Friday, August 22, 2014

Tom Zebra, Anti-Police Hero or Troublemaker?

Tom Zebra, Citizen Journalist/provocateur
Los Angeles, CA—If you’re a cop in or near the City of Angels, Tom Zebra may just get in your face and under your skin. 
In the age of the cell phone camera explosion came body cams and the ever-popular GoPros. 
With the new technology police have been placed under the intrusive and unblinking eyes of millions of cameras.  A large percentage of them are in the hands of genuine antagonists like Zebra . 
The next generation of police monitoring devices is here in the form of multi-rotor camera drones.  They can be quietly deployed over any police action.  They can record video of anything taking place in plain view under the skies.   
Cops have been understandably hostile to these cameras and nationwide thousands of bogus arrests have been made of people recording them.  Cops have confiscated cell phones, cameras and their media storage cards.  Cops felt they should have a right to privacy but the courts have spoken.  They have no such right. 
Lawmakers at local levels have been sympathetic to the cop’s concerns and have unsucessfully tried to make end runs around the law that would inhibit or end the public’s rights to record police.
There is yet another side to the police/camera issues and that’s the amazing fact that the captured videos vindicate the cops well over 99% of the time.  Slowly cops are beginning to realize that these cameras and much more objective than the people using them!
Targeting cops from both land and now the air is Tom Zebra.  Zebra is a citizen journalist/provocateur.  He points his cameras where they are not wanted in various police matters. 
Zabra garnered additional cop hostility by flying his camera drone over a walled-in police parking lot.  The cops came out and actually threatened to arrest Zebra for trespassing even though he never set for inside the police parking area.  Zebra got his video and wasted no time posting it on YouTube. 
Police recently San Pedro Port police arrested Zebra and confiscated his drone as evidence.  Ironically Zebra was not photographing police, but a U.S. Naval vessel that the public was invited to both visit and photograph. Zebra’s crime was the apparent violation of a L.A. park’s ordinance. 
The little known existing law banned the use of remote controlled model aircraft in parks, beaches, horse trials or any place not specifically designated for them.  
I’m convinced that the law was drafted to target noisy fixed wing aircraft that frightened horses posed a danger because of their speed.
One of my legal experts believes that Zebra has a first Amendment right to use his drone camera despite the L.A. Parks ordinance.  Zebra has a right to take photos.  My expert said that collecting the legislative history of the remote control ban showing it was never intended to cover the much quieter and slower moving multi-rotor camera drones would help Zebra in court.
In the meantime to the cop's chagrin Zebra’s not grounded, he apparently obtained a new drone and is back in business. 
Last but not least, are the thousands of people nationwide that have camera drones.   They are holding their breaths, waiting for lawmakers and the FAA determine the future this new and exciting industry. 
The majority of the camera drone operators I talk with are hostile to Zebra and his militancy.  They say he’s going to ruin it for everyone.  I say that idea is dead wrong.  If anything Zebra is making it better by taking the lead in challenging government tyranny. 
Someone will have to test bad laws or unreasonable enforcement.  Frankly I’d rather stand behind Zebra rather than in front of him in that regard.  We can only learn what are rights really are by the Tom Zebra’s of our world willing to test the system.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The City of Phoenix is Making War on Camera Drone Pilots!

Will they be able to jail drone pilot Paul Huebl now?  
Phoenix, AZ—Two members of the City Council here are proposing an anti-drone ordinance that will make a criminal out of anyone using a drone within the city.

Let me disclose that I own and operate two camera drones like the one above and plan to use them in pursuit if gathering images and video for news. 
The proposed law requires that “written permission” be obtained in advance from anyone that might be photographed by a drone.  That would for example include some gardener mowing grass who might be photographed whether he is readily identifiable or not.  They are not talking about just close up pictures but any picture.
There is plenty of existing law that protects people’s privacy where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  That is inside a home or structure of some type.  That’s why millions of ordinary surveillance cameras are everywhere in America today. 
Singer and entertainer Barbara Streisand sued a photographer that dared to publish a photograph of her Malibu, CA beachfront home he shot from a helicopter for $10 million.  Needless to say despite the best lawyers her case failed and the photographer actually collected from her instead. 

