Topic: Police State America (Read 872 times)
"We think in generalities, we live in details"
Police State America
« on: 2008-03-15 01:57:53 »
[Blunderov] My late stepfather always used to maintain that the best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. Perhaps this form of government has been achieved for a Planck time length scale in a political science laboratory somewhere but it doesn't appear to exist in nature. Nowhere less so than in America.
The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.(March 2008)
The term police state is a term for a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population, especially by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional republic. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.
1 Classification of a police state as such
1.1 Enlightened absolutism
2 Idiomatic expansion of the term
3 Fictional police states
4 See also
5 External links
 Classification of a police state as such
The classification of a country or regime as a police state is usually contested and debated. Because of the pejorative connotation of the term, it is rare that a country will self-identify as a police state. The classification is often established by an internal whistleblower or an external critic or activist group. The use of the term is motivated as a response to the laws, policies and actions of that regime, and is often used pejoratively to describe the regime's concept of the social contract, human rights, and similar matters.
The South African apartheid system is generally considered to have been a police state despite having been nominally a democracy (albeit with the native, Black African majority population excluded from the democracy). Nazi Germany, a dictatorship, was, at least initially, brought into being through a nominal democracy. Many social critics believe that the United States is becoming a police state with the passage of laws such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the Military Commissions Act.
Police states are authoritarian, and are often dictatorships.
The United Kingdom is drifting consistently in the direction of becoming a police state. Erosion of civil liberties and the movement of decision making away from parliament to the executive is a disturbing trend. Laws have been passed to allow for the total surveillance of civil society. Under the guise of anti terror legislation, the right to protest has been eroded and free speech has been curtailed.
Under the political model of enlightened absolutism, the ruler is the "highest servant of the state" and exercises absolute power to provide for the general welfare of the population. This model of government proposes that all the power of the state must be directed toward this end, and rejects codified, statutory constraints upon the ruler's absolute power. Thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes supported this type of absolutist government.
As the enlightened, absolute ruler is said to be charged with the public good, and implicitly infallible by right of appointment, even critical, loyal opposition to the ruler's party is a crime against the state. The concept of loyal opposition is incompatible with these politics. As public dissent is forbidden, it inevitably becomes secret, which, in turn, is countered with political repression via a secret police.
Liberal democracy, which emphasizes the rule of law, focuses on the police state's not being subject to law. Robert von Mohl, who first introduced the rule of law to German jurisprudence, contrasted the Rechtsstaat ("legal" or "constitutional" state) with the aristocratic Polizeistaat ("police state").
Idiomatic expansion of the term
In times of national emergency or war, the balance which may usually exist between freedom and national security often tips in favour of security. This shift may lead to allegations that the nation in question has become, or is becoming, a police state.
Because there are different political perspectives as to what an appropriate balance is between individual freedom and national security, there are no definitive objective standards to determine whether the term "police state" applies to a particular nation at any given point in time. Thus, it is difficult to evaluate objectively the truth of allegations that a nation is, or is becoming, a police state. One way to view the concept of the police state and the free state is through the medium of a seesaw, where any law focused on removing liberty is seen as moving toward a police state, and any law which limits government oversight is seen as moving toward a Free state.
War is often portrayed in prose as being a perfect precursor for establishing a police state, as citizens are more dependent on their government and the police for safety than usual (see below).
 Fictional police states
George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four describes Britain under a socialist totalitarian régime that continuously invokes (and helps to create) a perpetual war. This perpetual war is used as a pretext for subjecting the people to mass surveillance and invasive police searches. The state destroys not only the literal freedom after action and thought meant by expressions like "freedom of thought", but also literal freedom of thought.
Yevgeny Zamyatin's novel We depicts a dystopia in which the walls are made out of glass, the only means of getting information is the state newspaper, and imaginations are forcibly removed from people.
Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 portrays the United States in the future as a police state which enforces extreme censorship and suppresses critical thought.
Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here satirically details the rise of fascism in the 1930s United States.
