Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Paparazzi descend on LANL

America won the long struggles against totalitarianism. It defeated the Nazis and the Communists.

In boredom, it created a police state at home.

[ BTW where's the LANL feed? ]

Apparently there are documents showing that LANL government resources will be expended to photograph the faces of personnel attending a private memorial service.

We would hope that copies of these documents might be forwarded to the media or other interested legal counsel for purposes of preparing an investigation and discovery plan for potential litigation.

Critical thinking

There are many strategies to discredit reasonable concerns. Recall, the definition of "paranoia" is an irrational fear. We've seen LANL management abuse the employees. It's reasonable to presume more. Indeed, one psychological warfare technique is to accuse the target of paranoia. If you would like to read more about false accusation of paranoia read the case of Diane Kleiman, former special agent with DHS.

The burden of proof rests with LANL management.

Intellectual property

  • Will the images be used to promote LANL or any contract activity?

  • What plan is there to preserve the rights of publicity of those in attendance?

  • Will the images be associated with any products, services, or other future activities?

  • Are participants aware of the intended use of these images by either contractors, government, or other parties having access to these files?

  • Is someone attempting to use the "these images are taken by the government, therefore they are in the public domain"-argument as a defense to a right to publicity claim?

    A disturbing LANL culture

    Yet, we should not be surprised. LANL under Nanos turned into quite the cess pool of accusations, innuendo.

    When all was said and done, there was no disk. Todd was fired without just cause.

    Yet, the already-planned photography is disturbing. This seems reminiscent of the McCarthy-era Denver Spy Files case. Security personnel do have fake IDs used for counter intelligence.

    Congress has an interest

    There have been several questions raised. Yet curiously, when DoE or other government agencies are asked to explain themselves, the response is, "We can't talk about that" or "That's sensitive."

    Let us ask this again:

  • Why does the government have an interest in a non-LANL employee?

  • How can an "interest in a private memorial" be a "public interest" warranting government-funded surveillance?

  • Why is a "government workorder related to a private memorial" so sensitive that it cannot be discussed?

  • What plausible explanation can we hear to suggest there's any merit to the argument that a "private memorial" both warrants government interest; but then the fact that that government is interested suddenly is "sensitive"?

  • How can an interest in an a private memorial be, on the one hand, justified on the basis that it is a public event or newsworthy item; yet the government then turns around and says, "We can't talk about our interest in the matter because it is sensitive."

    Two realities cannot exist at the same time.

    Either the event is public and the government needs to explain why it is interested; or the event is not public and the government has no business being there, taking photographs, or issuing workorders.

    One or the other. Not both.

    What line of non-sense will LANL management give to suggest that they alone live in a quantum world: Where they can claim an interested in a private matter; but then are above the public scrutiny for now demonstrating that interest?

    Yet, it is disturbing, that as a potential government "solution" to this matter, the following have been raised:

  • Has there been any thought given to requiring all people to sign-in, show their ID, and then turn over the information to the media?

    This is absurd. Again, the government is the one that is issuing the workorder. Why would the government [that shows no interested in Todd until his death] have any say in a private matter?

    Yet, we turn to a more disturbing line of questions. The potential that the media will be asked to take photographs and then turn that information over to law enforcement.

    Surely, no one in law enforcement is hoping to create a disturbance in order to "justify" seizing cameras as evidence. It would be very disturbing if there were personnel from either LANL contractors who inject themselves into a private event to further disturb and disrupt Sara and the family.

  • What plans does the Media have to take photographs of all personnel taking photographs?

    It remains to be seen whether there is a cause of action for invasion of privacy for disclosing matters which are essentially private.

    It is ironic that a man shunned by LANL management suddenly, in death, becomes "newsworthy."

    However, what is curious is that LANL management has apparently issued a work order to have official government resources used to observe a private memorial service.

  • Todd no longer works for LANL. Why are government funds being used to observe a private event?

  • Why is there an interest in identifying those individuals?

  • What access will law enforcement have to the photographs?

  • Who signed the workorder?

  • What direction was given to forward the negatives to LANL security contractors for purposes of data archiving, or use during future interrogations?

  • To what extent are security contractors at LANL involved in an effort to identify personnel who are possible readers and posters to the LANL blog?

  • What role, if any, does UC, Bechtel, or DTRA have in identifying potential obstacles to a successful contract bid?

  • How will the photographs be used in decisions related to promotion, hiring, performance awards, or retention?

  • What plan is there to use these photographs to mock employees, adjust the images, or otherwise deride their concern with a private individual?

  • What plan is envisioned to use the photographs in the future to unlawfully intimidate LANL employees into silence or coerce them to provide information that hopeful contractors have been unable to glean through lawful methods?

  • Has LANL management reviewed the UC policies in re intimidation?

  • UC has a policy against whistleblower retaliation. To what extent are these photographs planned to be used to dissuade cooperating government witnesses from freely providing information related to allegations of criminal conduct or procurement fraud?

    What seems curious is that LANL security seem very happy that Todd has passed; yet, suddenly management, through a photographer, wants to attend the funeral.

    What is most ironic is that Todd was given nothing in return. Thus, there's no merit to the argument that this event warrants using government resources.

    LANL Management should have spent the funds processing paperwork to reinstate Todd, not show up after the battle and shoot the wounded.

    It remains to be seen whether the above proposed surveillance is part of a wider pattern of conduct which could bring a civil cause of action.

    Regardless the potential civil action, let us simply recall how other photographs were used at Abu Ghraib.

    This government has shown that it will collect photographs with the specific purpose of blackmailing people. Does the government plan to use the photographs to imply that they "know" that someone has been posting to the blog; and then turn around and say, "We won't rat you out if you cooperate."

    I see no difference between taking photographs at Todd's memorial and the excuses for taking photographs of someone holding a leash on a prisoner's neck.

    It is absurd to suggest, after this many months of ignoring Todd and doing nothing for him, that suddenly the government has an interest in the matter.

    Congress needs to look into these matters:

  • Who ordered the photographs be taken;

  • What were the discussions as recorded on e-mail about the purpose and objective of using these photographs; and

  • What role have contractors or security personnel played in pushing for photographs for purposes of:

    A. Retaliating against witnesses; intimidating potential witnesses to unlawful conduct;

    B. Dissuading personnel from speaking out about substantive issues of public policy; or

    C. Dissuading witnesses and employees from sharing probative or factual information which may upset one of the contractor's chances of winning the LANL contract?

    The government has no business being there. This is a private memorial.

    The government lost an interested in the matter when it fired Todd. To suggest at this point the government need not respond asks that we embrace a double standard.

    The Nanos Doppleganger continues to lurk.

    Congratulations LANL management, you have successfully re-ignited the public interest into what could otherwise have been easily solved long ago.

    A public act deserves public accountability. Explain yourselves.

    Not to worry. You'll only feel slight discomfort.