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Fascist BART Cuts Cell
Phone Service Under City

By Jim Kirwan
"BART's shut-off of subterranean cell phone service in its downtown San Francisco stations may have prevented a protest Thursday, but it sparked accusations Friday that the action stifled free speech and smacked of the kind of government intrusion employed by Middle East dictators.
k) BART is a federal commuter-agency not a locally owned transportation agency. It's filthy, its equipment is out-of­date and its schedules along with its so-called services are a joke. It wants its passengers "to keep BART clean," because they fired all the janitors, and it does not provide bathrooms in the subterranean stations (Serving 320,000 people a day; because of terrorist bomb threats).
There are no station agents for the stops in San Francisco, more money-saving at the expense of the public. BART Police tend to think of themselves more as storm-troopers rather than peace officers and are also not visible in the stations or on the trains. This is primarily because most of them are huge and cannot maneuver on the trains. If they were to try and present "a presence" in the stations here, that might cause violence rather than assisting to keep the peace, because they are generally nasty and just spoiling for confrontations. The elevators and the escalators are for the most part unreliable and during rush hours the station platforms are over-filled to the point of bursting.
In this environment to shut off cell phone service to the public, is begging for disaster. What happens if there is one or more medical emergency? There is no one in charge either at the stations or on the trains, the only way to get help is to use the cell phone and when BART cuts that off they are endangering lives to appease some paranoid and illegal action to prevent the public from being fully involved in whatever might be going on beyond the completely insular world of Fascist-BART.
"All over the world, people are using mobile devices to protest oppressive regimes, and governments are shutting down cell phone towers and the Internet to stop them," said Michael Risher, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. "It's outrageous that in San Francisco, BART is doing the same thing."
BART officials acknowledged Friday afternoon that they had switched off the transit system's underground cell phone network, which runs from Balboa Park Station through the Transbay Tube, from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday to prevent protesters from coordinating plans to stop trains.
A cluster of groups under the "No Justice, No BART" banner said on websites that they planned to protest the fatal July 3 shooting of a knife-wielding man, Charles Blair Hill, by BART police. Protesters briefly shut down the Civic Center, Powell Street and 16th Street Mission stations July 11. Trains ran through the stations without stopping.
"Organizers planning to disrupt BART service stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police," the transit agency said. "A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators."
"Contrary to some speculative reports, BART did not jam wireless signals or ask cell phone providers to shut down towers near stations. BART owns and controls the wireless network strung through its subways, and BART police ordered it switched off, after receiving permission from BART interim General Manager Sherwood Wakeman, former general counsel for the transit district."
k) BART did not have the permission of the general public to shut down anything; and federal agency or not they do not have the right to do this as it involves prior restraint among other crimes by both POLICE and BART officials.
Benson Fairow, BART's deputy police chief, said he decided to switch off the service out of concern that protesters on station platforms could clash with commuters, create panicked surges of passengers, and put themselves or others in the way of speeding trains or the high-voltage third rails.
"It was a recipe for disaster," he said. "The fact that they started to conspire to commit illegal actions on the station platform was our concern. I asked myself: If my wife, mother or daughter was on that platform, would I want them to be in that situation?"
Civil libertarians questioned the constitutionality of BART's decision and predicted legal action, or at least serious investigation by the Federal Communications Commission.
"The most pertinent right in question is the right to free expression," said Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group. "BART makes the point that a few years ago you couldn't even use your cell phone in the stations, but that's beside the point. At this point, they have made a policy of allowing it on the platform.
"To withdraw that ability to express yourself ... under a desire to prevent particular political speech between protesters was a shocking disregard of the free speech rights of every BART passenger and, indeed, was a prior restraint on any expressive activity they would otherwise have engaged in."
While BART owns and controls the wireless network in its tunnels, it might not have the right to shut it off to halt a protest, ACLU's Risher said.
"Once BART opens a forum for expression, their authority to close it down becomes a little more limited," he said. "As far as I know, no governmental entity in this country has ever done anything like this."
k) Maybe since the Federal Government just spent $200 Million to equip 358 of San Francisco's city buses with full-body X-Ray scanners and facial recognition scanning equipment: Perhaps they want BART to become part of the new spying agenda for San Francisco, as part of some national Petrie Dish to protect the public from the Terrorist's that are supposedly going to strike San Francisco? This is obscene and a horrible waste of money that could be put to far better uses' anywhere else!
BART spokesman Jim Allison said this was the first time the transit agency shut down the underground wireless system because of public safety concerns.
Fairow said that BART considered the free speech implications posed by the cell phone shutdown but decided that those rights were outweighed by the need to protect the public.
"It's the constant juggle," he said. "The courts have ruled that some inconvenience is OK (to protect free speech) but the courts have also ruled that public safety takes priority." BART allows free speech - from protesting to proselytizing - outside the paid areas of stations. But it's not suitable inside the fare gates, and especially on the train platforms, he said.
But even some BART riders thought the tactic seemed very un-Bay Area.
"We don't want the government turning off cell phones in Syria, and we don't want them turning off cell phones here," said Patricia Shean, 72, of San Francisco. "We deal with things differently here.""
k) We need to get the FEDS out of public transportation in San Francisco, and take our city back from the privatized-thugs and the real terrorists in Washington D.C., PROTESTING BART and all of its practices might be a start for ending these continuing abuses of the public that still needs decent public transportation!
What's next? CHECKPOINTS on City Streets: Because if that happens in combination with these two massive invasions of our public-private lives then for me at least, that would be war!
1) BART admits halting cell-service to stop protests http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/12/BAEU1KMS8U.DTL
2) DHS Funds Real Time Spy Cams on SF Buses http://www.infowars.com/dhs-funds-real-time-spy-cams-on-sf-buses/
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