Robert Harris' 1992 novel Fatherland portrays a police state in its depiction of the society that the Third Reich would have established had they won World War II.
The film The Running Man is set in a dystopian USA which is described as being a police state in the opening credits.
The graphic novel V for Vendetta and the film based on it take place in the United Kingdom, in the near future where Britain has become a fascist police state.
Director Terry Gilliam co-wrote and directed the 1985 film Brazil, which depicts a fictional police state and one man's quest to escape it.
The 2002 film "Equilibrium" depicted a post-WWIII society known as "Libria" where human emotion is suppressed by destroying art, music, and literature, and executing anyone who does not take a government-required sedative known as "Prozium."
Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men shows a not-too-distant futuristic England where movement is restricted.
Martin McDonagh's play The Pillowman takes place in a police state.
In the popular Japanese novel, Battle Royale, the main characters live in a timeline where Japan is a police state.
In the movie Escape from New York starring Kurt Russell the story takes place an in time where the United States is a police state.
Harry Turtledove's In the Presence of Mine Enemies follows the lives of a handful of hidden Jews living in the police state Greater German Reich in the year 2010, in a alternative timeline where the Nazi Germany won World War Two.
David Weber's Honor Harrington series portrays a vaguely leftist police state, the People's Republic of Haven, as the series' primary antagonists for most of the series.
List of forms of government
Martial Law, the suspension of normal civil law during periods of emergency
Night watchman state
Amnesty international, 2005; — annual report on human rights violations.
Council for Secular Humanism article describing attributes of police states
David Mery, September 22, 2005; The Guardian — example of "police state" defined in a modern context.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_state"
Friday, March 14, 2008
In a police state, cops are above criticism
March 14, 2008
So even as police departments across the country are setting up sex offender registries, drug offender registries, and posting the mugs and names of suspected johns online, they also took a great deal umbrage early this month when Gino Sesto set up a site called RateMyCop.com. The premise is simple: Sesto wrote to police departments across the country, and obtained a list of the names and badge numbers of their officers. He then posted the names online in a format broken down by state and city, and encouraged users to rate their experiences with individual officers. All of the information he posted was already open to the public. He didn't post the identities of any undercover officers.
Police groups went nuts, making the dubious argument that posting the publicly-available names and badge numbers of police officers on the Internet somehow jeopardized the safety of individual officers. Sesto said he had even planned on adding a feature that would allow individual officers to write responses to complaints made against them. But police groups persisted.
Jerry Dyer, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, told Wired the site could give citizens the opportunity to "unfairly malign" individual officers, and said he'd be asking the legislature to pass a law making sites like RateMyCop.com illegal.
Last week, it all got weirder. Hosting service GoDaddy mysteriously terminated Sesto's account, and pulled RateMyCop.com offline. GoDaddy has offered several explanations to Wired's ThreatLevel blog, but thus far, none of them have made much sense. Sesto gave up on GoDaddy, and next tried to get the site hosted at RackSpace. They turned him down. After initial accepting his down payment for hosting services, a RackSpace lawyer sent a letter to Sesto stating that, "We believe that the website to be found at www.ratemycop.com as described to our sales representative could create a risk to the health and safety of law enforcement officers."
The good news is, the site's back up, now, though it isn't clear who's hosting it.
Me, I think police departments should be required to post all citizen complaints against individual officers online in a searchable database. Individual officers, their union reps, or their departments could post responses or explanations to frivolous claims. Police officers are public servants. Not only that, they're public servants with the power to arrest, detain, and use lethal force. If certain officers are the subject of repeated complaints and aren't being properly investigated internally, the public ought to be informed of that. This culture of secrecy—and of intimidating anyone who dares question it—isn't healthy.
