Saturday, August 19, 2006

Support Your Local Police (State)?!?

Roughly a dozen years ago, my colleagues and I at The New American magazine (please subscribe) published a seminal special issue entitled "Toward A Police State."

At the time of its publication, less than a year had passed since the Waco holocaust, and the Clinton administration was moving quickly to centralize and militarize law enforcement and to place new restrictions on personal firearms ownership. The concerns expressed in our special issue resonated with those of millions of reasonable and law-abiding Americans.

Almost exactly a year later, the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was bombed by a deranged former federal employee named Timothy McVeigh (and "others unknown" who remain at large), resulting in another escalation in the campaign to consolidate and militarize law enforcement.

Little need be said about the quantum leap in the direction of the garrison state that occurred after September 11, the Day Everything Changed. Under the reign of Bush the Dumber, the president claims the right to set aside all constitutional and due process guarantees by invoking his supposed powers as a "war president."

This purportedly includes the power to imprison people without trial, to order torture or assassinations, to conduct open-ended surveillance without warrants or judicial review, and -- if legislation pending before Congress passes -- to mobilize the National Guard of the various states without consulation with, or a request from, governors or state legislatures.

The placid indifference with which the flying public has accepted new travel restrictions will abet additional invasions of privacy and impositions on personal dignity. In the likely event of another terrorist attack, it's likely that we will see the country go into lock-down, as at least a few Homeland Security officials have indicated.

But even before a precipitating event of that sort, it's worthwhile to ask -- in a phrase that comes easily to the lips of my offspring anytime we take a trip longer than ten minutes' duration -- "Are we there yet?" Are will still headed "Toward A Police State," or have we arrived?

Much to my discomfiture, some of my esteemed colleagues seem to believe that our progress in the direction of the Garrison State is a bit like Zeno's paradox of Achilles and the tortoise: Somehow, as my associates appear to see it, we're constantly moving toward that destination, yet we keep sub-dividing our course into an infinite number of segments, meaning that we're always almost there, yet never arriving.

From this perspective, we still enjoy the luxury of multiple "layers of strength" that have not yet been entirely destroyed, and our rights are still protected by the resiliency of our republican institutions, whatever tragic state of disrepair they may be in.

As Papa Hemingway might put it, "Isn't it pretty to think so?"

Adult citizens who are devoted to freedom and capable of taking principled action to protect (or, in our case, restore) it deserve nothing less than the unalloyed truth.

Here it is.

1) We no longer have local police agencies in our country.

Our "local" police are affiliates of a nationalized, militarized "Homeland Security" Leviathan.

How do we know this?

The Feds have admitted as much in the case of Josh Wolf, a 24-year-old video blogger imprisoned on August 1 for refusing to turn over a portion of footage he shot during last year's tumultuous street protests during the G-8 summit in San Francisco. The Feds claim that Wolf, who may spend nearly a year in prison, possesses footage of a police car being set on fire. Wolf insists that he doesn't have the footage the Feds are seeking, and that under California's very liberal journalist shield law, he's not required to turn over his confidential, unpublished material. A Federal District Court Judge ignored Wolf's argument and incarcerated him in a detention center in Dublin, California for contempt.

The alleged assault on a San Francisco police car is a municipal matter, and the California shield law is obviously a question of state law. Why is this being dealt with in a federal court?

As Time magazine points out:

"The Feds say they have jurisdiction over the case because the police car is partly U.S. government property since the SFPD receives federal anti-terrorism money."

The Feds aren't claiming that the regime paid for the specific cars that were reportedly destroyed, only that the police department receives some quantity of Homeland Security funding.

What this means, in principle, is that any police agency in any community that receives a dime of federal Homeland Security money is effectively an appendage of the Heimatsicherheitsdienst; they are effectively "sleeper cells" of the garrison state that can be activated and turned against the public whenever the regime sees fit to do so.

The familiar admonition to "Support Your Local Police" has always included the indispensable corollary, "keep them independent" -- meaning free from central government control and subsidy, which are exactly the same thing. Unless they are funded by and accountable to the communities in which they exist, police agencies are little better than armed gangs or armies of occupation.

