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November 28, 2005 5:25 PM   Subscribe

"'We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don't want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears'.... [Police] officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats." While there have been no specific threats of terrorism against Miami, "'[t]his is an in-your-face type of strategy. It's letting the terrorists know we are out there,' [Deputy Police Chief Frank] Fernandez said."
posted by orthogonality (71 comments total)

 

posted by orthogonality at 5:26 PM on November 28, 2005


Here Here, it seems the police are gearing us up for something, doesn't it?
posted by Elim at 5:30 PM on November 28, 2005


Deine Papiere, bitte.
posted by Rothko at 5:30 PM on November 28, 2005


Shock and awe, coming to a town near you... because, you know, it worked so well in that other place.
posted by cedar at 5:36 PM on November 28, 2005


we don't want people to feel their rights are being threatened

They need to back the fuck off.
posted by nervousfritz at 5:39 PM on November 28, 2005


orthogonality got it in one.
posted by tiamat at 5:39 PM on November 28, 2005


orthogonality posted "check the IDs of everyone going in and out "

Is this even remotely legal?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:40 PM on November 28, 2005


These days, does it matter?
posted by IronLizard at 5:45 PM on November 28, 2005


check the IDs of everyone going in and out

Is this even remotely legal?


Sure it is. The courts have spent the better part of a decade establishing that LEA's can ask anyone for identification at any time.

Probable cause is dead and buried in this country.
posted by cedar at 5:46 PM on November 28, 2005


hurray for us !
posted by nola at 5:46 PM on November 28, 2005


mr_roboto writes "Is this even remotely legal?"

Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Arrest for Refusal to Identify.

And not yet tried in court: "A security guard got on and demanded that all of the passengers on this public bus produce ID.... Suddenly, the second policeman shouted "Grab her!" and he grabbed the cell phone from her and threw it to the back of the bus. With each of the policemen wrenching one of her arms behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat...."
posted by orthogonality at 5:46 PM on November 28, 2005


What if you have decided not to carry ID or money if you don't plan on using either one and get caught up in one of these checks?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:53 PM on November 28, 2005


Privacy? What privacy? I want to know where the iminent thread is in Miami.
posted by VulcanMike at 5:55 PM on November 28, 2005


So it may not have been the brightest idea, but I haven't seen anyone lay out better strategies. How exactly should the local police force cope with a cryptic message from Homeland Security that says basically "We have a questionable source implying that their will be attacks against your city's financial district within the next 72 hours"?
I'm not saying I like what they did, I'm just saying that I haven't yet thought of a better approach.
posted by forforf at 5:56 PM on November 28, 2005


It doesn't bother me that much that they can ask you for ID. The more important question, to me: is it a crime for you not to have ID with you?

"We want that shock. We want that awe.

So do the terrorists, no doubt.

Are these "random" shows of force supposed to deter terrorists, on the off chance that one of them will take place at the same moment as an act of terrorism, and therefore thwart it?
posted by bingo at 5:57 PM on November 28, 2005


forforf writes "How exactly should the local police force cope with a cryptic message from Homeland Security that says basically 'We have a questionable source implying that their will be attacks against your city's financial district within the next 72 hours'?"

There is NO specific threat against Miami. Read the linked article. The police admit there's no specific threat. This is police muscle-flexing.
posted by orthogonality at 6:01 PM on November 28, 2005


There's no way terrorists could have fake IDs, and even if they did, the anti-terror leaflets would make them see the error of their ways.

This in-your-face type of strategy + it being legal in Florida to shoot anyone you think is a threat = good times.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:02 PM on November 28, 2005


I'm just saying that I haven't yet thought of a better approach.

Take the hit, pay off the dead's family. Its cheaper than trying to play and pay for 100% defense.

I want to know where the iminent thread is in Miami.

That would be the old people and their effects on Social Security.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:02 PM on November 28, 2005


Its cheaper than trying to play and pay for 100% defense.

This has nothing to do with defending against terrorists, and everything to do with preventing dissent.

We have lost. This is no longer a free country.

Get out, if you can.
posted by eriko at 6:06 PM on November 28, 2005


how can you write something like "this is no longer a free country" when you are free to write "this is no longer a free country?"
posted by veritas que at 6:14 PM on November 28, 2005


kirkaracha writes "There's no way terrorists could have fake IDs,"

Didn't the 9/11 terrorists have actual state/federal issue ID?
posted by Mitheral at 6:15 PM on November 28, 2005


It's letting the terrorists know we are out there

Don't the police BECOME terrorists when they foment fear and agitation like this?