Posted by CRIMES AND CORRUPTION OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER NEWS mparent7777 Marc Parent CCNWON at 3:09 PM
Labels: Censorship, internet, police, police state
March 14, 2008
Cops Stripped Naked 4, Using Force, Chemical Spray, Scissors: Arrested for misdemeanor, nonviolent infractions
Friday, March 14, 2008
Four held nude in jail seek damages
Lawsuits of three men, woman are last of those brought by ex-prisoners against the Saginaw County Jail.
Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- Justin Anderson was 21 when he hit a stop sign in 1999 outside Saginaw and was arrested for drunken driving. When he objected inside the Saginaw County Jail to police questions about a missing girl, jailers threw him naked into a solitary confinement cell called "the hole."
He wasn't the only one nude in the jail. For years, Saginaw County deputies had a policy of stripping prisoners they deemed uncooperative.
Officials said they ended the practice in 2001. Four years later, U.S. District Judge David M. Lawrence made it official, deeming the policy unconstitutional in a ruling that had an impact on jails statewide.
Today, Lawson is expected to preside over the start of a jury trial to determine whether Anderson, two other men and a woman arrested for misdemeanor, nonviolent infractions deserve money for psychological harm they suffered for similar treatment."I considered it a form of rape," said Anderson while waiting for a jury to be selected Thursday.
"They accused me of killing a girl and burying her in a cornfield. I had no idea what they were talking about, so I started yelling that I was here for drunken driving, not murder."
Neither side disputes the jail policy of stripping uncooperative prisoners -- and if they refused, using force, chemical sprays and scissors to remove clothes. The question for jurors is whether the treatment scarred the prisoners so emotionally they deserve monetary damages.
The plaintiffs claim they were humiliated by being exposed to jailers and prisoners of the opposite gender.
Prisoners who refused were subjected to takedowns that included body blows, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which joined the suit. Nude prisoners were then watched by guards of the opposite sex.
Anderson, now 29 and an auto mechanic living in Bridgeport Township, said he cooperated when ordered to strip and then spent hours shivering in the corner of a pitch black cell.
"It was probably 50 degrees. I could smell urine and feces. I couldn't see a thing," Anderson said. "It was disgusting. I felt my way to a corner and sat there for six or seven hours."
Anderson said he never heard about the missing girl again. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while impaired, paid fines and had his license suspended for three months.
"What they did to me was way worse punishment than what I got sentenced to for the drunk driving," Anderson said.
"I still feel sickened by fact that some people think that if they have a badge they can do anything they want to you."
Of the 74 lawsuits filed against Saginaw County by former prisoners confined while naked, about a third settled out of court. Most were dismissed when plaintiffs lost interest, according to the county's lawyer, James Tamm of Bloomfield Hills.
The complaints by Anderson, Matthew Starkweather, Joshua Fuller and Sue Ann Letterman are the only ones left to be heard by the panel of eight jurors selected in a long process on Thursday. It took 3 1/2 hours and the dismissal of 12 people, many of whom had difficulty with the idea of compensating prisoners for rights violations they might have suffered at the hands of jailers.
"This was outrageous policy, and these people were made to suffer," said Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan.
Tamm told jurors Thursday that just because someone's rights were violated doesn't mean they deserve money.
You can reach Doug Guthrie at (734) 462-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by CRIMES AND CORRUPTION OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER NEWS mparent7777 Marc Parent CCNWON at 3:38 PM
After alleged beating, CBS asks if police are now 'targeting women'David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday February 21, 2008
CBS legal analyst: 'Preposterous' that fall caused woman's horrific injuries
An incident involving a Louisiana woman who was allegedly beaten by a police officer after her arrest on suspicion of drunk driving has led CBS News to take a look at the broader question of whether police officers are specifically targeting women.
The alleged victim, Angela Garbarino, has claimed that Officer Wiley Willis beat her after turning off a police video camera. The Caddo Parish district attorney and the U.S. Justice Department are both planning to investigate the case.
Willis asserts that Garbarino slipped and fell when he tried to prevent her leaving the room. The Shreveport Police Union has come to Willis's defense, saying that they believe his version of the story and charging that his dismissal following the incident did not follow protocol and violated his rights.
