdictional conflict yielded no answers. A phone conversation in the lobby went something like this; “Hi, I’m the reporter from California who has been talking to you via the phone regarding the security measures at LaGuardia Airport and wanted to clarify a few things. Do you have a minute?”

TSA spokesperson Greg Soule then replies; “Sure.”

This reporter answers; “Great, I’m in the lobby can you come down and meet me, I only need 5 minutes?”

Mr. Soule replies; “Aaa… well… actually I can’t come down, but I can refer you to our website.”

Wow, it’s an interesting strategy the TSA employs at their DC headquarters. Another phone call to TSA spokesperson Mike McCarthy confirms TSA is indeed in charge of airport security. Great news. Finally someone can explain why New York City’s Port Authority Police shows up at the ticket counter and arrests travelers when they attempt to check in their TSA-approved locked and unloaded firearm’s cases into checked baggage. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and Mr. McCarthy says there must be a “special agreement” to supersede TSA’s authority.

A “special agreement” explanation leads to the New York Port Authority Police. A call to Port Authority’s Press Officer Al Della Fave yields a similar response, and he explains the officers at the airports are only doing what they are told. And it is Mr. Della Fave’s understanding that Port Authority Police have some sort of “special agreement” with New York’s legal community (Bloomberg and/or District Attorneys) and Port Authority officers are only following orders.

Fair enough, rank-and-file officers are pretty good about following orders, and there is no indication that this case is any different in New York.

The next phone call is to the Queen’s County District Attorneys office that prosecutes the lawful firearm owners, travelling with their guns locked up and stored as per federal law and TSA requirements.

So far, the common denominator with all the agencies is the explicit “special agreement” and if there were a document out there, surely the District Attorney’s office would have a copy of the document.

“I have checked with our executive staff and there is no Memorandum of Understanding between the District Attorney’s Office and either the TSA or Port Authority Police Department,” said Kevin R. Ryan, director of communications for the Queens County District Attorney’s office.

So, the DA admits that there is no “memo” or “special agreement” between the Queen’s County District Attorney’s office, New York Port Authority Police and the TSA that justifies Port Authority Police supersede federal law at their airports. Normally, Federal law requires some sort of Memo of Understanding (MOU) between states and municipalities as currently TSA regulates the interstate transportation of firearms.

Knowing New York City has the nation’s toughest gun laws (after a ton of research) it appears New York City is serious about keeping the city a gun-free zone. Again, fair enough, but if New Yorkers are so concerned about firearms entering their jurisdiction, then why aren’t they apprehending the lawful gun owners as they leave the airport with their firearms in their luggage? TSA keeps a record of all firearms that passengers carry in their “checked” luggage. One would assume law enforcement wouldn’t want those firearms on the city sidewalks, right?

“While I cannot speak on behalf of the TSA, I can tell you that we have never been notified by the TSA of somebody traveling to New York with a weapon. The most likely reason is that the TSA would not be aware of the person’s licensing status in New York,” Ryan went on to explain.

However, TSA confirms they keep a record of all firearms and haven’t been asked by the DA’s office for notification.

The frustration continues, and nobody is taking responsibility or providing constructive answers for those who travel through New York.

Determined to get to the bottom of this issue this reporter called the airline ticket counter at LaGuardia Airport to set the record straight. The call goes something like; “Hi there I’m calling to find out what process I can expect when I get to the airport today. I left California and traveled to New Jersey through LaGuardia with my firearm, which I’m licensed to carry and is stored in the TSA-approved case. I’m headed back later today and wanted to know if there was anything I should be aware of or if I need extra time at the ticket counter?” The American Airline representative, Ty (no last name, security she says), replies; “Nope, it’s the same process in all airports.”

Except it’s not. Had a lawful gun owner followed that due diligence they’d be facing felony gun charges in the City of New York. It seems odd that the airline employees don’t know the rules because once a traveler presents a locked-up firearm at an airport ticket counter in New York for check in, as required by TSA, LaGuardia airline personnel call Port Authority NOT TSA, who immediately arrests the unsuspecting traveler.

Ryan explains that his boss, District Attorney Richard Brown; “has called upon the airlines to warn travelers of their responsibility to check local gun laws. Many airlines when asked by a passenger about transporting a weapon will only inform them of federal regulations with no mention of the need to check local laws. It is therefore incumbent upon passengers to acquaint themselves with the weapon laws of the jurisdiction that they are visiting and to comply with any and all legal requirements if they choose to travel with a weapon.”