I mean, I wasn't generally really afraid, going to banks. But next time I go to the bank and there's a horde of police milling about, shaking down everyone for their ID, I mean...gosh, it just seems like what they're doing is increasing terror among the citizenry, rather than diminishing it.
posted by darkstar at 6:19 PM on November 28, 2005


This has nothing to do with defending against terrorists, and everything to do with preventing dissent.

That was my take on it. If they have some guy in Miami who is going to attack Shady Lawn Savings and Loan, they already know who he is, and if they are asking for his ID as he's approaching the building, they are too late.

But if they want to keep fucking with everyone, this is a great strategy.
posted by nervousfritz at 6:21 PM on November 28, 2005


We want that shock. We want that awe.

And why are Miami police talking like John Wayne about to storm Baghdad when there's no identified terrorist threat?

I get this impression of Barney Fife, only with a mean streak...
posted by darkstar at 6:23 PM on November 28, 2005


darkstar: bingo!

"Shock and awe" in whatever form is intended to inspire fear. Terrorism in action, baby.
posted by papakwanz at 6:24 PM on November 28, 2005


how can you write something like "this is no longer a free country" when you are free to write "this is no longer a free country?"

Only the most primitive and clumsy of police states would care about insignificant individuals expressing their opinions. After all, what is a better cage than the illusion of freedom?
posted by solipse at 6:24 PM on November 28, 2005


it just seems like what they're doing is increasing terror among the citizenry, rather than diminishing it.

That's the whole point -- they're trying to spread fear, because fear leads directly to two of their most favorite words: panic spending.

Panic spending on all kinds of fancy new gear, lots of money to spread around to various consultants, pay raises for the desk-bound officer corps, and so on.
posted by aramaic at 6:27 PM on November 28, 2005


They need to back the fuck off.
----------------------------------
I second the motion. Let's start investigating the investigators.

Papiere, Bitte ! ! !

What's next, truncheons while visiting Santa?

Maintain your place in the line! *thwack*

The only 'terrorism' they can protect us against is themselves by getting out of 'murican's faces and slinking back into their caves like the dark-hearted fascists they are.

Paranoid Screwballs . . .
posted by mk1gti at 6:27 PM on November 28, 2005


eriko writes "This is no longer a free country."

There are many kinds of freedom. The U.S. has always had problems with letting people go about their own lives as they please: prohibition, racial segregation, laws against extramarital or homosexual sex, etc. It has always been, and is now, one of the most free countries in the world with regard to speech, especially political speech. It has traditional been pretty good about freedom of movement (unless you were black), too. We'll see if that changes.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:27 PM on November 28, 2005


Another article on this provides a handy-dandy email address - homelandsecurity@miami-police.org - "where people can report suspicious activity." I'm sure they'd also like feedback about what everyone thinks of such tactics.
posted by Bort at 6:31 PM on November 28, 2005


Oh, don't worry, eventually sites like mefi will be combed for signs of dissent. They just haven't progressed yet to the stage where people are turning in their neighbors. We'll get there.

If anyone is interested, it might be a good time to start laying groundwork for stuff that might be needed in the future. Private email lists, crypto, etc. Email's in my profile.
posted by beth at 6:31 PM on November 28, 2005


This tactic is taken from the NYPD, who also do these "show of force" exercises around the city at random times and locations.

I'm not opposed to that, in itself -- it's possible that it could indeed have a deterrent effect on terrorists (and other criminals, for that matter).

But this idea of checking everyone's ID in a given public place is not part of the NYPD's playbook, AFAIK. I don't see how that's constitutional.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:33 PM on November 28, 2005


Nothing that happens in Miami surprises me. I spent two years in that city and it is easily the weirdest (not in a good way) town in the US. NYC is a bucolic Rainbow Coalition lovefest on LSD-Viagra cocktails by comparison.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 PM on November 28, 2005


But freedom of political speech is only ok if it is removed from the people it is directed against, hence we have those dreaded "free speech zones", and loyalty oath pledges to get into a political rally.
posted by edgeways at 6:35 PM on November 28, 2005


how can you write something like "this is no longer a free country" when you are free to write "this is no longer a free country?"

This litmus test for freedom is outmoded in America now. I've lived in Burma and Vietnam, two of the most brutally oppressive states in the world, and I saw that the face of tyranny changes in step with the times.

The current tyranny is non-partisan. The real war is what it has always been: rich against the poor. The if the Democrats had the White House, it's not like none of this would be happening. It would be different, maybe there wouldn't even be an occupation, but there would still be a lot of bullshit crackdown like this. Economics require it.