Legal analyst Lisa Bloom told CBS "it's absolutely preposterous" that Garbarino's horrific injuries -- which included two black eyes, a broken nose, a fractured cheekbone, and two lost teeth -- could have been sustained in a fall.
"When the incident started to escalate, he should have called in another police officer," Bloom said of Willis. "He could have cuffed her to the chair. He could have used less restrictive means to control the woman if, indeed, she was getting physically abusive. He's a younger, much stronger male."
CBS News has found that Willis had two lawsuits filed against him in 2006, one by a woman who claims Willis held a gun to her son's head and threatened to shoot him and another by a woman who says she was arrested because she filed a complaint against Willis.
Bloom further sees the incident as part of a larger pattern. "Wives of police officers have long claimed there's a problem with police officers abusing women," she stated.
The Louisiana case is the latest in a series of videotaped incidents of possible police brutality against women, the most recent of which was that of an Ohio woman forcibly strip-searched by police officers of both sexes. In November 2006, another Ohio woman was tasered while handcuffed.
"This has been a long ongoing problem," Bloom concluded. "What we have now is the introduction of the videotape, and women don't have to just make a claim. They have some proof."
The full CBS story can be read here.
[Blunderov] Apparently the American definition of a moral act is that if it is non lethal (mostly) then it is ok - like water boarding. Police brutality with tasers appears to have become an epidemic in the USA. And Canada too. What the fuck is up with that?
Monday, March 10, 2008
Police say they use Tasers on non-violent people
Internal documents show the weapon has been employed simply to get some suspects do what they are told
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Vancouver police regularly use Tasers to subdue people who are unarmed and non-violent, according to internal reports released by the force.
On Friday, in response to a Freedom of Information request, VPD published on its website details of the about 150 times officers drew their Tasers from 2002 to early 2007.
The more than 70 pages of reports include cases where the electric shock weapon was drawn from its holster but not fired.
The reports cover cases in which the Taser was fired at a suspect from a distance and cases where it was used in "drive stun" mode -- where a shock is administered by holding the device directly against a suspect.
The reports indicate that, in most cases in which Vancouver officers fired the Taser from a distance, the person was acting violently -- from fighting with officers to threatening themselves or others with a weapon.
"[Officers] observed the male stabbing himself in the stomach with a pen," reads one report from 2006. "When [officers] challenged the suspect, he ran at them and the [Taser] was fired. The suspect immediately fell to the ground and was handcuffed."
However, in a number of cases, police used the Taser as soon as someone displayed a "fighting stance" or simply to get a non-violent suspect to do what they were told.
"Suspect fled from plainclothes members and resisted arrest when caught. Suspect was taken to the ground but refused to allow [officers] to handcuff him and held his arms underneath his body," reads one report from 2006. "Strikes and open hand techniques were attempted but the suspect was still resisting. A [Taser] drive stun was applied to the suspect's lower back and the suspect was then handcuffed."
Jason Gratl, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said he was troubled to see Vancouver police are using the Taser as a compliance tool.
"The officers seem content to Taser individuals for lack of compliance with verbal commands or aggressive posturing," said Gratl. "It is dead certain from these reports that Tasers are not merely an alternative to the use of sidearms but are used in practice as a convenient tool to gain physical control over individuals."
There is debate over whether the Taser should be used to get non-violent suspects to comply with police orders.
In December, Paul Kennedy, head of the RCMP's Commission for Public Complaints, published a report saying Tasers were used too often and recommended police use them only against suspects who are being "combative" or "posing a risk of death or grievous bodily harm" to themselves or others.
VPD Const. Jana McGuiness said the force believes the Taser is sometimes the safest option for controlling someone who is resisting arrest. "The problem is when you have a subject resisting to that degree, your chances of injuring yourself or that person escalates," she said. "The Taser allows [police] to gain control with the minimum amount of injury to themselves or the suspect."
