Anon: Follow Up

As I sat at work on Sunday I followed the news of Anonymous and the impending strike at BART their “decision to shut down wireless access was criticized by many as heavy handed, and some raised questions about whether the move violated free speech” (source). Twitter was alive with comments from #OpBART, #MuBARTek,
and others as 12:00 Pacific Time came around.

I had read the statement and watched the video, but it really didn’t seem many knew of the group or their intentions. I found this rather interesting. My co-workers must think I am some sort of crackpot because of the information I was passing and on and the rational behind why this as happening. I guess some don’t see the real issue at hand with this “attack” on Sunday.

The problems began Thursday night when BART officials blocked wireless access to disrupt organization of a demonstration protesting the July 3 shooting death by BART police who said the 45-year-old victim was wielding a knife” (source).

You can read more about the operation from the report at THN. “It also accused myBART of storing member information poorly with “virtually no security” so that “any 8 year old with a internet connection” can steal it.”

Today is the peaceful protest at Civic Center Station in downtown San Francisco, where participants are requested to wear “red shirt or clothes with fake blood stains, and to bring video cameras.” Don’t forget the Guy Fawkes mask either!

We Are Anonymous
We Are Everywhere
We Are Legion
We Never Forget
We Never Forgive

Anonymous vs BART

From the Sunday online site, SFGate comes this story, Hacker group threatens cyberwar against BART. “Anonymous will attempt to show those engaging in the censorship what it feels like to be silenced,” a news release from the group said.” This in response to BART’s initiative to shut down cellular service in order to help prevent a protest last week. That protest was for (another) fatal BART Police shooting in July.

While many are not aware of the group known as Anonymous, if you run around in conspiracy circles, the group is world renown. “Anonymous is a group initiating active civil disobedience and spread through the Internet while staying hidden, originating in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain” (source).

It will be interesting to see what actually unfolds Monday as the actions call for a “nonviolent” protest in the evening at Civic Center Station. It’s not the protest that has me worried so much, as we have seen protests before disrupt service in the BART system, but it’s the possibility of the cyber attack that I would put more credence in.

You can take a look at some of their operations in 2011 they have undertook including Fine Gael, an attack on HBGaul Federal, Bank of America, Sony and the social networking juggernaut, Facebook. I guess we want and see just what Anonymous has in store for BART. In fact I was rather surprised to see a number of pinned threads at GLP regarding BART cutting cellular service. Can’t say I was too surprised to see the number of responses against TPTB and silencing individuals freedoms.

I Won’t Submit!

It really comes as no surprise. These days it seems increasingly difficult to go anywhere without the possibility of being searched by the TSA. Their duties, which include the groping and molestation of of thousands a year is usually confined to airport security checkpoints, their presence “seem to involve giving airport-style pat-downs and screenings of unsuspecting passengers at bus terminals, ferries, and even subways(source).

These “random” screenings are part of the TSA’s VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) program. “The VIPR program first started doing searches in 2007, and has grown since then. Currently, the TSA only has 25 VIPR teams doing these impromptu searches: in 2012, it wants to get 12 more.” These unlawful searches are being conducted to help avoid incidents like the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

In 2009 the VIPR program made an appearance during the July 4th weekend in the Bay Area on BART. “According to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman, the VIPR team’s mission is to share Washington, D.C.’s anti-terrorist security tactics with local transit police and train them in federal procedures, plus sometimes also serving as extra staff for special events. In theory, this sounds like a good idea” (source). The weekend was spent playing “tour guide” to the visiting agents.

While VIPR is being rolled out nationwide, which now includes ICE and Border Patrol, YOU are being targeted illegally. I am curious since I ride the train 3 days a week what will happen if I am stopped for a “random seach.” First I ride as an employee of BART. Much like the airlines, I am sure that does not make me exempt. Second I carry a few knives with me. One a Swiss Army pocket knife and second a Gerber serrated, folding knife. Should I expect both of these items to be confiscated from me? If this were an airline checkpoint, you can damn well bet they illegally take my belongings.

What else would be interesting to note is what their response would be, if I refused and decided to leave the station. I am sure my “behavior indicators” (which I have commented on before) would tell them I am hiding something and deemed a target. This would possibly give them “just cause” to detain and search me.

There have been stories posted, most notably Michael Roberts, an ExpressJet Airlines Pilot who refused and attempted to leave the checkpoint before submitting to a security screening. You can read what transpired. We’ll have to wait and see what happens if (more likely) when random screening is implemented. This is definitely the start of the story with no end in sight and probably only going to get worse.

Trains. Trackways. Trees.

This sums up my day at work on Saturday. It looks worse than it actually was. Thankfully no one was injured and there was no damage to any trains. The location of this tree was in Concord off Bancroft Road. The intrusion caused about 2 hours worth of delays between Pleasant Hill and Concord Stations, as crews cut back the limbs and removed the tree from the trackway and the equipment on the right of way was inspected.

If this wasn’t enough I had a second train have an issue with a tree branch just south of Union City about 4 hours later. Thankfully it only caused about a 15 minute interruption and the “incident” train was moving after an inspection of their train.

This just happens to be one of a number of things that can happen with inclimate weather, such as high winds and heavy rains around our trackways that are shadowed by flora and fauna.