AMERICAN POLICE STATE
December 05, 2003
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." A police state exists when federal and state police serve the central government instead of serving the citizens, enforce the policies of the central government instead of responding primarily to criminal misdeeds or spy on and intimidate citizens. All these conditions now exist in the United States. In a free society, police agencies respond to evidence of planned and actual criminal activity. Police officers in a free society keep the peace; they do not investigate citizens and activities unless there is some reason to investigate. In a free society, police do not investigate citizens' attitudes toward the central government, only their action. Citizen dissent is lawful in a free society and police agencies do not investigate citizens' attitudes toward the criminal justice apparatus. Those conditions no longer exist in the United States.
Under the former Guidelines, the FBI first had to obtain evidence suggesting some kind of criminal activity before its agents could begin investigating. Under the FBI's Guidelines, FBI agents are authorized to carry out "general topical research" and retain files on this research. Specifically, agents may conduct "online searches" and visit "online sites and forums as part of such research." The new Guidelines warn against searching "for information by individuals' names or other individual identifiers," but it's okay to search by names to locate "names of authors who write on the topic" that the agent is researching. Of course every citizen of the United States is a possible "author" of e-mail messages on a variety of subjects, so all U.S. citizens are potential "terrorism suspects" under these new guidelines.
The new Guidelines now encourage the FBI to snoop around looking for people who might be suspicious, creating files on anyone who catches their fancy. Agents can now investigate people, organizations, websites, chat rooms and forums for any reason or for no reason at all. They can enter your home without a warrant and are not required to inform you that they have invaded your home if you are not present. All the records they create in their investigations will be placed in national databases available to all agencies now under the new "Homeland Security" umbrella. Never in U.S. history has there been such a monolithic surveillance mechanism with the terrible power to destroy American citizens' lives.
The origional and the new 2002 Guidelines expressly state that the FBI must not launch investigations "based solely on [citizens'] activities protected by the First Amendment or on the lawful exercise of any other [federal or Constitutional] rights." Do you see your local FBI agent as having a clear enough understanding of constitutional rights to keep him from investigating people whom he identifies as having "terrorist proclivities?"
Scores of U.S. cities are now using surveillance television camera systems to spy on citizens--shades of 1984. With video cameras perched atop buildings and poles, watching whatever Americans are doing, do you suppose there might be some potential for abuse in such systems? Christian Parenti's, article, "DC's Virtual Panopticon," in the June 3, 2002 issue of The Nation describes how "police in Detroit and DC have used CCTV [closed-circuit television] to stalk personal foes, political opponents and young women." Smile, you're on Kandid Kamera.
To justify its expanding obliteration of constitutional liberties, the talking heads use the most insane brand of logic--which should outrage American citizens. Why did the intelligence agencies fail to detect or prevent 9/11? Because they didn't have enough money. So we'll give them billions more. Why is the F.B.I. still failing in its fight against terrorism? Because the rights of American citizens are preventing the agency from carrying out its job. So we'll set up new Guidelines and take away more constitutional rights of citizens.
The F.B.I. had carried out covert operations throughout its history, but now the target of the operations are political organizations. Since the F.B.I. is spying on American political dissidents, not foreign agents, "counterintelligence" is merely a cover name for the FBI activities. F.B.I., military, and police forces have a notorious record of illegally quashing citizen dissent. Current U.S. military preparations for suppressing domestic civil disturbance, including the training of National Guard troops and police, are actually part of an effort to thwart the aims of patriot movements, embodying the concept that within the civilian body politic lurks an enemy that one day the military might have to fight, or at least be ordered to fight."
The American government has a habit of lying to its citizens when it wants to contrive a new war.
In 1898, the sinking of the battleship Maine was the excuse for the Spanish-American War.
In 1915, the sinking of the ocean liner Lusitania was the excuse for World War I.
In 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor was the excuse for World War II.
In 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin affair was the excuse for the Vietnam War.
In 2001, the 9/11 attacks were the excuse for the "war on terrorism".