Terrorism is an encoded preparation for class-based revolution. And what makes it even sadder--tragic even--is that half of the rapidly vanishing working class lives in regions that have been completely enthralled in zero-sum theatrics... this vaudville pageant of partisan loyalty through idiotic jingoism.

By the time these walking lunchpails wake up with no paycheck, they'll have signed off all their rights. Thanks to the Sean Hanity fans, all the working people will have a huge and mighty controlling aparatus surrounding them.

And, yeah, they'll be free to write "this is no longer a free country" on any pissant server they want. Terrorism, my ass.
posted by squirrel at 6:37 PM on November 28, 2005


beth writes "it might be a good time to start laying groundwork for stuff that might be needed in the future."

AskMefi: How do I set up a bank account in Canada -- without getting on a government watchlist?
posted by orthogonality at 6:37 PM on November 28, 2005


how can you write something like "this is no longer a free country" when you are free to write "this is no longer a free country?"

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to buy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:37 PM on November 28, 2005


On the subject of combing Metafilter for dissent, wasn't there a comment on here a while back (I forget who made it) that mentioned that access to Metafilter is blocked at the White House? Whoever made it didn't explain how exactly he/she was in the know, but if it's true it wouldn't surprise me.
posted by emelenjr at 6:42 PM on November 28, 2005


Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force

I couldn't agree more. That it is a theatrical stage, a farce.

A farce may work with people who are impressed by displays that they believe to be displays of "force" , much like those who think kamikaze terrorist are corageous because they blow themselves up ....while they are driven by blind faith and probably some sucidial tendency.

Similarly that cop thinks that displaying force would deter terrorist, because he's impressed by such displays or he thinks people do. Some do, but terrorist are only aroused to show more of their alleged courage by such displays, by showing that they can face a strong enemy and win.

It's more smoke and mirrors, at best it's a lame attempt to show "muscle" at worst it's the idea of managing people into subservient scared mentality by obsessing people with some omnipresent hidden enemy
posted by elpapacito at 6:50 PM on November 28, 2005


Bingo.
posted by squirrel at 6:56 PM on November 28, 2005


I bet this is going to go off without any problems. Years from now, all you naysayers will look back and see that the Floridians were way, way ahead of the curve when it came to rounding up illegal aliens and oth...I mean letting the terrorists know that they can't win.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:57 PM on November 28, 2005


Record for fastest, self-godwinned thread?

But seriously, that's some scary-ass shit. What's going to be next?

Good luck America.
posted by dazed_one at 7:00 PM on November 28, 2005


how can you write something like "this is no longer a free country" when you are free to write "this is no longer a free country?"

Yup. This is the key question. There's a balance point. The trick will be knowing when we are just about to reach it.
posted by mmahaffie at 7:04 PM on November 28, 2005


from my reading, in the supreme court case regarding "Arrest for Refusal to Identify", the individual in question was arrested for refusing to tell the officer his name, not for refusing to show identification. In other words, its still perfectly legal to not carry/produce identification papers on demand, but you do need to identify yourself in some way, i.e. verbally. Perhaps someone with legal traing would care to comment?
posted by ludflu at 7:11 PM on November 28, 2005


Well the question is, can you write "Because of George Bush, this is no longer a free country, and therefore he needs to die."?
posted by nightchrome at 7:14 PM on November 28, 2005


well number 1, that's Jeb. Number 2, the word is impeachment and good luck, Number 3 don't be retarded.

Anyway, here's a glimmer of understanding from the White House.
posted by nervousfritz at 7:29 PM on November 28, 2005


Where do I stand to line up for the right colored arm bands?
posted by psmealey at 7:41 PM on November 28, 2005


mmahaffie,

a sucker for the close call, ey? "Whew, missed it by a *whisker*!"
posted by hackly_fracture at 8:07 PM on November 28, 2005


how can you write something like "this is no longer a free country" when you are free to write "this is no longer a free country?"

This is a little trick learned by very modern totalitarian regimes: the properly channeled illusion of freedom is better than ham-handed control.

Why shouldn't you be allowed to voice your opinions on the Internet? What are you really accomplishing? Not a thing, aside from venting steam, which might very well make you a bit more docile. The only people reading your desperate posts are just as helpless as you.

Meanwhile, the powerful ignore you and do whatever they please.
posted by bshock at 8:10 PM on November 28, 2005


What are you really accomplishing? Not a thing, aside from venting steam, which might very well make you a bit more docile.

And here we have, ladies and gentlemen, the genius behind Metatalk.
posted by beth at 8:19 PM on November 28, 2005


*cough*


That's a show of force.
posted by stet at 8:19 PM on November 28, 2005


So it may not have been the brightest idea, but I haven't seen anyone lay out better strategies.

