The French-backed Junta which seized power in the former British colony of Virginia has started clamping down on people protesting against its police force.
In a desperate bid to stop protests against the police on San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit, authorities switched off internet access and mobile phone communications.
The move copies a similar successful policy against internet communications in Syria and Egypt which hampered pro-democracy protests in those countries.
Officials ordered the removal of electricity to underground service towers at four San Francisco stations in anticipation of a planned protest which did not materialise.
Legal experts say that although it would appear that turning off the internet and mobile phones would be an unlawful suppression of First Amendment speech the move would probably survive a court challenge, and will likely be copied by other government agencies.
According to Wired, the terrorists who seized power against their lawful government had made sure that the great unwashed were allowed to speak, they were just not allowed to use technology that they did not control.
What the authorities wanted to avoid was a repeat of an earlier protest which resulted in a major disruption of rush-hour services, as some protesters even climbed atop cars at the Civic Center station.
The authorities said that the interuption of mobile phone traffics was just one of the tactics it could use to break up protests and it will not tell anyone if it will do it again.
So far no human rights groups in the US have worked out what to do about it. No one has talked of suing because it appears that the authorities are within their rights to do what they like.
Strangely a country which lectures others about overthrowing tyranny seems a little too quick to turn on the off switch on its communications networks to silence dissent. Maybe that suitcase network that the US is supposed to be shipping to help Iranians secretly communicate with each other would be better left at home.