Charged with Criminal Trespass Despite Protest of CNN Staff and Official Event Press Credentials at GOP Debate in New Hampshire
June 6, 2007
By Aaron Dykes & Alex Jones
Manchester, NH – Freelance reporter Matt Lepacek, reporting for Infowars.com, was arrested for asking a question to one of Giuliani’s staff members in a press conference. The press secretary identified the New York based reporter as having previously asked Giuliani about his prior knowledge of WTC building collapses and ordered New Hampshire state police to arrest him.
Jason Bermas, reporting for Infowars and America: Freedom to Fascism, confirmed Lepacek had official CNN press credentials for the Republican debate. However, his camera was seized by staff members who shut off the camera, according to Luke Rudkowski, also a freelance Infowars reporter on the scene. He said police physically assaulted both reporters after Rudkowski objected that they were official members of the press and that nothing illegal had taken place. Police reportedly damaged the Infowars-owned camera in the process.
Reporters were questioning Giuliani staff members on a variety of issues, including his apparent ignorance of the 9/11 Commission Report, according to Bermas. The staff members accused the reporters of Ron Paul partisanship, which press denied. It was at this point that Lepacek, who was streaming a live report, asked a staff member about Giuliani’s statement to Peter Jennings that he was told beforehand that the WTC buildings would collapse.
Giuliani’s press secretary then called over New Hampshire state police, fingering Lepacek.
Though CNN staff members tried to persuade police not to arrest the accredited reporter– in violation of the First Amendment, Lepacek was taken to jail. The police station told JonesReport.com that Lepacek is being charged with felony criminal trespass.
Lepacek did receive one phone call in jail which he used to contact reporter Luke Rudkowski. According to Rudkowski, Lepacek was scared because he had been told he may be transferred to a secret detention facility because state police were also considering charges of espionage against him– due to a webcam Lepacek was using to broadcast live at the event. State police considered it to be a hidden camera, which led to discussion of “espionage.”
>Wearing a webcam at a press event is not an act of espionage. Alex Jones, who was watching the live feed, witnessed Lepacek announce that he was wearing a camera connected to a laptop that was transmitting the press conference live at approximately 9:20 EST. When Lepacek announced that he was broadcasting live, Giuliani staff members responded by getting upset at his questions and ordering his arrest.
Freedom to Fascism reporter Samuel Ettaro was also dragged out after asking a question on Giuliani’s ties with Cintra and Macquerie, two foreign contractors involved with the contentious Trans-Texas Corridor under development in Texas.
The entire incident took place in a large press auditorium, apart from the debate stages where authorized media were able to question candidates and their handlers.
Since when do campaign operatives have the power to order state police to arrest someone on false charges or arbitrate who has the right to conduct journalism, a right guarded by the Constitution?
A warning to the press– if candidates or police don’t like your questions, you could be arrested for trespassing and even espionage in the new Orwellian America.
The state police in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where the arrest was made, confirmed that Lepacek is in custody on charges of criminal trespass. Police said information on who filed the trespass complaint was not yet available and would be filed in the police report.
It is clear from talking to multiple eyewitness, as well as the live webcam, that there could not have been a complainant who originated police action, because it happened spontaneously. The police need to be very careful about violating the Bill of Rights and falsely charging someone with a felony crime. This constitutes extreme official oppression and is a total violation of the reporter’s civil rights. It would have been bad enough if the reporter would have just been thrown out, but to arrest him when he had a valid press pass and CNN protested his arrest is an outrage.
The arrest– which clearly violated the First Amendment– was recorded from two separate camera angles, including a live feed recorded remotely– so the episode is on record in the event that police destroy or lose tapes seized from Lepacek in attempt to obfuscate the facts of the incident.
If you doubt that police would assault reporters, seize video equipment and act on political orders, then consider the experience Alex Jones had when Texas state troopers arrested him for asking George W. Bush a question during a press conference while he was governor.
By Tony Long
Have you noticed? We’ve become a people that no longer respects, or apparently desires, privacy. Our own or anybody else’s.
That’s a remarkable thing, when you stop to think about it. We Americans, historically, have fiercely guarded our personal privacy. It’s one of our defining characteristics. Others, who live in societies where personal privacy isn’t so easily taken for granted, have looked on with a mixture of admiration and bemusement. “Mind your own business” is a singularly American expression.
But now we’ve allowed that birthright to be compromised, in a hundred little ways, and in a few conspicuously big ones, by an increasingly meddlesome government — not to mention opportunistic, predatory marketers — armed with the technology that gives them an easy entrée into our most secret places. Why is that, do you suppose? Have we surrendered to Big Brother because “you can’t fight city hall,” or have we been lied to, cajoled and softened up for so long by so much stupid television and the endless drumbeat of consumerism that we no longer care?
Do you think you’re surfing porn at home in complete anonymity? Do you think the government can’t retrieve every single scrap of personal information you own? Do you think The Gap doesn’t know that you’ve moved up to a 34 waist? We’ve been scanned, cookied and catalogued so thoroughly that there are agencies and companies out there who know more about us than we know about ourselves.
Now, thanks to Google, you can’t even expect your privacy to be respected in one of the most paradoxically private places around — the public street.
People who don’t live in big cities often cite the lack of privacy as one reason why they wouldn’t. Actually, the anonymity of living in a community of hundreds of thousands of people affords a lot more privacy than one might expect; certainly more than in of those cute little towns where everybody knows everybody else’s business.
Or at least it did, until Google came along with Street View.
Now the mere act of walking down a public street is liable to get you some unwanted publicity, especially if you’re captured doing something you’d rather not share with the world.
Google says Street View is intended to provide street-level tours of selected cities (currently San Francisco, New York, Denver, Miami and Vegas are so blessed; others are in the works). Why they feel such tours are necessary at all is another question. “Because it’s way cool” will probably suffice.
In an Associated Press story, Google spokeswoman Megan Quinn shrugs off any privacy concerns, saying: “This imagery is no different from what any person can readily capture or see walking down the street.” I don’t know how often Ms. Quinn walks the mean streets of her town, but it’s not comparable at all. For one thing, the casual pedestrian isn’t staring at a computer screen with your image plastered all over it. And being spotted on the street by a single person, someone as anonymous as you are, is a far cry from being available to the prurient curiosity of millions of online peeping toms.
This is just incredibly vulgar.
But just to be safe, Google makes it clear that it’s on firm legal footing; that you have no legal guarantee to privacy on a public street. So if you turn up on Street View as you’re ducking into the local porn emporium, that’s your tough luck. Maybe it is legal. Probably it is. So what? Being legal doesn’t mean being right.
Let’s call a spade a spade here, lay all our cards on the table and use all the clichés necessary to make one thing perfectly clear: Google is invading your privacy for the same reason (and only reason) it does anything. It smells a chance to make money and it’s going to make money, and to hell with you and your privacy. Do no evil? Balls.
Greed, unfortunately, is another American characteristic. One that will eventually destroy us.