According to the VPD, suicide attempts were an issue in about one in five Taser deployments and drugs or alcohol were a factor in one in three.
© The Vancouver Sun 2008
[Blunderov] Tasers are NOT non lethal.
Canadian Taser death caught on camera
Taser shocks ruled cause of death
Company disputes first such finding
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
A Chicago medical examiner has ruled that shocks from a Taser were responsible for the death of a man in February, marking the first time that the electronic stun gun has been named as the primary cause of death.
Death by Taser: The Killer Alternative to Guns
By Silja J.A. Talvi, In These Times. Posted November 18, 2006.
Long touted as a safer alternative to handguns for law enforcement, tasers are potentially deadly weapons that have a growing history of abuse by police and security guards.
Prime example of a practically perfect person
Re:Police State America
« Reply #1 on: 2008-03-15 13:05:25 »
Blunderov posted a picture with a caption observing that a police state didn't have to be obvious.
Source: Received via mail associated with material by Radley Balko of http://www.theagitator.com/
Judging from the fact that the vast majority of "We the Sheeple" seem totally oblivious to the brutally obvious police state surrounding them, to the degree that many of the inhabitants attempt to deny its existence, I really don't think that the organizers of police states need bother to disguise it. The vast majority of the sheeple will continue to believe that they live in the best of all possible worlds, even as a stun gun is placed against their temple.
Meanwhile I really recommend Radley Balko's site, http://www.theagitator.com/.
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
"We think in generalities, we live in details"
Re:Police State America
« Reply #2 on: 2008-03-21 01:58:58 »
[Blunderov] Something that becomes very clear from the appended piece is that the US Armed Forces are actually a privately owned (if publicly funded) armed wing of the corporations which have taken over Washington.
What is not so clear to me is how people can justifiably be arrested for "trespass" when they have simply occupied property for which they have paid with their own tax money and, furthermore, which is expressly and exclusively maintained for the sole purpose of spending yet more of those aforementioned taxes.
"They were turned away because they were disrupting business," said Tim Humphreys, public relations for the Atlanta Recruiting Battalion."
Oh what a giveaway! But do these grannies rock or what? Go girls!
Anti-War Grannies Arrested Trying to Enlist
by Matthew Cardinale
Global Research, March 20, 2008
Inter Press Service - 2008-03-17
As part of actions across the United States to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, 10 "Grandmothers for Peace", ranging in age from 57 to 80, were arrested Monday while trying to enlist in the United States Army. Acts of civil disobedience are planned this week in at least 17 other U.S. cities.
As exclusively observed by IPS, the Grandmothers for Peace entered the Army Recruiting Station at the Midtown Place Shopping Centre in Atlanta, Georgia at around 9:30 am. The women broke up into three groups, each approaching a different recruiter's desk to engage them in questions.
"When do you get the bonuses? Do you get them right away?" a Grandmother asked.
"You guys are on a fishing expedition to catch people in lies," declared one recruiter, who said her name was "Ms. Reed".
"What we're doing is, we're very much against the Iraq war. We'd like for you to let us enlist," said Bobbie Paul, 58, executive director of Atlanta Women's Action for New Directions.
"We have to make sure people are physically pre-screened," said a recruiter named Kevin Wells.
"Could we enlist today? So the youth don't have to go? Can you give us a list of jobs?" Paul persisted.
"There are regulations we have to follow, set by the government, as far as entry and recruiting," Wells responded.
"Would you take me? I'm 80," said Doris Benit of Kennesaw, Georgia.
"Me personally? Absolutely! But as far as the Army, there is a process," Wells answered.
"What's the first step?" Benit asked.
"The first step is to have a seat," Wells said. Then, the 10 grandmothers all took seats around his desk.
Meanwhile, dozens of activists were beating drums and chanting outside under a banner that read, "Take Us, Not Our Grandchildren!"
"We need an application," said Gloria Tatum, 65, of the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, Atlanta.
