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."
Well, I read the entire thread.
Some threads really make me despair for Freepers. This is one of those threads. I guess it's OK to have an opinion derived from ignorance, but I think it a good idea to at least be aware of that derivation.
The USCG does a great job and my experience with them has been that they are good guys.
You mean like the CG did for a "safety inspection" wink wink;-)
I bet the Krauts don't enter houses with m-16s looking fot TVs either.
Screw the Coast Guard, National Guard, NOPD etc. They proved what they were all about when they got an Unconstitutional Order to seize citizens guns and followed it. Unlawful orders are not to be carried out. They are jackboots - they will do whatever they are told.
Perhaps you should look for another forum for future discussions.
You will fit in well here now that the site has been taken over by neocons and the talibornagains. This site used to be dedicated to the Constitution - you wouldn't have been able to understand what people were talking about then.
They TOOK the persons yatch over 4 seeds. They took many yatchs over a joint. They aggresively pursued it. The people involved were jackboots - thugs. I don't care if they had nice uniforms. They are no different than the corrupt Lousiana cops who were seizing people's cars under similar conditions except I would expect the CG to have much more educated leadership. Thugs - disgraces to the legacy our forefathers left us. Scum plain and simple.
Take it easy man. Just because you are parinoid doesnt mean that we arent actually out to get you.
Things sure have changed in ENP - and for the worse. Last time I launched at Flamingo, the ramp had a half inch deep layer of algae. That algal layer was more slippery than greased Teflon.
And, according to the Miami Herald, when the last Stupidvisor, er - make that Superintendent, of ENP was arrested for being knee-walking drunk while driving, the Herald stated she was in charge of 232 employees.
All of whom were evidently in line awaiting their turn to play tennis at the new tennis courts built with money diverted from the Schiinus erradication program in the old Hole In The Donut area of ENP.
I get pretty wound tight on these issues because people do not realize what it means. Of course as my father pointed out to me 30 years ago, few people know what the difference between America and other countries is. He was right. I couldn't grasp it when he was telling me. He was a Naval Aviator and I don't think he would have followed an order to seize fellow Americans guns. He would and did follow orders that put him in deadly situations during Korea and some of his friends paid the ultimate price to protect what America was about.
What's going on in the Hole in the Donut these days? I remember driving in to it by mistake once many years ago.
Some of the guys I know are catching good amounts of snook in the Park, inside and outside. I'm not much of a back country fisherman, though I used to haunt that area.
I have a mind to explore the fishing in Florida Bay to the east of Flamingo, up from Tavernier or maybe accross from Crocodile Dragover. Black Betsy Keys are pretty, but I have no idea if there is fishing there.
Is there really a place on this forum for comments like this? If so, I don't think there is a place here for military families.
When they take part in shredding the Constitution, it sure is. I love and respect the men who go overseas to support and protect the USA.
The ones here who are seizing private citizen's property without due process, breaking into people's homes, dragging them out and seizing their guns - they are America's enemies and traitors to the oaths they took.
So as long as my son's boat is overseas, you support him. Once he enters U.S. territory you consider him a traitor? Crawl back under your rock.
If he breaks into a private citizens house and seizes their guns he is a traitor to the oath he took. I took it too.
You're wiggling around real good, but you haven't wiggled out of your verbal attack against our troops. Try again.
It appears to me that you are painting with a very broad brush here. Admittedly I am not up to speed on all these reports. The only ones I heard confirmed were NOLA local PD(?)
Let me repeat - The soldiers and leos who took part in dragging people out of their homes and seizing their guns and the coasties who took part in seizing people's yatchs over 4 seeds are traitors to America. They are scum. Is that straight up enough for you?
There are two clips of the OKNG seizing weapons including one where the soldier displays disbelief that this is happening in America and saying he would hate to have to shoot an America but would.
And believe me I am not painting all the military. Honore prohibited the men he commanded from taking part as far as I know.
You made your position very clear. You're either with us, or against us. Don't screw our military. Screw anyone who's against us. You know who you are.
That's good to hear.
I enjoyed his comments today.
"Stuck on Stupid"..lol