The Collins Murder and Amazon Echo: Custom-Made Legal Case to Introduce Us to Big Business’ Version of Big Brother

by Scott Creighton

You would absolutely have a fit and swear to die with a gun in your hand before you let Big Brother watch and listen to everything in your home. Don’t say you wouldn’t. But when Big Business becomes Big Brother… well… let’s get our checkbooks.” Scott Creighton, Dec. 15th, 2016

The case seems like it was custom-made to introduce the notion of Big Brother to America. Not necessarily the murder… but the case. In order to explain this to you, I have to delve into the murder case itself a bit.

Victor Collins 1968-2015

On Nov. 21st 2015, James Andrew Bates, 31, of Bentonville, Arkansas invited a few friends over to watch a Razorbacks football game with him. The home team was playing Mississippi State in a game they lost 51-50. The game started at 6pm local time and was being played at home at Razorback stadium in Fayetteville. Bentonville is a straight shot north on I49 about 20 miles from the stadium.

house

3502 SW Elm Manor Avenue

On a Saturday in a modest home in a subdivision at 3502 SW Elm Manor Avenue, four friends got together to watch their local team lose a heart-breaker of a game by one point. Bates was there with his guests Victor Parris Collins, 47, Owen McDonald and Sean Henry.

On Sunday, Nov. 22nd at around 9:30am, James Bates called local police to inform them he found Victor Collins floating dead in his hot-tub.

Remarkably, it took Bentonville police until Feb. 22nd of 2016 to arrest James Bates and charge him with murder. At first he was held without bond but then released on bail in April of this year. The case is scheduled for trial sometime in 2017.

Why they waited to file charges or even need a trial in this case is beyond my comprehension. Here are some of the facts.

It is undisputed that after the game the men hung out for a while drinking beer and vodka until late in the evening.

First to leave that night was Sean Henry. After he left the three remaining men decided to hop in the hot-tub that was outside on Bates’ deck in the back yard. It was a very cold late November evening. ( ಠ_ಠ )

This is where the stories of the two surviving members of that hot-tub party diverge from one another.

According to Owen McDonald, he left somewhere around midnight, leaving Bates and Collins still drinking in the hot-tub. His story is backed-up by his wife who claims he returned home at around 12:30am that night as well as by a neighbor who picked him up and gave him a ride home when he saw Owen stumbling down the street, obviously drunk.

McDonald was later examined by police and found to have no signs of a struggle on his body (scratches, bruises, etc.)

Bates claims he went to bed around 1am leaving McDonald and Collins still drinking in the hot-tub. He says when he woke up he found Collins dead and McDonald gone.

But his story is much, much weaker.

Police noticed cuts on Bates’ hand and scratches on his arm. Upon further examination they found “a large bruise, as well as several deep scratches on his abdomen, back and arms

At the scene they found a pair of broken glasses at the bottom of the hot-tub. They belonged to Collins. They also found substantial amounts of blood in the water and on some cushions that surround the tub itself. They report to have found “Collins floating face up in the hot tub and noticed the water was tinted red and appeared to contain bodily fluids and blood, the affidavit states. They also noticed Collins had a black eye, a cut on his eyelid, his lips were swollen and bruised, and he was bleeding from his mouth and nose, according to the affidavit.”

Victor Collins did not simply pass out and drown in James Bates’ hot-tub after a night of drinking. He was beaten and apparently drowned by someone. Someone who had a number of scratches and a bruise on his body the next day.

Bates’ claim that he went to sleep at 1 am was contradicted by his cell phone records which showed some used his phone to send texts and attempt several phone calls after 1 am.

Police then learned the scene had been altered in what appears to have been an attempt to cover up a murder and make it look more like an accident.

“In December, detectives obtained water and electrical usage data from the Bentonville Utilities Department for the hours Bates said he was in bed the morning Collins died, according to the affidavit. The data showed the residence used 50 gallons of water between 1 to 2 a.m. on Nov. 22 and an additional 90 gallons of water between 2 and 3 a.m. In comparison, the residence only used 10 gallons of water when the men were together earlier that evening.

Detectives determined the extra water usage between 1 and 3 a.m. was consistent with the patio being sprayed down” 5 News Online, Feb. 2016

Seems to me this is about as cut and dried as a case can get. Their suspect has been caught in several lies regard the events of that night. He is the only one who had access to the crime scene and the victim, he was drinking excessively and apparently even tried to clean up the scene prior to calling the police. What the motive may have been remains a mystery but more likely than not, it had something to do with a drunken disagreement that went way too far. Whether or not Bates intended to kill Collins is not important. That was the outcome and it is tragic but not all that uncommon. People make mistakes especially when large amounts of intoxicants are involved.

Fast forward a year and now we have the story breaking about the prosecutor who has discovered that James Bates was a subscriber to Amazon’s Echo service and he wants that information to help him build a case against Bates.