Then there is the U.S. Supreme Court case, Florida v. Riley, 488 U.S. 445 (1989).  
Meaningless exemptions are made in the proposed law for artists and news people but that opens a Pandora’s Box to define what that might mean. 
Many would say I should not qualify for media exemption as a blogger!  Who or what is an artist? What if some cop decides your “art work” sucks and can get a jury to agree that you’re no artist? Sheriff Joe’s Tent City awaits your confinement!
In fairness to the two councilmen behind this mess somehow were under the mistaken impression that existing privacy laws did not cover aerial photography. 
They also need to recognize that any other criminal mischief involving a drone is already covered.  An aide gave me an example where she suggested that a drone could be used as a look out or to case property to be burglarized.  She was dead wrong.
In every state a drone put to such use would be considered a burglary tool bringing forth an additional felony charge in addition to the original burglary complaint.
There are also stalking laws that prevent criminals from using any means to victimize people.  The use of a drone by a stalker would surly bring maximum punishment in any court.
Obviously those doing the same thing with Google Earth, helicopters or fixed wing aircraft can take all the pictures of people they want in Phoenix.  After all these days we love double standard justice in America! 
The draft ordinance is subject to debate and public comment.  I suspect that anything that actually passes may be a lot different than the current proposal. 
Perhaps an E-Mail or phone call to the Mayor or members of the Phoenix City Council might get their needed attention
Below is the proposed ordinance:
DRAFT Unmanned Aircraft Regulations

1.  Unmanned Aircraft System (“UAS”) means an unmanned aircraft vehicle, drone, remotely piloted vehicles, or remotely piloted aircraft that does not carry a human operator.
1.  A person commits an offense if the person uses an unmanned aircraft to photograph, film, audiotape, or otherwise record an individual or individuals acting on private property without the expressed, written consent of the property owner and the individuals included in the recording.
a.  An offense under this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor
b.  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person destroyed all photographs, films, audiotapes, and other records:
                                            i.     As soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in violation of this section;
                                         ii.     Without disclosing, displaying, or distributing the image to a third party;
                                      iii.     The recordings did not include
1.  Children; or
2.  Sexual acts or nudity.
2.  A person commits an offense if the person makes a recording in violation of Section 1 and discloses, displays, distributes, sells, or otherwise uses that image
a.  An offense under this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor
b.  Each image a person discloses, displays, distributes, or sells under this section is a separate offense
3.  A person commits an offense if he outfits an unmanned aircraft system with a weapon and flies that unmanned aircraft over the private property of another individual or entity without expressed, written permission
a.  An offense under this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor
1. It is lawful to use an unmanned aircraft within the City of Phoenix to photograph, film, audiotape, or otherwise record an individual or individuals acting on private property
a. if the recording is captured for the purpose of mapping;
b. if the recording is captured by the City or Phoenix or an individual or entity under contract with the City of Phoenix for the purposes of resource management;
c. if the recording is made for the operation and maintenance of utilities or telecommunication facilities for the purpose of maintaining the reliability and integrity of the utility or telecommunication system or to determine if repairs to the system are necessary;
d. if law enforcement is using the unmanned aircraft system to execute a valid search warrant;
e. if law enforcement is acting under circumstances in which an exception to the warrant requirement is applicable;
f. if law enforcement is using the unmanned aircraft system to document a crime scene where a felony offense has been committed; or
g. if law enforcement is conducting a search for a missing or abducted person.
h. if the recording is made over several private residences for an artistic or journalistic purpose and no individuals captured on the recording are personally identifiable

Will I have to challenge this here?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On the passing of Robin Williams, my thoughts…

