Skip to comments.Boat owners say they were fearful during Coast Guard search
Posted on 09/22/2005 2:42:37 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Two of the Moss Landing Harbor residents who were the subjects of random boat searches during Labor Day Weekend say their experiences were closer to armed invasions than the friendly "safety inspections" characterized by U.S. Coast Guard officials.
Both residents said search crews entered the harbor in inflatable boats with machine guns mounted on their bows. Then, carrying M-16 rifles, they approached residents and boarded and searched their boats in the name of safety and "homeland security."
One resident, who asked not to be identified for fear or retribution, said his experience was "very intimidating, very frightening."
"To me it reeks of Nazi Germany and the death squads in Argentina," he said. "I don't want my name on their list."
Scott Jones, a live-aboard resident who was searched, said there has been talk in the harbor about contacting the American Civil Liberties Union, but he first wants to hear further from the Coast Guard about its future intentions.
Lt. Mark Warren of the Monterey Coast Guard Station said he has heard mostly positive response to the operation, but may rethink future actions given current criticisms.
"We take lessons and learn from these types of operations. If the public is genuinely distasteful of it, we might not do it," he said. "I'm not saying we won't, but I'm not saying we will."
In addition to trying to ensure the safety of boats on the bay during the holiday weekend, Warren said, the operation was part of an effort to increase the public's awareness of the Coast Guard's role as a law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. He said the public might have been surprised to see weaponry that is now standard issue to all Homeland Security forces.
"I, as a U.S. citizen, am highly offended by that," said Jones, who is accustomed to Coast Guard boardings when he sails. "When a sheriff's deputy drives down the road or a CHP officer drives down the road and I see them, I'm aware of his job, and not because he's pulled me over and put a gun to my head.
"The Coast Guard's needs would be better served by an advertising campaign," he said, "rather than bullying people in their bedrooms at 10:30 at night."
Jones said he and his wife were sleeping when they were awakened by knocking on the side of the boat.
He went to the deck and was confronted by two armed officers asking if they could come aboard. Thinking something had happened in the harbor that the officers needed to talk to him about, Jones acquiesced.
"It seemed a little unreasonable at 10:30 at night," he said, "but it was the middle of the night and I was half asleep, so I said 'OK.' At this point, I looked out and saw six to eight officers (on the dock) and all appeared armed."
The officers boarded his boat and quickly spread out beyond the immediate deck without invitation, saying they were conducting a safety inspection.
"I can say with all certainly that what they did was not a safety inspection or in any way related to a safety inspection," he said. The officers demanded access to the bilge, saying they wanted to make sure the boat wasn't taking on water.
"This was highly suspect," Jones said. "If you're on board, you'd know if you were taking on water."
When Jones showed them the bilge, the officers repeatedly, and with increasing forcefulness, demanded to know if there were other accesses to the bilge. They also "demanded" the driver's licenses of everyone on board.
Increasingly upset by the nature of the search, Jones asked for the officers' authority and justification. One officer read to him from a federal code authorizing the search.
"It was either the Patriot Act or homeland security,"Jones said.
Warren said the officers would not have cited the Patriot Act because it affords the Coast Guard no additional authority.
Jones conceded he may have heard "homeland security" and registered "Patriot Act," but still feels the search was unwarranted and in a gray area of the law at best.
"I wouldn't question their professionalism, but I do question their motive and their authority," he said. "To me, it sounds like something that an ACLU lawyer would just tear apart."
Coast Guard officials say they are authorized by maritime law to board and search vessels on U.S. waters, including waters that lead to U.S. waters, to enforce federal laws.
Warren said the officers were attempting to ensure the safety and compliance of docked boats by checking for oily water in their bilges and that their sanitation devices were in locked position. Some searches were conducted at night in an effort to catch boats before they went onto the bay for the weekend.