Yet, nobody this reporter called mentioned anything about arresting travelers as they try to leave from a New York airport. It’s also worth noting that there is nothing mentioned on the airlines’ or TSA’s websites indicating that if travelers pass through New York they need to make alternate plans for checking in a firearm upon departure.

Consequences of due diligence

For the hundreds of passengers ensnared in New York City’s harsh firearm rules, there is little recourse for an individual. However, several attorneys, including Dick Heller (who was successful in taking on the Washington DC politicos and eventually won a Supreme Court case regarding the right to own a firearm) said at a Washington DC dinner that a class-action lawsuit might be in order to reign in New York’s firearm laws.

As far as the New York legal community is concerned, the law is the law, and until somebody challenges the legal standing, the arrests will continue to take place at the airports.

Ryan explained the law in a matter-of-fact tone that “when a visitor to our city is arrested, particularly at our airports, for possessing a weapon, there are several factors we consider in fashioning an appropriate disposition — including, but not limited to, was the weapon legally obtained, does the individual possess a valid permit in their home state, the duration of their stay in our city and, in airport cases, whether the individual voluntarily disclosed the weapon to authorities. In adjudicating such cases, there must be a balance between our obligation to protect our citizens and an individual’s error in judgment. Over the years, we have struck that balance well in ensuring that justice is served and maintaining our state’s tough, successful gun laws.”

Fairness in New York requires the defendant to pay a fine, court fees and let authorities destroy their legally owned firearm. If defendants follow this sage advice, the judge’s gavel will fall, and they will not serve any jail time. For the court’s trouble, the defendants will pay approximately $10-15 thousand in fees/fines.

One last fact for New Yorkers to consider with their so-called successful “tough gun laws.” is that while New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his District Attorney offices praise their “toughest in the nation” firearm laws, firearm crime statistics portray a different picture.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the most recent handgun crime statistics indicates New York has witnessed an increase of firearm related crimes despite the state’s tougher laws.

Keeping this in mind 2nd Amendment groups, like Calguns, say New York may be infringing on gun rights. “Look if you are staying in New York City, gun owners must comply with the City’s gun laws, but if you are simply passing through it would seem NYC is over-stepping the Second Amendment,” Jason Davis an attorney for Calguns said.

Davis along with other citizens who have been charged with felonies, suffered the wrath of New York’s tough gun laws, contend the entire process is nothing more than a money-making business for the Port Authority Police, New York courts and area lawyers that represent those ensnared at airport ticket counters.

Criminal-defense lawyer Martin D. Kane points out on Lawyers.com; “What New York does is not helping matters. It’s pretty unreasonable, and it’s great fuel.” He goes on to explain that attorneys should not try to ‘defend’ these cases and claims there is a legal process in place.

Nevertheless, Kane claims the specific law is clear and there is no room for negotiation (18 USC §926A Interstate Transportation of Firearms, notwithstanding the clear conflict between NYC and TSA regulations regarding the transportation of weapons.

Other NYC gun-related cases

Two more NYC gun cases settled this week involving a medical student, Meredith Graves of Tennessee and a retired U.S. Marine Ryan Jerome of Indiana.

Graves attorney, Daniel Horwitz spoke to media after he successfully reduced the felony gun charge to a misdemeanor. “She’s happy that this ordeal is over, and she’s looking forward to getting on with her life and her career as a doctor,” he told The New York Post.

The former Marine, Jerome’s case also settled this week. After his arrest, Jerome decided to fight the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and beat the felony gun charge, but changed his mind midway through the battle and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons-possession charge in an effort to avoid a three and a half year jail sentence, according to a New York Times story.

While New York City continues to enforce its over-reaching gun laws, it’s up to gun owners to follow the rules, recognize a problem exists in NYC and use legal channels afforded to them to change the Big Apple’s anti-Second Amendment seizures. When a state impedes on Constitutional rights, it has a chilling effect on law-abiding citizens and the last resort necessary is for Lady Justice (Supreme Court) to return the rights’ to the people, just as the founders intended.

To read three other NYC gun-related stories link here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/unwitting-airline-passengers-robbed-of-their-second-amendment-rights-nyc

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nypd-frisks-searches-and-violates-civil-liberties-daily

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/new-york-city-1-us-constitution-0-nyc-profits-from-seizures-of-legal-guns

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nyc-continues-to-shakedown-legal-gun-owners#ixzz1qETz5MuZ

NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports

Only in New York City could three separate law enforcement agencies obfuscate responsibility for upholding gun laws and resort to finger pointing as their defense shamelessly robbing the public under color of the “rule of law.” Not surprisingly, the Second Amendment receives an inordinate amount of attention, but not much legal scrutiny from self-serving New Yorkers and the entities they represent.

