Monday, April 21, 2008

Cops Disguise Cameras As Fire Hydrants

Cops Disguise Cameras As Fire Hydrants

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In Florida, Sheriff Sgt. Ken Sonier “watches those who don’t want to be seen,” according to News-Press. Of course, in a healthy, non-brainwashed society most us would not take kindly to being watched, no matter the reason, but in the post-9/11 world far too many of us have bought into the idea we are somehow obliged to surrender our privacy in order to combat the terrorists, never mind we don’t have a good idea who the terrorists are. Fox News now tells us they have blond hair and blue eyes.

Sonier and the Lee County cops are busy installing “custom-made cameras” in fire hydrants, on exit signs in apartment buildings, and metal underneath cars. “Citizens don’t know what we do,” bragged Lee County Sheriff Lt. Gary Desrosiers of the Technical Investigations Unit. “And that’s a good thing.” It was presumably a good thing in East Germany, too, or so the fascist control freaks who once ran that country no doubt believed.

“The annual budget for the TIU is about $10 million, but that includes salaries and maintenance on all the department’s cell phones, laptops and equipment. Most of the equipment purchased is with federal grants.” More specifically, Department of Homeland Security grants.

“In Cape Coral, police accepted a $50,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a Video Detective. It is capable of recording audio, video and stills from blocks away and can clean up images and sound recordings turned in as evidence. Now grainy footage of a bank robbery suspect becomes as clear as a yearbook photo.”

Bank robbery? More likely the technology will be used to monitor average citizens and catch them in the act of minor misdemeanors — littering, parking violations, drinking in public, smoking marijuana on the street corner, etc. It will be used as a revenue generator and a more effective way to get people in the system, herd them into the prison-industrial complex.

But it’s not all Stasi-style covert snooping. It’s also the psychological factor of living in a world based on Orwell’s dystopian novel. “Like security cameras in a bank, some systems are meant to be noticed. The sheriff’s office purchased two alert systems to startle vandals.”

In addition to acclimating folks to living in a militarized police state, such in-your-face systems are put in place to get the great unwashed used to being watched, same way Winston Smith was watched.

“One has flashing lights and the other has a loudspeaker and flashing lights and it takes their picture,” Sonier said. “It’s triggered by motion. A voice comes over the speakers and says something like, ‘Your picture has been taken. Leave the premises now.’ Their faces are like a deer in the headlights.”

In other words, the state will now bark orders at subjects. Middlesbrough and other British cities have similar systems, as do the cops in Baltimore. It’s all about making sure you understand you’re being watched. It’s all part of the control panopticon.

“One side effect of the Iraq war is military tools and tactics — sensors that can track gunfire, retina eye scans - are being even further fine-tuned. Still local law enforcement say some of it isn’t likely to hit the streets of Lee County for another decade, at least.”

Side effect? No, this technology is designed and manufactured with the “civilian” market in mind. And if the stuff is too pricey for cash-strapped middle America police departments, no doubt the Ministry of Homeland Security will come to the rescue with grants and hand-outs.

Our rulers have put the control grid on the fast track, so it will not be a decade or more before we are so inundated with snoop technology there will be no going back.

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