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Ferguson No-Fly Zone Revealed As Anti-Media Tactic 265

The AP (here, carried by the San Francisco Chronicle) reports that recorded conversations reveal flight restrictions requested in August by the police force of Ferguson, MO, and agreed to by Federal aviation safety officials, were specifically intended to limit the access of journalists to the area, rather than purely in response to safety concerns. One FAA manager in Kansas City was recorded saying police "did not care if you ran commercial traffic through this TFR (temporary flight restriction) all day long. They didn't want media in there." "There is really ... no option for a [Temporary Flight Restriction] that says, you know, 'OK, everybody but the media is OK,'" he said. The managers then worked out wording they felt would keep news helicopters out of the controlled zone but not impede other air traffic. The conversations contradict claims by the St. Louis County Police Department, which responded to demonstrations following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, that the restriction was solely for safety and had nothing to do with preventing media from witnessing the violence or the police response. Police said at the time, and again as recently as late Friday to the AP, that they requested the flight restriction in response to shots fired at a police helicopter. But police officials confirmed there was no damage to their helicopter and were unable to provide an incident report on the shooting. On the tapes, an FAA manager described the helicopter shooting as unconfirmed "rumors."
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Ferguson No-Fly Zone Revealed As Anti-Media Tactic

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:12PM (#48297541)

    This is illegal.

    • laws are just promises on paper. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:18PM (#48297571)

    And there are probably at least a dozen. They should all do at least 20 years. They are the worst evil garbage imaginable.

    • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @11:03PM (#48298257)

      Aiming guns at currently non-violent protesters was not enough to cause outrage (among a great many more blatant violations, but this is?!

      Face it, those in charge will get a slap on the wrist at best at this point. Power has corrupted, and it is too late to do anything meaningful. If you try expect to get on a secret list and have your life screwed with royally. Hunker down and hope you aren't alredy on a list to get "disappeared".

  • by WalksOnDirt ( 704461 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:23PM (#48297619)

    Somebody should go to jail over this.

    It won't happen, though.

    • by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:56PM (#48297865)
      A boat load of federal crimes (maybe a helicopter load). A lot of people (police and local officials) deserve to go to jail.
      There are too many he said she said. Unconfirmable statements, only muddy it further. Unless an insider blows the whistle, the guilty will walk.
      A really nasty federal grand jury could put the screws on those who deserve to be punished. They might have to dig into their retirement fund to pay for legal advice. Some pain, less than what most of them deserve. The ones simply following orders don't need a lawyer. The truth, my boss told me to do this and I believed him/her, should protect them. They didn't commit a crime. Don't kill the messenger.
      Perhaps the idiot at the FAA that accepted this may pay. Probably not fired, but at least enough damage to make someone else think twice before accepting a sack of bull$#1t.
    • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @10:21PM (#48298007)

      Though unfortunate, I believe you are correct. There is a lot of abuses in Ferguson which should have already landed officials in jail, outside of the obvious. Police have repeated targeted journalists, even firing Tear Gas directly at an Al Jazeera TV crew, and after chasing them away turned off their cameras and turned down their lights. RT and Infowars also had crews attacked by police. Before you "but but those guys are *insert something silly* they provide information which no other agency is providing.

      People in power _WANT_ to take out media so that the only thing people see is what they script. They want the issue to be black vs. white, because if it looks that way instead of corruption people poke at each other instead of looking at officials. The agenda behind all of this is easy to see, because they do it all the time. Citizen and Blog media is blowing their cover, and they really hate it.

      Back on point, they have already said that the cop that shot Michael Brown would probably not face any charges, even what should be obviously excessive use of force. So the trend of Police brutality and corruption will continue, until of course people just start killing dirty cops. I don't advocate vigilantism, but at a certain point people will see there is no choice.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        So the guy commits a strong arm robbery on video, then attacks a cop who's investigating and gets shot while going for the cops gun at close range, and it's police brutality?

        I'm all for making police accountable, but this seems like a bad ticket to ride on.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sumdumass ( 711423 )

          The cop had no idea about the robbery at the time of the shooting. He was reprimanding them for blocking traffic by walking in the middle of the street.

          The perp however knew he just robbed a place and that probably drove his action to attack the cop and try for his gun. I believe the cop had reasonable fear for his life because without knowledge of the robbery, the actions seem like that of a crazy person hell bent on harming him. Had the cop known of the robbery, i suspect the entire approach as well as th

          • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Monday November 03, 2014 @09:59AM (#48300435)

            That might explain the shooting that occurred at the police car, but it doesn't justify the fatal shots. You just don't get to claim self-defense when your adversary is running away! (Or when the adversary has given up trying to run and has decided to surrender instead, for that matter.)