I wrote about Echo back on Dec. 15th of this year in an article titled Aaron Swartz Rolls Over in his Grave as We Ignore the Rise of the Privatized Surveillance State (and even pay for it)

Echo is a system by which folks can access the internet and other available services by simply saying a keyword (Alexa) and either asking it a question ( capitol of Florida) or giving it a command (order pizza) from anywhere in their home. It is constantly listening and in my conclusion from the previous article, it is constantly recording everything that takes place inside your home.

Which is why the prosecutor wants the data from Bates’ home from Nov. 21st through Nov. 22nd 2015.

Amazon is reluctant to hand over the information.

“Amazon in a statement said it “will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.” NBC News

The prosecutor is challenging Amazon’s refusal to hand over the data saying ” Amazon has no legal standing in Bates’ case not to turn over pertinent information” and that my friends is the whole point of this case.

This isn’t about prosecuting James Bates or finding justice for Victor Collins.

If a prosecutor can’t go forward and win a conviction on the case I just laid out for you, with all that evidence, circumstantial as it may be, then that prosecutor should be working at Walmart and not for the people of his county.

This isn’t about that.

What Amazon needed was a test case from which they could be compelled to hand over your personal information to law enforcement taken from within your home.

Big Brother, in short.

Why did they need that? Their brand.

If you think for a minute that Amazon and all the other companies I wrote about the other day aren’t already sharing your private information with various government agencies you’re wrong. It’s part of the USA Freedom Act as well as part of CISA. They both set up systems by which the government PAYS these companies to collect and store this information for them.

That’s a fact.

This very public story is about brand perception and it’s also about getting us used to the idea that Amazon and other companies own whatever data they mine from us. It’s not ours. It’s theirs and they can do with it as they please.

That’s the legal issue this case centers around…not privacy… but ownership of the data. ownership of your data.

You can tell this case has been massaged from the start by the brand sensitive way various folks are talking about it, including, none other than the defense attorney herself:

“Kim Weber, Bates’ attorney, said that although he has nothing to hide, she is still worried about the issue of privacy. It’s a familiar concern: How cellphones are used to track people and whether seizing certain information on them is legal has been taken up by various courts.

“It is disconcerting for me as a defense attorney to know that we are purchasing these wonderful items to help us in our home … to help us in our quality of life, and then they can be turned around and … used against us to charge us in crimes,” Weber told NBC News on Tuesday.” NBC News

“Wonderful items”? “Help us in our homes”? Improve our “quality of life”? Really? Who do you think wrote that?

Watch any of the MSM press coverage of this story and you will see similar brand sensitive statements being made constantly about the case. That’s because Amazon is a monster. It’s huge. And folks don’t want to do anything to insult a major US business. Not good for their potential professional upward mobility if you know what I mean.

Years ago I wrote about how we were being tricked into “having the conversation about giving up some of our privacy for security” when they rolled out the “Edward Snowden” psyop on us.

Today the pundits on the MSM aren’t even talking about that kind of trade off anymore. Now it’s all about giving up our most sensitive personal information, the day to day ongoings inside our own homes, for a little bit of convenience. And this idea is being normalized with this case:

The Amazon Echo, by design, holds a wealth of knowledge. The Internet- and Bluetooth-enabled device is constantly listening. When someone gives the trigger word — usually the name Alexa — and then asks a question or makes a command, the virtual assistant does its best to comply.And, in those moments, Alexa is also recording.

Craig Ball, an Austin, Texas, attorney and computer forensic examiner who owns an Amazon Echo, said he’s able to go back to his recording history and listen to what he’s commanded in the past. If a conversation was going on simultaneously or the TV was on, he can hear that as well…”

Still, Ball said, people shouldn’t have a reasonable expectation that their data is off limits when a third-party company holds it.” NBC News

Before the “Snowden” story came along, people had a reasonable expectation to privacy in their homes. It’s guaranteed by the constitution. You know, one of our freedoms the “troops” are out there fighting for everyday?

But now, post “Snowden” (he’s got a movie out right now, isn’t THAT interesting timing?) and the involvement of Big Business, there is no expectation of protection from Big Brother.

Isn’t it funny how that worked out? Almost like something I have been writing for years.

This case is not about finding justice for the family of Victor Collins. As in all stories involving Big Business, the human side of it is meaningless.

Victor was survived by his wife Kristine Collins and his children, Brenden, Parris, Jackson, Kaelan and Avelynn. He was in law enforcement for most of his life.

Amazon needs this legal case to move forward for a number of reasons. The last thing they wanted was a case to come out where they simply handed over recordings of someone’s everyday life in their home to law enforcement without being legally compelled to do so. That would certainly result in loss of sales for their new devices as well as a rash of folks who already own them tossing them out in the street where they belong.

They also needed this case to set a precedent and that is of ownership of the data. It needs to be made very clear that Amazon, the “third party company” contracted by the government to collect and store such information about you, owns the data it collects and they can do whatever they want with it.

