If you have been watching movies on DVD lately, you may have noticed a change at the beginning of the feature presentation: accompanying the FBI warning about piracy is a duplicative warning from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Victims Unit (ICE SVU, also known as ICE Homeland Security Investigations or HSI).
Of course, there is no point to the warning. Bootleg DVDs are commonplace, most often sold by illegal aliens, especially in New York City where Mexican, African, Chinese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other street merchants know they have nothing to fear from ICE SVU—either for selling the bootleg DVDs or for being illegal aliens.
White Americans are now the preferred target for ICE SVU. One recent disturbing story: ICE SVU Special Agents were called by officials of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and AMC Theaters to a movie theater in Columbus, OH, where they dragged a man wearing Google Glasses off to be questioned by ICE SVU, local police, and MPAA officials. [Ohio Man Questioned Over Google Glass In Theater AP/ Washington Times, January 21, 2014. Emphases added to quotes throughout.]
Remember, no-one bootlegs movies by filming the movie on a screen anymore. This is not 1990s Seinfeld, where Jerry bootlegs Death Blow at the instance of one of Kramer's friends. Nowadays, most bootleg movies come from the Philippines—notoriously corrupt and with immediate access to English-language movies—and are digital copies of the actual releases. But ICE SVU is not interested in stopping the influx of bootleg DVDs from the Philippines—because that might involve arresting an alien or two.
It’s especially interesting that this incident occurred on a Saturday. ICE SVU agents don't work Saturdays. They also don't work Sundays or holidays. ICE SVU works a 9-5, Monday through Friday, schedule.
And note this:
The man had recently had prescription lenses fit to his Google Glass and wore them in to see the movie. According to his testimony published at The Gadgeteer, an agent approached him an hour in, “yank[ed] the Google Glass” off his face and commanded the man to follow him. Outside the theater were 5 to 10 cops and mall security personnel.
Homeland Security Special Agents Hold Up A Google Glass Moviegoer, by Casey Johnston, Ars Technica, January 21, 2014
Frankly, this is amazing. ICE SVU has agents assigned after-hours duty responsibility. Calls from ICE Headquarters, the local Special Agent-in-Charge, or other law enforcement agencies go to the National Law Enforcement Communications Center, a dispatch center run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center, a 24-hour service.
But ICE SVU agents now generally refuse to respond to calls for assistance from State or local law enforcement agencies when they encounter an illegal alien. And ICE SVU does not respond to inquiries from law enforcement agencies about illegal drugs, unless it is a major seizure.
Moreover, it must have taken the two ICE SVU agents at least 45 minutes to get from their homes, meet up with local police, MPAA representatives, and AMCTheaters management. So ICE SVU must have been notified about 15 minutes or less after the movie started.
This is an incredibly fast response time. AMC Theaters and the MPAA obviously have a special direct line to ICE SVU agents in the field.
In an email quoted by Julie Strietelmeier in AMC Movie Theater Calls “Federal Agents” To Arrest A Google Glass User (The Gadgeteer January 20, 2014) the victim reported:
I went to AMC (Easton Mall, Columbus, OH) to watch a movie with my wife (non- Google Glass user). It is the theater we go to every week, so it has probably been the third time I’ve been there wearing Google Glass, and the AMC employees (guy tearing tickets at the entrance, girl at the concession stand) have asked me about Glass in the past and I have told them how awesome Glass is with every occasion. [VDARE.com emphases added throughout.]
That was very important. Clearly AMC Theaters knew about the Google Glasses—but let him in the theater repeatedly. The victim continued:
Because I don’t want Glass to distract me during the movie, I turn them off (but since my prescription lenses are on the frame, I still wear them). About an hour into the movie, a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops. Since I didn’t catch his name in the dark of the theater, I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie”.
The authority for law enforcement officers to detain a person for questioning derives from the 1968 Supreme Court decision Terry v. Ohio. The Court held that police have the authority to detain a person to investigate a crime that has occurred, was occurring, or will occur based on the training and experience of the detaining officer. But the law enforcement officer must also have reasonable suspicion concerning the crime in question and must have "specific and articulable facts," not "inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch.'?"
The victim in this case was detained against his will and consequently the encounter was a Terry Stop. It was not a consensual interview. He wrote:
I kept telling them that I wasn’t recording anything – my Glass was off, they insisted they saw it on. I told them there would be a light coming out the little screen if Glass was on, and I could show them that, but they insisted that I cannot touch my Glass for the fear “I will erase the evidence against me that was on Glass”.
Google Glasses are legal. Wearing them is no basis for a stop. And it is clear from the victim's account that his wearing of the Google Glass was the only reason that the ICE SVU agent accosted him.
