Thursday, May 19, 2011

FBI accidentally left behind secret documents in peace-activist raids

​When the FBI launched an early morning raid on the home of local peace activist Mick Kelly last September, it was supposed to be a precision operation.
Backed by Minneapolis police officers, more than a dozen FBI agents in full SWAT gear, burst into Kelly's one-bedroom West Bank apartment. Provisions had been made for every eventuality -- a black Suburban idled in the ally, monitoring the back exit. Hostage negotiators were on hand if the situation turned ugly.

But the agents made one mistake: When they left Kelly's apartment, they accidentally left behind some of their secret documents.

And today, Kelly held a press conference to release the FBI's secret documents to the media.

Those documents include the operational plans for the raid, surveillance photos showing the apartment building, and 57 interrogation questions for Kelly and the eight other Twin Cities peace activists whose homes were being raided at the same time.

​Taken together, the documents offer the first glimpse into a highly secretive government investigation into the activists, which has resulted in 23 subpoenas to a secret federal grand jury.
The activists claim the investigation, which concerns charges of "material support of terrorism," is an unjust and intrusive effort by the FBI to intimidate and stifle political dissent.

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Ind. ruling on illegal police entry sparks protest

An Indiana Supreme Court ruling that people don't have the right to resist police officers who enter their homes illegally has sparked outrage among some residents and lawmakers, with plans under way for a large Statehouse protest, a flurry of threats made against police and judges and calls for the state to reinforce homeowners' rights.

The court's 3-2 ruling last week brought Indiana law in line with most other states', but critics contend that it infringes on their constitutional rights and contradicts centuries of common law precedent regarding homeowners' rights and the limits of police power.

"We're by and large outraged by it. It pretty much wipes out the Fourth Amendment," Greg Fettig, a co-founder of the Hoosier Patriots tea party group, said Wednesday. "Police can come into your house and do whatever they want now."

Police are investigating several threatening emails and phone calls directed at the state Supreme Court because of the ruling, court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said. She declined to say how many threats the court received, but said most of them were aimed at police officers.

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Once again: Brutal G20 Cops can't find any brutal G20 cops

SOC Editor: Above is an actual photo of the incident. The cop in the circle is the suspect that can't be identified. Its not so curious that such a heavy amount of police resources went into finding G20 vandals(public wanted lists, facial recognition software, even a dedicated team of detectives), yet the police can't identify a colleague who is clearly shown in the photo above. Lets get this photo out there and try to nail this guy.

Ontario's police watchdog says it has again been unable to identify any officers involved in a G20 arrest that a man claims left him with serious injuries.

The Special Investigations Unit had reopened the case of Dorian Barton who claimed his arm was broken when he was assaulted by police during last June's G20 demonstrations in Toronto.

Civilian witnesses told the SIU that Barton, who was taking pictures of mounted police officers, was struck with a riot shield and then hit with a baton after he fell to the ground.

The SIU says none of the civilian witnesses was able to positively identify any of the officers involved. Photographs of the incident were shown to 11 officers, but the SIU says none of the officers could identify the perpetrator.

Director Ian Scott says without a positive identification, the SIU has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds for charges to be laid against any Toronto police officers in Barton's arrest.

"Based upon this lack of positive identification, I am not in a position to form reasonable grounds that an identifiable police officer used excessive force against the complainant," Scott said Monday.

The SIU is an arm's-length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What the #&^$: New contract for Toronto police

In this occasional feature, the National Post tells you everything you need to know about a complicated issue. Today: Megan O’Toole examines the tentative contract deal for Toronto police.

What are police being offered?

The Toronto Police Association, which represents the force’s nearly 8,000 civilian and uniform members, reached a tentative agreement this week with the Toronto Police Services Board, an oversight body that includes three city councillors. Under its terms, which would replace a collective agreement that expired in December, police would receive a series of wage hikes: 3.2% in 2011, 3% in each of the next two years, and 2% in 2014.

How does this compare to other union contracts?