We know that the beginning stages of a police state exist in the United States when a national catastrophe is used as the pretext to begin a war and institute extraordinary restrictions on constitutional liberties, citizen dissent is held to be treasonous, and the constitutional separation of powers is abrogated by an executive branch which controls or intimidates the other two branches of government. The US Patriot Act was enacted by a Congress that had not actually read it. The only thing representatives and senators got was a two- or three-page compendium from the White House press office. Nobody was actually given the time to read the provisions of the act. The White House intimidated members of Congress into passing the bill by telling them that if they refused to sign it, they'd be labeled as "unpatriotic"--something almost all members of Congress were frightened of at the time.
The signs are unmistakable; our government is waging a "war against dissent," rapidly moving the United States to a total police state. What happens when Bush or the FBI brands you as a "terrorist" because you appear to be a dissenter, denying you your constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen? Attorney General Ashcroft has explicitly stated that terrorists do not deserve constitutional protections. All they deserve are "courts" of conviction, not justice. Unfortunately, in this creeping police state, who does and doesn't receive justice is determined by a power-mad buracracy.
They want us to believe that we are in an actual state of war--and therefore must operate under restricted wartime civil liberties. You can't take a government seriously when it says we're in a state of war and yet refuses to reduce the record-breaking number of immigrants it's allowing into the country each day. All the new laws passed concern domestic surveillance of the American population, not restrictions on immigration or tightening the screening process to examine new arrivals in America. A man like Bush is laughable when he bulldozes constitutional liberties yet refuses to lift one finger to stop illegal immigration in the "war on terrorism."
The parallels between Nazi Germany and the actions of our own government are striking. The creeping police state is being ushered in through exactly the same means that Hitler used to overpower the German people. Along with the attacks of his brutal Gestapo thugs, Hitler achieved ultimate success when he got the people to spy and inform on one another. The American Civil Liberties Union quite correctly sees all this as part of an "ongoing pattern of erosion of basic civil liberties in America in the name of unproven security measures."
By asking neighborhood groups to report on people who are 'unfamiliar' or who act in ways that are 'suspicious' or 'not normal,' our government is actively recruiting people into their friendly Neighborhood Watch Gestapo program. Operation TIPS, which despite what you've heard, is alive and well, is a planned nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report "suspicious terrorist activity".
"It's the height of paranoid insanity to claim we're moving toward a police state," the blissfully ignorant proclaim. "If there's a police state," they sneer, "where's the goose-stepping Gestapo in our streets?" I am reminded of a couple of stories I recently came across. A 57-year-old New York woman died of an apparent heart attack after police detonated a flash grenade and handcuffed her during a raid on the wrong apartment. Alberta Spruill, a longtime city employee, was pronounced dead about an hour after a dozen heavily-armed officers broke into her home at dawn. An informant said that Spruill's sixth-floor New York apartment was being used by an armed drug dealer to stash cocaine and heroin, police officials said.
After obtaining a search warrant, officers forced open the woman's door and tossed in a flash grenade, which creates a distraction by producing a loud noise and a blinding flash of light. The officers grabbed Spruill, who was dressed for work, handcuffed her and put her in a chair. Then police realized the inside of the apartment did not match the informant's description. She told them she had a heart condition and began to have difficulty breathing. An ambulance was summoned and Spruill went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital. Spruill worked in a personnel office of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and had been on the city payroll 29 years. Residents of Spruill's high-rise apartment building described the victim as a hardworking, churchgoing woman who minded her own business.
Then there's the one about an older, disabled lady in California who was left stranded after police impounded her car. The police left this old cripple lady in of all things, a wheelchair, stranded under a freeway overpass, in the cold winter weather. According to eyewitnessess, police appeared to be laughing about it, while this poor old lady sat there helpless and terrified. Unacceptable outrages, but where are the people to stand up against this? It's all met with public apathy.
Politicians unaffected by the havoc they have created continue to destroy the peoples' lives. In my opinion, these outrages are the personification of an uncivilized government's evil, right up there with the gestapo. This is what what the people are subject to, because of back-room politics, and selective justice. If you confront them with these things, you'd better put on your hip boots cause their lies are hiding deep, blatant injustice. You can see it if you look beyond the old manifestations of tyranny to the new forms. And staring you in the face are the civilian concentration camps that have already been set up. We are only in the first stages of this new hellish police state, but we must act now to stop it in its tracks before it's too late.
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