            • I didn't say it excused anything, i said i can see why/where the cop was afraid for his life.

              Make no mistake, i belive this cop was in the wrong but not because of any ill or malicious intent. I believe he was scared out of his mind and acted on that fear when bullshit jaywalking stop turned life threatenting.

              • Make no mistake, i belive this cop was in the wrong but not because of any ill or malicious intent. I believe he was scared out of his mind...

                Really? Scared out of his mind... why? He's a goddamned cop! He's supposed to be trained to deal with exactly that kind of confrontation without overreacting that way! For that matter, he's supposed to be trained to manage the situation so that he doesn't put himself in that position to begin with!

                Think about it: the asshole cop pulled up alongside and tried to talk

        • by s.petry ( 762400 )

          As others have pointed out the Cop did not know about the robbery so it was not a factor. Now, let us say he did.. was it armed robbery? No. Even if the Cop knew about the robbery deadly force was not required. Every police department I know of has non-lethal weapons and more than 1 officer, meaning that there are obvious options outside of shooting to kill.

        • by s.petry ( 762400 )
          Oh, and eye witness reports make no claim that the guy was attacking a cop. Perhaps you have never seen a lying cop, or an aggressive cop? Even as a white male you don't have to try that hard to find that type of cop.
  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:31PM (#48297655)

    This is why we need to give power back to the states!

    Oh, wait, that didn't work.

    Give it to the feds!

    Honestly? They were pretty shit too.

    Hail the king!

    Ehh, he really made a mess of things last time.

    Power to the corporations!

    No, wait, that was a complete disaster.

    We could try giving it to the people again, but let's face it: they're as selfish and shortsighted as the rest.

    Okay, I'm open for suggestions at this point. Horses, maybe?

    • Re:Political science (Score:4, Informative)

      by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:38PM (#48297727)

      One word: Kodos.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Give it to God?
    • The lawyers.

      the whole system has become shit.
      We need a better septic system.
    • Any position of power is going to get abused by someone. Period. This is why we have checks and balances.

      Checks and balances means that anyone in a long chain can "veto" use of force, and prevent it from being used:

      0. The Constitution has to grant the legislature powers to propose a law
      1. The legislature has to propose a law granting powers to the executive branch
      2. The executive has to sign it into law
      3. The treasurer has to put money towards enforcing the law
      4. The sheriff has to begin enforcement of the

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And what do you propose we do when all the people in power have decided to solve their Prisoner's Dilemma and collude?

        Ideals are a fine thing, in theory. In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, theory and practice are nothing alike.

        • Most democracies outside the US handles it by having at least one check/balance that is NOT elected and thus not subject to the same corruptive influences as the elected parts of government - while simultaneously having no power of their own to make laws, only the power to scrap laws the elected part wrote (thus limiting the effects of their different corruptive influences).
          In England and Canada the Queen is theoretically doing that job (though in practise she hasn't vetoed a law in decades so it's pure the

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )

      Okay, I'm open for suggestions at this point. Horses, maybe?

      Citizens selected by lot. It worked in Athens. []

      • How about the method of selection of the Doge of Venice []? A mix of super-majority voting (to force compromise), combined with selection by lot (to break voting blocks). Works a bit like evolution by natural selection. Each round effectively selects better candidates for the next. Almost guarantees a wise and benevolent dictator.

    • by chgros ( 690878 )

      Horses, maybe?
      Sure, if they're Houyhnhnms.

    • Give it to Cthulhu, why settle for the lesser evil?
  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:33PM (#48297677)

    If they knew the police were just trying to impede the media, why did they go along? Heads should roll at multiple levels.

  • coming soon to your town.
  • Legal requirements (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dereck1701 ( 1922824 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:50PM (#48297819)

    I wonder what the legal requirements for filing these restrictions are, I know most similar documents require those filing them attest to the real reason for the request under penalty of perjury. If that's the case for these documents then someone effectively committed a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Also a quick browse of the relevant advisories in regards to Temporary Flight Restrictions does not suggest there is any allowance for "because we don't want the media to see", National security (specifically mentioning the DOD), High ranking politicians movements, Spacecraft launches, major sporting events, hijacking incidents & wildfires, but nothing about the press so I doubt that was the reason put down on the forms. []

    • You realize how many things have to be attested to under penalty of perjury? You realize how many times people have gone to jail for the most straight-forwardly blatant fail statements in such cases? Next to none if any.