At nearly 12% over four years, it is significantly richer than the most recent contracts negotiated with the city’s outside and inside workers. The latest contract for CUPE Local 416 provided a raise of 6% over three years, equivalent to the deal for inside workers. Councillor Adam Vaughan (Trinity-Spadina), a former police services board member, says this is the most expensive deal the city has ever signed with Toronto police. With a budget nearing $1-billion, Mr. Vaughan says the city’s police were already the highest paid in the country. “This is gravy on top of gravy with a serving of gravy underneath,” he said.

How are others receiving the news?

For the most part, not well. As the city prepares to wrestle an $800-million budget gap next year, critics argue this is simply not the time for such a generous deal, which would add tens of millions of dollars to the cost of policing. University of Toronto criminology professor Mariana Valverde called the tentative agreement “extremely unfortunate,” noting it could ultimately contribute to higher crime rates if the city ends up slashing youth programs, recreation programs and other social services to fill the budget hole. “I don’t think a wage freeze would have been unreasonable under the very serious financial crunch that we’re under,” she said. Representatives for the police association and the board did not respond to requests for comment.

So police are the highest paid in Canada, but so what? Isn’t it harder to police Toronto than, say, Kapuskasing?

Yes and no. “It seems logical that Toronto would be at the high end of the scale for municipal police officers, just given the size of the city, the complexity of responsibilities involved in policing in a city like Toronto, and of course the cost of living in Toronto,” Ryerson University municipal politics professor Myer Siemiatycki said, though he agreed the timing of the wage increase is justifiably “raising eyebrows” in light of Mayor Rob Ford’s stated goal to rein in the costs of government. Ms. Valverde, meanwhile, disagrees that Toronto officers inherently deserve higher wages, noting they also have substantially more resources than police in smaller rural settings. “I feel much more sympathy for the RCMP officers in small towns where there is no backup,” she said.

What is the Mayor saying about all this?

Nothing until the ratification vote, scheduled for May 25. “Unfortunately I can’t comment on the police contract until it’s ratified. I will comment after,” Mr. Ford said in a scrum this week. Asked about public comments from his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, who has come out in favour of the tentative deal, the Mayor simply laughed: “Talk to Doug, then,” he said.

How might this affect other union contract negotiations down the road?

It could have dramatic consequences in terms of what other unions will expect at the bargaining table, observers warn. The TTC is now an essential service, so if negotiations fail, the matter goes to binding arbitration, where the police contract could be viewed as a reasonable precedent. “Mayor Ford’s desire to declare transit an essential service is going to come back to haunt him,” Mr. Siemiatycki said. The police deal has set up “one of the most expensive rounds of labour negotiations the city will ever see,” Mr. Vaughan added. “[TTC union boss] Bob Kinnear is doing cartwheels.”

National Post

Friday, May 6, 2011

10 ways 'the police state' tracks you

The war on terror is a worldwide endeavor that has spurred massive investment into the global surveillance industry, which now seems to be becoming a war on “liberty and privacy.” Given all of the new monitoring technology being implemented, the uproar over warrantless wiretaps now seems moot.

High-tech, first-world countries are being tracked, traced, and databased, literally around every corner. Governments, aided by private companies, are gathering a mountain of information on average citizens who so far seem willing to trade liberty for supposed security. Here are just some of the ways the matrix of data is being collected:

GPS -- Global positioning chips are now appearing in everything from U.S. passports and cell phones to cars. More common uses include tracking employees, and for all forms of private investigation. Apple recently announced they are collecting the precise location of iPhone users via GPS for public viewing in addition to spying on users in other ways.

Internet -- Internet browsers are recording your every move forming detailed cookies on your activities. The National Security Administration has been exposed as having cookies on their site that don't expire until 2035. Major search engines know where you surfed last summer, and online purchases are databased, supposedly for advertising and customer service uses. IP addresses are collected and even made public. Controversial websites can be flagged internally by government
sites, as well as re-routing all traffic to block sites the government wants to censor. It has now been fully admitted that social networks provide no privacy to users while technologies advance for real-time social network monitoring is already being used. The Cybersecurity Act attempts to legalize the collection and exploitation of your personal information. Apple's iPhone also has browsing data recorded and stored. All of this despite the overwhelming opposition to cybersurveillance by citizens.

