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Phones in the Fridge
by Cindy Sheehan ( contact [at] cindyforcongress.org )
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 12:25 AM
This is Cindy Sheehan's account on what happened to her when she came back to her hotel room early following a day of activism in Denver to the lead up to this week's DNC..
Phones in the Fridge
CFC in Denver, Co

Cindy for Congress adamantly believes that the problems in this country (and world) go way deeper than the Republican Party. We believed this before our campaign, and unfortunately, we have been proven correct repeatedly with Dem leadership sanctioning the occupations, torture, destroying our 4th amendment and not upholding the rule of law and Constitution especially since regaining majorities of both Houses of Congress---off the backs of the grass roots movement, that the Party has virtually ignored for the last year and a half, plus.

With the Democratic Party moving farther to the right each day, we believe it is even more imperative to have our voices heard for peace, accountability, fossil fuel independence, environmental stability and economic equality. If We the People don't drag our leaders towards the people and positive change, it won't happen, no matter who is the president, or which party controls Congress. I know I was approached by many activists wearing Obama '08 paraphernalia that are very distressed with the direction their Party is going in, too.

Today, CFC participated in the Recreate '68 rally on the steps of the State Capitol here in Denver---there were awesome speeches, especially by Cynthia McKinney (Green Party Presidential Candidate) and Ron Kovic (disabled Vietnam Vet and subject of Born on the 4th of July). World Can't Wait, ANSWER and other groups participated in the coalition and there were a reported 500-1500 people from all over the country in attendance. I myself am distressed that most organizations in the so-called peace movement refuse to protest here in Denver because they believe that the Democratic leadership is any better than the Repugs.

Something that really bothered me at the rally, also, was when a group of activists surrounded the correspondent from Fox News. Now, mind you, I abhor Fox News, however, I think Fox News is just a little worse than CNN (brought to us by Lockheed Martin and Boeing) and NBC (owned and operated by General Electric). Fox, (like CNN and NBC) is a propaganda ministry of the US imperial-military regime and deserves nothing but contempt and ridicule---that's why I refuse to do national Fox (except when Sean Hannity called my bluff once) and I DON'T WATCH the network. So, we were there protesting our government's suppression of our 1st amendment rights to peaceably gather and express our freedom of speech, and some elements of our side were denying 1st amendment protection to Fox News because they don't agree with their speech---as far as I am concerned that's as bad as what BushCo have been doing for the last 8 years.

The most troubling thing happened, though, when I arrived back to my hotel. We got back early because the altitude and sleeplessness were starting to take a toll on us. We did not march after the rally, so we decided to rest before the next event at 7pm. As I walked toward my room, I noticed that the door was opened with the security bolt blocking the complete closing of the door. I knew immediately that I had not left the door open, and I double checked to make sure it was the right room because, as a frequent traveler, I have been known to forget my room number, but it was the right room.

I was upset at first thinking that housekeeping had made a mistake and left my room open and I was worried that something might be missing. So I walked into my room and bigger than life, there was a man standing by my desk holding the room phone with a screwdriver in his hand!

I immediately said; "What the hell are you doing? Are you putting a bug on my phone?" He looked like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and stammered out: "N--no, we are having problems with the phone." I told him to get out of my room because my phone was fine and I called the front desk and the person at the front desk stammered something out about "problems" with some of the phones.

This room was reserved soon after we got to Denver last night because the room we had was inadequate for 3 people. The room was reserved under my campaign manager's name with a CFC debit card. By the time we left for the march, it could have very well been ascertained that I was the one in this room, and the room we did reserve could be bugged, also. I am confident that that's what was happening when I walked in on the "maintenance" man and I am becoming more shocked every day with what the ruling class are capable of....that's why...

My phones are in the room fridge. Let them listen to refridgerator noise.

CFC is feeling a little shaky on the security front, because there is no way to reasonably expect privacy from a Party and a government that has discarded our 4th amendment rights to be secure in our persons and papers...in other words, our safety and our campaign can be compromised by a government that exists to protect our rights, not abuse them at will.

OUTRAGEOUS!!!


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Daniel Ryan
( danielryan00 [at] gmail.com ) Monday Aug 25th, 2008 12:56 PM
Did you demand to see his credentials? Did you demand his information? Did you demand his name, employee ID#?

