The secret police: Cops built a shadowy surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder

Many of the same people who reject masking and vaccinations on the grounds that they allegedly threaten the free will of the citizenry are perfectly OK with authoritarian police systems that harass and assault citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights to a free press and free speech.

If you’re worried that vaccines are part of a deep state plan to surveil and suppress the populace, what until you read about what the Minneapolis police are still doing, long after the end of the protests that erupted over the actions of convicted murderer and former Minneapolis LEO Derek Chauvin.

The First Amendment was designed to protect Americans from authoritarian aggression. There’s a reason despots want you to distrust the media (except for those with a certain slant) and want you to equate all civil rights protesters with thugs and looters.

As part of our investigation, MIT Technology Review obtained a watch list used by the agencies in the operation that includes photos and personal information identifying journalists and other people “doing nothing more than exercising their constitutional rights,” Leita Walker, a lawyer representing journalists arrested in the protests who has examined the list, wrote in court documents. It was compiled by the Criminal Intelligence Division of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office—one of the groups participating in OSN—and included people arrested by the Minnesota State Patrol, another participant.

The Minnesota State Patrol and Minneapolis Police Department both told MIT Technology Review in an email that they were not aware of the document and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office did not reply to multiple requests for comment.

OSN also used a real-time data-sharing tool called Intrepid Response, which is sold on a subscription basis by AT&T. It’s much like a Slack for SWAT: at the press of a button, images, video (including footage captured by drones), geolocations of team members and targets, and other data can be instantly shared between field teams and command center staff. Credentialed members of the press who were covering the unrest in Brooklyn Center were temporarily detained and photographed, and those photos were uploaded into the Intrepid Response system.

Although the State Patrol denied numerous records requests from MIT Technology Review regarding the detention and photographing of journalists, photojournalist J.D. Duggan was able to obtain his personal file—a total of three pages of material. The information Duggan obtained illuminates the extent of law enforcement’s efforts to track individuals in real time: the pages include photos of his face, body, and press badge, surrounded by time stamps and maps showing the location of his brief detention. —MIT Technology Review

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