That’s terribly important because folks like myself (far too few in my opinion) who wrote about this years ago as it was unfolding were trying to warn us that the privatization of the surveillance state is FAR WORSE than what existed prior to the “Edward Snowden” manufactured hero pysop. And here it is staring us in the face.

The normalization of this for-profit Big Brother state is the real purpose of this event. The prosecutor does not need this info. But the company needs the case and the deep state needs the system to be introduced to the public and eventually accepted as the “new normal” we live under.

It’s not a happenstance that this is coming out right now in the wake of the release of the “Snowden” movie that serves to remind folks of just how scary and menacing the concept of government surveillance is. After all, everyone who mentions this case on TV also has to talk about how “wonderful” and “helpful” the Echo Big Brother systems is and how much it improves our “quality of life” as it listens to and records every sound made within our homes.

I feel for the family and loved ones of Victor Collins. It is ironic that he was a career law enforcement officer and his death is being used by nefarious forces within law enforcement in this way. Ironic and sadly uncommon.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t just about Big Business. It’s about the merger of Big Business and government and it’s about exposing to you just how much bigger government can become when they are so intertwined with business you can’t tell one from the other.. until they are the same entity.

Could you imagine if you took Amazon out of this story and replaced it with the NSA? We would already have armed militias out in the streets and millions upon millions of letters flooding into congress talking about our right to be secure in our homes and persons.

But now… not a peep. Not a word other than praise for Amazon’s “wonderful, helpful improvements to our quality of life”

Fascism does not reduce the size of government folks. It expands it in ways we have only begun to understand.

You would absolutely have a fit and swear to die with a gun in your hand before you let Big Brother watch and listen to everything in your home. Don’t say you wouldn’t. But when Big Business becomes Big Brother… well… let’s get our checkbooks.” Scott Creighton, Dec. 15th, 2016

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9 Responses

  1. Agree with everythig you say, but have a question for you. You seem to lean towards Socialism. Yet you write the following as if it were a BAD thing (it is):

    ” This isn’t just about Big Business. It’s about the merger of Big Business and government and it’s about exposing to you just how much bigger government can become when they are so intertwined with business you can’t tell one from the other.. until they are the same entity.”

    ^^Is that NOT Socialism?

    • of course not. that’s fascism. the merger of the corporation and the state to the detriment of the people is called fascism. In socialist societies, limits are put on Big Business to keep them from damaging the environment, defrauding the consumer and exploiting the workers. It’s an adversarial role, not a complementary one. Things like child labor laws, Glass-Stegall and the regulations on derivatives Brooksley Born tried to impose on Wall Street… those are examples of socialism. So are trade unions, the Veterans Administration, the post office, Social Security.. stuff like that.

  2. Not a socialist myself nor am I Scott but I think you have misunderstanding about socialism one that is common in the U.S. There are certainly bad socialist systems and lots of nations that call themselves “socialist” although they are not. The common use of the word socialist by governments that are not at all socialist is done as cover. Why? Because unlike in the U.S. socialism has positive connotations and governments want to be be able to claim some link to socialist ideas in order to garner support. So too the Communist Party of China is anything but communist and communism, and communes for example, are illegal in the PRC. Properly understood socialism is when the means of production, that’s stuff like factories and also infrastructure like highways or the internet, are in the hands of working people controlled directly by workers committees (as was the case in the early periods of many revolutionary movements) or indirectly through people’s representatives in elected governments. When government exists to support the value of private investment, for example government guaranteed rate of returns as was true in Mussolini’s Italy, that’s the reverse of socialism better understood as fascism. The government is then working not for a collective social purpose but for the benefit of owners/investors. This is confusing on purpose because fascist parties almost always sell themselves as “national socialists” but they are really working on behalf of the elite ownership and investing classes and never had or have any intention of providing any social benefits to society at large.

  3. A couple years ago I looked into these DNA ancestry ‘services’. I was partly looking into just how accurate they are, and while reading the fine print, surprise surprise, I discovered that, much like the data mining disclosures made by many services, by agreeing to a DNA analysis you’re also agreeing to surrender “ownership” of your genetic information and any and all information which can be gleaned from it to the company doing the analysis, for whatever use they see fit, and shared with whomever they wish, for whatever purpose, and at whatever price. Every single company contains this in their agreements. Now TV ads for these services are commonplace, and presumably millions have actually paid about $200 a pop for this privilege, and all it entails.

    • I have suspected as much from those services. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I hear now you can “gift” such services to friends and family members. I wonder if that means taking a sample without their knowledge and sending it in yourself on their behalf.

  4. I guess with the introduction of smart meters they know when and how much water / electricity is being used! That was another glaring tidbit of info from your writing. In the words of the bumbling Komandant Klink ‘Very Interesting!’ I have a neighbor with an Echo and I just don’t like being in their house.

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