"I believe in action. You're doing what you can. I'm doing what I can. We're in the same direction. This country is the greatest in the world. There's many ways to do things. I'm very passionate about this country and worry where it's going. It needs you. It needs me. It needs that young man over there [IPS reporter]. It needs that kind of passion," Wells said.
Then, "I want everybody outside!" Reed shouted, after calling for backup and talking with her supervisor.
Finally, the Atlanta Police Department showed up. "People have 10 seconds to get off the property because it's private property or else you'll be arrested immediately," one police officer said through a loudspeaker.
"We're grandmothers -- it takes us 10 seconds just to get our bones coordinated," commented Rev. Sylvia Carroll of the First Iconium Baptist Church, who was one of the 16 "support grandmothers" who did not get arrested.
"I feel great. I think we made a statement this war needs to end now. [President George W. Bush and Congress] have broken international law... [and] trashed the Constitution," Tatum told IPS before getting arrested.
"The police officer told me, you should take care of yourself. I've lived a full life. I want these young men to be able to do the same. We have nothing against these young people. We don't want them to die," Benit said.
"I think it was a great success, in the sense we were able to stay in there as long as we were and having an exchange. We kept 'em occupied, to draw attention to ourselves. We refused to leave until they told us we were arrested," added Dot Shaw, 73, of Snellville, Georgia.
"Anyone in charge?" the police asked as the women stood downstairs chanting, waiting for a police van to take them away.
"We're not a battalion," Paul responded.
"We insist! We enlist! Grandmothers for Peace!" they chanted. "We protest! We're under arrest!"
"We're cold out here, so take us in," Benit told Officer "C. Mac." "What's jail like? Is it warm?"
"Okay, hello everyone... I'm against this war as much as you. However, we still have to conduct business as usual. We have to restore a level of normalcy. We have received complaints," Officer Mac told the Grandmothers.
Betsey Miklethun, 74, of Norcross, Georgia, read a letter she had written to her grandchildren before getting arrested.
"This week marks the fifth anniversary... I'm gonna cry because I love them so much... of the war and occupation of Iraq. Much could be said about this, from me to you. Today I plan to participate in a nonviolent act of civil disobedience. I've never done this before," Miklethun said. "Somebody's got to stand up and say, I care."
IPS asked an Army spokesperson why the Grandmothers for Peace were not allowed to enlist.
"They were turned away because they were disrupting business," said Tim Humphreys, public relations for the Atlanta Recruiting Battalion.
"Anyone who is serious about enlisting in the Army can go to Army.com to fill out the paperwork and can schedule an appointment. These ladies apparently were not interested in that," Humphreys said, adding the age limit is 42.
Susan Keith, a board member of Atlanta Progressive News, did bring an application with her to the Recruiting Centre.
"You're trying to ask a loaded question," Humphreys said. Humphreys did not return a phone call from IPS seeking additional comment.
The Atlanta Police Department confirmed the arrest of the 10 Grandmothers for Peace.
The women were charged with criminal trespassing, and taken to Fulton County Jail. They are expected to post bond by this evening. The crime, a misdemeanor, could carry a maximum of one year in jail, although a judge could use his or her discretion, Officer Eric Schwartz said.
"They didn't say anything about them being disruptive," Schwartz said. "The owner of the property has the right to tell them they do not want them there. We don't determine whether the reason the owner is asking them to leave is valid or not."
Others arrested were Ella Ruth Hunnicutt, 79, Roswell, Georgia; Minnie Ruffin, 66, Atlanta; Ann Mauney, 65, Atlanta; and Judy "Artemis" Conder, 60.
Grandmothers for Peace International was founded in 1981 when Barbara Wiender, the first Grandmother for Peace, was arrested protesting the presence of nuclear weapons near her home in Sacramento, California. Today, the group conducts a variety of protests and other actions, including civil disobedience, around issues of nuclear disarmament, peace, and justice. It has offices in the U.S., Germany, Romania, South Africa, and Britain.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for Atlanta Progressive News.
He may be reached at email@example.com.