The second boat owner who spoke to The Herald said his boat was searched after he challenged officers who were searching other boats, at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 2, and during the morning on following days. Told they were acting as Homeland Security officers, he asked what they were protecting the harbor from.
"Terrorists," he said he was told by the officers, who exhorted him to "remember the Cole," referring to the October 2000 attack by terrorists on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.
"The only terrorists down here are you guys," he told them. "You're scaring the hell out of me with that machine gun."
While Warren was noncommittal about future searches, he said it is important for the public to know the Coast Guard's presence will be increased.
"The Coast Guard's focus on homeland security has increased our presence on the water and will continue to increase our presence simply because that's what Congress is wanting us to do right now," he said. "The concern at the congressional level about the security of ports is pretty high."
I see you Law & Order "conservatives" wasted no time in showing up. I'm sure that when heavily armed men start ordering you and your family about on your own boat and invade these premises after lying their way on board, you'll roll over and submit, eh?
Why should we be? "Our" guy is in charge. </SARCASM>
That's the thing. The lesser of two evils is still evil. I voted for Bush once, and it took me the next 3 years to realize the above fact. I suggest you consider Constitution or Libertarian next time, depending on which party more closely resembles your personal philosophy.
If they don't throw me in jail unjustly, or commit violence on me, or single me out personally for repeated and frequent searches, I would not feel violated. In fact I would feel pleased knowing they are doing their job in my area. Seeing law enforcement armed with weapons does not bother me, what is the problem? This is required by statute and is sensible. They cannot know when they might be needed.
I do feel the comparisons with Nazi Germany and Argentina's death squads are quite absurd.
But this is all only my perspective, just another opinion.
Seems like some idiots have not grasped the dangers the US faces and are more concerned about their own little pleasures than homeland security which affects everyone.
My vote is with the coast Guard.
You can guilt trip me all you want with all the good things the Coast Guard does, but if they're wantonly harassing people on their boats late in the evening, I'm going to let people know what my opinion is about it.
"This is what I do
Commercial fishing is one of our nations most hazardous industries.
The Coast Guard is committed to increasing safety in the fishing industry.
The main objective is to increase compliance
with the minimum safety requirements found in
Title 46 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 28
Requirements for Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels.
U.S.C.G Auxiliary Fishing Vessel Safety Division
I am 1 of 162 CFVE's (Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner)
trained and certified by the US Coast Guard
nationwide out of 32,719 Auxiliary members.
I am 1 of 9 CFVE's
out of 1,704 Auxiliary members in Dist 13 (WA, OR, ID, MT).
So you see I have 1st hand, on the job, experience with being on boats in harbors.
And it does not cost you anti military types one taxpayer dollar.
Feel free to ping your lists,
both PRO MILITARY and ANTI MILITARY"
AMEN and THANK YOU for your service!!!!!
"but if they're wantonly harassing people on their boats late in the evening"
And you have conducted your own investigation?
You just didn't read the media "account" did you?
Bet you are a big Dan Rather fan uh.
"I see you Law & Order "conservatives" wasted no time in showing up. I'm sure that when heavily armed men start ordering you and your family about on your own boat and invade these premises after lying their way on board, you'll roll over and submit, eh?"
You're damn right, because I have nothing to hide!!! I don't have a boat, but any Feds who want to take a look inside my house, I'll open the door and welcome them in to look all they want!
In MY opinion, the ones who are whining and crying just don't get it. If you have nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about. I'm GLAD they're checking things out now! I'd have LOVED for that yellow belly Klintoon to have used the information from Operation Able Danger and KICKED ATTA'S DOOR IN!!!!!!! If the chicken had any huevos besides what he showed to Monica, thousands of people would STILL BE ALIVE!!!!!!!!!
"If you have done nothing wrong, comrade, then you have nothing to fear."
- Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria (1899 - 1953), chief of the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) under Stalin
Lavrenti Beria was one of the cruelest leaders in a regime known for its brutality. He first reached a position of power by working his way up the police organization in the Soviet republic of Georgia. In 1938, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin summoned him to Moscow to work as the deputy to the chief of the Soviet secret police (NKVD). Within months the chief had disappeared and Beria had replaced him. During the purges of the 1930s, many Soviet leaders issued lists of people they wanted arrested and shot, but Beria may have been the only one who personally got involved in torturing his victims. It is said that he invented the saying "Comrade, if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear," a line spoken with heavy irony by NKVD officers as they took political prisoners into custody during Stalin's purges.
"My boy, Mike, (Coast Guard Petty Officer) says his unit averaged 25 "saves" or more per day, 12 hours a day, for 6 days during the Katrina rescue. And he was only one of many rescue units."
As was FReeper OneLoyalAmerican, a Master Chief in the USCG
Tell Mike I said
Thank You for your sevice to our country.
Tolerance Sucks Rocks : You are way out of line.
You owe the entire US Coast Guard an apology, now.
"Lavrenti Beria was one of the cruelest leaders in a regime known for its brutality. He first reached a position of power by working his way up the police organization in the Soviet republic of Georgia. In 1938, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin summoned him to Moscow to work as the deputy to the chief of the Soviet secret police (NKVD). Within months the chief had disappeared and Beria had replaced him. During the purges of the 1930s, many Soviet leaders issued lists of people they wanted arrested and shot, but Beria may have been the only one who personally got involved in torturing his victims. It is said that he invented the saying "Comrade, if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear," a line spoken with heavy irony by NKVD officers as they took political prisoners into custody during Stalin's purges."
This ain't the USSR. You don't get it.
Owning a boat is a lot like standing naked in a cold shower tearing up $50.00 bills. Unless of course one owns a sailboat. Then it's a lot like standing naked in a cold shower ripping up $100.00 bills.
Oh my goodness...that isn't a dare is it? Okay, here it goes,
There, I said it.
Thank you :~D
That's my point.
A nation is not flag.
Nor is it a piece of land.
A nation is defined by its actions. The USSR, through its actions defined itself as an authoritarian nation: suppression of dissidents, restriction of movement, and a profoundly noticible lack of rights afforded its citizens, among other things.
In the USSR, there was no 4th Amendment, no rights against warrantless search and seizure. When in public, or anytime for that matter, when confronted by government officials for any reason, or no reason at all, Russians had to produce papers, answer questions, submit to searches. There was no right of refusal, and no recourse. Russians who didn't like it could try to leave.
If we behave in this manner we will be the same. Even if we still call it the USA. Even if "our guys" wear different uniforms, speak different languages, and like country music.
So you are right. This is not the USSR. It is the United States of America!
And in the United States of America we are most decidedly NOT detained by armed agents of the state absent probable cause or search warrant.
Defining characteristics make nations what they are. When we act like communists, we ARE communists.
In other words they were treated fine by Coast Guard. Polite and with professionalism. They weren't roughed up, banging down the door, or treating them badly. Some of you ran with this story and are exaggerating/adding points that are just not there and that's just wrong.
Did you read all of my original post about Operation Able Danger?
I think the ones who owe the entire US Coast Guard an apology are certain of their membership who give that fine organization a black eye by harassing people at 10:30 at night. Inspecting boats for explosives to prevent bridges from being blown up is one thing, but harassing people late at night WITHOUT TELLING THEM THE NATURE OF THEIR BUSINESS is entirely another.
But, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe some people think I'm smearing the entire organization. To you people, I do apologize and thank you for serving our country. However, there's no way in hell I'm apologizing to those people who find no problem whatsoever with harassing people for no stated reason. And the Coast Guard would do well to dismiss the likes of them.
Oh, and I'm not some anti-military leftist moonbat, if that's what you're thinking. I went to my high school reunion a few weeks ago and I damn well thanked those people there that I knew served our country. And I'm damn sure that not a one of them was ever like the JBTs that form the subject of this news article.
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