New York authorities rely on the honesty of air travelers transiting through the state with lawfully owned firearms, who become victims upon disclosure under Federal law of their weapon possession, to create a well-oiled, gun-eating, revenue-raising machine. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg’s interpretation of the Second Amendment nabs unsuspecting airline passengers (hundreds have been ensnared the past few years) jails and fines them.

New York City is a gun-free zone, and one requires permission from Bloomberg’s administration to carry a weapon within the city– and that permission rarely happens. For security purposes the City often relies on the service of off-duty or retired NYPD to keep the peace in the bustling metropolis of the Big Apple. However, unsuspecting travelers at area airports are apprehended for simply passing through this City to their final destination where it is lawful to have a firearm in their possession.

Advertisement

Combine these heavy-handed tactics with the Department of Justice (DOJ) policy of suing states for laws it favors and Americans have a new recipe for dictatorial leadership. Lately, Attorney General Eric Holder has been in the business of suing individual states for allegedly trumping federal law, most notably illegal immigration and voting laws. While the DOJ picks and chooses its causes, they have chosen to let New York’s Port Authority Police seize lawfully owned firearms from travelers at its airports.

After 9/11, the U.S. government set up a number of safety measures to protect air travelers, and as a result they created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the federal overseer of airport security. TSA is in charge of security at most major U.S. airports—except New York, which has hijacked control from local TSA agents.

New York City’s firearms interdiction and enforcement interferes with the airport security chain of command. It is here the finger pointing starts and the doubletalk reigns supreme.

The responsibility and non- responsibility approach

This reporter’s recent visit to TSA’s Washington DC headquarters seeking a resolution of this jurisdictional conflict yielded no answers. A phone conversation in the lobby went something like this; “Hi, I’m the reporter from California who has been talking to you via the phone regarding the security measures at LaGuardia Airport and wanted to clarify a few things. Do you have a minute?”

TSA spokesperson Greg Soule then replies; “Sure.”

This reporter answers; “Great, I’m in the lobby can you come down and meet me, I only need 5 minutes?”

Mr. Soule replies; “Aaa… well… actually I can’t come down, but I can refer you to our website.”

Wow, it’s an interesting strategy the TSA employs at their DC headquarters. Another phone call to TSA spokesperson Mike McCarthy confirms TSA is indeed in charge of airport security. Great news. Finally someone can explain why New York City’s Port Authority Police shows up at the ticket counter and arrests travelers when they attempt to check in their TSA-approved locked and unloaded firearm’s cases into checked baggage. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and Mr. McCarthy says there must be a “special agreement” to supersede TSA’s authority.

A “special agreement” explanation leads to the New York Port Authority Police. A call to Port Authority’s Press Officer Al Della Fave yields a similar response, and he explains the officers at the airports are only doing what they are told. And it is Mr. Della Fave’s understanding that Port Authority Police have some sort of “special agreement” with New York’s legal community (Bloomberg and/or District Attorneys) and Port Authority officers are only following orders.

Fair enough, rank-and-file officers are pretty good about following orders, and there is no indication that this case is any different in New York.

The next phone call is to the Queen’s County District Attorneys office that prosecutes the lawful firearm owners, travelling with their guns locked up and stored as per federal law and TSA requirements.

So far, the common denominator with all the agencies is the explicit “special agreement” and if there were a document out there, surely the District Attorney’s office would have a copy of the document.

“I have checked with our executive staff and there is no Memorandum of Understanding between the District Attorney’s Office and either the TSA or Port Authority Police Department,” said Kevin R. Ryan, director of communications for the Queens County District Attorney’s office.

So, the DA is admits that there is no “memo” or “special agreement” between the Queen’s County District Attorney’s office, New York Port Authority Police and the TSA that justifies Port Authority Police supersede federal law at their airports. Normally, Federal law requires some sort of Memo of Understanding (MOU) between states and municipalities as currently TSA regulates the interstate transportation of firearms.

Knowing New York City has the nation’s toughest gun laws (after a ton of research) it appears New York City is serious about keeping the city a gun-free zone. Again, fair enough, but if New Yorkers are so concerned about firearms entering their jurisdiction, then why aren’t they apprehending the lawful gun owners as they leave the airport with their firearms in their luggage? TSA keeps a record of all firearms that passengers carry in their “checked” luggage. One would assume law enforcement wouldn’t want those firearms on the city sidewalks, right?

“While I cannot speak on behalf of the TSA, I can tell you that we have never been notified by the TSA of somebody traveling to New York with a weapon. The most likely reason is that the TSA would not be aware of the person’s licensing status in New York,” Ryan went on to explain.