      Any doubt? DMCA takedown requests have to be attested to under penalty of perjury. Ever hear of a false/improper DMCA request? How about someone going to jail for making a false one? (Keep in mind a statement made under penalty of perjury by an automated system does not make the person whos

      • Any doubt? DMCA takedown requests have to be attested to under penalty of perjury. Ever hear of a false/improper DMCA request?

        A common misconception. The penalty of perjury only applies to the statement that the complaining party is acting on behalf of someone else.

        • The wording of U.S. Code 17 Â 512(c)(vi) has been interpreted that way, and to cover the entirety of the notification. Not sure what the case law is.

          My professors that I've spoken with on the matter are of the opinion that either it applies to both or that if it doesn't apply to the entirety of the notification, that it be on par with statements in a federal criminal complaint (in though it's a civil matter, because of the criminal implications of copyright infringement), which if knowingly false would

          • The wording of U.S. Code 17 Ã 512(c)(vi) has been interpreted that way, and to cover the entirety of the notification. Not sure what the case law is.

            I don't think that a court has looked at it yet, so I am going to believe that the plain text means what it says and that the penalty of perjury only applies to the part: "and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed." Especially, since part (v) expl

            • First, yes, It's all just theoretical discussion until there's case law. Something like this, that's pretty unlikely to happen. This is a discussion on a Internet forum, one would think discussions are just that. I don't see the need to get belligerent about it.

              As I said, beyond the explicit perjury penalty, there would certainly be (in theory) penalties for falsifying information in the notification.

              Personally, don't think they'd actually be criminal beyond (vi)'s explicit perjury penalty (if it applied in

    • by Sqr(twg) ( 2126054 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @02:03AM (#48298935)

      Keeping the press away is a matter of National Security. That's how it is in every police state.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      major sporting events

      I'm pretty sure chasing black people around with hound dogs qualifies as a major sporting event down south.

  • I hope this means they know people are watching now, and there will be media in the air for when the verdict is read.

    • >> I hope this means they know people are watching now

      Doubt it. I hadn't read anything about this story for the past few weeks until this Slashdot article.

    • Sigh. It is terrible seeing shitheads giving opinions on things they are ignorant of , like not knowing that grand juries don't return indictments, they return true bills/no bills.

  • Screw those hicks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @10:36PM (#48298093) Journal

    flight restrictions requested in August by the police force of Ferguson, MO

    Since when is a suburb allowed to declare "no-fly" zones.

    Not only have we militarized local police, but it looks like we've now given them the power generally reserved for the State Department and Justice Department.

    If we had an Attorney General who was worth a damn, there would be a bunch of Ferguson officials and police facing charges and civil rights suits right now. Instead, we've had an AG who was only concerned with making sure that no Wall Street banking criminal got his hair mussed.

  • by Livius ( 318358 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @11:17PM (#48298333)

    Of course it was about the media. Photographs without on-the-ground context, for example, could spark further public demonstrations and there could be safety concerns.

    That's not a good trade-off between public safety and freedom of the press, but the reasoning wasn't really a secret.

  • We need to make infringement of a constitutionally protected right both by the government and its agents personally liable in a civil suit. I would say a minimum of $100,000. Then these rights violations will come to a rapid stop.

    • by dbc ( 135354 )

      Check out section 1983 of the civil rights act of 1871. Still in force, and has been for nearly 150 years. It was used pretty effectively after the Civil War, when the sheriff might also be a member of the Klan...

      • by bl968 ( 190792 )

        I've seen it but it also requires a prosecutor to bring the suit.

        The citizens need a direct cause of action and it needs to be made clear that no privileges or immunities can apply in cases when a protected right was infringed.

  • This is something you'd expect of some place like China or worse.

    I hope the rogue drone operators get rich from this.

  • It seems that when these guys have a choice between transparency and something that would make them look like even bigger autocratic police state thugs, they choose to double down on thuggery. Who ever they've hired for a P.R. firm needs to be fired...

    It would appear the only choice this police department is going to have soon enough to be completely dispanded and taken over by the state police. Then an entirely new group of officers with new commanders and a new chief need to be put in place.

    If these off

About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends. -- Herbert Hoover