The approach taken by the Feds in the case of Josh Wolf illustrates that we've crossed the crucial threshold. The regime sees local police forces as franchises of the emerging garrison state. We should do likewise, at least unless and until the situation changes dramatically (which would require no less than the abolition of the Department of Homeland Security).

2)The regime is now prepared to authorize the police to conduct undisguised plunder against the public they supposedly protect and serve.

Several installments of my now-defunct Birch Blog described how police departments nation-wide have been transformed into shakedown agencies for cash-hungry state and municipal governments. Conscientious police officers (and there are certainly more than a few worthy of that description) have been disgusted to learn that their primary role is not to protect lives, property, and individual rights, but to collect revenue for increasingly degenerate and insulated local governments. (And once again, given the ubiquity of federal subsidy, those governments are "local" only in the sense of geography.)

I've also commented on the unfathomably corrupt practice of "forfeiture," inflicted on us -- like so many other abominations -- in the name of the so-called "War on Drugs."

When police departments manipulate circumstances to maximize profit-generating traffic citations, they're not enforcing the law; they're preying on the public.

When law enforcement agencies can seize and "forfeit" property belonging to people who are never prosecuted for crimes of any sort, they've ceased to be police, and have mutated into a criminal syndicate.

Just yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit handed down a decision ruling that "possession of a large sum of money" by a motorist "is `strong evidence' of a connection to drug activity."

The case in question involved Manuel Gonzolez, a Latino who was stopped in May 2003 by Nebraska State Police while speeding on I-80. Concealed in a cooler in the back seat was $124,700 in cash. It is uncontested that the police found (as summarized in a dissenting opinion) that "no drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug records were recovered" from the car, that Gonzolez had no record of drug-related crime, nor was "there any indication the manner in which the currency was bundled was indicative of drug use or distribution."

Yes, a drug-sniffing dog "alerted" to the large quantity of cash, indicating that it contained narcotics residue. However, as Supreme Court Justice David Souter recently pointed out, most of the cash in circulation contains minute amounts of drug residue.

Gonzolez was never accused of a crime, but the State Police "forfeited" his money nonetheless. At trial a federal district court found, quite propely, that the state had not established by a "preponderance of evidence," that the money was connected to drug activity.

The Feds, of course, appealed. The Eighth Circuit, quite predictably, reversed the lower court's decision, not on a point of law or procedure -- which is the proper function of an appellate court -- but by overturning the lower court's view of the facts. While "an innocent traveler might theoretically carry more than $100,000 in cash across country and seek to conceal funds from would-be theives," as Gonzolez explained to the thieves in uniform who robbed him, "we" -- the Eighth Circuit Court -- "have adopted the common-sense view" that such conduct "supports a connection between money and drug trafficking."

In other words: If you're carrying large amounts of cash, and you try to conceal it, the police can take it from you without charging you with a crime. This is because the money (and other property, such as cars, boats, and homes) is prosecuted and found guilty, not the individual who owns it.

Thus the name of the case involving Manuel Gonzolez is "United States of America vs. $124,700 in U.S. Currency"(.pdf) -- just one of a large and growing body of decisions in which the forfeited property is found "guilty" and stolen from innocent people.

This is obviously, and literally, higway robbery. But -- here's the more important point -- it's also a form of centralization of police power through bribery.

One happy assumption behind the "Support Your Local Police" concept is that, when the balloon goes up and the hammer comes down, state and local police and sheriffs would, if necessary, turn their guns on the Feds to protect the innocent people in their communities.

There are many decent, honorable, self-sacrificing individual law enforcement officers who would do this. I am blessed to know more than a few who meet that description. I appreciate them and pray for them often. They are all the more valuable for being so rare.

It's quite simple: Washington controls the police through subsidy, and cements their loyalty through bribes -- the most lucrative being the huge bonanzas they can collect through forfeiture.

So when the regime turns its guns on the public, as it inevitably will, how many police agencies and individual officers would be willing to turn their backs on the regime?