Los Angeles, CA--Those that really know me understand my deep love for all entertainers.  I champion every actor, singer, musician, dancer and comedian’s efforts.  Perhaps it’s because I would not want to live in a world without entertainment.
Yes, I’m also an actor along with so many other occupational hats that I wear.  It’s really a small percentage of people that have the opportunity to impact our lives with their performances. 
Robin Williams made a huge contribution to all of us.  He made us all forget at least for a while our own troubles like health issues, financial disasters and failed relationships.  
Those that possess a special talent gift are usually rewarded handsomely, yet for some for some the stress of keeping their careers on track takes a very heavy toll.
I feel most for the talented and beautiful women that seem to have a short entertainment shelf life.  As they approach 40,  at a point when their skills are at a pinnacle suddenly casting directors ignore them. We all wonder whatever happened to so and so? 
Robin Williams has touched all of our souls as a comic, actor and a genuinely kind fellow.  Somehow Williams’ own life was troubled by drug use.  I suspect Williams like many athletes sought to experiment with performance enhancing chemicals. 
Yesterday Williams’ demons caught up with him silencing him forever.  He is just one more entertainer that demonstrated that fame and fortune did not provide some of the things he needed most.
Williams certainly gained some form of immortality in that his plethora of films will live on perhaps for centuries.  We will all be laughing again when we see those films over and over again.  
Human life is fragile.  The older I get I see the unfairness and pain that aging brings.  Our eyesight, hearing and dental problems only increase despite advanced medicine.  Many of us watch our own physician’s age and die as they try to cure or slow our own inevitable date with the Grim Reaper.
Robin Williams is missed.  He’s a victim of those mental illness secrets we’ve not yet discovered.  This is a wake up call to watch those people close to us that need us to make them laugh. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Debra Milke Has Now Lost Her Mother Renate Janke (November 21, 1942 to August 9, 2014) in Germany.

Renate with me in Karlsruhe 2009

Renate with Reinhard Muller in Heidelberg 2009

Reinhard, me and Renate in Karlsruhe 2009

Renate's best selling book
Funeral and burial information:
The funeral service for Renate Janka will be held on Friday, August 15, 2014 by 11 clock in the cemetery of Karlsruhe-Grötzingen instead. 
The burial of the urn is carried out in the following week, on Friday 22 August 2014 by 10 clock in the Church of Emmetten (Switzerland).

Karlsruhe, Germany—I was deeply saddened to learn about the not unexpected death of Renate Janka here this morning. 
Mrs. Janka was victimized in a huge way by the false arrest, imprisonment and attempt to murder her daughter Debra Milke under color of law. 
Mrs. Janka was lied to and turned against her daughter for nearly a decade, by disgraced former police detective Armando Saldate’s corrupt investigation and outrageous fabrications.
When Mrs. Janka finally learned the truth from her daughter and me she became a genuine hero by undertaking a massive effort to call attention to and undo the injustice. 
Mrs. Janka, a German national, rallied thousands of European supporters, government officials and activists to her daughter’s aid.
Mrs. Janka wrote a best selling book in Germany using the proceeds for defense costs.  She spent the last 15 years traveling to Perryville Prison to visit her daughter twice a year through the bulletproof glass until last year when she was finally freed on bail to await her new trial.
Mrs. Janka also moved the European media to question the false arrest and death sentence of her daughter.   I know this because I personally helped every major German and Swiss news organization produce stories of the Milke injustice.
Because of Mrs. Janka’s efforts Caravel Productions in Lausanne Switzerland created a documentary film with my assistance.  That effort took me to Germany and Switzerland twice, once to gather information and video and again to the film’s premier at the Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva.
I also had the special pleasure of visiting with Mrs. Janka and her new life partner, Reinhard Muller at their home in Karlsruhe.   They were in the process of remodeling their home to provide an apartment for Milke’s homecoming that was anything but a sure thing.   They made a bathroom in that apartment for Milke fit for a Princess. 