RFID -- Forget your credit cards which are meticulously tracked, or the membership cards for things so insignificant as movie rentals which require your Social Security number. Everyone has Costco, CVS, grocery-chain cards, and a wallet or purse full of many more. RFID “proximity cards” take tracking to a new level in uses ranging from loyalty cards, student ID, physical access, and computer network access. Latest developments include an RFID powder developed by Hitachi, for which the multitude of uses are endless -- perhaps including tracking hard currency so we can't even keep cash undetected. (Also see microchips below).

Traffic cameras -- License plate recognition has been used to remotely automate duties of the traffic police in the United States, but have been proven to have dual use in England such as to mark activists under the Terrorism Act. Perhaps the most common use will be to raise money and shore up budget deficits via traffic violations, but uses may descend to such “Big Brother” tactics as monitors telling pedestrians not to litter as talking cameras already do in the UK.

Computer cameras and microphones -- The fact that laptops -- contributed by taxpayers -- spied on public school children (at home) is outrageous. Years ago Google began officially to use computer “audio fingerprinting” for advertising uses. They have admitted to working with the NSA, the premier surveillance network in the world. Private communications companies already have been exposed routing communications to the NSA. Now, keyword tools -- typed and spoken -- link to the global security matrix.

Public sound surveillance -- This technology has come a long way from only being able to detect gunshots in public areas, to now listening in to whispers for dangerous “keywords.” This technology has been launched in Europe to “monitor conversations” to detect “verbal aggression” in public places. Sound Intelligence is the manufacturer of technology to analyze speech, and their website touts how it can easily be integrated into other systems.

Biometrics -- The most popular biometric authentication scheme employed for the last few years has been Iris Recognition. The main applications are entry control, ATMs and government programs. Recently, network companies and governments have utilized biometric authentication including fingerprint analysis, iris recognition, voice recognition, or combinations of these for use in national identification cards.

DNA -- Blood from babies has been taken for all people under the age of 38. In England, DNA was sent to secret databases from routine heel prick tests. Several reports have revealed covert Pentagon databases of DNA for “terrorists” and now DNA from all American citizens is databased. Digital DNA is now being used as well to combat hackers.

Microchips -- Microsoft's HealthVault and VeriMed partnership is to create RFID implantable microchips. Microchips for tracking our precious pets is becoming commonplace and serves to condition us to accept putting them in our children in the future. The FDA has already approved this technology for humans and is marketing it as a medical miracle, again for our safety.

Facial recognition -- Anonymity in public is over. Admittedly used at President Obama's campaign events, sporting events, and most recently at the G8/G20 protests in Canada. This technology is also harvesting data from Facebook images and surely will be tied into the street “traffic” cameras.

All of this is leading to Predictive Behavior Technology -- It is not enough to have logged and charted where we have been; the surveillance state wants to know where we are going through psychological profiling. It's been marketed for such uses as blocking hackers. Things seem to have advanced to a point where a truly scientific Orwellian world is at hand. It is estimated that computers know to a 93 percent accuracy where you will be, before you make your first move. Nanotech is slated to play a big role in going even further as scientists are using nanoparticles to directly influence behavior and decision making.

Many of us are asking: What would someone do with all of this information to keep us tracked, traced, and databased? It seems the designers have no regard for the right to privacy and desire to become the Controllers of us all.

Terry Olgin owns 3rd Eye Computer Service, a managed service provider business, and is a member of the Redwood Technology Consortium. Check out his blog at . He can be reached at

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New deal makes Toronto police highest paid in country

The net $905.9 million police operating budget is the largest single item on the city budget. Salaries, benefits and overtime account for nearly 90 per cent of it.