William N. Grigg said...

(From Will) Rick -- I always enjoy and appreciate your comments -- and it's great that the public now gets to benefit from your wit and wisdom.

Anent the subject of making friends of "God and Mammon" -- or "setting the conditions" by cultivating friends among the enforcers:

When I was in Cairo back in '94 to cover the UN population conference, I took that approach with the UN security guards, cultivating two or three friends among them (a large guy from Jamaica became a good friend). When I was seized by the three largest UN goons, had my passport taken, and held at gunpoint on the last day of the conference, I was really glad that I had done so....

So, I can see your point!

Truth Addict said...


Glad to have your blog back. I was sorely disappointed with the discontinuation of your blog with The New American. When I first began reading it I was actually surprised that they were allowing you to publish your unvarnished opinion outside the editorial pages. Perhaps they felt you were going "rogue" and didn't want to associate your views with the official tone that is maintained throughout TNA. I've actually become a little disenchanted with TNA ever since William Jasper flamed the 9/11 truth movement citing the Popular Mechanics straw man article headed up by none other than Micheal Chertoff's cousin.

Anyway, the real reason for my comment is to share with you an experience that my good friend had about a month ago with Iowa's finest while traveling back from Colorado to Indiana on I-80. Interestingly I had just finished reading your blog "Da Gangsters of Dallas County" about a week before he shared his story with me. For now apparent reason my friend, along with his twin brother (a missionary and pastor) and his 8 year old daughter, were stopped. The officer then had his brother get out of the car and sit in the patrol car while the officer then interrogated my friend. He asked questions like "where are you coming from?", "why were you there"?, "who did you stay with"?, "where do they live"?, etc. He even questioned him about whose mountain bikes those were on the trunk of his car and why he had a little girls bike, which should have been obvious. He then asked if my friend if he had any weapons in his car. Fortunately he had the foresight to tell his daughter not to say anything if the officer asked or else he could go to jail because he happened to be carrying his newly purchased firearm to protect his daughter on the trip. After the officer was done interrogating my friend he then went back to the squad car and interrogated his brother, in an apparent attempt to trip up their stories. Finally he let them go. My friend is also a white, 30 year old, middle class man, so apparently they've taken the approach that anybody could be a terrorist now, not just middle easterners.

On side note, my uncle is the most veteran cop in my community. He's one of those neighborhood cops that uses discretion and doesn't look for any reason to book you and cook you unless you're doing something extremely illegal. He sees the "Semper Fi" mentality of the younger recruits and doesn't like it. Consequently the other officers can't wait for him to retire in a few years. What happens when the ones like him are gone?

William N. Grigg said...

Dear Sgt. Marvin --

God bless you, sir! It's good to know that you'll be on our side when things go pear-shaped.

Truth Addict, your story is horrifying an all too familiar. A few weeks ago I received a little grief for writing that Canada, not the USA, is the freest country in the hemisphere. Your story illustrates my point quite handily, alas.

You should also know that where the 9-11 Truth Movement is concerned, I'm thoroughly agnostic about the official story and very interested in learning more. I know that Bill's perspective is similar to mine.

And I'd sure like to know what was in the deleted comment....

dixiedog said...

still not sure if it was the baker who got his head lopped off or the other guy...or was it hung? see what i mean! :-)

Rick, it was the baker who lost his noggin. Joseph interpreted his dream and that was the prophetic result.

Will, I've seen some of what some of the other commenters have said as well, particularly truth addict's bit about "Where are you coming from?" and "Do you have any weapons" "Can I search your car?" et al. It's all indicative of more than being merely revenue generators for broke, busted local governments, which is bad enough mind you, but that they're also suspecting you have committed a crime(s) for simply asserting your constitutional rights. Such as when one says "No, you may not." to a request to search ones vehicle when the coppers in question possess no search warrant, or when one pleads the fifth, and so on.

I think you've made the case quite succinctly that local law enforcement is now one of the myriad of tentacles that make up the fed octapus.