Mrs. Janka was also a dual citizen of Switzerland last residing in the Eastern town of Emmetten. 
Mrs. Janke suffered greatly but lived long enough to see her daughter freed on bail.  She was able to visit Phoenix and celebrate their hard won victory. 
There is no question that without the tireless efforts of Mrs. Janka that her daughter would have been wrongly executed or be very close to being only the second women ever executed since Arizona’s statehood
Mrs. Janka also passed confident that her daughter will never face being imprisoned or the death penalty again despite the best efforts of the soulless Maricopa County Attorney, Bill Montgomery.
It’s most unfortunate that Debra Milke was forbidden to travel to Germany to be at her mother’s bedside when she passed away.  Milke will not be allowed to attend any services there either because of the pending efforts to retry her on Capitol Murder charges. 
Services and information on them are pending.

I shot this video last week at the site of Christopher Milke's murder in December of 1989.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Another Quadcopter video...

This one I shot in Phoenix at 16th Street and Butler I hope you enjoy and share this with your friends.  My Magic Carpet ride!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dangerous Criminals May Deserve Execution but Government’s Incompetence is Epic.

Phoenix, AZJoseph Wood was condemned to die after being convicted of two rather nasty murders.  I won’t comment on his innocence because I don’t know.   It seems on its face Wood’s two murder convictions was not the subject of controversy.
We will never know what demons drove Wood’s violence or if there were any very real excusable brain malfunctions behind his mad acts.  We can only guess.
I won’t argue that some hopelessly evil people on our earth don’t deserve to live.  I absolutely encourage people to use guns and other deadly weapons in self-defense and the defense of others.  The concept of killing these people decades later is an entirely different matter. 
Arizona used secret drugs obtained from a clandestine source to kill Wood.  Wood’s lawyers demanded to know about the drugs and their effectiveness, but were rebuffed throughout the entire appeal process.  This was happening in a nation where its government brags about its transparency.
Wood choked and gasped for air during the nearly two hour deadly ordeal.  Finally he died.  The legislature sought lethal injection to make murder by government quick and clean.  Just as Wood’s lawyers feared Arizona’s experimental drug cocktail failed and the execution was botched. 
Just like Wood’s murder victims, he too had family members and friends.   The kin on both sides of these things always suffer too.  Murder and punishment is an ugly business. 
It would be a lot less disturbing if witnesses and cops never lied, evidence and it’s meaning was an exact science but that’s just not the case.
Jurors are a lot of things but perfect is not one of them.  We can never guess what a jury will do and that alone is a monument to their guesswork. 
Twice prosecutor of the Year, Kenneth Peasley from Pima County, AZ was the champ of all Arizona prosecutors putting more people on Death Row that any other.  He was a Death Penalty Hero for sure. 
Peasley was a brilliant lawyer and ruthless prosecutor.  He was the master of giving immunity to confessed killers if they’d testify implicating others.  Peasley would put a suit on Satan and bring him into court as he vouched to a jury for his witnesses from Hell.
Thankfully that ended when Peasley got caught knowingly putting a perjuring police witness before a jury in a death penalty case.  Peasley was subjected to a pretend Grand Jury investigation by his peers and exonerated.  The State Bar of Arizona yanked his law license.
Peasley since contracted and died of cancer.    
With hundreds of Death Row inmates being exonerated sometimes after decades of solitary confinement something’s obviously wrong.
If we end the Death Penalty we will save hundreds of millions on appeals.  We too often forget that we must bay for both the defense and prosecution of Death Penalty cases.  It’s significantly cheaper if we simply warehouse the convicted killers until they die or are too old and feeble to cause any harm.
I’m going to end with a simple premise; the Death Penalty is always and properly the tool of a Police State.  It’s better suited for Nazis, Communists and Fascists. It does not belong in a civilized society.
Who in their right mind would give a politician or bureaucrat the right to kill them?  That’s exactly what we’ve done!  Considering the crackpots we elect was that a good idea.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Senseless killing of Eric Garner and Our Police State