A first-class constable earning $81,249 in 2010 will make $90,623 in 2014 if the agreement is ratified.

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Protester claims unjust macing by NFTA cop

Protester claims unjust macing by NFTA cop:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Uganda lawyers protest over political violence

Some 300 lawyers gathered in Uganda's capital on Wednesday to protest the arrest of the country's top opposition leader and a crackdown on demonstrations, chanting: "We want a change in the regime."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for a quarter-century, has vowed repeatedly that his government will not be taken down by protests. U.N. officials have said demonstrations over the last three weeks in Uganda have left eight people dead and wounded more than 250 others.

The protests have been the first serious unrest in sub-Saharan Africa since a wave of anti-government protests swept longtime leaders in Tunisia and Egypt out of power.

Read more:

Ian Tomlinson was unlawfully killed by police officer at G20 protest, says jury

Tomlinson was hit with a baton an pushed to the floor on the evening of April 1, 2009, while the G20 protests - which he was not a part of - were taking place.

The jury found that the force used by the police officer was 'excessive and unreasonable', and that he had acted acted illegally, recklessly and dangerously in shoving Mr Tomlinson - who 'posed no threat' - to the ground. The jurors found that he died from internal bleeding, caused by a combination of the baton strike and the push.

Criminal proceeding could now reopen against Pc Simon Harwood, the officer who pushed Tomlinson (who the jurors did not identify by name for legal reasons). Prosecutors said last year that a decision not to pursue charges against Pc Harwood could be reviewed in the light of the inquest's findings.

Evidence from both Pc Harwood and pathologist Dr Freddy Patel was discredited as part of the verdict, which will prompt reviews by both the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police. Dr Patel's claim that Mr Tomlinson died of a heart attack was rejected by the jury in favour of a string of experts who said he died of internal bleeding.

Pc Harwood was accused of misleading the inquest by Matthew Ryder QC, acting for Tomlinson's family, who said he told 'half truths' and 'deliberately painted a false picture of Mr Tomlinson'.

Members of Tomlinson's family reportedly shouted 'Yes!' and broke down in tears when the jury's verdict was announced.

Read more:

Brutal Mass Police Crackdown in Illinois

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

US Politicians Use Bin Laden Death Hoax to Justify Illegal Torture

The debate over the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the Bush administration is being rekindled by the successful operation against Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, which was based on information about the courier extracted from detained terror suspects.

Rep. Peter T. King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said initial clues to bin Laden’s location can be traced to the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the interrogations of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the former No. 3 al Qaeda leader captured in 2005.

“Khalid Shaikh Mohammed basically gave up nothing until after he had been waterboarded,” Mr. King, New York Republican, said in an interview Tuesday. “It was after that that he first mentioned the courier, he identified him by his nom de guerre, and after that … al Libbi also gave us additional information on the courier.”

White House counterterrorism coordinator John Brennan said Tuesday that he is not aware that waterboarding produced intelligence that led to the identity of bin Laden’s compound.

“Not to my knowledge. The information that was acquired over the course of nine years or so came from many different sources — human sources, technical sources, as well as information that detainees provided,” Mr. Brennan said on MSNBC.

Mr. King said the Bush administration’s overall handling of terrorist detainees was vindicated by Sunday’s successful raid.

“Absolutely. This is a vindication,” he said. “Without that, we may not have gotten bin Laden.”

Administration officials said tracking one particular bin Laden courier ultimately produced key intelligence that ended the worldwide manhunt with Sunday’s commando raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that left the al Qaeda leader dead.

Work by analysts who “pieced it all together” led to the Abbottabad compound last year and the Sunday raid, Mr. Brennan said, noting that no single piece of information resulted in finding the compound and that data from detained terrorists were mixed.

“Sometimes they gave up information willingly as far as offering some details; some of it was disinformation,” he said. “Sometimes they provided information that they didn’t realize had embedded clues in it that we were able to exploit.”