However, TSA confirms they keep a record of all firearms and haven’t been asked by the DA’s office for notification.

The frustration continues, and nobody is taking responsibility or providing constructive answers for those who travel through New York.

Determined to get to the bottom of this issue this reporter called the airline ticket counter at LaGuardia Airport to set the record straight. The call goes something like; “Hi there I’m calling to find out what process I can expect when I get to the airport today. I left California and traveled to New Jersey through LaGuardia with my firearm, which I’m licensed to carry and is stored in the TSA-approved case. I’m headed back later today and wanted to know if there was anything I should be aware of or if I need extra time at the ticket counter?” The American Airline representative, Ty (no last name, security she says), replies; “Nope, it’s the same process in all airports.”

Except it’s not. Had a lawful gun owner followed that due diligence they’d be facing felony gun charges in the City of New York. It seems odd that the airline employees don’t know the rules because once a traveler presents a locked-up firearm at an airport ticket counter in New York for check in, as required by TSA, LaGuardia airline personnel call Port Authority NOT TSA, who immediately arrests the unsuspecting traveler.

Ryan explains that his boss, District Attorney Richard Brown; “has called upon the airlines to warn travelers of their responsibility to check local gun laws. Many airlines when asked by a passenger about transporting a weapon will only inform them of federal regulations with no mention of the need to check local laws. It is therefore incumbent upon passengers to acquaint themselves with the weapon laws of the jurisdiction that they are visiting and to comply with any and all legal requirements if they choose to travel with a weapon.”

Yet, nobody this reporter called mentioned anything about arresting travelers as they try to leave from a New York airport. It’s also worth noting that there is nothing mentioned on the airlines or TSA’s websites indicating that if travelers pass through New York they need to make alternate plans for checking in a firearm upon departure.

Consequences of due diligence

For the hundreds of passengers ensnared in New York City’s harsh firearm rules, there is little recourse for an individual. However, several attorneys, including Dick Heller (who was successful in taking on the Washington DC politicos and eventually won a Supreme Court case regarding the right to own a firearm) said at a Washington DC dinner that a class-action lawsuit might be in order to reign in New York’s firearm laws.

As far as the New York legal community is concerned, the law is the law, and until somebody challenges the legal standing, the arrests will continue to take place at the airports.

Ryan explained the law in a matter-of-fact tone that “when a visitor to our city is arrested, particularly at our airports, for possessing a weapon, there are several factors we consider in fashioning an appropriate disposition — including, but not limited to, was the weapon legally obtained, does the individual possess a valid permit in their home state, the duration of their stay in our city and, in airport cases, whether the individual voluntarily disclosed the weapon to authorities. In adjudicating such cases, there must be a balance between our obligation to protect our citizens and an individual’s error in judgment. Over the years, we have struck that balance well in ensuring that justice is served and maintaining our state’s tough, successful gun laws.”

Fairness in New York requires the defendant to pay a fine, court fees and let authorities destroy their legally owned firearm. If defendants follow this sage advice, the judge’s gavel will fall, and they will not serve any jail time. For the court’s trouble, the defendants will pay approximately $10-15 thousand in fees/fines.

One last fact for New Yorkers to consider with their so-called successful “tough gun laws.” is that while New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his District Attorney offices praise their “toughest in the nation” firearm laws, firearm crime statistics portray a different picture.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the most recent handgun crime statistics indicates New York has witnessed an increase of firearm related crimes despite the state’s tougher laws.

Keeping this in mind 2nd Amendment groups, like Calguns, say New York may be infringing on gun rights. “Look if you are staying in New York City, gun owners must comply with the cities gun laws, but if you are simply passing through it would seem NYC is over-stepping the Second Amendment,” Jason Davis an attorney for Calguns said.

Davis along with other citizens who have been charged with felonies, suffered the wrath of New York’s tough gun laws, contend the entire process is nothing more than a money-making business for the Port Authority Police, New York courts and area lawyers that represent those ensnared at airport ticket counters.

Criminal-defense lawyer Martin D. Kane points out on Lawyers.com; “What New York does is not helping matters. It’s pretty unreasonable, and it’s great fuel.” He goes on to explain that attorneys should not try to ‘defend’ these cases and claims there is a legal process in place.

Nevertheless, Kane claims the specific law is clear and there is no room for negotiation (18 USC §926A Interstate Transportation of Firearms, notwithstanding the clear conflict between NYC and TSA regulations regarding the transportation of weapons.

Other NYC gun-related cases

Two more NYC gun cases settled this week involving a medical student, Meredith Graves of Tennessee and a retired U.S. Marine Ryan Jerome of Indiana.

