The central point that everyone should be able to agree on regarding Tasers is this: No one else should die the way Macadam Mason did, from a Taser shot by a Vermont state trooper. Unfortunately, a draft Taser policy written by the state Law Enforcement Advisory Board at the request of the Attorney General’s Office is unlikely to prevent another such incident. That’s because 1) adoption of the policy by all Vermont police departments is not required, and 2) the policy does little more than codify existing practices that we know lead to unnecessary injuries and, in Mason’s case, death.
A briefing paper obtained by Edward Snowden said the U.S. National Security Agency set up shop in Ottawa in 2010 during a meeting of world leaders, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Company report. The agency was operating in Canada to provide “support to policymakers,” according to the top secret document. The NSA neither confirmed nor denied the report. It said curtly in a statement that “the U.S. government has made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” The New York Times reported.
“REAL ID,” a super-charged driver’s license also meant to serve as a national identification card, has been panned by 24 states and dissed by privacy advocates. But Vermont’s embracing it. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles will be offering REAL ID licenses. At some point, says the DMV, you may not be able to board airplanes or go into federal buildings (or nuclear power plants) if you’ve only got your regular Vermont driver’s license.
Wait until the evidence is in, police officials said, before drawing conclusions about whether a Burlington officer acted appropriately in shooting a mentally disturbed man dead. However, the chief of the city’s force has now himself rejected that admonishment, putting the officer back on patrol before investigations into the tragic incident are complete.
It is hard to imagine a civil society where government officials shoot their own citizens dead. It is harder still to imagine a civil society where government officials don’t want to shoot their citizens dead, nevertheless do, yet don’t have a plan to stop doing so.
The ACLU-VT gave its David W. Curtis Civil Liberties Award Saturday to the farm workers group Migrant Justice (Justicia Migrante) for its work advocating for the core rights of all who live in Vermont, especially the rights of association and movement.
‘Profiling’ Key Topic At Annual Meeting Saturday
The work of a young Vermont filmmaker, DeWolfe Morrow of Montpelier, will provide a spring board for discussion of profiling at this year’s American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont annual meeting Saturday, Nov. 9 at the National Life building in Montpelier.
Vermonters are living in a vastly different world than they did just a dozen years ago, speakers at the ACLU-VT surveillance conference said Wednesday, and the difference is the constant surveillance we are all subjected to.
Internationally known for his national security expertise, William Arkin said in a WDEV interview Tuesday that “We have created a (surveillance) system that is so gigantic that no one understands it completely and controls it.” Arkin will be speaking Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the ACLU-VT’s “Security On The Northern Border” conference in Montpelier, which is free and open to the public. Details.
Much of what Edward Snowden has revealed was suspected, but the reality of the NSA’s surveillance is nonetheless shocking. That’s the view of Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the National ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Stanley is lead speaker during the afternoon portion of the ACLU-VT’s Surveillance Conference Oct. 30 in Montpelier. He appeared Thursday on the Mark Johnson Show on WDEV.