Terry does give the law enforcement officer a reasonable amount of time to determine if a crime occurred, was occurring, or will occur and to hold the suspect for that reasonable amount of time. But these ICE SVU agents were not interested in determining in a reasonable amount of time whether a crime had occurred. The victim explains:
I was surprised by this and as I was obviously just having a nice Saturday evening night out with my wife and not taping anything whether legally or illegally, I tried to explain that this is a misunderstanding. I tried to explain that he’s holding rather expensive hardware that costed [sic] me $1500 for Google Glass and over $600 for the prescription glasses. The response was that I was searched and more stuff was taken away from me (specifically my personal phone, my work phone – both of which were turned off, and my wallet).
What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me (is it legal for authorities to threaten people like that?).
Answer: No, it is not legal—it is a civil rights violation.
I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it. I also insisted they look at my phone too and clear things out, but they wanted to talk first. They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.
The ICE SVU agent now knew, or should have known, that Google Glasses have a light on when recording. In a darkened movie theater the light would have been obvious. This information in itself makes Terry Stop invalid. With the light off, there was no evidence that a crime has been committed, was being committed, etc.
Remember also, that a Terry Stop must only a reasonable amount of time for the law enforcement officer to conduct his investigation.
But the ICE SVU agent—more of a Keystone Kop that a Special Agent allegedly trained for 3 months at the Criminal Investigator Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Glynco, GA, as well as given an additional three months of specialized ICE SVU follow-on training, the ICE Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Training Program—apparently did not know the limits of a Terry Stop.
Or, more likely, the ICE SVU agent knew the limitations under Terry, but proceeded anyway with, as the courtroom dramas describe it, with malice aforethought, or as it is more commonly called, specific intent, needed to prosecute a charge of violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.
If these two ICE SVU agents had followed their training and the law, they could have solved the problem immediately. The victim concludes:
Eventually, after a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean. I repeated for the hundredth time there is nothing to come clean about and this is a big misunderstanding so the FBI guy finally connected my Glass to the computer, downloaded all my personal photos and started going through them one by one (although they are dated and it was obvious there was nothing on my Glass that was from the time period they accused me of recording). Then they went through my phone, and 5 minutes later they concluded I had done nothing wrong.
I asked why didn’t they just take those five minutes at the beginning of the interrogation and they just left the room...
Considering it was 11:27pm when this happened, and the movie started at 7.45...
The ICE's (Muslim?) spokesperson repeated the claim that the encounter was short and consensual in an email to a reporter reposted in the Gadgeteer story:
From: Walls, Khaalid H [Email him]
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 1:16 PM
To: Allison Manning
Please attribute the below statement to me:
On Jan. 18, special agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and local authorities briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film at an AMC theater in Columbus. The man, who voluntarily answered questions, confirmed to authorities that the suspected recording device was also a pair of prescription eye glasses in which the recording function had been inactive. No further action was taken.
Khaalid Walls, ICE spokesman
Public Affairs Officer
But there are two lies here: the victim was not “briefly interviewed” but detained for hours. And the victim did not voluntarily answer questions, but was threatened with consequences if he didn’t.
The victim should have been given his Miranda warnings, as he was not free to leave and was being questioned by law enforcement officers.
Even worse, it appears this was all at the instigation of an onsite representative of the MPAA. The victim writes:
A guy who claimed his name is Bob Hope (he gave me his business card) came in the room, and said he was with the Movie Association and they have problems with piracy at that specific theater and that specific movie. He gave me two free movie passes “so I can see the movie again”. I asked if they thought my Google Glass was such a big piracy machine, why didn’t they ask me not to wear them in the theater? I would have probably sat five or six rows closer to the screen (as I didn’t have any other pair of prescription glasses with me) and none of this would have happened. All he said was AMC called him, and he called the FBI and “here are two more passes for my troubles”. I would have been fine with “I’m sorry this happened, please accept our apologies”. Four free passes just infuriated me.
Movie theft has clearly become a major priority for ICE SVU—undoubtedly connected to major Obama campaign contributions from Hollywood. So ICE, the agency charged with enforcing immigration and customs laws, is now spending its time enforcing copyright laws, which are in the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In essence, our federal government now works for special interests. Basically, ICE SVU are the bitches of Hollywood. They are certainly not working for the American people—especially given the recent collapse of ICE SVU arrests of illegal aliens.
Deportation Numbers Unwrapped | Raw Statistics Reveal the Real Story of ICE Enforcement in Decline, CIS.org, By Jessica Vaughan October 2013
Will the GOP House leadership insist on hearings? Can it take time off from trying to smuggle Amnesty past its base?
The blogger Federale (Email him) is a 4th generation Californian and a veteran of federal law enforcement, including service in the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal law enforcement agencies.
Federale's opinions do not represent those of the Department of Homeland Security or the federal government, and are an exercise of rights protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.