Civil Liberties

Did We Lose a War? A Continuing Series

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In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “Did we lose a war?”  I am afraid that is my reaction to many stories that I read these days indicating attitudes being shown by government officials that display a true contempt for basic American liberties.  First up in this new series is a truly horrific story out of New Mexico courtesy of Christopher Johnson of Midwest Conservative Journal:

Deming, New Mexico?  Gila Regional Medical Center of Silver City, New Mexico?  Every single person in the entire world sincerely hopes that both of you are sued into total destruction, plowed completely under and the furrows sowed with nuclear waste:

This 4 On Your Side investigation looks into the actions of police officers and doctors in Southern New Mexico. 

A review of medical records, police reports and a federal lawsuit show deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, police officers with the City of Deming and medical professionals at the Gila Regional Medical Center made some questionable decisions.

The incident began January 2, 2013 after David Eckert finished shopping at the Wal-Mart in Deming.  According to a federal lawsuit, Eckert didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign coming out of the parking lot and was immediately stopped by law enforcement.      

Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks.  Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.  While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.  

The lawsuit claims that Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was “unethical.”

But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.

What happened next was repeated gang rape.

While there, Eckert was subjected to repeated and humiliating forced medical procedures.  A review of Eckert’s medical records, which he released to KOB, and details in the lawsuit show the following happened:

1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.  

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.  

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.  

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines.  No narcotics were found.  

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures.

And then there’s this.

There are major concerns about the way the search warrant was carried out.  Kennedy argues that the search warrant was overly broad and lacked probable cause.  But beyond that, the warrant was only valid in Luna County, where Deming is located.  The Gila Regional Medical Center is in Grant County.  That means all of the medical procedures were performed illegally and the doctors who performed the procedures did so with no legal basis and no consent from the patient.  

In addition, even if the search warrant was executed in the correct New Mexico county, the warrant expired at 10 p.m.  Medical records show the prepping for the colonoscopy started at 1 a.m. the following day, three hours after the warrant expired.

Quite understandably, this incident has emotionally shattered poor Eckert.

There’s more in Eckert’s complaint, including the fact that the second x-ray was of his chest, an area completely unrelated to the region where he was supposedly “concealing drugs.” In addition to what can be proven from medical records and police reports obtained by Eckert’s attorney, there are additional allegations that the officers Chavez and Hernandez mocked him and made derogatory comments about his “compromised position.” They also allegedly moved the privacy screen repeatedly to expose him to others in the hospital hallway. This verbal abuse apparently continued during Eckert’s ride back to the Deming police station. Understandably, Eckert now claims to be “terrified to leave the house” and does so “infrequently.”

I sincerely hope that the following monstrous proposal has since been withdrawn since it’s not mentioned in the current version of the news report.  But really, Gila Regional?  Somebody there actually thought that this was a good idea?!  You actually contemplated going ahead with this unspeakable evil?!!  REALLY?!!

The hospital even billed Eckert for the procedures and is threatening to take him to collections if he doesn’t pay. Continue reading

Security Theatre Gets Badly Out Of Hand

With the administration having announced that there were “credible” threats of anniversary attacks on the US by Al Qaeda on 9/11, everyone was admittedly a bit jumpy. The AP carried mentions of two airline incidents which caused fighter jets and security personnel to be scrambled, including this description of one relating to a Frontier Airlines flight:

Police temporarily detained and questioned three passengers at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport on Sunday after the crew of the Frontier Airlines flight from Denver reported suspicious activity on board, and NORAD sent two F-16 jets to shadow the flight until it landed safely, airline and federal officials said.

The three passengers who were taken off the plane in handcuffs were released Sunday night, and no charges were filed against them, airport spokesman Scott Wintner said.

Frontier Flight 623, with 116 passengers on board, landed without incident in Detroit at 3:30 p.m. EDT after the crew reported that two people were spending “an extraordinarily long time” in a bathroom, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said.

FBI Detroit spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said ultimately authorities determined there was no real threat.

“Due to the anniversary of Sept. 11, all precautions were taken, and any slight inconsistency was taken seriously,” Berchtold said. “The public would rather us err on the side of caution than not.”

In such dry terms, it sounds reasonable that people would be “on the side of caution”. Try reading instead the account of one of the three passengers cuffed and questioned — for being so suspicious as to look slightly like two guys she didn’t know who were in her aisle, both of whom committed the suspicious activity of going to the bathroom:

We had been waiting on the plane for a half hour. I had to pee. I wanted to get home and see my family. And I wanted someone to tell us what was going on. In the distance, a van with stairs came closer. I sighed with relief, thinking we were going to get off the plane and get shuttled back to the terminal. I would still be able to make it home for dinner. Others on the plane also seemed happy to see those stairs coming our way.

I see stairs coming our way…yay!
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Terror Suspects and Citizenship

Senator Lieberman says he plans to introduce a bill which would expand the provisions which already exist in law for removing U.S. Citizenship from those who serve in the military of another country, in order to also strip citizenship from anyone who acts in cooperation with a designated terrorist organization. I could, perhaps, see certain situations where this might be appropriate. If a US citizen was captured in a combat zone, fighting for some non-state-entity which had been designated a terrorist organization, I could see designating that person an enemy combatant — for the same reason that it makes sense to do so with non-citizens who are fighting U.S. forces in combat zones without belonging to the military of a specific country. Our rules for dealing with P.O.W.s don’t really work when applied to people fighting for non-state entities, since there’s no organization to eventually accept peace and end the way with terms and exchange of prisoners.

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