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."
hey take, shove it up your aHss....
HHB 1/134th Field Artillery Apr 98 to Mar 01
takenoprisoner, you sir, are a moron. Your post at #575 was beyond the pale. You owe our CG sailors and Reserve and NG soldiers a HUGE apology. And you kept stepping in it in later replies where you made aspersive attacks on other posters.
Then, you said: I never "slammed" the Coasties nor the National Guard. When that is EXACTLY what you did in your #575. And all you sickos out here who suck the wangs of the gestapo warriors ,,,
... gestapo warriors ... sure looks like a "slam" to me.
To the question of service, Tonk is correct, I have a copy of his DD214 in the VetsCoR files. Certainly, your post at #575 raises questions about your "alleged" service. I would surely question the service of any veteran who denegrated all their younger brothers and sisters currently serving.
As proof of your "service" you have just listed a bunch of "alleged" duty stations. I'll ask DCWUSMC to respond to your list separately. If you did indeed serve and you can address our current service members as you did, I would call that "kerry-esque" at the very least. If you would care to mail me a copy of your DD214, you'll find the address at www.vetscor.org.
Are all our current service members honorable and upstanding people? Of course not, but the service does its best to weed out the bad apples. Do our current service members make mistakes? Of course they do, they're human. But your blanket smear at #575 is a slap at the vast, overwhelming majority of those who have taken the oath to uphold and defend our Constitution, just as we who went before did. You have done to our current service members what Kerry did to our generation of soldiers.
I will look forward to seeing your apology to our Armed Forces on this thread soon.
Thank you Sir!
Bump and thanks!
"takenoprisoner, you sir, are a moron. "
And you sir need to be reminded of the 4th amendement of the Constitution of these United States. So much for your belief in adherence in same.
It is indeed sad that the CG was used in such manner. It is Lt Warren who needs to apologize to the CG and not me. Had my Marines done this today I would be just as outraged. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of these United States. I will honor that oath for as long as I shall live. Sorry to hear sir that you have a problem with it.
Just because it was the CG in this case that has violated our most sacred document, I cannot nor will not excuse in any manner the violation.
The CG owes those citizen boaters an apology for rousting them in the middle of the night. I don't owe you or anyone else any apology for standing my ground on our Constitution.
Furthermore, I cannot believe someone who formed the Veterans for the Restoration of the Constitution does not have a problem with this roust of citizen boaters who were docked in a private harbor and most of them asleep with their families.
Indeed I do regret it was the CG. What's next, Marines going door to door in America's suburbs?
You sir need to rethink this if you are indeed what you present yourself as.
with all respect,
"You sir need to rethink this if you are indeed what you present yourself as."
First you slam the Coast Guard as 'gestapo warriors', then you claim that isn't what you said.
And then you continue to put your foot in your mouth.
And now you ADD to it:
"What's next, Marines going door to door in America's suburbs? "
Are you saying the Marine Corps are getsapo warriors?
Is that seriously what you want to say?
And no, YOU need to rethink what YOU present yourself as.
"It is indeed sad that the CG was used in such manner. It is Lt Warren who needs to apologize to the CG and not me."
takenoprisoner : Please forward me the full, complete, Coast Guard investigation.
AND not the slanted media version of "the facts"
Since you are the judge AND jury you must have ALL the facts.
Let's calm down. I was Plt 336, Parris Island (1967), Camp Geiger (ITR), NAS JaxFla for AE "A" school, MCAF New River, Phu Bai RVN, etc...
Now. If this happened as described, it was a despicable abuse of authority and the perps should be hung higher than Haman. That said, there is a lot of sense in doing some more research, rather than depending solely on a single source for your info. If there needs to be a lynching after that, I'll help spring the trap. Yes, I found the story inflammatory. That is not a rationale for tarring all who serve with the same brush, which is the net result, if not the intent. MANY of us are on the same side here, we just need some calm and deliberate research and investigation. Like any public statements by the Coasties on why they were in that marina at that time of night, waking folks up. That much seems established, as does the part with the arming of the boarding party. So let's find out why, then tar and feather the higherups who authorized this sort of activity, if it seems warranted. Also, perhaps circumscribing the LEO aspects of the Coast Guard might not be a bad notion. But let's proceed apace, at a CALM pace and not alienate our allies, like Tonk. Some of the others here are authoritarian trolls who deserve whatever we can dish up for them. That's not Tonk.
More to follow eventually.
Thanks for the ping.
This old Squid get very protective of our Coastie Brothers.
Excellent jot by the Zot Master Jim Rob.
Allowing this indicates your standards have eroded.
"Also, some beatings were administered to ensure that future safety searches would not be hindered by recalcitrant boat owners."
You may be zotted, but that doesn't stop you from being right.