If not, why not? Did you speak with his supervisor?
by Kystien
( superwasted [at] hotmail.com ) Monday Aug 25th, 2008 1:42 PM
i have to say, unless there actuly bugging em for short range transmissions then yes they do bug em like that. Unless they just want to record you, they do it digitaly.
by commentator
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 4:34 PM
I don't believe they were bugging your phone. I have some idea how these things work. They do not need to bug anybody phones these days. That so 1970s and 80s. All ease dropping is done at the switches. In 1990s, there was a law that required all telecom companies to have switches that allowed the government to remotely wiretap the phone with warrant. Of course, they don't have to have warrant anymore.
by me
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 5:08 PM
They most certainly don't need to physically access your phone in order to listen to your conversations. That story is a little too TV-ish. I had a friend who was an FBI linguist, and they never needed to touch anyone's phone in order to listen--including cell phones.
by _
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 5:39 PM
who says they were buggin her phone to listen to her telephone conversations.
could be to listen to anything said in the room.

by P. Cabron
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 7:01 PM
Not likely - the scenario is a little behind the times technologically. Perhaps it is plausible as a misdirection, to yield a public display of paranoia, and discredit her.
by Elle
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 7:01 PM
um... expand your thinking a bit. Nobody truly knows what happened except the man with the screwdriver, or perhaps the person at the front desk. But it is highly suspicious. As Cindy Sheehan pointed out, nobody repairs a telephone with a screwdriver these days? You either replace the unit or fiddle with the cord, or adjust the hotel's system from the switchboard.

We've all heard about the ability of the government to tap into the phones of suspected people, both regular or cell phones. However, what if someone outside of the government wanted to do this? I mean... it sounds fairly dubious that it could be a *legal* wiretap involving a warrant. What if someone from a rival campaign or with some other private motive wanted to hear her calls... even a journalist, or just the person at the front desk of the hotel who is bored. They might work out some connections in order to do a 1970s style phone tap.
by Continuity
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 7:17 PM
Don't discuss anything in the room. Wipe any notebooks that were left unattended. Use encryption. Use linux. Don't discuss anything on a cellphone.

If you are the target of surveillance, then it is unlikely that they are using only one bug.
by Brian
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 7:28 PM
I've worked maintenance at several hotels, and yes, screwdrivers are involved when working on a phone in a number of ways. So that, in itself, is not particularly indicative of guilt.

The real problem is that if no one complained about the phone, the maintenance guy shouldn't have been in there. It is rare for a hotel maintenance person to enter an occupied room without being called for. (I know I certainly didn't want to make more work for myself by randomly walking into occupied rooms just to see if something was broken). There are some situations where it is necessary for unrequested maintenance access, typically they involve water or fire emergencies.

I have a hard time imagining a scenario where a maintenance person would (without permission) have to enter an occupied room to work on the phone, unless perhaps the hotel's phone wiring system was particularly ass backwards.

The bottom line is, if a party has access to the employee areas of the hotel, and apparently some sort of cooperation from the front desk staff, it would be much simpler to attach a listening device to the exposed taps in the main phone room and avoid risking detection in the person's room altogether.
by yoda
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 7:30 PM
It may very well have been a bug, but not a government bug. Those you wont find. As previous commenters have stated, there will be other bugs in the room. The room is not secure.

Does Howard Hunt have an alibi?
by annon
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 8:42 PM
I think it is more likely a psychological assault. The fact that this person was in her room and was 'found' makes it appear more like a staged event to try to dissuade her campaigning than a moron caught with his guard down. If the guy was professional he would have left as soon as she entered the hotel, or at least had a confederate outside the room to stall her until he could evacuate. I'd go to a local big-box and pick up a prepaid cell phone and credit card.
by Mentifex
Monday Aug 25th, 2008 8:53 PM
The Democrats under Nancy Pelosi are a Quisling government.
by Melvin
Tuesday Aug 26th, 2008 8:34 AM
I'm a pretty flaming liberal, Cindy, but I think you're being unrealistic, here. Most hotel phone systems are digital these days. If they want to record your conversations, they can do it electronically, through the router. There is no need to put an individual bug in your phone anymore. Cut the support guy some slack. He was probably just fixing your phone.
by Rick
Tuesday Aug 26th, 2008 9:55 AM
My guess is that the guy was installing a bug, or retrieving a bug that had recorded audio from the room. And it probably wasn't the only one he setup in the room. Small digital recorders can be put ANYWHERE in the room and you can not find them without an extensive sweep for passive electronic components.
The recorders would be retrieved later or when the occupant is away.

My guess is the intent is to record the audio in the room. . .recording the phone call is easier done in the phone switch closet, which probably was also being done (unless is was the FBI or someone who can do wiretaps at the local telco ).

Since Cindy has protested George Bush, my guess is that she is on the terror watchlist like others.
Good luck cindy.

watch list
by tim
Wednesday Aug 27th, 2008 8:31 AM
I think it goes back to the very material fact that the those guilty of the most disgusting war crimes known to mankind and womankind have been going on for decades now in Imperialist America, and the peoples rising and attempt to find them guilty and prosecute them is getting to close to the truth. In that I've found they begin to act beligerent as well as ignorant as they take away our privacy and intrude on our freedom of beliefs. Spying and persecuting is not new to America, it has become more sophisticated but retained every bit of its unjust and oppressive behaviour. Hopefully something will change and soon. The peace mom continues to be harrassed and threatened. She needs support and solidarity at this troubled time.