Graves attorney, Daniel Horwitz spoke to media after he successfully reduced the felony gun charge to a misdemeanor. “She’s happy that this ordeal is over, and she’s looking forward to getting on with her life and her career as a doctor,” he told The New York Post.

The former Marine, Jerome’s case also settled this week. After his arrest, Jerome decided to fight the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and beat the felony gun charge, but changed his mind midway through the battle and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons-possession charge in an effort to avoid a three and a half year jail sentence, according to a New York Times story.

While New York City continues to enforce its over-reaching gun laws, it’s up to gun owners to follow the rules, recognize a problem exists in NYC and use legal channels afforded to them to change the Big Apple’s anti-Second Amendment seizures. When a state impedes on Constitutional rights, it has a chilling effect on law-abiding citizens and the last resort necessary is for Lady Justice (Supreme Court) to return the rights’ to the people, just as the founders intended.

To read three other NYC gun-related stories link here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/unwitting-airline-passengers-robbed-of-their-second-amendment-rights-nyc

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nypd-frisks-searches-and-violates-civil-liberties-daily

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/new-york-city-1-us-constitution-0-nyc-profits-from-seizures-of-legal-guns

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nyc-continues-to-shakedown-legal-gun-owners#ixzz1q34Zfm00

Border Patrol confiscates $1 million in crystal meth at checkpoint

Border Patrol agents assigned to an Interstate 15 checkpoint north of San Diego intercepted two smuggling endeavors this week that resulted in the seizure of 51.25 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $1 million.

First, Border Patrol agents stopped a 40-year-old male U.S citizen at the I-15 checkpoint. After agents detected the man’s nervous demeanor the Border Patrol K-9 team to complete an inspection of the vehicle.

According to a BP press statement from Michael Jimenez, “The canine team alerted to the vehicle. A subsequent vehicle search revealed 31 bundles of methamphetamine hidden in the rear quarter panels. The seized narcotics weighed more than 38 pounds with an estimated street value of $762,800.”

A second seizure at the I-15 checkpoint netted even more crystal methamphetamine. Agents stopped a Jeep Cherokee towing a Toyota Solara on a trailer. Border Patrol referred a 31-year-old male Mexican national driver to a secondary inspection area.

“Agents summoned a Border Patrol K-9 team to perform a cursory inspection of the vehicles. The canine team alerted to one of the vehicles,” a press release said. “A subsequent search of the vehicles revealed 25 bundles of methamphetamine hidden in the gas tank of the towed vehicle. The narcotics seizure weighed more than 13 pounds with an estimated street value of $262,200.”

In both cases, the suspected drug smugglers and narcotics were handed over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for further investigation. The U.S. Border Patrol confiscated all three vehicles and the trailer.

To report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Border Patrol confiscates $1 million in crystal meth at checkpoint – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/border-patrol-confiscates-1-million-crystal-meth-at-checkpoint#ixzz1q0UUXcQX

Border Patrol snags cocaine and meth worth $1 million

Border Patrol agents detained two suspected drug smugglers in separate stops that netted more than 100 pounds of cocaine and crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $1.13 million.

The first stop involved a 30-year-old female Mexican national sitting in the driver’s seat of a Jeep Cherokee that was parked at a rest area located just north of Oceanside (The rest stop also shares a fence line with Camp Pendleton Marine Base on Interstate 5).

After questioning the woman, Border Patrol agents completed a consensual cursory search by a K-9 team. The Border Patrol K-9 dogs alerted agents to a positive scent in the Jeep. Following a brief search of the engine compartment, agents discovered 16 bundles of crystal meth concealed in the intake manifold. The drugs weighed nearly 11 pounds valued about $215,000.

Less than an hour later Border Patrol agents stopped a 27-year-old U.S. citizen driving to California from Arizona. The female arrived at the checkpoint east of San Diego where agents directed the driver to the secondary inspection area. Again the Border Patrol K-9 team alerted agents to drugs hidden underneath the car’s floorboards.

The U.S. Border Patrol seized both vehicles used in the narcotic smuggling incidents.Once the two aftermarket compartments were discovered, Border Patrol removed 30 bundles of cocaine. “The cocaine weighed 91.5 pounds with an estimated street value of $915,400. The suspected smugglers and narcotics in both incidents were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for further investigation,” according to a CBP statement.

Border Patrol agents encourage anyone who observes suspicious activity in the San Diego Sector to call (619) 498-9900.

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

California’s tax man George Runner seeks to cap gas taxes

George Runner, California’s State Board of Equalization leader is seeking state lawmakers support to limit taxes on increasing fuel prices. Currently, Californians pay more than $4 per gallon, and Runner said capping the state’s gas tax could assist struggling families.