Yeah, fuck the banks. We should just turn the whole place into a god damned glass-covered parking lot.
posted by c13 at 8:30 PM on November 28, 2005


As I've said, the Colorado incident is not a good test case. It involved a gated federal facility, and the arrest will almost certainly be held constitutional on that ground, which will almost certainly mean it's not widely applicable as a precedent.

A bank, on the other hand, is private property and a semi-public space, and presents a different set of issues. The key decision in this area continues to be Terry v. Ohio where the Court upheld a search of a suspect based on "reasonable inquiries" which derived from an officer's own knowledge of a suspicious situation. That is, the cop had to be pursuing a factual answer regarding a real situation, not a random "just checking in case you might have robbed someone". In this case, it was reasonable to ask to search a person believed to have a connection. The Hiibel case more or less reiterated much of this opinion so didn't break especially new ground. The difference between Terry and Hiibel was roughly that Hiibel was (presumably) innocent, so it became a question of whether the police could know that in advance; the Court decided they couldn't, so it was still reasonable.

The Miami situation appears to combine elements of Hiibel and the decision the same year in Illinois v. Lidster, where an Illinois police department set up a checkpoint to question motorists, a week after a hit-and-run at the same location. The court ruled in this case that the checkpoint was constitutional (contrary to an earlier Indiana checkpoint case), because of the "grave" public interest in finding out information about the death.

In Miami, of course, there isn't a specific crime, and I suspect that the Court would hold these ID checks to be similar to the Indianapolis v. Edmond case, where it deemed a random drug checkpoint unconstitutional. O'Connor's affirmation ran:

We cannot sanction stops justified only by the generalized and everpresent possibility that interrogation and inspection may reveal that any given motorist has committed some crime.

Of course, there are circumstances that may justify a law enforcement checkpoint where the primary purpose would otherwise, but for some emergency, relate to ordinary crime control. For example... the Fourth Amendment would almost certainly permit an appropriately tailored roadblock set up to thwart an imminent terrorist attack or to catch a dangerous criminal who is likely to flee by way of a particular route.


Note imminent terrorist attack as a crucial distinction, although this opinion came before 9/11.

The likely argument is going to be that these are stops as in the Lidster case, an "informational roadblock", and the defense is going to be that they are not "appropriately tailored". Where the Roberts court will go with this one, of course, is too much of a guessing game at this point.
posted by dhartung at 8:44 PM on November 28, 2005


Everything has changed since 9-11
posted by rxreed at 8:49 PM on November 28, 2005


Oh, of course, there isn't actually a court case in this one yet. The ACLU or whomever could file for an injunction, though, if they don't have a guinea pig.
posted by dhartung at 8:51 PM on November 28, 2005


As a strategy, this is exactly what the terrorists (assuming there are any terrorists) want. If I wasa terrorist, I'd be laughing my ass off at these stupid pricks.

The way you bust terrorists is by infilltration, not by fucking with the civilians.

Of course, Miami has such a spotless reputation for having a clean police force, this couldn't possibly be connected to crooked cops and shakedown rackets. A little payoff and your competitor gets the "enforcement emphasis." No, that would be impossible.

Think about this: are there more dirty cops or terrorists in Miami? Given your estimate, which is doing more harm?
posted by warbaby at 9:05 PM on November 28, 2005


Al Qaeda are on the goddamned payroll. Ever notice that every place we have an interest in drilling for oil, or transporting oil through, Al Qaeda show up? Ever wonder how the mightiest intelligence apparatus on the globe manages to not quite catch a 6.5 foot tall arab on dialysis?

Osama won't be caught any time soon. He's still useful. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton or some other neo-liberal quisling will get elected in '08, and NOT A GODDAMNED THING WILL CHANGE.

This, everything that's happened, from Clinton forward, must be viewed within the context of doing ANYTHING neccesary to place America and other Western interests in the best position to have access to the most energy resources possible, damn the consequences, as we transition into a post-oil age.

Remember, the American way of life is NOT NEGOTIABLE, right?
posted by stenseng at 9:50 PM on November 28, 2005


What did they teach us years ago? "Just say no."
posted by Eideteker at 6:10 AM on November 29, 2005


Seems I remember something about Miami police and the tactics used during a recent trade conference.
Nothing to see here folks.
Move along.
Everything is under control.
[cough]
posted by nofundy at 6:26 AM on November 29, 2005


MetaFilter: A bucolic Rainbow Coalition lovefest on LSD-Viagra cocktails.
posted by Dunvegan at 6:39 AM on November 29, 2005


The Miami Model
posted by Chuckles at 6:58 AM on November 29, 2005


nightchrome: I was going to mention the size of your cojones for writing that until I realized that you are in Japan and pretty well out of the fear sphere.
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:05 AM on November 29, 2005


As I've said, the Colorado incident is not a good test case. It involved a gated federal facility, and the arrest will almost certainly be held constitutional on that ground, which will almost certainly mean it's not widely applicable as a precedent.