A senior Obama administration official who briefed reporters Sunday night said intelligence agencies had focused on finding couriers for bin Laden since 2001, with one trusted messenger having “our constant attention.”

Interrogated detainees provided the courier’s nom de guerre, identified him as a protege of Mohammed and al-Libbi, and revealed he was “one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden,” the official said.

The courier also was living with and protecting bin Laden, but intelligence agencies were unable for years to learn his name or location.

Then, four years ago, the courier was identified by name, and then two years later he and his brother were spotted as operating in a specific area of Pakistan, the official said.

“Still, we were unable to pinpoint exactly where they lived due to extensive operational security on their part,” the official said.

In August the couriers’ residence was located as the Abbottabad compound, triggering the covert operation that began in September and ended on Sunday. Both the courier and his brother were killed in the raid.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told reporters on Tuesday that “nothing has been found to indicate that this came out of Guantanamo.”

“And people were questioned, but there were no positive answers as to the identity of this No. 1 courier,” Mrs. Feinstein, California Democrat, said.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said he believes harsh interrogations likely contributed to finding bin Laden.

“I would assume that the enhanced interrogation program that we put in place produced some of the results that led to bin Laden’s ultimate capture,” Mr. Cheney said Monday on Fox News Channel.

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in an interview with Newsmax that “normal interrogation techniques” helped lead searchers to bin Laden, but not waterboarding.

“It certainly points up the fact that the structures that President Bush put into place — military commissions, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, indefinite detention and humane treatment, but intensive interrogation to be sure — all contributed to the success we’ve had in the global war on terror,” Mr. Rumsfeld said.

White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the debate over whether harsh interrogation produced intellgience on bin Laden is a distraction because the successful raid was based on multiple types of information sources.

“There is no way that information obtained by [enhanced interrogation techniques] was the decisive intelligence that led us directly to bin Laden,” he said. “The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003.”

Monday, May 2, 2011

Burkina Faso Riot Police Join Wave of Protests After Government Dissolved

Riot police became the latest group to protest in Burkina Faso, firing their guns into the air at their barracks in the east of the capital, Ouagadougou, two weeks after the president dissolved the government.

“The shooting began in 9.30 p.m. and continued till this morning,” said Oumarou Kabore, who lives near the barracks. “They came out of their camp and fired in the air.”

A mutiny by the presidential guard on April 14 pushed President Blaise Compaore to dismiss his government. On April 22, he appointed himself as defense minister. Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest cotton producer has been in turmoil since February, when five people were killed during demonstrations against police following the death of a student in their custody.

Compaore, 60, has ruled Burkina Faso since seizing power in a 1987 coup.

Gold miners including Montreal-based Semafo Inc. (SMF) and London-based Avocet Mining Plc (AVM) have operations in Burkina Faso. Semafo said on April 18 the unrest hasn’t disrupted operations at its Mana mine, while Avocet said the same on April 15.

Workers warn police against brutality

Workers and civic society groups have warned that they would be forced to hit back against police brutality if the security forces continued to suppress the voice of workers.

Addressing a well-attended Workers’ Day rally at Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield, Harare, yesterday, activists blasted government corruption with Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) president Tafadzwa Mugwadi warning of Egypt or Yemen-style revolts if the plight of their parents, the workers, was not addressed.

Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama said people should be free to fight for their rights and if police suppressed them, they should hit back.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo said workers had to fight for their rights like what war veterans did when they fought for land reform.

“They fought for land and they got it. What can stop the workers from fighting for their rights and win?” he said.

Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU secretary-general, also warned the police against trying to thwart the people’s freedoms saying they were inviting trouble.

“I appreciate there are police here in attendance — spying.

They had tried to thwart this gathering, but they were playing with fire.

“We want to tell them that when it comes to fighting for workers’ rights, the police are like children. They are not yet grown-ups in the game,” he said.

“To (Police Commissioner-General Augustine) Chihuri, I say don’t dream to thwart our actions because we will embarrass you,” he warned.