While President Obama claims there is no “silver bullet” to ease the pain Americans are facing at the pumps, Runner’s new proposal lays out a strategy to save all Californians some money when they fill up their vehicles.

“While taxes aren’t the only reason for rising fuel prices, they are part of the problem,” Runner explained. “As fuel prices rise, California consumers are paying more tax for less gas.”

“These sky-high fuel prices contain hidden taxes that drive up the price we pay at the pump. Each and every time fuel prices rise, our taxes go up too,” said Runner. “It’s time we draw the line on any further increases.”
Only Hawaii, President Obama’s birthplace, slams residents with higher fuel prices than California, according to the Energy Information Administration. Even though Runner is no longer a state lawmaker, he continues to make an impact on issues that matter to Californians from his State Board of Equalization office.

The American Petroleum Institute keeps track of all the taxes states charge consumers, and once again, California ranks second in the nation. Its gasoline taxes and fees average 67 cents per gallon and diesel taxes (that’s used by most long haul trucks) average about 76 cents per gallon, the highest in the nation.

Included in California gas taxes and fees are a federal excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, an excise tax of 35.7 cents per gallon, a sales tax of 2.25 percent as well as applicable local taxes. For diesel, the federal excise tax is 24.4 cents per gallon, the state excise tax is 13 cents per gallon and the sales tax is 9.12 percent plus local taxes.

When it comes to gasoline, Runner says the sales tax is calculated on the total price of the fuel sale including excise taxes, resulting in double taxation. Yes, lucky California consumers “pay a tax on a tax.”

“Since the sales tax is calculated per dollar spent rather than per gallon of fuel, government coffers receive an unanticipated windfall when fuel prices rise,” Runner said. The facts support Runner’s case that lower levels of consumption do not translate to lower costs for taxpayers. In fact, California’s rising fuel prices has the opposite effect and state tax coffers collected $61 million more in taxes during the second quarter last year.

In 2010, California’s Legislature enacted a new law requiring the State Board of Equalization to lower the sales tax on gasoline and raise the excise tax by a corresponding amount.

In an attempt to neutralize the increasing gas tax revenues, Runner’s proposal would cap the excise tax on fuel at 35.7 cents and limit sales tax to the first $4 per gallon of gasoline. (The plan would also cap diesel taxes at current levels.)

Nationally, Democrat President Obama said he would ask lawmakers to end the $4 billion in oil and gas subsidies (these subsidies are currently offered to all corporations) in an effort to wean the nation of its fossil fuel use. In his weekly radio address, the President said he wanted lawmakers on the record if they want to support the oil industry. “They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century or they can place their bets on America’s future (so-called green energy),” Obama said.

However, the green energy industry doesn’t possess the technology to produce reliable or economical automobiles to sustain Americans who must commute to work every day. Plus, most new expenditures on goods or services are usually passed onto the consumer.

“My proposed gas tax plan will not affect California’s budget. Sacramento is actually placing a windfall-like tax on the consumer. Many lawmakers are ignoring the fact that the government is profiting from higher fuel prices,” Runner explained in a phone interview. “This plan simply draws a line to help the struggling taxpayers.”

Weighing in on the high fuel prices, Lew Uhler, founder and president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, endorsed Runner’s proposal.

“Without limits, government always tries to take more and more of our money,” he said. “It’s time we said, ‘enough is enough.’ The double tax on gasoline – geared to price changes – creates a perverse windfall for the government big spenders precisely when rising gas prices hurt consumers the most. Capping the gas tax will help California taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars where they belong—in their own pockets.”

Normally the State Board of Equalization does not involve itself in lawmaking policy, but Runner’s determination to protect the taxpayers he represents, said this double tax makes no sense.

“Capping fuel taxes could keep hundreds of millions of dollars in the pockets of California consumers, help consumer confidence and bolster California’s economy,” Runner said. He also pointed out that California would not lose any expected income as Governor Jerry Brown allotted revenue from lower fuel prices, $3.82, in his January budget.

Seeing the urgency of high gas prices coupled with daily complaints from taxpayers, Runner indicated legislation could be considered, debated and on the Governor’s desk by June. In the midst of a highly charged election year, Runner suggested reducing California gas prices benefits both political parties.

“I’m hopeful there can be bipartisan support for this proposed legislation, and we can ease the gas taxes as quickly as possible.”

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

Swimsuit model charged for selling illicit drugs worldwide

A magazine swimsuit model, Simone Farrow (stage name Simone Starr), wanted in the U.S. for drug trafficking was caught in an Australia beach community.