New York, NY—Selling cigarettes on the street cost a man his life.  Think about it for a moment.  Trying to make a meager living in a miserable economy by selling a legal product deserves death now in New York.
That’s precisely what happened to an obviously overweight (350 lbs.) and unhealthy man last week.  A squad of cops investigating this tax transgression approached Eric Garner. Garner actually begged the cops to leave him alone.   Soon Garner began to shun the cops and resist being handcuffed and the cops piled on him.  All too quickly, Garner was dead.
Was it the long banned chokehold?  I don’t think so.  I suspect positional asphyxia was the actual cause of death.  Does it really make any difference how they killed him?  Garner was killed not by policemen in the true sense of that noble occupation but a gang of government extortionists. 
This was not about anything more than the attempted evasion of an outrageous tax on a legal product that millions consume in America.  
Our greedy politicians expand their power and the government monster by overtaxing anything they can.   We all know that this was about money rather than evil, violence or simple public safety. 
Cops used to be there to protect and help us from evil.  They all signed up to help their fellow man, not to become extortionists.  However politicians changed the game decades ago by feeding the government monster with fines for minor offenses. 
Along the way our politicians stayed wide-awake nights dreaming of the creation new petty offenses and raising the fines on the ones already on the books.  They all need to bribe contractors for crap we don’t need for reelection campaigns.  That takes money and new creative ways of taking it from the public.
Parking enforcement and meters led the extortion parade.  Today unconstitutional Photo traffic enforcement has provided billions of illicit dollars to local governments. 
Most Americans don’t have a clue that they only way to convict people with photo enforcement and collect fines flagrantly violates our Sixth Amendment rights to confront and cross-examine witnesses against us. 
Where there is no live witness to a transgression courts must rely on long banned hearsay testimony to admit photo and computer data evidence into court.  You can’t cross-examine and ask the photograph about errors or equipment malfunctions.  Was the equipment actually tampered with to make it appear there was a violation by greedy equipment manufacturers selling government on this garbage?  
The whores in local politics appoint the judges and they know they better side with those that feed them.  Again, those sworn to defend it have trashed our Constitution. 
You can of course appeal the fines to higher courts where the judges owe nothing to local politicians.  However that red light ticket conviction will cost as much as a house to appeal to your state Supreme Court and a couple of million more to get a shot at the U.S. Supreme Court. 
The cost of court appeals denies all of us justice facilitating the tyranny of or politicians.  If we somehow had the money it still takes decades for these cases to be litigated and decided by the courts.  It’s truly a case of justice both denied and delayed. 
The only real remedy is through unimaginable self-help by violent revolution.  The Second Amendment was designed to that we the people would have arms parity with the government.  We’ve allowed the government to disarm the population and any arms we do have are not remotely comparable to those military grade arms.   
Today Americans could not stop a rogue President much better than Germany or Russia could stop Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin.   
As long as it’s only the government breaking the law that’s seems okay with today’s Americans.
Politicians know Americans cannot possibly afford to seek justice against rogue politicians and they expect us all to simply shrug off the tyranny.   Our forefathers would have simply found and killed all these bastards. 
How soon we forget that we revolted against the British over a 3% tax on tea.  Have we forgotten that Americans began to kill those that dare extort from them?  Have they forgotten that they became free of their corrupt oppressors by chasing the ones that survived back to the UK? 
Cops are not nor should they be they ever become hated tax collectors.  However the Communists and Socialists we’ve elected have a different idea and like in every totalitarian society the cops are never on the side of the population.
The very reason we demanded our politicians and public officials take an oath to the Constitution was to prevent what we’ve allowed our nation to become. 
We now have a full-blown police state.  We have more people imprisoned per capita than any other nation on earth that proves the point.   
Slowly they’ve promoted the snitch system where our neighbors and children can be rewarded to turning us in to the authorities.
It’s only a matter of time before the death penalty will be used against anyone criticizing politicians or government tyranny.  They of course will claim this is necessary for public safety and a large percentage of the population will actually believe it. 
Those that love the idea of giving politicians to power of the death penalty need to rethink their position. 
We better get used to the idea of many more killings like Eric Garner’s.  That’s even if they prosecute those NYPD officers for excessive force.  The cops are no longer here for public safety but simple extortion.