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Friday, September 5, 2014

The Morning News: Fragile Cease-Fire in Ukraine, Washington Law-Enforcement Loses Track of M16s, and More on the Tacoma PD's StingRay Surveillance Device

Posted by on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Summer sunrise in Kyiv.
  • Chris Collison
  • Summer sunrise in Kyiv.

Tenuous Cease-Fire in Ukraine: One has been agreed to, after more than 2,600 deaths, but it seems rickety. Putin wants Ukraine to retreat from all the rebel Russian strongholds in East Ukraine, locals on the front don't trust Putin and continue to train self-defense units, and both Russian-backed rebels and Ukraine nationalist volunteers (neither group seems easy to control) have been rumbling their discontent.

What About That Malaysian Airlines Flight Russia's "Little Green Men" Apparently Shot Down? The Dutch Safety Board says it will release a report on Tuesday, September 9, with "factual information based on sources available." The lead investigators have not visited the site but are relying on pictures. The report will discuss what happened but "will not apportion blame."

Next up, Estonia? An Estonian state security officer was kidnapped and spirited away into Russia at gunpoint—48 hours after President Obama gave a speech in Estonia saying if Russia tried its tricks there, it might trigger war with the US and NATO. The kidnapping occurred in the midst of some "cross-border crime" and the Russian side used smoke grenades and jammed Estonian police radios before kidnapping the officer.

US Announces "Core Coalition" to Fight ISIS/ISIL: Secretary of State John Kerry says no "boots on the ground... We need to attack them in ways that prevent them from taking over territory, to bolster the Iraqi security forces and others in the region who are prepared to take them on, without committing troops of our own." The Obama administration has had a lot of practice at waging quiet, "sanitized" warfare from above—let's see how this pans out. (If we can see—who are going to be the journalists willing to sit between the beheaders of ISIS/ISIL and US airstrikes?)

Where'd I Put Those M16s? KUOW finds that some Washington law-enforcement agencies have been suspended from program 1033, which helps militarize police departments by supplying them with free surplus military gear (the only cost is shipping), for losing track of high-powered rifles.

More on the Tacoma Police Department's StingRay Cell Phone Tracker: Some city council members say they were briefed before TPD bought it, but only vaguely (one said he was told it was just a device to "solve crimes"). A council resolution claimed the StingRay was for the "'prevention, protection response and recovery' of improvised explosive devices." What they actually do is indiscriminately suck up cell phone location data within a certain radius. The TPD has told reporters it can't answer many questions "because of the nondisclosure agreement it signed with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a condition of receiving the equipment." (SPD has denied having or using such equipment.)

Two Shot in West Seattle During Attempted Cell Phone Robbery: The injuries were not life-threatening.

SPD Lawsuit Against New Use-of-Force Policies Turns to Crowd-Funding: Officer Robert Mahoney and more than 100 other officers are looking to raise $100,000 to undo new procedures based on the US Department of Justice findings that SPD officers routinely engage in excessive force and evidence of biased policing. You can read more about the lawsuit, filed back in May, over here.

The Seahawks Trounced the Packers Last Night: "Seattle dominated this one in just about every fashion against a team some have been touting as the Seahawks’ toughest competition to get out of the NFC."


Comments (12) RSS

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You know what else isn't life threatening? Having your cell phone taken from you. Talk about an overreaction.
Posted by treehugger on September 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM · Report this
biffp 2
That's not the only of militarizing. It's a cost ship from the federal government. The local department often parks equipment they don't need, and then they have to find parts, which often have stopped production, and pay to properly dispose of the equipment. It's a completely brainless scheme, and sure to land weapons in landfill and with third world countries and terrorist groups.
Posted by biffp on September 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM · Report this
cressona 3
Brendan, I'd love to hear another update from your man on the ground in Ukraine. I can remember his name, Chris Collison.
Posted by cressona on September 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM · Report this
seatackled 4

I know, right? I mean, gun-wielding muggers who travel around in packs are so reasonable and considerate when you cooperate with them. These fools who got shot shouldn't have--wait, what did the article say they did or didn't do? Something must be wrong with my browser. I can't find the part that says anything about how the couple reacted, so I can't really be sure what they did that showed they were asking for it.
Posted by seatackled on September 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Gordon Werner 5
Didn't a Seattle PD officer leave an M16 (or something similar) on top of their cruiser downtown a year or two back?
Posted by Gordon Werner on September 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Speaking of that Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over the Ukraine, Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! interviews Stephen Cohen (professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, and the author of numerous books on Russia and the Soviet Union), who mentions three interesting points about the information, to date, regarding that horrible shootdown: (1) the U.K. has the black boxes yet has refused to comment about it; (2) satellite intercepts and images exist, yet have not been released; and, (3) air traffic control tower/pilot transmissions exist, and have also yet to be released.…
Posted by sgt_doom on September 5, 2014 at 10:17 AM · Report this
seatackled 7

Absolutely not! It was an AR-15.

(And if you type into google, "Seattle cop l" (that's an "L"), google fills in the rest for you: "Seattle cop leaves rifle on car."
Posted by seatackled on September 5, 2014 at 10:18 AM · Report this
JonnoN 8
I want to send Robert Mahoney a check for one cent, postage due. Is there a kickstarter option for that?

Posted by JonnoN on September 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Speaking of local sports, the Mariners trounced the Rangers 10-2. Still in the hunt for a West Division title. You gotta believe.
Posted by neo-realist on September 5, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Seems like bicycles and phones are the only things worth robbing these days.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on September 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
seatackled 11
Morning news missed the guy outside Cafe Racer with the two butcher's knives who was shot at by SPD.…

He was outside the cafe and then fled when police came for him. They chased him, tased him, lost him, shot at him at least once, and caught him.

Lots of different factors probably came into play--the neighborhood, the fact that he was white, awareness of public scrutiny, to name a few--but it sounds like the police exercised restraint and appropriate force on this one.
Posted by seatackled on September 5, 2014 at 12:14 PM · Report this
@9 And the Sounders smacked Chivas 4-2 on Wednesday and remain top of the table. :D
Posted by Solk512 on September 5, 2014 at 12:39 PM · Report this

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