Farrow escaped capture from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Australia authorities for more than a month. However, the blonde swimsuit model was located and extradited to Sydney, Australia and will face multiple drug trafficking charges.

According to the DEA, the model ran a worldwide drug ring from her Hollywood apartment using 19 different aliases and moved crystal meth to a number of countries using the United States Post Office and FedEx.

Authorities in Australia apprehended Farrow at a motel without incident. The model claimed that she fled law enforcement officers because cartel leaders wanted her dead.

“The only reason I’ve done this is because someone was trying to murder me,: Farrow said to Australia’s Sunday Telegraph. “I’ve been in… relationships with numerous underworld figures or whatever you want to call them and I feel that maybe they feel threatened by my situation.”

The DEA contends the 37-year-old model divvied up large amounts of crystal meth in her Sunset blvd. apartment and disguised the drugs by using a variety of bath salts or fountain kits. The DEA also collected drugs and documents proving the model was trafficking drugs in her apartment.The Australian Sunday Telegraph also reported that a known associate of a drug syndicate recently committed suicide in Hollywood after U.S. law enforcement officials contacted the man’s involvement with Farrow.

Farrow is best known for her Ed Hardy swimsuit advertisements, Penthouse “pet” status and FHM’s three-year run on their “Sexist Women in the World” list.

Farrow faces numerous drug trafficking charges and is due in court this week.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Swimsuit model charged for selling illicit drugs worldwide – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/swimsuit-model-charged-for-selling-illicit-drugs-worldwide#ixzz1pawcqmyp

CBP chase leaves one suspect dead and sends an agent to the hospital

An unidentified man driving a car with Texas plates is dead today after Border Patrol agents pursued the driver for failing to stop at an east San Diego County CBP checkpoint.

Authorities said the driver came under suspicion when Border Patrol agents observed the car travelling down the road in the wrong direction. Agents were able to stop the vehicle using a spike strip that deflated the fleeing car’s tires.

However, when Border Patrol attempted to question the driver, the suspect locked the car doors preventing agents from questioning the man.

Once the vehicle came to a stop, one Border Patrol agent attempted to break the car’s window, when the vehicle burst into flames killing the driver and injuring the agent.

As a result of the explosion, an unnamed Border Patrol agent was airlifted to an area hospital and treated for lacerations and burns.

A CBP statement said, “Agents had stopped a car that was reported to have been driving on the wrong side of Interstate 8.”

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The vehicle ignited while the agent was standing near the driver side door. The driver of the car died at the scene. The agent was transported to the hospital and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries,” said Jenny Burke.

CBP authorities said they were working with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department to investigate the early morning car explosion.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com CBP chase leaves one suspect dead and sends an agent to the hospital – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/cbp-chase-leaves-one-suspect-dead-and-sends-an-agent-to-the-hospital#ixzz1pEgRlgF6

War is definitely hell- A U.S. veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes

While the public focus in Afghanistan is the killing of civilians by an American soldier, little is reported on the toll this war is taking on veterans and their families.
The never-ending war in the Middle East has consequences, serious consequences. According to an October 2011 policy brief the U.S. Armed Services are losing the suicide battle on the home front.

The report concludes that a U.S. veteran kills himself every 80 minutes while Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom service members is committing suicide every 36 hours. These statistics are staggering in light of the fact that only one-percent of the American population serves in the military, yet the military accounts for roughly 20 percent of the national suicide rate.

Veterans and service members report substantial paperwork and even longer wait times as one reason they don’t get the proper treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Another challenge military personnel face is the stigma attached to the term PTSD. Many service members can be ridiculed by fellow soldiers, told to toughen up by superiors or don’t fill out the required paperwork to seek counsel.

The military disconnect regarding the pervasiveness of PTSD within the military is a contributing factor to suicide. If the military leadership wants to turn the suicide numbers around, mental health care providers must work in concert with commanders to enforce guidelines for PTSD/TBI diagnosis and treatment.