Fair enough. But what the hell is the RTD doing running a public bus route through an area without public access? The danger of the precedent is that public rights of way near federal property may also be designated non-public-access in response to The Next Attack™ - which would give the federal police the right to stop basically any bus that runs through downtown, anywhere.

Likely? Probably not. But tell me in 2000 that five years from then I'd know whether each of my pairs of shoes had a steel shank for national security purposes, and I'd say the same.
posted by Vetinari at 7:33 AM on November 29, 2005


That's a show of force.

The real hero is inside that tank, ignoring the orders to close his eyes and drive on.
posted by fullerine at 7:51 AM on November 29, 2005


We all know that sometimes, sometimes you just need Enzo the Baker to stand outside the hospital to prevent bad stuff from going down.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:54 AM on November 29, 2005


from the linked article: Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people's rights are not violated.

"What we're dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution," Simon said. "We'll have to see how it is implemented."


I don't get this. The local ACLU guy seems to be OK with these tactics?
posted by caddis at 8:01 AM on November 29, 2005


So it may not have been the brightest idea, but I haven't seen anyone lay out better strategies.

For accomplishing what? Securing safety from terrorists?

This kind of measure accomplishes next to nothing on that score. The lesson we should have learned from 9/11 is that terrorists can hurt us whenever they want. What we have to decide is what price we're willing to pay. Hardly anybody has given any serious consideration to that question, because doing so tends to lose votes.

But if what you want to accomplish is to create a more tightly regulated society -- this is a great thing to do.

fullerine: The real hero is inside that tank, ignoring the orders to close his eyes and drive on.

Hardly ever noted, but a very, very important point. For the moment, at least, we have that codified in the Uniform Code. So, in theory, we tell all of our soldiers that they should be like that driver or commander. I have some degree of faith that for at least the near future, regular military (well, at least, Army and MC, who knows about the AF) will continue to pay attention to the concept of conscience. My fear remains that the Fed will leverage the fact that the National Guard can operate in the Civilian realm without special dispensation to turn them into a force for martial law. The Guard doesn't have the same kind of traditions that the Army does.
posted by lodurr at 9:48 AM on November 29, 2005


Free turgidity for all Miami police!
A guaranteed thrill for the big bad policeman!
What police chief can beat that?
Does this mean they won't have to hang out in strip bars so much?
posted by nofundy at 10:13 AM on November 29, 2005


“I haven't seen anyone lay out better strategies. How exactly should the local police force cope with a cryptic message from Homeland Security that says basically "We have a questionable source implying that their will be attacks against your city's financial district within the next 72 hours"?
I'm not saying I like what they did, I'm just saying that I haven't yet thought of a better approach.
posted by forforf “

Infiltration (as prev. stated), observation, subversion - variety of methods to each of those (bribery, blackmail - WOW are devout Muslims easy to blackmail, etc.) Typically it’s better for a counter terrorist operation to remain invisible and have the terrorist op simply vanish so as to prevent the terrorists from knowing a variety of things - “smoking the hull” of their organization, as a f’rinstance.
It’s why the FBI played the counterop to the earlier Trade Center bombing so close to the vest, which admittedly has it’s hazards (as manifested in it almost getting pulled off).

But Homeland Security should be doing their jobs and not sending “cryptic” messages. There is so much mystique to anti-terrorism work now, it’s goofy. But it’s not rocket science. A good salesman or someone with a knowlege of human response and human nature is far more valuable than some goon with a nightstick checking documents in the middle of the day.

Wuz I a terrorist I’d love the opportunity to kill a whole lot of cops, create further agitation, and drain economic resources. But y’know, I’m not smart enough to figure out how random shows of force accomplish anything.

But I like the random show of force as an expression of individual self-assertion. ANYONE WANT A PIECE OF ME!?! HUH!?! PUNKS!!!??
Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Um, I did previously post on the davis case...
*sulks like a big baby*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:26 PM on November 29, 2005


Jack-booted thugs indeed
posted by Justin Case at 6:46 PM on November 29, 2005


Jesus Fucking Christ.

Take the hit, pay off the dead's family. Its cheaper than trying to play and pay for 100% defense.

Exactly. Focus on the missing nukes, not the boners with bombs strapped to their backs.

Somebody pass me one of those cocktails.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:09 AM on November 30, 2005


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