“We have seen what the inclusive government has done, but we are tired. We no longer want that and if these people do not respect our rights, we go to the streets,” he said.

Chibebe said the executive committee of the ZCTU had decided to honour Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai by establishing the Morgan
Tsvangirai Labour Activist of the Year Award.

The annual award, Chibebe said, would be a floating trophy with $3 000 prize money with Tsvangirai himself being the inaugural winner for this year.

Award-winning human rights defender Muchadehama said rights were not demanded but fought for.

“Rights should be fought for. If the police violate your rights, fight for them. If government violates your rights, fight them, and if the police fight you, fight back,” he said.

Mugwadi said ever since the coming-in of the inclusive government, nothing much had been done for the workers and their children, a majority of whom were students.

“Why should (President Robert) Mugabe go (out of the country) to get treatment while our parents are dying here in Zimbabwe? Our parents are being forced to sign the anti-sanctions petition, but that is nonsense.

“What is happening in Yemen, Egypt — we want it in Zimbabwe if (President) Mugabe cannot do what we want. Together we shall complete this struggle,” the Zinasu president said.

Ont. cops probe leak after Layton massage story breaks

TORONTO - The Ontario Provincial Police are launching a criminal breach of trust investigation into how Toronto Police notes were leaked, following a QMI Agency story involving NDP Leader Jack Layton.

Toronto Police confirm it made the request after the information involving Layton, who was found in a massage parlour allegedly connected with the sex trade in 1996, was attributed to notes from an unnamed former police officer.

"Today, I made a formal request of the Ontario Provincial Police to conduct a criminal breach of trust investigation into this matter to determine if any offence has been committed," Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said Saturday.

"They have assigned a detective inspector from their criminal investigative branch to head up their investigation. We will, of course, co-operate in every way."

The investigation launches following a complaint from Toronto human rights lawyer Selwyn Pieters to Blair and Toronto Police Services Board chairman Alok Mukherjee alleging the ex-cop's notes were used to blackmail the leader of a political party.

"I was appalled and distressed at the partisanship or the perception thereof of the Toronto Police Service entering the realm of the political sphere by releasing information quoted directly from a police officer's memo book in the Toronto Sun that appears in the nature of attempting to blackmail a leader of a political party," Pieters wrote in a letter.

He included sections of the Police Service Act that states police can disclose personal information about an individual if the person has been convicted or found guilty of a crime and if the individual poses a threat to others.

He added memo books are the property of the police and should be given back when no longer in use.

"Disclosing personal information about a person who was not charged with a prostitution related offence challenges the presumption of innocence and stigmatizes the person in a way that is totally unacceptable in a society where the rule of the law prevails," Pieters said. "The conduct in question appears, in my view to be unlawful."

Blair responded that while the former cop is no longer with the force, the issue remains important.

"We do, in fact, ensure compliance by those over whom we retain jurisdiction under the act," he said.

WikiLeaks' Assange Calls Facebook 'Most Appalling Spying Machine Ever'

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has made a lot of enemies, and you can now add Facebook to that list.

In a recent interview with Russia Today, Assange said "Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented."

"Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations, their communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence," the whistle-blowing site's editor continued.

Assange asserted that he believes many major U.S.-based tech companies are actively helping the government spy on people.
"Facebook, Google, Yahoo, all these major U.S. organizations have built-in interfaces for U.S. intelligence," Assange said. "It's not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for us intelligence to use. Now is it the case that Facebook is actually run by US intelligence? No it's not like that. It's simply that U.S. intelligence is able to bring to bear legal and political pressure to them and it's costly for them to hand out records one by one so they have automated the process. Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them."

Assange has cemented his reputation as a conspiracy-monger. He made waves at the end of last year when he began the release of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. embassy cables, causing worldwide diplomatic embarrassment for the U.S. and its allies. The 39-year-old Australian is currently residing near London, awaiting extradition to Sweden where he must answer to allegations of rape and sexual molestation.

By Leslie Horn