“The responsibility inherent in military service, the importance of tasks assigned to relatively junior personnel and the high level of interaction among unit members establish the importance and usefulness of each unit member, particularly in an operational environment. In contrast, the experience of living in a garrison environment (for active component personnel) or returning to a civilian job (for Guardsmen, Reservists and veterans) or, worse, unemployment, can introduce feelings of uselessness. Individual accounts of military suicide both in the media and in interviews with us echo this sentiment. Over and over, these accounts show that individuals withdrew, felt disconnected from their units and their families, and perceived themselves as a burden,” Dr. Margaret Harrell and Nancy Berglass cited in their study.
While senior military leaders at the Department of Defense say they are exerting more energy than ever before to prevent the skyrocketing suicides, the dysfunctional relationship between DOD and the Veteran Affairs does little to provide adequate treatment options for veterans suffering from PTSD/TBI.
The DOD touts its “Never Let Your Buddy Fight Alone” program as a successful deterrent to suicide. And the VA’s Veterans Crisis hotline said their efforts to recognize the seriousness of suicide prompted nearly 150,000 hotline calls. The VA claims they saved 7,000 “actively suicidal veterans.” Yet, suicides remain alarmingly high.
The military must protect and care for those who voluntarily serve the country and return home with PTSD/TBI injuries. Suggestions made by this report includes; unit cohesiveness (returning soldiers should remain together as a group for at least 90 days after deployment), ensuring the military either has access or hires enough mental health providers to meet the needs of returning soldiers, and Congress needs to establish a federal pre-emption of state licensing, so providers can be treated across state lines.
Another area the military hierarchy must improve is dramatically changing the questions contained in the “Post Deployment” questionnaire.
“As service members return home from deployment, they complete a post-deployment health assessment (PDHA). As part of this assessment, they are asked questions about their physical and mental health, such as, “Did you encounter dead bodies or see people killed or wounded during this deployment?” and “During this deployment, did you ever feel that you were in great danger of being killed?” There
are also self-evaluative questions, such as, “Are you currently interested in receiving information or assistance for a stress, emotional or alcohol concern?” While we do not question the contents of the assessment, its administration has been problematic,” the report explained.
According to a 2008 study (Christopher H. Warner et al., Importance of Anonymity to Encourage Honest Reporting in Mental Health Screening After Combat Deployment), when Army soldiers completed an anonymous survey, the reported rates
of depression, PTSD, suicidal attempts and an interest in receiving care were two to four times higher than the current PDHA test used by military personnel.
“Likewise, our interviews with veterans uncovered numerous accounts of returning service members whose
unit leaders advised them to fabricate answers. Individuals across all services have been told, ‘If you answer yes to any of those questions, you are not going home to your family tomorrow.’” This may be factually correct, but it neglects to inform service members of the implications of answering untruthfully – namely, that they will have difficulty receiving treatment or compensation for mental health problems that appear after their service. 
As an improvement, the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act requires trained medical or behavioral health professionals to conduct the PDHA evaluations individually and face-to-face, in the hope that service members will respond honestly to a trained health professional. PDHA evaluations individually and face-to-face, in the hope that service members will respond honestly to a trained health professional.”
In conclusion, the study outlined the military’s vulnerabilities concerning the treatment of PTSD/TBI. “Although a goal of no suicides may be unachievable, the increasing number of suicides is unacceptable. Additionally, although benefits and services available from the Veterans Health Administration will likely remain the best system of care for veterans, the DOD has a moral responsibility to acknowledge and understand former service members,” researchers said.
“America is losing its battle against suicide by veterans and service members. And, as more troops return from deployment, the risk will only grow. 
To honor those who have served and to protect the future health of the all-volunteer force, America must renew its commitment to its service members and veterans. The time has come to fight this threat more effectively and with greater urgency.”
The real question Americans need to ask, “is the 10-year Middle East War worth the cost in blood and treasure? And if so, how do military personnel intend to care for those who suffer the invisible PTSD/TBI wounds?
The clash in Afghanistan is between cultures, religions, and political institutions. Returning warriors continue to complain that Afghanistan will never be molded into a “state” with the ability to be a productive member of the world community. Its tribal tendencies will always shift with opportunities from religious zealots. Bush was wrong to “nation-build” in Afghanistan, and Obama is wrong to continue to feed the corruption and profiteering of Afghan President Karzai’s sect at the expense of American warriors. How do the military/civilian leaders intend to care for soldiers with visible or invisible wounds?

Yes, war is hell, but unless U.S. soldiers are authorized to “win” all Americans should stand together and demand an end to a seemingly endless war.

Following are links to four stories written by this reporter last year questioning the continuation of military/political actions in Afghanistan. The staggering levels of corruption alone should jolt Americans from their complacency; especially since the U.S. debt surpasses $16 trillion.
Part one; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/u-s-troops-fight-and-die-to-preserve-shariah-law-afghanistan
Part two; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/us-payments-to-taliban-afghan-warlords-threaten-american-nato-troops
Part three; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/billion-dollar-corruption-within-the-u-s-picked-afghan-regime
Part four; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/terrorism-s-down-payment-the-form-drugs-and-u-s-aid-money-part-4
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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